5 Tips for Surviving the Drought

By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

[NOTE: This article first appeared in the August 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]

Michael Gardner PortraitLet’s face it, it’s hot! It’s also dry in many of our areas. Some say these drought conditions started last fall and continued through a cold, dry winter. Now that we’ve hit the hot, dry summertime, drought stress can kill our turf and our budget.

You may be a golf course superintendent, professional landscaper, or a homeowner caring for your yard. Drought conditions affect us all. Our differences may be our access to water, our water costs, and our budget. But they’re all tight. The sooner we alleviate turf stress, the better.

Drought is crippling the Southwest United States. As a matter of fact, water costs have gotten so high in the San Diego area that Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club closed indefinitely on July 9.

To avoid similar circumstances, we must make the water that’s available to us stretch to meet our needs – without killing the turf. How do we balance availability and cost against acceptable conditions?

1. Have a Plan

Good water management practices include a drought plan. In fact, if your region requires a water-withdrawal permit to irrigate, you’re probably required to have a drought management plan as well. Water conservation practices might include the following:

  • Lined ponds
  • Moisture monitoring systems
  • Irrigation inspection and maintenance
  • Scheduled aeration
  • Alternative water sources (effluent and brackish water)
  • Turf tolerant to brackish water
  • Drought-tolerant, no-mow turf
  • Raised mowing heights
  • Decreased mowing frequency
  • Naturalized grass areas with good soil conditions
  • Root-pruning trees to avoid water competition
  • Application of growth regulators before wilt/dormancy
  • Soil improvement
  • Root mass improvement
  • Suspension of fertilizers and pesticides when turf is dormant
  • The use of surfactants to increase water penetration

2. Use a Surfactant

Of that plan, one of the most important and quickest drought recovery aides is a high-quality soil surfactant. Surfactants decrease the surface tension of water, so it can penetrate and move through the soil more effectively. This makes available water more useful, productive, and efficient.

I’ve worked over 35 years in turf and agriculture and I’ve never seen a better surfactant than Huma Gro® Turf Surf-Max®. Surf-Max® works in a unique way, moving water horizontally before pushing water down through the soil profile. This has many benefits. On sand-based greens, we don’t lose water straight down through the soil profile. More water is kept in the root zone. In clay soils, Surf-Max® helps water penetrate with less pooling on the surface. Surf-Max® also moves water quickly and efficiently through thatch layers that are traditionally difficult for water to penetrate. Additionally, Surf-Max® increases the availability of nutrients and soil conditioning products in the soil as they are able to move freely with the water through the soil profile.

3. Improve Soil Health, Feed (beneficial) Fungi

In conjunction with surfactant treatment, soil needs to be conditioned to be more receptive to water. At Huma Gro® Turf, we take a sustainable approach of improving soil structure and soil health. Healthy soil allows better water infiltration and has better water-holding capacity. We accomplish this with Huma Gro® Turf Fertil Humus® to stimulate the beneficial fungi in the soil. Fertil Humus® also breaks down and recycles organic matter in the soil, producing humus-rich soil.

4. Feed (beneficial) Bacteria

On the other hand, Multi-Purpose™ improves soil structure by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the soil and stimulating microbial activities. The combination of Fertil Humus® and Multi-Purpose™ produces a long-term, healthy soil environment that saves water, makes nutrients more available, and sustains healthy turf.

5. Increase Root Mass

Finally, a superior root system should be developed. The more mass to the root system, the greater the water and nutrient uptake and overall plant health. Huma Gro® Turf increases root mass with a product called Breakout®. When applied to soil, Breakout® promotes a dense fibrous root system.

Recap

The sooner we start preventive and recovery measures, the sooner we see results. Here’s the recap:

  1. Preventive – be prepared: Have a drought plan.
  2. Quick fix – surfactant: Surf-Max® aids water penetration and distribution.
  3. Long-term – soil health (fungi): Huma Gro Fertil Humus® feeds beneficial fungi in soil.
  4. Long-term – soil health (bacteria): Multi-Purpose™ feeds beneficial bacteria in soil.
  5. Long-term – root mass: Breakout® promotes root growth.

Product trials for water infiltration and water savings are available upon request. A thatch infiltration bench test of Surf-Max® demonstrated by Dr. Johann Buck is available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/HGT-SurfMaxVideo

Let’s use water as efficiently as possible as soon as possible. Whether in drought or abundance, we can do more with less both on the golf course and at home.

Golf Course Turf Recovery and Repair

By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

[NOTE: This article first appeared in the July 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]

If you golf, turf recovery and repair is one of the most important aspects of your local golf course. If you are a golf course maintenance professional, recovery and repair is also one of your most important efforts on the course.

The greens are our Promised Land. But the golf course isn’t always a Land of Milk and Honey. Sometimes turf is a land of stress, and I’m not talking about having an off day. I’m talking about the world of hurt we put on the turf. The regular mowing, verticutting, aerating, rolling of greens, and the high volumes of fertilizers, pesticides and water that create great playing conditions for us, unfortunately wreak havoc on turf.

Mowing

One of the most common stresses put on turf is rigorous mowing. Daily mowing to maintain that consistent, smooth turf adds to turf stress. Not only does mowing itself stress turf, but the low––very low—cutting height that keeps grass at maximum playability is harmful to turf health. As well as scalping, low mowing heights decrease the blade surface of the plant. This interrupts photosynthesis, which weakens the plant. Low mowing also reduces grass biomass. This makes it vulnerable to stresses it could withstand at higher mowing heights. After mowing, excess clippings left behind can not only smother turf, but, when it’s humid, can also breed disease.

Reduce mowing stress by keeping mower blades sharp, clipping no more than 1/4 of the blade surface, removing excessive clippings, and reducing mowing to every-other day or as-needed in high heat conditions.

Verticutting

Another great stress to the green, and one that golfers dread to see, is verticutting. Verticutting commonly takes place once or twice a year. Because verticutting removes organic matter at the surface, core aeration is still needed to remove organic matter at the root zone. Verticutting is so harsh, it can injure the turf and spread disease. The key is to stimulate as quick a recovery as possible.

Verticutting damage can be avoided by reducing the amount of organic matter produced. Surface organic matter can be removed mechanically. A light topdress of sand also helps to reduce organic matter.

Aeration

While core aeration has many benefits, it also has some downsides––besides those ugly holes on the green.  Because of evaporation, aerating during drought or extreme heat can do more harm than good.

Timing is essential. Aerate at recommended soil temperatures for your grass type to speed recovery. Aerate during the growing season. Never aerate dormant turf. Fill aeration holes completely with sand and roll after applying a topdress.

Rolling

Rolling gives turf a break from mowing. It firms the green, smooths the playing surface, and speeds it up. But, firming the green can also compact it. Especially in clay soils. Rolling turf already stressed from heavy play, heat, disease, low-mowing heights, overwatering, and/or high inputs is simply piling on more stress.

High Inputs

Fertilizers will burn turf when over-applied or applied to wet grass, especially nitrogen and potash. Herbicide overuse stresses and even kills turf. Avoid fertilizer and herbicidal injury by applying recommended amounts according to directions.

Watering

Syringing and applying water under extreme heat creates the perfect playground for fungus. In fact, you can reduce fungicide use just by eliminating this practice. Overwatering not only wastes water, but can form a crust that blocks water, nutrients, air, and so on. On the other hand, shallow frequent watering encourages shallow roots, weakening turf to disease, pests, and other injuries. Avoid under- or overwatering by watering deeply when turf shows signs of wilting.

Huma Gro® Turf Recovery and Repair Program

Minor turf repairs can become major problems if not treated quickly. With the proper recovery and repair program, golf course maintenance professionals can take a proactive approach to turf recovery and repair. One of the major turf programs at Huma Gro® Turf is our Turf Repair and Recovery Program. It’s a program that works through three modes of action: healthy soil, balanced nutrition, and focused growth management.

The Huma Gro® Turf proactive approach to recovery starts with healthy, sustainable soil. Healthy turf is built from the ground up. This is an ongoing practice. At the foundation is Multi-Purpose™, which improves soil structure and feeds beneficial soil biology. Apply Multi-Purpose™ to the soil 1 week before and 1 week after aeration or verticutting. At 1 week after, also apply Turf Iron™ to aid turf growth vigor.

One week before verticutting or aerating, apply Turfplex® VII and Breakout® to program turf for quick repair. Turfplex® VII offers complete balanced nutrients for energy needed for recovery. It is designed to nourish and correct deficiencies for all types of turf in a wide range of conditions. It improves plant growth and productivity. Turfplex® VII also enhances color, vigor, and vitality in any setting.

Once soil health and nutrients are in place, Breakout® stimulates the natural hormones in the grass. This promotes horizontal growth, quickly filling in damaged turf. Breakout® encourages a smooth, uniform putting surface that is healthy enough to withstand the low-cutting practices we all desire.

With the proper care, golf course superintendents can maintain the health, aesthetics, and playability of our Promised Land greens. Hopefully, we can all be more aware of the stresses we create on the course. Now, if we can just figure out how to stop leaving those divots the size of toupees . . .

Get out and enjoy nature, friends, your local golf course, and the great game of golf!

Huma Gro® Turf Special Turf Programs can be found at https://humagroturf.com/special-turf-programs/.

 

Field Trial: Promax Controls Nematodes for English Boxwood

Virginia Tech Kentland Experimental Research Farm, McCoy, Va.

This two-year trial aimed to assess the suppression effects of PROMAX® and 2 types of beneficial nematode treatments (S. feltiae and S. riobrave) versus a control on plant-parasitic nematodes (Stunt, Lance, Ring, and Spiral) for English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens L. var. suffruticosa) ornamental plants.

The results reported in this trial demonstrate that application of 1 treatment of the nematicide PROMAX® reduced population percentages of the 4 plant-parasitic nematodes studied at both 7 days and 30 days post-treatment in years 1 and 2, with PROMAX® being more effective than the other 2 treatments studied for both time periods. This is an indication that PROMAX® suppresses nematodes by killing them on contact.

Repeated applications may be required to achieve suppression for periods longer than 30 days.

View Online            Download PDF

To learn more about purchasing Huma Gro® Turf products, please click here.

 

Keeping Greens Healthy

By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

[Note: This article first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]

Greens are the most valuable real estate on a golf course. Keeping them in top condition is a priority for every golf course superintendent. We always try to be proactive, to address known potential problems before they become actual problems that the members and patrons notice. But even with the best planning and prevention measures, unexpected problems come up. And if a problem is on the greens, then it’s “all hands on deck” time.

Technology is available to help us maintain the health of our greens, not to mention our entire courses. I’m a big fan of soil and plant analysis, using science to its fullest to help create and maintain good plant health. Soil analysis, in particular, can be a big help, because many turf diseases stem from soil conditions that are known to be conducive to pathogens. These conditions should always be on our radar so that we can deal with them before serious problems arise.

Soil is where all things good and bad begin for turf. It is the foundation of almost everything we do to create healthy, playable conditions for all to enjoy. Analysis not only gives us a view of nutrient levels, but also gives us a view into our soil structure, organic matter, our soil’s potential for health, and much more. These analyses can also help us to look into the future to see if there is an emerging environment conducive to pathogens that can lead to turf disease.

Huma Gro® Turf has developed a standard turf health program for greens that has been successful all over the world. The focus is on soil health and nutrition along with plant health and managed growth. The program is a package of four products, all powered by Micro Carbon Technology® for quick plant and soil response. They include MULTI-PURPOSE™ for soil health, BREAKOUT® for turf density and increased root mass, TURF IRON™ for color, and TURFPLEX® VII for balanced nutrition. These liquid products are simply poured into a sprayer tank prefilled with water—no dissolving needed, no compatibility issues, and no clogging of nozzles. Better yet, no watering-in is needed. These products can be applied in your normal application routine and can be watered in as part of a standard irrigation program.

One of the benefits of the Huma Gro® Turf products is that the Micro Carbon Technology® protects the nutrient molecule so that leaching and runoff become less of an issue for your course. This results in less wasted product and makes the courses much more environmentally friendly.

With the best plans in place and with the best of intentions, problems can still arise from time to time. Sometimes these are the result of inherited problems caused by years of mismanagement, and sometimes they are the result of extraordinary circumstances that are out of the superintendent’s control.

One such challenge is fairy ring.

Fairy ring can be caused by multiple types of fungi. When large numbers of these fungi colonize in a particular location, the soil becomes hydrophobic, or water repellent. Fairy ring can be a simple nuisance in the early stages, but it can lead to turf death along the rings when not confronted. When signs of fairy ring first emerge, it’s important to begin treatment before turf damage occurs. One proven intervention is Huma Gro® Turf’s PROMAX® product—an organic, OMRI listed, broad-spectrum fungicide that can be applied any time without harm to the turf or the environment. It has a zero-reentry interval, meaning that golf play can resume the same day as treatment. PROMAX® is both a curative and preventive product. When applied once a quarter, PROMAX® can also help to keep a healthy soil environment that is pathogen-free.

When spot-spraying PROMAX® or any other fungicide for fairy ring, it is important to treat both sides of the ring—fairy ring travels as the fungi seek out new food sources. It is also important to get product deep into the soil environment. Fungi can be present in the thatch layer down to 10+ inches deep in the soil. Once the fungi have been dealt with, it is important to address the hydrophobic “dry spot” they created in the soil. This can be dealt with by applying SURF-MAX®, a surfactant that brings moisture back into the soil and allows healthy hydration and nutrition uptake to resume.

Another preventive measure that can be taken to minimize the threat of fairy ring is proper management of the thatch layer itself. Huma Gro® Turf’s FERTIL HUMUS® product can aid in this management by decomposing the thatch layer and building a humus-rich soil.

Although any turf disease is a complex situation that may require special interventions, the steps and products I’ve described here provide additional tools for the superintendent’s arsenal in achieving overall soil health—the first step to creating healthy greens.

A complete list of Huma Gro® Turf special programs can be found at https://humagroturf.com/special-turf-programs/.

Maintaining That Perfect Fairway

By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

[Note: This article first appeared in the February 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]

Have you ever stood on the first tee box of a golf course, looking over the vast real estate in front of you? The fairway is manicured, mowed to perfection, and lush green. There’s nothing more beautiful or inviting than the perfect fairway, and it can be the visual centerpiece of an entire golf course. This is where golfers make comments such as “what a beautiful hole” and “great hole,” and where superintendents find their success or failure.

Superintendents have many challenges in supplying their patrons with this wonderful experience. Every day presents a new assault on that perfect fairway from environmental stresses and the stress from heavy play. Defending against those assaults within the constrictions of a budget often requires an innovative approach.

Players’ expectations of a perfect fairway are sometimes very different from the superintendents’ expectations. Players may be looking for deep green fairways that are freshly mowed and manicured. They may also be looking for firm conditions that provide maximum rollout and no divots. On these same fairways, a superintendent will be focusing on many of these same issues, but is doing so from an agronomic point of view. How much stress can my grass handle from low mowing heights, cart traffic, and soil compaction? Is my irrigation set up for optimal coverage? Is my soil biology healthy enough to produce turf that can withstand these conditions? Are my nutrients being tied up in my soil, resulting in turf stress due to nutrient deficiencies? Are my soil conditions in a state that can resist disease pressure?

So many questions, so many challenges. I once heard a club member say to a superintendent, “Why can’t the fairways look as good as my front yard?” I wanted to go over and take 20 nice deep divots out of his yard . . . and not replace them, of course. Let’s see how that yard compares to the course now!

Huma Gro® Turf offers superintendents a wide range of turf and soil solutions to help them meet many of their most daunting challenges. Each of our products is powered by our proprietary Micro Carbon Technology®, a liquid plant nutrition carrier based on very small organic carbon particles that gets more nutrient into the turf, faster, than with other forms of fertilizer. These carbon particles aren’t only a great source of carbon for the soil and grass, they supercharge nutrient efficiency, soil health, turf growth and resiliency, and much, much more.

Huma Gro® Turf provides multiple programs and categories of programs for superintendents to use as tools to help a golf course achieve its full potential. These liquid products can be easily mixed together with no clogging of your equipment. One of these categories is our Fairways Program.

The Huma Gro® Turf “Fairway Program” is based on five fundamental modes of action:

  1. Soil health: achieving a proper balance of soil biology and carbon-to-oxygen ratios through a natural and sustainable approach.
  2. Properly managed turf growth: specific plant hormone activation to create horizontal growth resulting in full, consistant fairways and rapid recovery from divots and aerating—along with increased root growth that also increases nutrient uptake and overall plant health.
  3. Balanced nutrition: we offer nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) and 8 micronutrients that are easily and rapidly taken up by the turf and will not be tied up in the soil or leached away.
  4. Desired color without excessive growth.
  5. Products that do not need to be immediately watered in.

Because of the vast size of most fairways, Huma Gro® Turf has combined these modes of action into three liquid products that are easily mixed together in a spray tank. Curiosity™ provides proper soil health and a well-balanced nutrient package that includes N, P, K, and 8 micronutrients in one product; Breakout® minimizes top growth and promotes horizontal turf growth—which results in a more uniform and dense fairway with divots filling in quicker; and Turf Iron™ helps superintendents manage turf color with more exactness.

These programs can easily be customized to meet the turf and soil needs—along with the budgets—of just about any golf course.

Huma Gro® Turf represents a new technology (45 years in the making) that helps superintendents manage many of their most challenging turf needs. This is a new way of thinking—getting away from the harsh chemicals and conventional ways of previous generations. A complete listing of Huma Gro® Turf special programs can be found at https://humagroturf.com/special-turf-programs/.

Huma Gro® Turf Introduces Surf-Max™, a Soil Surfactant Product

Surf-Max2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/10/15
Press Contact
Larry Cooper: Larry@bhn.us or 480-970-7537

Huma Gro® Turf Introduces Surf-Max™, a Soil Surfactant Product
A New Soil Surfactant Solution for Turf

Gilbert, AZ: SURF-MAX™, a soil surfactant, has been added to the Huma Gro® Turf product line. This new entry represents a complementary technology that rounds out the Huma Gro® Turf comprehensive program of highly active liquid nutrients and biopesticides designed specifically for turf management.

Complexed with Micro Carbon Technology®, SURF-MAX™ is a blend of nonionic surfactants designed to improve both penetration and lateral movement of water within the root zone and increase soil moisture retention. By improving the infiltration and distribution of water in the soil profile, SURF-MAX™ ensures that turf managers are getting the most out of their applied water and water-carried inputs.

Kenny Halcomb, Huma Gro® Turf National Sales Manager, states that SURF-MAX™ is an important addition to the company’s line-up of turf products. “Golf course superintendents that have already seen the benefit of our other liquid-nutrient products that are complexed with Micro-Carbon Technology® are going to love having a soil surfactant with that same power. Being able to properly irrigate and supplement nutrients to problem soil areas, especially during overseeding, will help them create some truly exceptional turf for their players.”

On the golf course, SURF-MAX™ can be used to:

      • Reduce soil water repellency in “hot spots” and localized dry spots.
      • Ensure even root zone water distribution and availability of nutrients and chemical inputs applied by water, and help move water through soil profiles that have been “plugged up.”
      • Help turf and roots to be better able to withstand fluctuations in moisture availability and defend against stresses brought on by heat and drought conditions.
    • Increase movement of moisture through soils to help make greens drier and firmer.

SURF-MAX™ can be used at all turf growth stages when irrigation use efficiency is desired—including prior to and during summer stress and whenever drought conditions or water restrictions are present. SURF-MAX™ can be particularly effective during golf course overseeding, when heightened water repellency of soil can make it difficult for turf to grow—resulting in wasted water and grass seed.

SURF-MAX™ falls into the product category of soil surfactants (also known as wetting agents), chemical compounds that bond with both water and the organic coating on soils, allowing even water-repellant soils to become wet. SURF-MAX™ is fully biodegradable, non-hazardous, non-phytotoxic, and highly compatible with existing chemistries.

For more information about SURF-MAX™ or other HUMA GRO® TURF products, contact Kenny Halcomb at 480.250.7519, send an email to Kenny@HumaGroTurf.com, or go to http://www.HumaGroTurf.com/surfactants.

# # #

About Bio Huma Netics Inc.
Founded in Mesa, Arizona, in 1973, Bio Huma Netics, Inc., is a global leader in providing sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental challenges for agriculture (Huma Gro®); horticulture, turf & ornamentals (Huma Gro® Turf); and water & wastewater (Probiotic Solutions®) through its constantly improving Micro Carbon Technology®. Learn more at www.bhn.us.
Publication No. TO-150810-01

PRODUCT SHOWCASE: PROMAX™ Organic Pest Control

PROMAX™
OMRI® Organic Nematicide and Fungicide

In a world of harsh chemicals, excess fertilization and reclaimed water on our golf courses, HUMA GRO® TURF has taken an Environmentally friendly approach to the maintenance and problem solving on your golf course.

PROMAX™ is an OMRI® Listed as an Organic Nematicide and Fungicide.

PROMAX™ is for the organic control of soil borne diseases and plant parasitic nematodes.

How PROMAX™ Works:
OMRI® listed as an organic control of parasitic nematodes and soil borne diseases through contact activities and has systemic residual control. PROMAX™ works for the control of Nematodes as a cell membrane disruptor.

PROMAX™ Advantages:
1- Human safety; both public and for the applicator.
2- Environmentally safe
3- Zero Restricted Entry Interval (REI). Spray it and play on it.
4-Ideal for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs
5-Cost effective
6- Works through contact and local systemic activity
7- Fast acting
8- Minimum impact on beneficial insects and predatory mites
9- Compatible with most inseticides, miticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers.
10- IT WORKS!!

Check out these nematode trials:

PROMAX™ Controls Nematodes on Virginia Country Club Turf
PROMAX™ Controls Nematodes at California Golf Course

Want more information? Contact Us

Turfplex™ IV Simplifies Turf Maintenance

Keep your turf green year-round. Our popular treatment, TURFPLEX™ IV is a complete formulation containing complexed macro and micro-nutrients as a nitrogen source for all turf areas. Organic acid components increase the availability and uptake of nutrients producing a more vigorous turf.

You can have vibrant, healthy turf with a custom HUMA GRO® TURF fertilization program designed to fit your golf course’s needs. Our specialist will work with you to develop an effective program that ensures easy, consistent maintenance at a lower cost – helping you Keep the Green in your turf and in your pocket. To speak to a specialist, call 1-800-961-1220.

 

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