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Injector Systems for Green Resources

By Michael Chaplinsky, for LSMP

Mosquitoes and other pests can be eliminated safely by injecting cedar oil with the fertilizer. Cedar oil is a non-toxic product that builds an odor barrier to keep out mosquitoes, flies, and other scent-driven insects. The method is especially useful for large outdoor gatherings like concerts or athletic events. Photos courtesy of Turf Feeding Systems, Inc.

Landscapes are green resources in any city, town, or development and good management protects those assets. Landscape superintendents are always looking for management practices that reduce labor, budgets, pesticides, and water; fertigation is that solution.

Fertigation has been used on golf courses for over 25 years with outstanding results across the U.S. and around the world. Thousands of golf courses like Spyglass Hill in Pebble Beach and the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas have fertigation systems installed on their elaborate irrigation systems that fertilize lightly each time they irrigate.

Colorado Springs

The city of Colorado Springs signed on to a fertigation program four years ago and now has 65 fertigation systems on nearly 500 acres of parks, sports fields, and green spaces across the city. They plan to have fertigation systems on all of their 154 parks and irrigation systems for the city in the next five years. They have fertigation systems on sites ranging from one acre baseball fields to 50-acre parks.

Fertile Water

The practice of light fertigating with each irrigation converts normal irrigation water into fertile water, which is the most efficient way to irrigate. This gives the plant two ways to take up nutrients: root feeding and foliar feeding directly into the leaves. This reduces labor, controls plant growth and color.

Finally, you can feed for landscape color and health, while controlling plant growth to reduce mowing.

Colorado Springs, Colo. has 65 Turf Feeding Systems units like this on nearly 500 acres of parks, sports fields, and green spaces. The city plans to have fertigation systems on all of its 154 parks and irrigation systems in the next five years. Seen here is one unit at the city's Cottonwood Sports Complex.

Fertilizer & Organics

The fertilizer used in fertigation should be good quality liquid nutrients, enhanced with good organic additives. These organic additives are the key to success. They will build a healthy soil by feeding the biology in the soil and eliminate problems like pH, sodium issues, breakdown thatch, and open up tight clay soils. Healthy soils will promote health and deep dense root growth, which will produce an efficient plant needing less water and fertilizer.

There are a number of organic products that will add micro-biology to the soil in the form of microbes. These special products can eliminate pests like fire ants, grubs, nematodes, and other pests, which will eliminate expensive andhazardous chemical pesticides.

The State Farm Insurance headquarters in the Seattle area has a fertigation system on their 24-acre landscape to only inject organics to feed the soil. They are injecting products like fish emulsion, humus, seaweed extract, and molasses (sugar) to feed the microbiology in the soil. They have produced a beautiful landscape and are doing it naturally.

Mosquitoes and other pests can be eliminated safely by injecting cedar oil with the fertilizer. This is another natural product that will build an odor barrier for mosquitoes, flies, and other scent-driven insects. This has been used with great success on the Texas Gulf Coast where mosquitoes can drive tourists from the beach houses.

There are a number of other products that can safely eliminate insects, deer and geese from feeding on landscapes. Many of the fertigation companies offer a complete line of products and organics to be used in their systems with the fertilizer.

Water Conservation

Water use is one of the biggest issues facing the landscape superintendent today. You need to water to protect the landscape, but the cost and possible limits are always a factor.

Some irrigation companies have water conservation sprinklers, controllers, and weather stations to limit water, but the real solution is to make the plant more efficient. Limiting water will reduce it, but the landscape will suffer. Fertigation and a good organic program will produce a healthier plant with a deep, dense root system needing less water to look healthy and great.

Fertigation can reduce water use up to 50% while producing a great looking landscape. Plants with deep dense roots in a healthy soil need less water and fertilizer, and cost less to maintain. This premise has been proven across the country in places like Colorado Springs.

Landscape Installation

Fertigation can assure that a new landscape can be supported during the tough installation period and mature quicker to its design standard. It is the best insurance policy for new landscapes or a renovation project. Fertigation can be specified into all new landscapes by the designers, and likely will be, in the near future.

Units like this EZ-FLO fertigation tank are usually installed by gluing a coupling into the main irrigation line after the backflow device (see top photos). The fertilizer mixing tank should then be placed in a standard valve box or under an artificial rock enclosure for vandalism and wear protection. Sequence courtesy of EZ-FLO Systems

Finding Fertigation

There are a number of good fertigation companies across the market. The first question is how big is your area? If you are working with small to medium sized areas up to two acres, then Fertile Earth, Fertigator, or Eazy-Flo are good choices. They all offer a number of models and fertilizers with additives from which you may choose. Their systems work well and they have good support, and are available through a number of national distributors like Horizon and Ewing.

If you are working on larger areas from one acre up to over 200 acres, then Turf Feeding Systems offers a full line of fertigation models and choices for your landscape. They have been in the golf, sports turf and landscape business for over 22 years and have systems installed worldwide. They work with the city of Colorado Springs and other municipalities across the country.

Fertigation will:

  • Reduce labor, water, pesticides.
  • Improve the landscape, roots, and soil.
  • Fit into your budget.

Fertigation is a great tool to install in the irrigation system on your landscape to make your job easier managing green resources.

There are a number of fertigation companies that offer good products and service. Research them on the internet to get more information.

Michael Chaplinsky is president of Turf Feeding Systems, Inc.

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October 13, 2019, 7:13 pm PDT

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