Unit 4: Turfgrass Cultural Practices

Lesson 2: Fertility


Cultural practices incorporate all of the methods that can be applied to sustain healthy turfgrass. Proper use of cultural practices promotes overall health of turfgrass so plants can better withstand pest pressure and environmental stresses. Fertilization is a primary cultural practice that supplies essential plant nutrients necessary for plant growth and recovery.


Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Indicate the importance of soil testing and maintaining a healthy soil pH
  • Name soil macronutrients (N,P,K) and explain their importance for turf growth and health
  • Analyze a fertilizer label
  • Calculate nutrients contained in fertilizer
  • Compare and contrast quick release and slow release nitrogen sources
  • Indicate the importance of calibrating drop and rotary spreaders for fertilization
  • Determine rate and frequency for applying nutrients
  • Operate rotary and drop spreaders safely and accurately
  • Calculate square footage of a turfgrass area
  • Calculate the desired amount of nutrient to apply to the turfgrass area based on the fertilizer grade
  • Calibrate drop and rotary spreaders to apply an accurate amount of nutrients to a turf area


Turgeon, A. J. (2007). Turfgrass Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Simon & Schuster.

Puhalla, J., Krans, J., Goatley, M. (1999). Sports Fields. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Soil Testing for Lawns – Purdue Turfgrass Science Program

Rotary Spreader Calibration – Sports Turf Managers Association

Drop Spreader Calibration – Sports Turf Managers Association