Important Fall Steps for a Super Spring Season

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

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

With fall just beginning, it’s hard to believe that it’s time to think about spring. This is how far ahead local superintendents are planning, so that you, the golfer, can have the best playing conditions coming out of winter. Great early spring playing conditions are hugely dependent on the important techniques and action we take in the fall.

The consensus among turf grass specialists is the healthiest turf going into winter makes for the healthiest turf coming out of winter. Fighting against our best efforts is Mother Nature, with extreme temperatures, snow, wind, short days and long, cold nights.

We have been talking about and working on turf health throughout the long, hot, dry summer. Now is the time to start a fall program, before turf goes dormant for winter. The following are a few of the things that our local superintendents do to prepare for going into winter.

  • Balance nutrients.
  • Eliminate the thatch layer.
  • Maximize root systems.
  • Stimulate microbial diversity.
  • Eliminate and prevent fungus.

Balanced Nutrition

Balanced nutrition is important while turf and soil are still receptive. Balanced nutrition includes micronutrients in addition to the macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Most turf grass specialists recommend avoiding high nitrogen going into winter as it can feed winter molds, such as snow mold. At Huma Gro® Turf, we like to start with the balanced nutrients in Turfplex® VII, which has a guaranteed analysis of 7-7-7 with 8 micronutrients.

Eliminate Thatch Layer

In addition to balanced nutrition, turf needs access to water. A key component in helping turf grass survive the winter is eliminating excess thatch and organic matter. We do this because water has trouble penetrating thatch layers, resulting in dry soils and limited root growth and microbial activity. Excessive thatch also holds moisture at the surface, which is a breeding ground for disease.

In addition, when we have a thatch layer over one quarter inch, the crowns of the plants are exposed to the cold winter temperatures. Soils with less thatch keep those crowns deeper in the soil and protected from extreme temperatures.

Fertil Humus® is a great way to decompose thatch and organic matter, resulting in a fertile and humus-rich soil. Surf-Max® is one of the few surfactants on the market that allows water to quickly penetrate the thatch layer.

Maximize Root Systems

Root systems are the anchor of our turf grass. The more extensive the root system, the better chance we have to achieve plant health. Huma Gro® Turf Breakout® encourages a dense, fibrous root system through hormone stimulation and horizontal cell division.

Stimulate Microbial Diversity

Soil is its own complex ecosystem. The more diverse this ecosystem, the healthier the soil. This diversity must be focused on beneficial microbes, beneficial bacteria and fungi. When beneficial biology levels are high, pathogens are naturally suppressed. Huma Gro® Turf Zap® feeds and stimulates this diverse population of beneficial organisms, achieving a proper, balanced soil biology.

Fungicide

All the work to achieve overall turf and soil health can go to waste if we fail to protect our course against winter fungus. Turf grass specialists recommend a healthy dose of fungicide going into winter. At Huma Gro® Turf, we prefer to do this organically. Promax® is an OMRI-Listed organic fungicide that is effective against turf pathogens. Not only does Promax® control turf grass disease but, unlike other harsh pesticides, it also builds soil health at the same time –– a win-win.

In summary, healthy turf withstands the stresses of winter and the extremes of Mother Nature. These preventive steps help superintendents take a proactive approach to prepare for winter. A proactive fall program reduces or eliminates the need for reactive spring repair and recovery.

When you notice how great your local course looks in the spring, be sure to tell your golf course superintendent how much you appreciate all the planning and hard work.

Now is the Best Time to Prepare Golf Turf Grass for an Awesome Autumn

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

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

It’s been a long, hot, dry summer but fall is just around the corner. Saturday, September 22nd, to be exact.

I’ve always looked forward to fall. With the cooler temperatures, the leaves will soon change to the magnificent colors of fall. Eventually the leaves will be drifting to the ground and covering our golf courses. It’s a beautiful time of year.

Complete that Last Aerification

With fall quickly approaching, there is work to be done. The warm weather is our last window of opportunity to get certain tasks completed. While the air and soil temperatures are still high, it’s the optimal time to complete one last aerification.

Get Back to Optimal Conditions

One of the most important aspects of aerification to golfers is the recovery time. The quicker we can get optimal pre-aerification playing conditions back on our greens, the quicker we’ll see the benefit of increased play—which will increase the bottom line for the course.

Increase Horizontal Growth

Let me dive a little deeper on how this is could be accomplished. Certain plant hormones that promote cell division and horizontal growth are present in all plants. Two important hormones are cytokinins and auxins. When we increase the levels of these hormones, we increase the horizontal growth of turf grass.

Speed Recovery

Horizontal growth has many benefits. Turfgrass recovers and fills in quickly after aeration or verticutting. Increasing hormone levels also speeds recovery from ball marks caused by day-to-day play. We can take it one step further to our fairways and tee boxes. Better root systems and horizontal growth aids divot recovery.

Do It Naturally

We could pound our turfgrass with synthetic hormones, but Huma Gro® Turf Breakout® can accomplished this process naturally and sustainably. Breakout® stimulates the existing hormones in the plant, giving the plant a little help with what Mother Nature has already supplied.

Pre-program Horizontal Growth

Stimulating the cytokinins and auxins in the plant with early programming is essential for maximum benefit. If turfgrass is pre-programmed with Breakout® a week before aeration or verticutting, the plant will already be in a horizontal growth pattern at the time of aerification or verticutting. The turfgrass will continue pre-programmed horizontal growth without skipping a beat. For optimal results, application of Breakout® needs to be five to seven days before any procedures to the greens. A follow-up application is recommended five days after aerification or verticutting.

Reduce Clippings

Breakout® is not a plant growth regulator. Breakout® does not stop the growth of the plant, but rather re-directs the plant’s energy to lateral growth or movement. This gives the superintendent an advantage by limiting top growth, which in turn reduces the clippings made during mowing. As a result, greens will have a uniformly smooth surface for all to enjoy. The fairways and tee boxes reap the same benefits: fuller turf with fewer clippings.

Get Ready

As fall, moderate weather, and increased play approaches, let’s prepare by improving course conditions. This could be our last window of opportunity.

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.]

Let’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/.

 

Evaluation of PROMAX® and ZAP® on Stunt Nematodes in Turf

Research by Robert Wick, PhD, University of Massachusetts

Objectives

This study aims to assess the efficacy of Huma Gro® Turf PROMAX® followed by ZAP® to control stunt nematodes (Tylenchorhynchus) on turf.

Materials and Methods

The golf green for this study was approximately 59 years old, with a mixture of annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass. It was located in Westfield Massachusetts and had a history of moderately high populations of stunt nematodes. The analysis of the top 4 inches of soil resulted in 86.4% sand, 10.3% silt, and 0.002% clay, which classifies this soil as a loamy sand.

PROMAX® was applied five times at two-week intervals, on May 21, June 2, June 17, June 29, and July 7. ZAP® was also applied on June 29. The treatments were applied to six randomized plots (6’ x 6’) with six non-treated controls (Figure 1). For each plot, PROMAX® (and later, ZAP®) was applied in two gallons of water using a watering can. Each plot received the equivalent of two gallon/acre PROMAX® (and later, ZAP®). Following the application, approximately 0.22 inches of water were applied to the plots.

For nematode evaluations, 10 cores were taken from each plot and bulked as one sample per plot. Nematodes were recovered by wet sieving/sugar flotation and identified to genus. Nematode assays were carried out on April 29, Jun 3, July 1, and August 4. The data were subjected to analysis of variance and a test of least significant difference (LSD).

Conclusion

Huma Gro® Turf PROMAX® followed by ZAP® significantly controlled stunt nematodes (Tylenchorhynchus) on turf.

Click here to read the report.

Remediating Hydraulic Spills on Golf Courses

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

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

Technology is all around us. There aren’t many places we go where technology doesn’t influence us. Golf is no different. In fact, golf is exploding with new technology. Just watching the PGA Merchandise Show on the Golf Channel is amazing.

Last year, my son was using one of my old drivers on his high school varsity golf team. The local pro told him it was time to “get into technology.” He advised us that the best technology in a new driver included a properly-sized grip, shaft flex, and length, and new metals in the head with a forgiving face. This new technology added 45 yards to my son’s drives.

Golf technology doesn’t stop with drivers. It’s in our golf balls, shoes, club fittings, spin rates, GPS, clothing, and more. I recently saw a golf cart with a custom cooler, stereo, and air conditioning unit on top. And now, you can buzz around the course on a Golfboard.

I would like to discuss a technology of significant importance to the game. Byron Nelson was once asked what he thought the greatest technological breakthrough was in golf. Most of us would have listed one of the aforementioned items. Byron Nelson’s unexpected, yet genius response: “the lawn mower.”

The mower has taken golf to a new level—it benefits all players with no regard to their equipment. If you were to glimpse into the maintenance shed of your local golf course, the first thing to catch your eye would be the high-tech mowers: riding greens mowers, triplex mowers, push-behind greens mowers, fairway mowers, and mowers for the rough.

Unfortunately, advancements in technology come with a price. The hydraulics that power these high-tech mowers can damage the turf. As hard as our superintendents and mechanics work to keep equipment running smoothly, leaks will occur. We’ve all seen the effects of hydraulic leaks on the course: that tell-tale brownish yellow streak across the green.

It’s impossible to predict when a leak might occur. Because greens are mowed during the dark of early morning, it’s difficult to see a leak while it’s occurring. Fluid is left behind the mower in a split second, undetected by the operator who is facing forward and mowing quickly across the greens.

How can we minimize the damage and speed recovery? Firstly, the extreme temperature at which hydraulic fluid is used kills turf on contact. Secondly, hydraulic fluid is toxic to both the roots and the soil, disrupting photosynthesis and respiration, literally smothering the life out of the soil. By taking oxygen out of the soil, it kills the microorganisms in the soil.

So, what about biodegradable crop-based hydraulic fluids? Because turf is killed on contact by the high temperature of the spill, whether the hydraulic fluid is crop-based or petroleum-based, the initial damage is the same. However, turf damaged by crop-based hydraulic spills does recover quicker than turf damaged by petroleum-based hydraulic spills, reducing down time.

I’ve worked on spills 30 feet long and four feet wide. At Huma Gro® Turf, we repair this kind of extensive damage through soil remediation and turf repair, eliminating the visual damage as quickly as possible. Huma Gro® Turf has put together a Hydraulic Spills Program that remediates the effects of hydraulic spills by breaking down contaminants in the soil, bringing natural health and color back to the affected grass. This program stimulates soil microbial activity that attacks and digests hydraulic oil residue, changing its molecular structure so that it’s no longer toxic. It also provides the nutrients and stimulants needed to help grass recover.

A combination of Huma Gro® Turf’s Surf-Max®, Kleenup™, and Breakout®, along with Turfplex® VII, dilutes the contaminants and begins the repair process. Surf-Max® is a surfactant designed to improve both penetration and lateral movement of water within the root zone and to increase soil moisture retention. Kleenup™ is a soil remediation product. It encapsulates the toxic molecules and starts the soil detox and rebuilding of soil health.

Many times, with extensive damage where the turf and roots have died or are severely damaged, new growth must creep inward from the outer edges. Breakout® stimulates and rejuvenates the root system for quicker horizontal turf growth. Turfplex® VII supplies the nutrients and energy turf needs to repair itself.

Huma Gro® Turf products contain Micro Carbon Technology® (MCT), a proprietary blend of very small organic carbon- and oxygen-rich molecules that enable more effective absorption of nutrients into the plant through the soil and the leaves. MCT-based products promote the growth of roots and beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

Enjoy technology, embrace it. I plan to enjoy the beautifully mowed greens where my favorite courses are mowed with increasingly high-tech mowers. And when those high-tech mowers leak hydraulic fluid, as they inevitably do, the technology of Huma Gro® Turf Hydraulic Spills Program will be there to clean up and remediate affected turf and contaminated soil.

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.

 

Preparing the Course for Tournament Play

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

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

The arrival of spring brings a flurry of activities to the golf course. The volume of play increases, as does the volume of work for the superintendent and staff who keep the course in tip-top shape. At the same time, it’s important to take steps to improve turf health at the same rate activity increases. This can be a major challenge. Tee times are reserved earlier each day, putting a time-crunch on the grounds crew to prepare the course for daily play.

In addition, special events throughout the golfing season require the course to be in excellent condition. Club championships, qualifying events, and tournaments bring hundreds of participants and spectators to the course all at the same time.

Getting turf into tournament condition while preparing for scheduled events and increased play takes planning. Superintendents must have a strategy and contingency plan in order to meet the superior course conditions expected by tournament attendees, spectators, and club members. Not only can additional traffic damage turf, but the disruptions and practices a superintendent must engage in to prepare greens for events can be potentially harmful to the turf.

In order to schedule greens to peak during tournaments and special events, a superintendent must carefully plan backwards to perfect application timing, irrigation, and course management. Attaining firm and fast playing conditions without harming turf health is a priority and a challenge. To do so, a golf course superintendent should schedule a complete NPK liquid fertilizer program enhanced with micronutrients and iron every 7–10 days, beginning two to three weeks prior to the date of the event.

Light, frequent hand-watering prior to and during tournament play prevents a wet, soft, and slow green and maintains a firm and healthy green. Brooming the greens is a less-abrasive approach to enhance greens prior to and during tournament without damaging weak spots. Mowing heights can be safely lowered prior to tournament play. A superintendent should double-cut four days prior to special events and roll daily during event play. The least disruptive method of aeration should be scheduled prior to events so the green has time to heal. Greens should be aerated immediately again after events to relieve stress.

To help superintendents achieve and schedule the superior tournament conditions they desire from their course, Huma Gro® Turf has developed a Tournament Preparation Program. By providing soil and turf nutrition, our products build healthy soil and strong, healthy turf. Two to three weeks prior to tournament play, the following Huma Gro® Turf products can be easily mixed together and applied at a volume of 2 to 3 ounces per thousand square feet.

Because turf health starts with healthy soil, Multi-Purpose® builds soil health by feeding beneficial bacteria in the soil, creating a carbon-rich soil and improving the soil structure.

Breakout® provides the necessary nutrients for root growth and root mass development. Encouraging horizontal turf growth, Breakout® creates a dense, uniform and consistent turf for superior ball-rolling characteristics. In the fairways, Breakout® speeds recovery from verticutting, aerating, and ball marks.

Max Pak® is a stress fighter that promotes healthy turf by providing a highly stable source of many important macronutrients to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients.

Turfplex® IV contains macro- and micronutrients with organic acid to increase the absorption of nutrients, producing a vigorous turf. It’s fast acting and long lasting.

Tuff Greens is a blend of potassium, calcium, and silica, designed to strengthen the turf blades to withstand heavy traffic and provide a superior playing surface.

For best results, this turf prep program should be started two to three weeks prior to tournament play. A second application should be applied again one to two weeks before tournament events.

As the event date draws close, and superior turf conditions have been established for tournament play, Turf-Iron should be applied together with an additional application of Tuff Greens two or three days prior to the event. Turf-Iron enhances the turf color to put the finishing touches on course conditions.

Additionally, superintendents can prevent the appearance of ugly white pesticide residue by using safe, effective, and residue-free turf protection products such as Promax® or Proud 3®. Promax® prevents and controls nematodes and soil-borne diseases. Proud 3® is a foliar applied insecticide, miticide, and fungicide.

During this two- to three-week process, our products provide soil and turf nutrition, building a healthy soil structure and pushing turf to beautiful, strong, superior conditions. Overall turf health is increased through balanced nutrition. Optimal playing conditions—faster, firmer, smoother greens—are achieved by managing proper plant growth and turf blade strength. Most importantly, the course is ready for heavy play and tournament events.

Consult your local Huma Gro® Turf representative or turf specialist for specific recommendations. All Huma Gro® Turf products can be mixed together. All Huma Gro® Turf liquid products include Micro Carbon Technology®, a proprietary blend of very small organic molecules that allows more effective absorption of nutrients by plants.

Relieving Golf Course Heat and Heavy Traffic Stresses

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

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

I just had one of those days on the golf course when you sit back and think, “Wow, what a great day!” I played a fabulous course in Carlsbad, Calif., where the ocean breeze is cool and refreshing and the sun warms your soul.

The course runs through coastal hills and valleys with impressive elevation changes. From the hill tops, you can see the ocean. Down in the valleys are wetlands, streams, and what are called “environmentally sensitive” areas where the foliage is thick and tall. An impressive 7 miles of cart paths weave in and out of canyons. You may drive 2 to 3 minutes through beautiful surroundings to get to the next tee box.

This day reminded me how much I love the beauty of golf. Not necessarily the game itself, but the actual beauty of the game. Standing on the first tee box with a large ravine in front of me, the green grass of the fairway in the distance, and the ocean to my right, I felt life’s stresses fading away.

I often think about the different stresses of life. As a “turf guy,” I’m aware of the stresses affecting golf courses. Just as stress affects our bodies, the different avenues stress takes are no different with turf. Stress from different angles affects turf health and playability.

Golf turf stresses are similar throughout the country. It’s a warm weather activity and local courses get a lot of play. These factors bring stress, not only to the courses, but to the golf course superintendents.

With spring around the corner, and soon the summer heat, it’s important for superintendents to get an early start on soil health and hydration. The summer heat brings drought, hot spots, water repellency, and other issues. Proper soil health ensures water penetration and retention, alleviating and reducing heat stress symptoms, now and in the future. Huma Gro® Turf focuses on long-term soil health to combat the summer heat.

With summer also comes the stress of soil compaction caused by heavy play. This includes all parts of the course: cart paths, walking paths, fairways, tee boxes, and greens. Running hundreds of golf carts each day takes a toll on golf courses. Superintendents take great care in directing traffic to reduce compaction. Proper soil health can help maintain air pockets in the soil and break up compaction.

Other proactive measures to prevent damage caused by summer heat and heavy play include raising mowing heights and using smooth rollers, alternating mowing and rolling and skipping a day when possible; aerating soil using smaller tines; fertilizing in small doses; and monitoring traffic patterns. Water management is essential—a surfactant should be used for quick water penetration and to increase moisture retention during a drought or to treat hot spots. A preventive fungicide is recommended.

Whether stress is created by the environment or the game, Huma Gro® Turf products can help. Programs have been developed that use a range of turf products to combat stress caused by summer heat and heavy play. Huma Gro® Turf products can be another tool for superintendents to use to prevent many stress issues on the course.

Huma Gro® Turf Surf-Max® soil surfactant improves water penetration and movement through the soil and roots. Turfplex® VII is recommended to nourish and correct deficiencies for vigor, vitality, and color; Calcium is applied for strength, growth, and plant health; Sil-K® for stronger blades for heat and wear tolerance; and Multi-Purpose™ for improved air and water exchange in the soil. These products are the Heat Stress Program and can be mixed together.

The Heavy Traffic Program includes Turfplex® IV, a fast-acting, long-lasting nitrogen source for vigorous turf, as well as Sil-K® and Multi-Purpose™, which are also in the Heat Stress Program. These products are recommended for use prior to tournaments and in heavy traffic areas. They strengthen the grass stem to prevent ball marks, fight cleat damage, and give the ball a faster, truer roll.

In addition to preventing heat and heavy traffic stress, Huma Gro® Turf Promax® is a recommended zero re-entry pesticide to cure and protect against nematodes and diseases in the soil. Huma Gro® Turf products can be mixed together.

Huma Gro® Turf provides the tools for stress-free turf. Whether you’re a superintendent enjoying your stress-free turf, a turf guy like me, and/or a golfer, the next time you’re standing at the tee box, look out and enjoy the beauty of nature, take a deep breath, and feel the stress trickle away.

Consult your local Huma Gro® Turf representative or turf specialist for specific recommendations. Huma Gro® Turf products include Micro Carbon Technology®, a proprietary blend of very small organic molecules that allows for more effective absorption of nutrients by plants.

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

 

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/.