Fending off Stress with A "TKO"

You know the old saying – "plants are like people"? Well, there’s a grain of truth there.

Take stress. Everyone has stress in their lives. Unchecked stress takes its toll in different ways: some stressed-out people get backaches, and others get short-tempered and grumpy. Likewise, plants that are stressed show it in various ways: turf gets browned and diseased, and landscapes lose their luster.

Just as people need to deal with stress before it overwhelms them, golf course superintendents and landscape professionals need to head-off stress on turf before the problems multiple. Fortunately, turf managers can use Growth Products’ “TKO” Phosphite to deal with turf stresses and keep their greens, fairways, tees, or landscapes looking good throughout the season.

"TKO" Phosphite

"TKO" Phosphite 0-29-26 is a sprayable liquid phosphorus and potassium solution. TKO got its initials from "The Knock Out," for being a turf and agricultural powerhouse. I like to think of TKO as a great way to knock out plant stress.

How does it work? Phosphorus is an essential element in plant photosynthesis, root growth, energy storage and protein formation, and is absolutely necessary to plant health. However, phosphate (PO4), the common granular form of phosphorus (P), tends to bind to soil, making the nutrient unavailable for plant uptake.

TKO contains phosphite (PO3), a liquid form of phosphorus which contains one less oxygen atom than phosphate. Being "lighter" by one oxygen atom allows phosphite to be more agile, and to be rapidly absorbed through a plant’s leaves, stems and crowns. With TKO foliar feeding, managers can thus easily by-pass potential problems with soil binding.


The Phosphite Ionic Compound       The Phosphate Ionic Compound

In ways not fully understood, phosphite boosts a plant’s natural defense mechanisms against stress. Researchers think this is accomplished in part by the plant thickening and fortifying its own cell walls, and also by the plant secreting certain stress-fighting enzymes in response to the phosphite. But regardless of the biological or chemical mechanisms, golf course managers and other professionals know that turf’s response to phosphite is both real and beneficial. Repeatedly in field trials, university tests, and in real-life situations, applications of TKO Phosphite have significantly reduced summer stress on greens, tees, fairways and approaches.


I like to recommend that turf managers use TKO Phosphite as part of their regular spray program to help prevent turf stress from temperate extremes, from too much or too little water, from overplay, or from any other source. Typical applications are 1 to 2 gallons per acre every 14 to 21 days, but a Growth Product nutrient specialist can suggest the perfect application for your specific turf situation.

TKO Phosphite is economical and easy to apply. It tank mixes well with liquid fertilizers and most biological fungicides, and is a great source of readily available phosphorus and potassium. For situations where less potassium is required or other nutrients are desired, turf managers can use other Growth Products' solutions such as Recover Rx 3-18-18 with Salicylic Acid or Green-Speed Si 0-2-5.