All plants require nutrients to sustain growth and development. Certain essential nutrients are classified as either macro- or micronutrients, based on the amount needed by plants rather than their importance for plant growth. Macronutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. Micronutrients include iron, zinc, copper, chlorine, nickel, molybdenum, boron, and manganese (a known issue on higher pH sands in NYS). Micronutrients are required in significantly lower amounts than macronutrients; however, a deficiency or excess of these micronutrients can have a profound influence on plant growth. Proper nutrient management usually includes the following steps:
- Determine plant needs (such as light levels, traffic levels, irrigated or not, and expected visual quality).
- Assess the soil reservoir for availability (soil testing).
- Determine nutrient needs and select the proper source of nutrient fertilizer (most are combination products).
- Decide the rate, timing, and frequency of application.