Every year there is a theme to the commercial aspects of the Golf Industry Show. This year it was plant health. Not that anybody could actually tell what it is but rather I assume everyone figures if they keep saying plant health and we keep talking about plant health no one will need to actually say what plant health is. Plant health plant smealth.
Professor Bingru Huang of Rutgers University in the January 2012 issues of Golf Course Management said, "Healthy plants are better able to adapt to abiotic or biotic stresses through acclimation or adaption of physiological, cellular, or molecular levels."
In short, Professor Huang is suggesting that healthy plants are stable and yet flexible. Able to thrive when conditions are favorable and able to tolerate and adapt when conditions are less than favorable. This is as good as any and yet is hardly measurable.
I could say a healthy plant is a plant absent of any malady or simply a plant that is not dead. Unless a plant is challenged with some stress you may never find out if it is healthy. Without stress a grass plant could be just plugging along adding clippings to your bucket, reflecting green light, supporting foot traffic and ball roll. Does that mean it's healthy? Keep this in mind when you are applying something to "improve" plant health. What are these things really doing?
Sarcasm aside, we have some exciting new technology from Induced Systemic Resistance products, pigments, elicitors, etc. I urge you to learn about these products as I have found to date many of them allow us to reduce use of other products such as reduced rates of fungicides, fertilizer and even water use reductions. But there are many "posers" and "me-too" products that are not well understood or haphazardly thrown together to keep pace with marketing needs.
Healthy skepticism is the key, otherwise it all sounds like health-smealth.