University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System: Water Quality and the Home Landscape

Sustainable Landscaping: Turf

by Karl Guillard

Use Slow-Release Fertilizer Formulations

Turfgrass fertilizers with slow-release formulations can be derived from natural organic sources (including manures, composts, bloodmeal, food industry by-products, yard wastes, etc), or derived by reacting urea with various organic or inorganic compounds to form ureaformaldehyde (UF) isobutylidene diurea (IBDU), and sulfur or poly coated urea (SCU, PCU). These slow-release formulations offer these advantages for use on turfgrass:

  • Low potential for foliar burn
  • Low leaching, runoff, and volatilization potential
  • Slower acidifying effect on soil pH
  • More uniform growth over the growing season
  • Provide a wide range of essential elements (organics)
  • Help suppress certain turfgrass diseases (organics)
  • May improve the physical properties of the soil (organics)

Release of nitrogen from organic fertilizers is dependent primarily on microbial activity. Depending on conditions, nitrogen release from organic fertilizers can be relatively rapid or may be immobilized within the soil organic matter and not released for many months.