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Continuous Fertigation

By: Tatiana Salazar, Chemilizer Products; Scott Samuels, Garden Promise Michael Chaplinsky, Turf Feeding Systems; John Dorer, SynaTek Fertigation

The GPC Injector System easily installs just below the valve, enabling zone-based fertigation.

Fertigation, the application of fertilizer through an irrigation system, has been widely used in the nursery and agricultural industries for many years. However, fertigation is still considered a secondary method of fertilizing to the conventional granular method of fertilizing.

This process of fertigation uses liquid or water soluble fertilizer and nutrients and is injected into the irrigation water using a fertilizer injector. The benefit of using a fertilizer injector allows these nutrients to be delivered to the plant root zone at an optimal rate.

Using an injector requires liquid or water-soluble fertilizers making them prone to clogging. Therefore an injector that can handle lumpy organics such as fish hydrolysate and seaweed without any problem is needed.

The importance of continuous fertigation of nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and sulfur is because it does not require these nutrients to be stored in the soil. Granular fertilizer, even time release, requires these nutrients be stored for long periods making them vulnerable to being leached out of the soil. Continuous fertigation eliminates the leaching of such nutrients which are vital to the plants' health.

This fertigation process allows landscape professionals to have confidence that the exact amounts of nutrients are being applied when they are needed. Fertilizer injectors also reduce labor making them cost effective for landscape professionals. "The proper fertilizer injector is key to all fertigation systems," said Mark Remmel, horticultural expert.

Chemilizer's engineers designed the adjustable, non-electric CP33 for accuracy at the low injection levels required for continuous fertigation. The unit is designed to precisely meter fertilizer, delivering 20 to 50 parts per million, into flow rates from 10 GPM to 100 GPM and above.

By Irrigation Zone

Landscape professionals have long recognized the advantages of grouping plants by zone. Doing so maximizes visual appeal, lowers maintenance costs and enhances plant health and viability.

"Pairing a zone-based landscape with a zone-based fertigation system enables application of the appropriate amount and type of nutrients to each planting zone," said Joe Washington, a nationally-syndicated lawn and garden expert.

"And it can all happen at the best time of the day for each particular set of plants.

Until recently, taking advantage of zone-based fertigation within zone-based landscapes was an expensive, complicated proposition. A new system, introduced by the Garden Promise Company changes all that.

The injector device installs below each zone's irrigation valve and uses 32-oz. recyclable liquid organic fertilizer cartridges. Landscape professionals simply load the cartridges, which resemble small upside-down plastic bottles, into the injectors, and dial-in the rate of application. Water pressure from the irrigation valve releases the precise amount of fertilizer into a chamber where it mixes with the water, and is sent through the zone's irrigation system during the initial minutes of the watering cycle. The cartridges last approximately 4 to 6 weeks.

"The system allows landscape professionals to make adjustments 'on the fly'," said Ignacio Cano, a professional landscaper and vice president of product development for GPC. "For example, a high-phosphorous formula cartridge can be used to increase stem-growth for new plantings, and then, as the plants take hold, a cartridge containing organic compost concentrate can be used to increase the size and quality of bloom."

A pH amendment system works in conjunction with an outside tank within tank for secondary containment at Valley Community College in Pittsburgh. The injection system is mounted on aluminum table with hosed routed and transfer pump.

The Biggest Issue – Field Recovery

Parks and sports fields are being uses more and more every year, with reduced budgets and lack of man power, but sports like soccer, lacrosse and field hockey have added to the already extensive use for baseball and football. This use gives the sport fields less time to recover. That's right. Field recovery is the biggest issue we see today.

The fertigation program" in Colorado Springs, Colo. has demonstrated that fertigation has improved parks and sports fields across the city. Turf Feeding Systems has installed 33 fertigation systems on over 325 acres of parks, sports fields, and landscapes across the city and the results are dramatic.

Our background has been golf for over 20 years and fertigation can grow-in a golf course in half the time and this gives the field manager a tool to restore his damaged field or park. Fertigation is the best tool to reduce labor and improve the turf quality while working with a reduced budget.

We build Professional Grade Fertigation(TM) systems and offer the only line of systems for sports turf and landscapes (one acre to over 100 acres). We bring our golf experience to the landscape and sports turf markets, which are looking for ways to improve quality while working with a reduced budget.

Fertigation is the best tool for the landscaper who is competing with the larger companies, and managing large acreages.

How to solve problems

Fertigation has been a tool for turf managers for more than 40 years. Systems can be designed to fit needs from a small athletic complex to large golf course needs. SynaTek Ecotronics Fertigation Systems supplied agronomic inputs such as liquid fertilizers, micronutrients, bio-fertilizers, and wetting agents through fertigation, helping many turf managers to either grow-in more quickly, or maintain existing turf while achieving superior conditions for both play and aesthetics.

Fertigation injection equipment is easily calibrated, by time or in proportion to flow rate, assuring accurate and uniform, delivery of nutrients. Typical clear liquid fertilizer solutions used in fertigation would be 10-0-10, 10-2-10, 18-3-6, 9-9-9, and 2-2-12. Make sure your source for these fertilizers know specialty fertilizers and are not agriculture grade suspensions that will settle out if not used immediately.

An example of a problem solved with fertigation would be when turf needs to be grown in as fast as possible, nothing will grow it faster or more efficiently than constantly spoon feeding nutrients like a 9-9-9 at 0.2 to .25 lbs. of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium per week along with the irrigation water.

Another example would be where nutrient run-off is an issue. Spoon feeding nutrients through the irrigation system guarantees the fertilizer gets maximum uptake and minimum chance for run off since typically low rates of a tenth of a pound of nitrogen are being applied at any one application. Granular fertilizers can physically wash off and are typically applied at 10 times the nutrient load per application.


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November 17, 2019, 5:59 am PDT

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