Greenkeepers and groundsmen play a critical role in maintaining healthy and vibrant turfgrass. Keeping turfgrass in condition to stand up to everyday life is no small feat. It’s challenging to meet the needs of the growing turfgrass, the environment, and the regulatory landscape. Turfgrass requires just the right balance of nutrients to thrive, and turfgrass maintenance requires alignment with environmental regulations and sustainability practices.
Controlled release fertilizers are an important part of the greenkeeper’s or groundsmen’s turf fertilizer arsenal. These fertilizers for turf typically consist of soluble materials that plants can easily absorb over time, allowing for steady and sustained nutrient uptake. This is essential because plants cannot utilize all the nutrients at once, and a controlled release formula ensures that the turfgrass receives the required nutrients in a balanced manner.
Demand for controlled release fertilizers is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, reaching a projected value of $4,895.6 million by 2030. Controlled release fertilizers offer an effective solution to the challenges faced by greenkeepers and groundsmen in maintaining healthy turfgrass, making them an indispensable part of their maintenance practices.
Now, ICL’s eqo.s® helps professionals meet turfgrass needs in an even more sustainable way.
What is eqo.s®?
ICL has introduced a new controlled release fertilizer technology that emphasizes sustainability, taking the evolution of their product offerings to the next level. The new eqo.s® technology has been integrated into the Sierrablen and Sierrablen Plus product lineup, meeting both standard granule and mini granule use cases.
These granules come with a specialized biodegradable coating that enables controlled nutrient release, supporting plant growth throughout the granule’s lifespan. This technology offers a more sustainable approach to plant fertilization, ensuring that the plant receives the required nutrients while minimizing the impact on the environment.
Additionally, the granule plus coating combination provides a more precise and targeted delivery of nutrients, resulting in improved plant health and growth. eqo.s®, is set to shape the future of fertilizers as it is one of the most important innovations and technological launches since the first controlled release fertilizers were introduced on the market.
“What they’re getting with the new eqo.s® technology is a new coating that not only controls that release really nicely, but once all that nutrition has been released, and the outer coating will break down very quickly into the soil. And, they’re selecting a fertilizer which is compliant with the new EU fertilizer regulations,” said Dr. Andy Owen, International Technical Manager for ICL Turf and Landscape, of the value groundskeepers will find with the eqo.s® technology.
How does eqo.s® lawn turf fertilizer work?
eqo.s® is a first-of-its-kind controlled release turf fertilizer technology, designed over 5 years, that breaks down when nutrients are released. The advanced technology fertilizer is applied at the turf base, near the plant roots, and features a biodegradable coating that allows water to penetrate to the core of urea.
The urea then begins to dissolve, releasing nutrients at a consistent rate. Over time, the nutrients are gradually released, meeting the plant’s growth requirements and minimizing the leaching of nutrients into the environment. Once all the nutrients have been released, the shell biodegrades into CO2 and water, leaving no trace behind. This controlled release fertilizer technology is a game-changer in the turfgrass industry, offering a sustainable and effective solution to fertilization while minimizing the impact on the environment.
Future-proofing your business for the 2026 fertilizer legislation means introducing new technology to meet your needs. The eqo.s® lawn turf fertilizer offers several advantages stemming from the revolutionary biodegrading coating that breaks down quickly, leaving no trace behind. eqo.s® technology improves nutrient release and matches plant needs over a longer period of time. Not only is this compliant with future EU fertilizer regulations, but it also helps reduce fertilizer usage by requiring fewer applications.
This technology also minimizes nutrient losses to the environment and ensures consistent, reliable nutrient release for consistent growth. With this system, turfgrass is stronger, greener, and more resilient, offering long-term benefits for your business. By embracing this technology, you can future-proof your business and prepare for the challenges of the changing fertilizer industry.
Current users of these controlled release fertilizers will have the same consistent growth and development of their turf from the product they know and are familiar with, but with the latest compliant technology.
“You get all the benefits of a controlled release fertilizer, but you’re also getting a product that complies exactly with the EU legislation that’s coming out,” said Dr. Owen.
eqo.s® technology also has environmental benefits in comparison to conventional fertilizers. Nutrient release and plant uptake are more efficient, driving a notable reduction in nutrient leaching. Controlled release fertilizers with eqo.s® will see a reduction in ammonia volatilization and higher nitrogen use efficiency. Eqo.s® also ensures a faster breakdown of the fully biodegradable coating, further lowering the environmental footprint in turfgrass management.
Advanced technology in controlled release fertilizers: eqo.s® Innovation
eqo.s® innovation started with a need to find sustainable urea innovation for fertilizers for turf.
The development process involved collaboration between research and development, engineering, marketing, and agronomists, leading to a new generation of controlled release fertilizers.
The goal was to achieve uniform turfgrass, good color, and high density while maintaining biodegradability. The process involved extensive testing, with the team refining the formulation to achieve the desired results. The testing included measuring nutrient release rates, ensuring optimal release during the plant’s growth stage, and monitoring how the fertilizer reacted to different weather conditions.
The team also tested the coating’s biodegradability to ensure it broke down quickly and left no trace behind. Through rigorous testing and refinement, the team was able to produce a high-quality product that provides optimal plant nutrition while also being environmentally sustainable.
The testing process highlights the importance of scientific research and development in creating sustainable agricultural solutions. The result is a high-quality product that provides optimal plant nutrition while also being environmentally sustainable.
“At ICL, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainability. Our team of experts and researchers continually join forces to create the highest quality products that are not only sustainable but also equally effective,” said Elad Aharonson, President of ICL Growing Solutions
ICL is committed to supporting greenkeepers and groundsmen in growing their most healthy, vibrant, and resilient turfgrass in a sustainable way. Through innovative lawn turf fertilizer and outstanding support, it’s possible to exceed turfgrass maintenance and renovation expectations and have an environmentally sustainable approach.
“We are talking about an enhanced efficiency fertilizer, so ICL constantly strives to produce the best products, to understand them so we can give the best advice in terms of how they’re used,” said Dr. Owen.
ICL Group is committed to sustainable practices and reducing its environmental impact. The company is dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and increasing recycling, promoting sustainable production processes, and supporting biodiversity. eqo.s® and eqo.x® CRF are just two examples of ICL’s sustainability-driven innovations in the promotion of sustainable production processes. The advanced controlled release fertilizers technology is a testament to the power of collaboration and the importance of sustainability in modern agriculture.
The company has set ambitious targets to reduce its carbon footprint and increase recycling rates and regularly reports on its progress towards these goals. Additionally, ICL Group has partnered with organizations and initiatives to promote sustainability and biodiversity, including supporting reforestation projects and implementing sustainable water management practices. By prioritizing sustainability in its operations, ICL Group is demonstrating its commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.
Dr. Andy Owen is the International Technical Manager for Turf and Landscape based in ICL Growing Solutions. He is a Sports Turf Agronomist, with a Ph.D. in Environmental Soil Science. He is passionate about the communication of technical knowledge within our industry and the promotion of good research practice.