Although nutrients are present in the soil as well as in all forms of turfgrass and other plant material waste, turfgrass management requires the use of fertilizer to meet turf nutrient needs. Understanding the role of plant and soil nutrients as well as applied nutrients is essential to minimizing off-site movement of these compounds that could contaminate surface and groundwater. Because of this potential for off-site contamination, New York State and some local agencies regulate aspects of the use of fertilizers, as discussed in the section on Regulatory Information.

Every golf course has a central area for the maintenance, storage, and use of equipment and supplies. These areas can potentially become point sources of pollution because of unintended releases of chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, or fuel during storage or handling of these materials. These facilities are high priority areas to address in protecting water quality.

BMP Statements

  • Recognize all organic waste generated on golf course contains nutrients that are potential contaminants.
  • Determine accurate supplemental nutrient needs based on soil chemical and physical analysis. On sand based areas, consider foliar testing as a diagnostic tool.
  • Supplement soil with appropriate rate and source of nutrients to maintain optimum availability and minimize off-site movement.
  • Assess application efficiency through regular equipment calibration.