Being a keen-eyed superintendent, Kevin Ross noticed how enhanced efficiency fertilizers were producing healthy, dense turf in the rough areas at the Country Club of the Rockies, located about six miles outside of Vail, Colo. So, he wisely deduced that this technology could do the same for his fairways.
“I was looking for a new product because I wasn’t totally happy with my previous fertilizer program on the fairways,” said Ross, who has been superintendent at the CC of the Rockies for 22 years. “I thought there has to be something better.”
And he found that there was.
“I had used the two Koch Turf and Ornamental products (UFLEXX and UMAXX) in the rough and some other areas of the course and really liked the performance,” he says. “I thought maybe this could be something that would also work in the fairways. The granular fertilizer I was using wasn’t breaking down and disappearing very well. It was sticking on mowers, on mower baskets – we pick up our clippings on fairways – and on golfers’ shoes.”
UMAXX stabilized nitrogen fertilizer, which Ross has been using on fairways for about five years, needs only a little bit of water to dissolve into the soil profile. UMAXX fertilizer provides protection against all three forms of nitrogen loss – leaching, denitrification and volatilization. It is a urea-based product with a 46-0-0 analysis, containing both urease and nitrification inhibitors. Unlike many single inhibitor products on the market, the addition of the nitrification inhibitor in UMAXX fertilizer reduces the chances for leaching and denitrification which are big concerns in the golf industry. This second inhibitor also retains N as ammonium, which can be held on soil exchange sites, extending the window of N availability. Products with urease inhibitors alone do not include this benefit. A completely soluble granular, UMAXX fertilizer is equally effective whether spread dry or dissolved in a spray tank. Dissolved UMAXX fertilizer can also be tank mixed with many crop protection chemicals.
UFLEXX stabilized nitrogen fertilizer is specially formulated for the professional lawn care and landscape markets. This unique product also helps to protect against all three forms of nitrogen loss – leaching, denitrification and volatilization, allowing time for nitrogen to move into the root zone and stay there longer. As a result, there is immediate green-up, followed by sustained turfgrass color for up to eight weeks.
Ross did some research and determined he was applying products he didn’t necessarily need on his course. “I read some things about maybe there being more nutrients in the soil than we think and that the main product we really needed was nitrogen, and UFLEXX and UMAXXX are pure nitrogen fertilizer,” he says.
Using three-quarters of a pound per 1,000-square-feet to a pound-and-a-quarter per 1,000-square-feet, Ross makes one application of UMAXX fertilizer on his fairways around early to mid-June. He applies an organic fertilizer about mid-September.
“I can get almost an entire growing season out of that one application,” he says. “The growth rate is superb and I don’t experience flush growth after application. Simply put, the product works fabulously.”
Ross is still using UFLEXX and UMAXX fertilizer in the rough areas of the Country Club of the Rockies, basically two applications of three-quarters of a pound per 1,000-square-feet, twice a year, once in late spring to “push things along” and get a nice green-up, and again around Labor Day to put the turf and soil in good standing prior to going into dormancy.
“We have a shorter growing season and I need something to get things moving in spring and then kick it into fall and winter in a healthy state,” he says.
Because only one application of UMAXX fertilizer is necessary for the fairways, Ross has been able to decrease the man-hours required to fertilize the course, which directly impacts his budget and allows those crews to be used elsewhere.
The fact that both products come in small granular (mini) form was also enticing. “I’m intrigued by how quickly it disappears into the soil,” Ross say. “Dealing with fertilizer that sticks around on the top of the turf canopy can be problematic.”
“I also love the blue/green color to the product because you can see the product much better during the application process,” he adds. “Many fertilizers are grayish in color and blend in with the turf, which makes it hard to see during the application process. We order product right from the factory and when it arrives here we find the material to be very pure in the bag with no contaminants.”
Ross also dissolves UMAXX fertilizer in water and puts it in sprayers for use on tees and approaches and does the same with UFLEXX fertilizer on greens. His rates for this are two-tenths-of-a-pound of nitrogen per 1,000-square-feet. “I add that to a foliar/wetting agent mix once every two to three weeks. The foliar works well for about a week, then the UFLEXX fertilizer takes over the next 10 to 14 days.”
Ross says his membership has been extremely pleased with the results as well. “The members love the fairways. We have installed a new irrigation system with great coverage,” he says. “This, combined with our fairway fertilizer program, has been fantastic.”
Ross has received counseling and direction from the product experts at Koch Turf and Ornamental on how to use UFLEXX and UMAXX fertilizer on his course.
“(Koch’s) John Meyer has been fantastic to work with,” he says. “I’ve known him for quite a few years and he always tells me that if I have any problems to let him know. Honestly, fertilizers come and go, but in my opinion UMAXX and UFLEXX fertilizers make the turf respond and the results have been truly amazing.”