By Julio Yap Jr.

Plants need proper food to attain optimal growth and development. Plants also need to be
fertilized, as this will provide the essential nutrients they require. An undernourished plant will not have the capacity to reach its production potential during its early stages.

But the use of fertilizers is not limited to agricultural crops. Turf grass, like those found in golf courses, also need to be fertilized to meet its nutritional requirements. Golf course turf—which is usually Bermuda grass (Cynadon dactylon)—is the grass covering golf courses. It is maintained by a greens keeper who takes measures to control weeds and insects, and to introduce nutrients through fertilization.

Bermuda grass, which is a lawn or turf grass, has many other uses, particularly in farming and animal husbandry. In some countries, it is used as cattle feed, and as forage for cattle and other small ruminants, and planted to control the erosion brought about by excess rain or over watering.

Turf grass like what can be found on golf courses needs to be fertilized in order to meet its nutritional requirements.

Golf courses usually hire golf course management experts and greens keepers to take care, and maintain the aesthetic look and excellent playability, of the greens. Experts such as MJ Carr Golf Management Inc. care for the course turf of places like the Valley Golf and Country Club, popularly known as Valley, which is located in the rolling hills of Antipolo City in Rizal.

According to chairman Michael Ray Carr, the greens at the Valley are meticulously designed so that golfers are challenged to use most, if not all, their clubs.

Addressing Care Requirements

To maintain the Bermuda grass on the greens, Carr said they use an organic fertilizer, Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer, to protectother plants and trees around the Valley, which is an environment-friendly golf course. He believes that the proper application of fertilizer is one of the most vital elements needed by the Bermuda grass.

Alfredo “Dodong” Evangelista takes a sample to check the health of the turf grass.

Bermuda grass has the ability to grow in different climate conditions due to its extensive root system. But for this root system to develop to the three inches or more that is considered ideal, Carr says it requires good fertilizer. With it, brown spots can be avoided, and the health of the grass can be maintained. “The foliar fertilizer contributed much for the improvement of the roots. Not just plain improvement, but [its use] resulted in [a] big difference in the root system.”

Alfredo “Dodong” Evangelista, the greens keeper at the Valley,said that Bermuda grass requires special care and more frequent fertilization than most. He notes that after the use of the organic foliar fertilizer,the grass became healthier, as manifested by the vibrant color of the
blades, and the long and sturdy roots. In addition, damage to the grass due to weather disturbances could be prevented or minimized with the proper application of inputs, like organic fertilizers and related products.

Plants, including Bermuda grass,that are sprayed with Amino Plus can become more resistant to diseases and other stresses like drought or flooding. It is manufactured in Mandaue City by Global Green Organic Fertilizer, Inc. and is registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority; it is also certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines.

Trimmings and fish scraps—particularly those of mackerel-type fish—are fermented to produce the organic Foliar fertilizer. Unlike other fertilizers derived from fish and other natural sources, Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer is not processed at high temperatures, thus preventing the denaturation of proteins while retaining amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and natural oil.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s October 2016 issue.