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From the TurfNet NewsDesk

  • John Reitman
    Cushman introduced a 72-volt version of its Hauler for professional turf managers who need a lot of power and stamina from their turf utility vehicle.
    Powered by a 72-volt, AC electric drivetrain, the Hauler offers up to an additional 50 miles of range between charges compared with its 48-volt siblings introduced last year. And its AC Drive technology is designed to help the Hauler deliver consistent power throughout the duration of a single charge.
    That 72-volt AC system also incorporates a lot of other operator-friendly features, such as speed control for consistent speeds over altering terrain, increased energy efficiency and regenerative braking that recharges the Haulers batteries whenever the operator engages the braking system.
    An optional limited slip differential is designed to offer improved traction on wet or unstable turf to protect both the operator and turf surface.
    The newest addition to the Hauler lineup that includes a total of four other gas- and electric powered vehicles, has a maximum load capacity of 1,000 pounds and comes standard with a 9.5-cubic-foot cargo bed. An optional 14.9-cubic-foot aluminum cargo bed will be available when the vehicle becomes available for delivery in mid-year.
    Those who cant wait that long will be able to see it in person at the E-Z-GO/Cushman booth at the Golf Industry Show, which is scheduled for Feb. 6-7 in San Diego.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    NGCOA to honor Homestead's Cascades layout
    The National Golf Course Owners Association named The Cascades Course at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., as the winner of its 2013 Jemsek Award for Golf Course Excellence.
    The award honors the worlds top golf courses, which are widely known for superior quality, having hosted major amateur and professional tournaments and for being venues to which golfers travel from far and wide.  The award will be presented during the NGOA Annual Conference held next month in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.
    The NGCOA also will recognize winners of the Award of Merit for long-term contributions to the game, the Don Rossi Award for significant contributions to the NGCOA, the Champion Award for service to course owners at the state level, the Player Development Award for success in attracting new players to the game and the Paul Porter Award for commitment, service and leadership to a chapter or international affiliate. The winner of the Course of the Year Award also will be announced during the awards ceremony.
    Jacklin Seed launches mobile app
    Jacklin Seed by Simplot recently introduced its new mobile application for the turf industry.
    Available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, the app was developed in conjunction with turfgrass research, scientific and education experts and offers superintendents and others the ability to research data, product information, site-specific recommendations for any of the company's 200-plus turf seed products.
    The mobile application can be downloaded from respective app stores or by clicking on the link on the Jacklin Seed Web site.
    Blasi strikes out on his own
    After many years of learning from and working with Robert Trent Jones II, golf course architect Jay Blasi is hanging out his own sign.
    Blasi spent a total of 11 years with Jones at his firm in Palo Alto, Calif. In that time, Blasi was the project architect on Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., and Stanford University's Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex in Palo Alto. His Jay Blasi Design firm will be based in nearby Los Gatos.
    Blasi will continue to work with the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance at Sharp Park Golf Course, an Alister MacKenzie design in Pacifica. He also will begin work with his former employer on a collaborative effort of restoring SentryWorld in Wisconsin.
  • Biology lesson

    By John Reitman, in News,

    When it comes to stating his opinion on matters of pest management, Dave Shetlar, Ph.D., never has been one for mixing words. That was evident when the Ohio State entomologist conducted a seminar on environmentally responsible pest management at the recent Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference and Show.
    Like many in the audience, Shetlar found the title of his own presentation as nebulous as trying to wrap your hands around a cloud, and he jokingly laid some of the responsibility with a colleague who assigned him with the topic.
    "I don't know where John Street comes up with these titles. He gave me the title Environmentally Responsible Insect Management in Today's World," Shetlar said. "I have my own ideas what environmentally responsible means, but I suspect if we polled everybody in this room we probably would get 100 different opinions on what environmentally responsible is. What is environmentally responsible? A lot of my colleagues would say low-impact. What the heck does that mean?"
    In the world of professional turf management, environmentally responsible is synonymous with another hard-to-define term sustainability.
    "Sustainability. I love that one," Shetlar said. "The real technical definition of sustainability is 'an environment that will continue to maintain itself indefinitely.' "
    By that definition, sustainability is nearly impossible to achieve in an environment populated and affected by people, "but we can move toward sustainability while still controlling pests, Shetlar said.
    For turfgrass managers, one method of moving toward sustainability is through the use of biological pest controls such as turfgrass varieties that contain endophytes, or fungi that are toxic to some insect pests.
    Endophytic tall fescues are ideal for use throughout much of the country in roughs and fairways as well as other turf applications, and can provide natural control of several types of insect pests, including billbugs, chinch bugs, sod webworms, armyworms and aphids.
    The endophyte in turfgrass is found in the leaf sheath, not in the root system, so they are ineffective on pests such as white grubs. And there are some pests, such as black cutworms, they can eat endophyte-containing turf without any ill effects.
    Acceptable control of insect pests can be accomplished in areas containing 35-40 percent of endophytic turf. And that level of coverage can be achieved through slit seeding one time, Shetlar said. He cited a project in Wooster, Ohio, in which an area seeded once with endophytic turf resulted in 30 percent coverage after seeding and more than 50 percent the following year.
    These turfgrasses have other uses as well, and can be a natural deterrent to geese. The endophytes are toxic to geese, and, Shetlar said, will learn to move on to other places that are more hospitable.
  • In an effort to better understand and meet the changing needs of its customers, BASF is merging its turf & ornamental and pest control divisions along with professional vegetation management and market business development units into the specialty products department.
    The consolidation will help streamline the research and development process leading to new innovations, said Jan Buberl, director of specialty products.
    In the short term, BASF customers probably wont notice any changes in their day-to-day interactions with the company, but that should change over time, Buberl said.
    "They should see a difference in more innovation to the marketplace," Buberl said.
    "Having these businesses come together as one strengthens BASF and its commitment to the specialty markets, and the acquisition of Becker Underwood underscores a continued commitment and investment to grow," Nevin McDougall, senior vice president of the companys North American crop protection segment said in a news release. "The new SPD unit will be built to last for the long term, while meeting the needs of customers in these markets."
    New innovations will become more significant as some major chemistries near the end of patent protection during the next few years, as well as a natural coming together as well as overlap of efforts between business segments.
    "The question we faced is how can we make sure we are ahead of the curve," Buberl said
    "We want to put everything together as one team, one organization. We identified key trends. Innovation is a critical piece. It wasnt in the past, but it will be in the future."
    Economic considerations were a factor as well.
    While some indicators point toward some level of economic recovery, "the reality is that the marketplace will never be the same as it was prior to the U.S. economical crisis," Buberl said.
    The change will mean relocating the companys pest control division from St. Louis to Research Triangle Park, N.C. That move involves relocation of 25-30 employees. Dan Carrothers, formerly business manager of the pest control division, and Brian Lish, formerly business manager of T&O, have been named the new divisions marketing manager and strategic account manager, respectively.
    Buberl said the move is an investment in the future both for BASF and its customers. While the consolidation eventually should lead to a reduction in the cost of operations, any savings will be pumped back into the system to support new product development, he said.
    "We will reinvest in research and development," Buberl said. "These are not savings to be put to the bottom line."
    The newly restructured specialty products department will be in place by March 31.  
  • Not going to San Diego this year? No problem, the New York State Turfgrass  has you covered.
    NYSTAs 2013 Southeast Regional Conference offers plenty of educational resources for professional turfgrass managers who might not be headed to the Golf Industry Show.
    The two-day event scheduled for Jan. 22-23 at the Ramada Inn in Fishkill, N.Y., offers a total of 11 seminars totaling more than .95 GCSAA-approved CEUs in golf turf, sports turf and landscape management, including a half-day seminar (.35 CEUs) on Day 1 by Erik Ervin, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech on Organic Biostimulants and Synthetic Plant Growth Regulators.
    Other speakers include Nathanial Mitkowski, Ph.D., of the University of Rhode Island, Tamson Yeh, Ph.D., of Cornell University, Ken Benoit Jr. of the Metropolitan GCSA and more.
    Some of the other topics offered on Day 2 include Turfgrass Zombie: Reanimating Your Dead Turf, Early Season Patch Diseases, BMP Manual Update, Naturalized Grassy Area Management, Difficult Diseases to Diagnose Bacterial Wilt and Nematodes, Pros and Cons of Using Ethanol Fuels and more.
    Conference registration is $185 per person for NYSTA members and $220 for nonmembers.
    For more information, or to register visit www.nysta.org.
  • News and people briefs

    By John Reitman, in News,

    Oregon State taps ABAC professor to fill post
    Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., has been named the new turf specialist at Oregon State University.
    Most recently an assistant professor of turf management at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia, Kowalewski replaces Rob Golembiewski, Ph.D., who left Oregon State last year for a position with Bayer Environmental Science.
    A Michigan State alumnus, Kowalewskis position is funded in part by an endowment created by the family of OSU alumnus Nat Giustina. He will be aided by research assistant Brian McDonald.
    Among some of the research projects he is considering at Oregon State include performance of low-input turfgrasses as well as organic pesticides.
      Nufarm buys Cleary
    Nufarm Americas recently acquired Cleary Chemical Corp., the Dayton, N.J.-based marketer of fungicides, insecticides and plant growth regulators to the turf and ornamental horticulture industries.
    The acquisition, which closed December 31, 2012, will  expand the portfolio of Nufarm, which will continue to offer the entire line of Cleary-branded products. Nufarm is telling customers to continue to contact their Cleary representatives for information on that product line.
    According to Nufarm, Cleary had sales of about $11 million last year.
    For more information, visit www.nufarm.com.
    Florida OK's Arystas XONERATE
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has approved Arysta LifeSciences XONERATE herbicide for sale and distribution.
    A total of 45 states have approved label registration of the herbicide that contains the active ingredient amicarbizone for control of annual bluegrass on golf course and athletic turf.
    Available in a water-dispersible granular formulation, XONERATE can be used on warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass and Seashore Paspalum.
    For more information, visit eliminatepoa.com.
  • Slow and steady

    By John Reitman, in News,

    For most professional turf managers, the question of using irrigation water of poor quality and less of it is a matter of when, not if. Researchers at New Mexico State University recently completed a study aimed at determining whether water-saving irrigation systems coupled with supplies of poor quality water could be an acceptable method for establishing newly seeded turf areas.
    Although subsurface drip lines might be an effective way to conserve water, when it comes to establishing turf its hard to be an overhead sprinkler.
    That is the take-home message from the study completed in 2011. But all hope is not lost.
    According to the study, newly seeded plots of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass generally showed more cover 30 days after establishment when watered with an overhead sprinkler than those irrigated with a subsurface capillary system.
    The results of the study recently were published in Agronomy Journal.
    Plots were seeded Sept. 28, 2009 and Oct. 28, 2010 with tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass and irrigated with saline and potable water through both delivery methods.
    After the first year of the study, plots irrigated with a sprinkler system showed an average of 4,000 tall fescue seedlings per square meter 30 days after seeding, while there were an average of 2,800 seedlings per square meter in areas watered with the subsurface capillary system. The delivery systems used resulted in more significant differences in coverage than the potable or saline water source.
    It also took the plots irrigated with the subsurface system much longer to achieve acceptable turf coverage. On average, plots watered with a sprinkler system achieved 75 percent coverage after 189 days while those areas irrigated with the subsurface system did not achieve 75 percent coverage until 268 days after seeding regardless of which water source was used.
    The researchers concluded that subsurface systems are adequate for establishment of cool-season turf, but turf managers should expect a slower grow-in period than if a standard sprinkler system were used. However, they also noted that further research is necessary to determine whether a subsurface system will provide acceptable turf quality over time, particularly with low-quality irrigation water.
  • An ultralight plane made an emergency landing Tuesday, January 1, on the sixth hole of the Viera East Golf Course in Rockledge, Florida, and rolling into this bunker.
    The plane took off from the Rockledge Airpark, but soon after was forced to touch down.
    According to Scott Mosher, superintendent at Viera East, there were no injuries but the bunker had to be dressed up a bit after the plane was removed.
    Photo credit: cfnews13.com.
  • Building on the success of its almost-20 year presence in the golf turf industry, TurfNet will soon launch a companion service for sports turf managers: TurfNetSports.com.  The public and members-only content areas will include news, discussion forums, educational Webinars, blogs, used equipment classifieds, job listings, resumes and video.
    We have always had a group of professional and collegiate sports turf managers as TurfNet members, said Peter McCormick, founder of TurfNet.  They and others in the sports turf community have told us that industry segment is hungry for sports turf-specific education, information and collaborative communication which is what we do best. We took a look at the market and saw an opportunity, so we decided to replicate our proven platform and launch TurfNetSports.com.
    The new service will include all the improvements of the recently-unveiled upgrade of TurfNet.com, which brought together the Forum, TurfNetTV, TurfNet University, the hugely popular TurfNet Job Board, various blogs and an enhanced user interface and administrative area in a tightly-integrated platform.
    TurfNetSports membership will be open to sports turf managers at all levels, from parks and recreation to secondary schools, colleges and professional stadium managers. Crossover access between the two sites will be available for TurfNet and TNSports members.
    The current corrective state of the golf market has been mirrored by an upswell in the growth and sophistication of sports turf, said McCormick.  Many of our advertisers have shifted new product development efforts in recent years toward sports turf, which is also an expanding career opportunity for experienced turf managers and recent graduates alike.
    In addition to general athletic field information and education, specific areas like baseball infields and synthetic turf will be included.
    The new site will launch prior to the STMA conference in mid-January.
  • Virginia GCSA clarifies fertilizer applicator licensing questions
    The Virginia Agribusiness Council has worked with the Virginia GCSA in determining whether golf courses are required to have fertilizer applicator licenses. According to the states consumer protection office: Unless the golf course is a licensee or contractor-applicator who applies fertilizer for commercial purposes or the golf course is owned by a state agency or locality, the golf course does not need to employ or retain the services of a certified fertilizer applicator.
    A licensee is a person who received a license to distribute fertilizer. A contractor-applicator is a person required to hold a permit because he applies certain regulated products, including fertilizer, for profit. Golf courses that do not distribute fertilizer or apply fertilizer for profit would not be required to employ or retain the services of a certified fertilizer applicator. If a golf course hires a third party to apply its fertilizer, that third party would likely be required to employ or retain the services of a certified fertilizer applicator.
    A golf course that is owned by a state agency or locality is required to employ or retain the services of a certified fertilizer applicator.
    The next Bandon coming to a course not so near you
    The golf course design firm of Fry/Straka soon will begin work on a new project that its architects believe could be akin to the next Bandon Dunes or Sand Hills. Theres one catch not only will the course be located halfway around the world in China, it will be in the remote reaches of Inner Mongolia.
    According to GolfCourseArchitecture.net, Batu Bay Golf Club will be part of a resort overlooking the Batu Bay reservoir, a three hour drive from the regional capital, Ordos. The golf course, along with a hotel, will be built among sand dunes above the reservoir.
    According to architect Dana Fry (pictured here), managed turf areas will be about 50 percent wider than that on a normal golf course because of the high winds on the site that is about 100 feet above the lakes surface.
    Construction of the course is scheduled to begin in May, with the opening planned for summer 2014. For those thinking of playing the layout, the closest airport is in Yulin City, about an hour's drive away.
    Irrigation Association offers online education, too
    The Irrigation Association recently updated online learning tools for irrigation professionals. Online education classes are back up and running, alongside new irrigation seminars, allowing certified professionals to satisfy their CEU requirements.
    Six online courses at four CEUs each are available.
    A series of 17 one-hour irrigation seminars videotaped at the 2011 Irrigation Show and Innovations in Education Conference for one CEU each.
    Online courses include:
    Agriculture Irrigation Hydraulics
    Agriculture Sprinklers and Precipitation Rates
    Landscape Irrigation Hydraulics
    Electrical Troubleshooting for Landscape Irrigation Systems
    Landscape Irrigation Precipitation Rates
    Landscape Irrigation Scheduling
    Lessons are hands-on and interactive, allowing students to assess their performance and move forward at their own pace.
    The irrigation seminar videos offer a great opportunity to add to your knowledge base while gaining CEUs. Irrigation seminars address irrigation industry best practices the underlying concepts and implementation of efficient irrigation. With nine turf/landscape and eight agriculture sessions to choose from, the new irrigation seminars offer CEU opportunities across industry segments.
  • As the host superintendent of the 2012 U.S. Open, the past year has been a whirlwind for Pat Finlen, CGCS. As the next president of the GCSAA, the next 12 months could be just as hectic.
    Among the items high on Finlen's priority list after he officially is named president in February at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego is the continuation of outreach to chapters by filling the last two field staff positions and advocating on behalf of the golf industry to seek new revenue streams while keeping a close eye on expenses.
    The financial crunch of the past five years has hit many entities hard, and the GCSAA is no exception.
    Since 2008, association revenue has dropped from $21 million to $15 million, and its paid staff has gone from 125 to 87.
    Increasing revenue, Finlen hopes, will mean increasing membership. And that will require the GCSAA to crack a market penetration rate that has historically hovered around 52-54 percent.
    "That's always been a challenge," Finlen said. "It's always been a challenge to move that."
    Part of that effort includes increasing its number of field staff representatives to nine in 2013 by filling two open positions in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. It also means advocating for the overall health of the game by meeting with legislators in Washington, D.C. Past efforts, such as National Golf Day, have been a way for members of the PGA of America, GCSAA and other entities to educate elected officials about economic issues specific to golf and the impact of decisions in Washington on the roughly 2 million people employed in golf.
    "We advocate for all of golf, not just the GCSAA," Finlen said. "We present a unified front, and its important that all of golf is unified.
    "We advocate for nonmembers too. There are issues that affect golf that come down to regional levels. There are pesticide issues, water studies. We reach out to golf courses in those areas, and we represent golf facilities everywhere, not just GCSAA members.
    "We know things are going to get tougher from a regulatory standpoint. Every course is painted with the same brush. But when we carry a unified message it carries more weight."
    Like many, Finlen is optimistic about the game's future. And that optimism is supported by data from Golf Datatech in November indicating that increases in rounds played late in 2012 could indicate record-high growth since the firm in Kissimmee, Fla., began tracking such information in 1999.
    "I think weve hit rock bottom," Finlen said. "A lot of courses around the country had a great spring and fall."
    Still, sustained growth is going to take a group effort that includes supporting efforts such as the PGA's Golf 2.0 initiative, and facilities maintaining an open mind about more forward tees to make the game easier and more enjoyable for high handicappers and unorthodox ideas such as time-saving six-hole rounds.
    "We have to make it fun and encourage more people to play," he said. "It doesn't have to be 18 holes. We have to get more creative in how we package golf. Then people will come out to play."
  • According to a three-year study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, a program of lightweight rolling not only can help superintendents produce truer, firmer greens, it also can aid in reducing the incidence of anthracnose in annual bluegrass putting surfaces.
    Results of the three-year study, which occurred in 2006-08, were posted in mid-2012 in Agronomy Journal.
    The objective of the study was to determine the influence of different types of rollers and their location on the green on turf quality and anthracnose development in annual bluegrass. Previous studies have shown a wide array of results, including hampered turf quality under a program of double rolling four to seven days per week, as well as studies showing no negative impact from lightweight rolling programs.
    In the Rutgers study, undertaken by Bruce Clarke, Ph.D., Jim Murphy, Ph.D., and Joseph Roberts, vibratory rollers attached to a triplex mower and sidewinder rollers were used along the center and perimeter of each putting surface. The study also included an unrolled control plot.
    The plot was initially inoculated with anthracnose two years before the study began and sand topdressing was applied bi-weekly from May to September each year of the study. Plots were rolled every other day after mowing throughout the growing season in all three years of the study.
    Disease outbreak consistently was more severe in the center of the plots throughout the duration of the study, and roller type had no significant effect on increased disease severity. In fact, incidence of anthracnose often was reduced due to rolling.
    Contrary to some previous studies indicating that lightweight rolling could result in compaction, the Rutgers study showed no increase in soil bulk density. Only location affected soil bulk density, with perimeter plots showing an increase. So, while soil bulk density in the perimeter plots increased, the incidence of anthracnose in those areas due to rolling did not.
    The researchers concluded the increased compaction in the perimeter plots could be due to clean-up passes, directional changes and both vibratory and sidewinder rollers can be used to increase ball speed without promoting, and sometimes reducing anthracnose severity.
  • For professional turf managers who want their water, like Maxwell House coffee, to be good to the last drop, Toro recently launched its AquaFlow 3.2 drip irrigation software. 

    AquaFlow 3.2 allows users to design multi-sloped telescoping sub mains, can be customized for English or Spanish speaking users and measures water use in English or metric units. 

    The system also supports Toros latest Thinwall dripline system. It also has an enhanced pull-down menu, offers improved reporting options and can instantly generate color-coded block maps that show system uniformity. 

    The new system, which complements Toros 3.0 system, also offers users the ability to employ multiple sub-main and mainline pipe types and sizes and determine lateral and sub-main flushing calculations. 

    For more information, visit www.toro.com . 
  • For the past several years, there have been hints of cross-pollination among golf industry pesticide producers as they seek answers to the ever-changing demands of their customers and the pressures placed upon them from outside entities. Indeed, the quest for sustainability has resulted in a series of cooperative relationships among companies that are otherwise competitors as they come together to recognize each others strengths and how all can benefit from sharing technologies. 

    The most recent example of this philosophy brings together not two, but three of the green industrys major chemical pesticide manufacturers and includes with Spread it & Forget it controlled-release fertilizer from Agrium Advanced Technologies in combination with one of two herbicide products Barricade from Syngenta or Dimension from Dow AgroSciences . 

    Both combination products are available in a granular formulation that allows professional turf managers can fertilize up to once every six months in a program that also delivers pre-emergent control of grassy weeds such as crabgrass. 

    The Spread it & Forget it label is based on Agriums Duration CR controlled-release fertilizer technology that the company acquired when it bought Pursell Technologies in 2006. Duration features a polymer coating derived from natural plant oils, and the controlled-release technology means less chance of leaching. 

    Syngentas Barricade, with the active ingredient prodiamine, is labeled for pre-emergent control of a variety of grassy weeds including crabgrass in established turf varieties such as kikuyugrass, seashore paspalum, zoysiagrass. 

    With the active ingredient dithiopyr, Dimension is Dow AgroSciences specialty herbicide is labeled for pre-emergent and post-emergent control of crabgrass, goosegrass, spurge and Poa annua on greens, tees and fairways in a host of warm- and cool-season grasses. 

    Although such reciprocal arrangements have occurred with increasing regularity in agriculture, they are less common in the turf and ornamental industry. In 2008, BASF struck an accord with Bayer to supply the latter with the fungicide triticonazole for use in golf, sports turf, landscape and lawn care applications. While such partnerships might seem unthinkable when walking through the delineated trade show floor at GIS, they could be more common as professional turf managers continue to face new challenges brought about by changing management standards, natures self-defense mechanisms and pressure to attain sustainability. 
  • With questionable access to adequate supplies of water the new normal or a persistent threat for many in the golf business, being a smart water user is important for todays professional turfgrass manager.
    Scheduled for Jan. 24 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing, the Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water Summit is a half-day series of seminars for designed to help educate golf course superintendents, sports turf managers and others about efficient water use practices. 

    The interactive summit will consist of a series of three moderator-led panel discussions on water quality and turfgrass science, irrigation technology and sports turf design, and golf and the environment. Each topic will include two parts, and moderators include Kevin Frank, Ph.D., of Michigan State, Paul Roche of Rain Bird, Ken Mangum of Atlanta Athletic Club, Shawn Emerson of Desert Mountain, Ali Harivandi, Ph.D., of the University of California Cooperative Extension, Stacy Bonos, Ph.D., of Rutgers University, Mitchell Langley of MDL Consulting and Mike Boekholder of the Philadelphia Phillies. 

    The event also will include a keynote address by Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water (Free Press, 2012). 

    Click here to register.
  • Although most products that will be on display at the upcoming Golf Industry Show either in a booth or a catalog have been subjected to rigorous independent testing long before they made their way to market, its important for superintendents to make sure these products work on their respective properties before adopting them wholesale. 

    Thats the advice of USGA Green Section regional agronomist Todd Lowe in the most recent edition of the Green Section Record. (Click here to read the full text.) 

    Chemical products typically undergo years of university testing to ensure safety and efficacy under a variety of conditions, there are many products that promise not to harm turf while improving its health, vigor and appearance, such as bio-stimulants, soil microbes and other amendments that are not required to go through similar testing, Lowe wrote. 

    Lowe and his colleagues at the Green Section recommend that superintendents establish on-site test plots to make sure any new product that is to be applied to golf course turf works as promised and does not harm the turf or pose a threat to those who apply them or those who play on them. With budgets under increasing scrutiny it is important that turf managers spend dollars only on products that work as advertised 

    Nursery greens are ideal for studying products, Lowe wrote.. If the product is for tees, fairways, or roughs, then an out-of-sight location on the practice area or driving range might be suitable. It is imperative to include untreated check plots by covering an area of turf during application. This can be as easy as laying down a sheet of plywood on the turf prior to application. Make sure to mark the corners of the untreated area with turf paint so that treatment effects can be evaluated. 

    Be aware that some products contain fertilizer, and make sure that the transient improvement is not simply a reaction to additional nitrogen. Evaluate the color, but also turf density and rooting as well. 

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