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Isaac T. Mertz, Nick E. Christians and Adam W. Thoms

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine (L), isoleucine (IL), and valine (V) are synthesized in plants and are essential to growth in most organisms. These compounds can be absorbed by the plant when foliarly applied, but plant catabolism of BCAA is not completely understood. A recent study observed that BCAA applied in a 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 ratio (L:IL:V) increased creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) shoot density compared with applications of equal urea nitrogen (N) at 3.03 lb/acre N. The present study investigated whether those increases could translate to a quicker establishment rate of creeping bentgrass grown from seed in standard greenhouse pots. The BCAA applications were compared with equal N applications using urea and a commercially available amino acid product. All N treatments were applied at 3.03 lb/acre N, per application and applied a total of four times on a 14-day interval starting 14 days after seeding. Measurements included final shoot density counts and root and shoot weights, as well as digital image analysis of percent green cover for each greenhouse pot every 7 days. No differences were observed after 70 days in shoot weight, or percent green cover between BCAA treatments and urea; however, BCAA 2:1:1 and 4:1:1 increased shoot density 21% and 30%, respectively, compared with urea, and were equal to the commercially available amino acid product. Applications of BCAA 4:1:1 also increased creeping bentgrass rooting weight by a factor of 7 compared with urea N.