Turf management with controlled release fertilisers

Sustainable solutions for healthy growth and environmental stewardship.

May 27, 2024
2 mins

Controlled release fertilisers (CRFs) are becoming essential in modern turf management, providing a more efficient and sustainable method of maintaining golf courses, sports fields, and public parks.

These fertilisers are specifically formulated to deliver crucial nutrients, such as nitrogen, to suit the needs of the turf over a 3 – 9 month period depending on the grade.

The technology behind CRFs

CRFs are engineered with a semi-permeable membrane coating that encases the nutrients. The coating allows water through to dissolve the nutrient and then allows it to dissipate gradually into the soil.

The CRF nutrient release rate is influenced by soil moisture and temperature and is designed to ensure a steady supply of nutrients that matches the specific growth needs of the turf.

Tailoring the nutrient release to the needs of the turf minimises the risk of nutrient leaching and greatly enhances overall nutrient use efficiency.

Benefits of Using CRFs in Turf

  • Environmental Sustainability– CRFs greatly diminish the risk of nutrient runoff and leaching, which are major contributors to water pollution. Their controlled nutrient release is particularly vital in turf management, especially near sensitive water bodies.
  • Enhanced Nutrient Use Efficiency– The controlled release of nutrients from CRFs means they are absorbed more effectively by the turf, significantly reducing wastage and improving nutrient use efficiency.
  • Improved Turf Quality– The consistent nutrient availability from CRFs supports uniform growth, enhancing both the aesthetic and functional quality of turf. Research indicates that CRFs can boost the density and colour of grass, leading to healthier, more robust turf.
  • Reduced Application Frequency– Due to their long-lasting effects, CRFs require fewer applications throughout the season, which saves on labour, time, and equipment, thereby cutting down on overall maintenance costs.

CRFs vs. slow release fertilisers (SRFs)

It is crucial to distinguish between controlled release and slow release fertilisers.

SRFs release nutrient as a result of biological or chemical processes and so their release pattern can be variable.

The predictability of release from CRFs makes them more reliable for precision turf management.

Generally, the longevity of SRF would be limited to 12 weeks whereas CRFs can release over far greater periods depending on the nature of the coating.

ICL’s innovations in CRF Technology

ICL, a pioneer in fertiliser innovation, has developed specialised CRF technologies like eqo.s, designed specifically for turf applications.

These products ensure that nutrient availability is synchronised with the turf’s growth requirements and environmental conditions.

eqo.s is a revolutionary fully biodegradable CRF coating that complies with the requirements of the EU Fertilising Product Regulation (FPR) to minimise their impact on the environment.

ICL’s commitment to enhancing efficiency and environmental stewardship is evident in its continuous product development. The company’s dedication to quality and innovation makes its controlled release fertiliser solutions fundamental to sustainable turf management.


The use of controlled release fertilisers represents a progressive approach to turf management, aligning environmental priorities with the need for high-quality, resilient turf.

As the technology and applications of CRFs continue to evolve, they are poised to play an increasingly crucial role in the sustainable management of green spaces globally.