Twenty two local landscapers and turf managers learnt how to grow great grass and be smarter with their fertiliser use last week at a ‘Fertilise Wise’ workshop organised by GeoCatch.
The training was delivered by turf expert John Forrest from Forrest & Forrest Horticulture Consulting Services who taught participants about sustainable turf establishment, soil requirements, types of fertilisers and how to apply them correctly.
GeoCatch project officer Lisa Massey says the Fertilise Wise Fertiliser training program is an initiative of the Perth-based Phosphorus Awareness Project which trains turf managers and local government officers in fertiliser best management practices.
“GeoCatch recognized we needed John’s expertise with the training program to help reduce fertiliser entering our waterways and Geographe Bay from larger areas of turf and public open space” said Lisa.
“We know a large amount of nutrients leave these areas and end up in our rivers, wetlands and Bay, so it is a priority for GeoCatch to work with this industry”.
A large part of the day was spent learning how to calculate required rates of nutrient applications based on soil and tissue testing. Participants found they could reduce their ongoing costs of fertiliser purchases and maintenance by determining the exact nutrition their turfs require.
Participant John Keil found the day very informative, saying that after the training he intends to apply fertiliser according to the plant’s requirements and recommended application rates, as opposed to guessing.
“I learnt that application of fertiliser is generally in excess of what is required by plants” he said.
Chris Blackwell of Down South Turf gained useful skills in calculating fertiliser rates and plans to make some changes to his turf management.
“Learning the methods of how to calculate the required nutrient rates for fertilising means that I will be producing perfect turf from now on” said Chris.
Upon completion of the workshop, participants received a certificate recognizing their training in fertiliser management of turfs.
“It can be difficult to grow productive lawn and gardens in this catchment’s poor sandy soils. However, turf managers and gardeners can maximize the benefit of fertiliser and water to their lawns and gardens by learning to use them correctly, which will also save them money and help protect the local waterways” said Lisa.
GeoCatch’s Bay OK project is part of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program which is supported by the State Government to improve water quality, waterway health and management of Geographe waterways.