Nitrogen (N) is the most commonly over-applied nutrient in urban environments because of the large visual and growth increases. This over-application has led to an increase in the loss of N gas in the forms of ammonia and nitrous oxide, as well as an increase in nitrate leaching to surface and groundwater. Furthermore, excess N results in increased maintenance costs and landfill volume due to increased shoot growth from mowed clipping removal. Polymer coated urea (PCU) has proven to be an excellent source to these losses of N to the environment, but rate and timing parameters need study. A two-year field study, on sand and sandy loam soils in Provo, UT, was initiated in April 2014. Seven fertilized treatments included: urea split applied monthly; a single application of PCU (Agrium One Ap) applied in spring, a single PCU application in fall; two evenly split applications in spring and late summer; and three evenly split applications in spring, late summer, and late fall. These were compared to an untreated control. In addition the two application of PCU also had reduced rates of half and three-quarters, in addition to the full rate. Height and verdure measurements were taken on a weekly basis, along with periodic visual and biomass readings. All fertilized treatments resulted in a significant response to N as compared to the control. The single annual application treatments had significantly greater shoot growth during the weeks immediately after application and a significant reduction in verdure months later and, therefore, were unacceptable for consumer recommendation. Two applications of PCU, either at the three-quarter or full rates, were nearly identical in all measurements as compared to the spoon feeding of urea applied monthly. The half rate of two applications showed signs of inadequate N. Three applications of PCU was identical to two and, therefore, not recommended. This study shows two applications of PCU at the three-quarter rate is equally effective as spoon feeding the N. Doing so would result in less labor for fertilization. Further work is needed to evaluate other timing approaches for a single annual application, as well as long term effects of a reduced rate of N.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



Date Submitted


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polymer coated urea PCU, urea, Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis, nitrogen fertilizer, nitrogen timing, nitrogen rate