0 Award is open to everyone

March winner chooses Paintballing

By Editor

Andy Dixon from Guildford in Surrey has won the March section of the Technical Merit Award in association with Tillers Turf. He works as a Local Authority Groundsman and runs Allen House grounds in Guildford town centre, a 19th century walled garden comprising of a bowling green an 18-hole putting green and ornamental gardens. Andy was born into a horticultural family finding his niche in sportsturf, he will be taking his mates off for a day's paintballing.

The Award for April has now been running for ten days and entries continue to pour in. The questions vary in ease of answer but are multiple choice and for each correct answer you get one free entry into the hat for the monthly prize draw. Get all eight right and you'll have eight chances of winning a fantastic prize.

March's questions focus on soil nutrients. Percentages are shown below to illuminate the thinking of people in the industry, and the correct answers are in bold. There are also brief descriptions for each answer. We will soon list a few topical issue answers that are indicative of the level of discussion we consider appropriate to achieve the Technical Merit Award 2003.

Section 1
1 In an NPK fertiliser, the P stands for? 17% Potash 81% Phosphate 2% Prill
NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) & Potassium (K), these are the major elements required for plant nutrition. A prill is formed from the cooling of hot liquid droplets. For example, a NITRAM prill is formed when hot droplets of liquid AN are showered down a high tower and as the droplets fall they cool and solidify to form spherical prills.
2 How much N is applied (in kgs/ha) when a 12:0:9 fertiliser is spread at a rate of 20gms/m2? 28% 240 61% 24 11% 60
There are 10,000 square metres to the hectare. So 20gms x 10,000 = 200,000gms.
200,000gms divided by 1000 (converts grams to Kilograms) = 200 Kg's.

The percentage of Nitrogen in the mix is 12% so 12% of 200Kg's = 24Kg's

3 Lignite helps to reduce the leaching of nutrients in sandy soils? 87% True 13% False
True, Lignite has a high Cation Exchange Capacity, and can be added to growing media for the specific purpose of decreasing the likelihood of nutrient leaching.
4 Which of the following is a typical autumn/winter fertiliser? 13% 20:10:10 15% 14:0:7 + 2%Mg 72% 3:12:12
The use of a low nitrogen based fertiliser is traditionally used during the autumn/winter. The plant is moving towards dormancy and does not require high levels of Nitrogen, but does require the other macro-nutrients, phosphates and potash to strengthen the cell walls and to promote and encourage rooting, increasing wear tolerance.
5 Which soils have the highest CEC (cation exchange capacity)? 67% Clay 19% Loam 14% Sand

The cation exchange capacity (CEC) is a value given on a soil analysis report to indicate its capacity to hold cation nutrients. The CEC, however, is not something that is easily adjusted. It is a value that indicates a condition or possibly a restriction that must be considered when working with that particular soil. Unfortunately CEC is not a packaged product. The two main colloidal particles in the soil are clay and humus and neither are practical to apply in large quantities.

The CEC of the soil is determined by the amount of clay and/or humus that is present. These two colloidal substances are essentially the cation warehouse or reservoir of the soil and are very important because they improve the nutrient and water holding capacity of the soil. Sandy soils with very little organic matter (OM) have a low CEC, but heavy clay soils with high levels of OM would have a much greater capacity to hold cations.

6 What is the minimum legal distance that fertiliser can be stored from a water course?
4% 1m 59% 10m 37% 50m
Fertiliser bags should not be stored outdoors within 10 metres of a watercourse or field drain. Fertiliser should be stored away from sources of heat, fire or explosion. Fertiliser should also be kept away from combustible materials, chemical substances, diesel, oil and other flammable substances. Smoking or the use of naked lights in the storage area should not be permitted.
7 The application of Calcified Seaweed will have what affect on pH? 22% None 69% Raise it 9% Lower it
Calcified Seaweed is a calcareous marine algae resembling coral, known to marine biologists as Lithothalium Calcareum. It is dredged from the seabed mainly off the Brittany coast, dried at low temperature and crushed to a fine powder, which is readily assimilated by the soil. It contains about 46% calcium oxide, 5% magnesium oxide; sulphur, copper, iodine and cobalt and some twenty trace elements. It is an ideal soil conditioner and clay breaker and can be used on sportsturf as an alternative to 'lime' to correct soil acidity.
8 Which of these is not beneficial to grass? 89% Ammonium Chloride 4% Ammonium Nitrate 7% Ammonium Nitrogen
Ammonium Chloride is not beneficial to grass, it is a either a white or colorless, water-soluble, odorless salt with a biting taste, and is more commonly known as sal ammoniac. Ammonium nitrate makes the grass absorb more nitrogen than is necessary for photosynthesis. Ammonium Nitrogen is also beneficial.
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