Monday, October 16, 2017
My latest Tips and Tricks video for TurfNet.com is live. This is a great tip from Rick Tegtmeier, Director of Grounds, Des Moines Golf & CC. Rick shared this tip with me while I was at the Solheim Cup this summer. Everyone's contact information on one card, perfect! Video link HERE
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Dormant fertilization is one turfgrass management practice that I believe is vital to a successful upcoming season. I have been a big fan of dormant fertilization throughout my entire career. My definition of dormant fertilization is: fertilizing when temperatures have dropped sufficiently to stop top growth - basically, when mowing has ceased. At this time, however, root growth can still be active.
What fertilizer is best for dormant fertilization? There are many choices, but for 40+ years of golf course management career I have used the natural organic Milorganite. Milorganite was my go-to fertilizer for all dormant applications. Each fall when top growth stopped, we fertilized the entire golf course with Milorganite.
|Alway a great time of year when the dormant Milorganite application goes out!|
|Always a smile on my face when spreading Milorganite.|
Greens, tees, fairways, and rough all received between 0.75#N/M-1.25#N/M. Even today, as a consulting agronomist, it is the single most important fertilization practice I recommend and discuss with clients. I do get questions on why Milorganite. So, let’s discuss the reasons why it’s such a great fertilizer and why it’s particularly great for a dormant application.
First, Milorganite has been in business for over 90 years. That is some kind of staying power. Some of the reason for that is the consistency with the manufacturing of this product. In my 40+ years of using this material, I have never opened a bag that had an issue - truly remarkable.. To have a better understanding of the production of Milorganite, check out this great video link, HERE.
|The consistency in the manufacturing of this product is truly amazing!|
Second, Milorganite may be the most researched fertilizer in the world. So, why is it such a great dormant fertilizer choice? First, as an organic, it is very stable and leaching concerns are non-existent during fall/winter. So, from that aspect, it is very environmentally safe and gives great piece of mind. From a turfgrass plant use, the real key to dormant Milorganite is all about nitrogen mineralization. Consistent research results show that microorganisms responsible for the mineralization of the organic nitrogen in Milorganite remain active even in frozen soils. The percent of nitrogen mineralization throughout the winter period has been shown to be in the 15% range. This has been documented multiple times through university research.
|Possibly the most researched fertilizer ever!|
So for example, if you apply 1#N/M to your fairways as a dormant application, there will be 0.15N/M available immediately to the plant after snowmelt. Nitrogen availability, along with the iron content, will produce tremendous spring green-up without any flush of growth.
|Early spring fairway green-up.|
|Early green surface green-up.|
This nitrogen availability will easily be 2-3 weeks ahead of any spring-applied fertilizer. So, it’s that time of year to set yourself up for next season – using Milorganite as dormant fertilization will certainly be a big help! Milorganite is a fabulous choice for dormant fertilization.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Wetting agents have been around since the 1950’s and today they are a very integral part of many golf course superintendents’ turf management programs. Surveys done by University of Minnesota shows 80% of golf courses regularly use wetting agents on greens, and 50% regularly use them on fairways. Those are some impressive numbers. So what are the benefits of a wetting agent? First and foremost, wetting agents have been proven to lower the surface tension and allow water to enter the soil surface through the turf canopy. This, without a doubt, is its biggest benefit. This breaking of surface tension leads to the next biggest benefit, the ability to help increase soil moisture uniformity over various depths. Research by Karcher and Richardson, University of Arkansas, has proven this increase in uniform wetting. The next benefit of wetting agents is a direct result of the previous mentioned benefits. It certainly makes sense that if a wetting agent lowers the surface tension and also increases soil moisture uniformity, there will effectively be a reduction or elimination of localized dry spot (LDS). Managing localized dry spot with the use wetting agents, especially in sand-based systems, has become the norm with most superintendents. With these benefits, it’s very easy to understand the widespread use of wetting agents as an effective soil management tool resulting in better turf quality.
With all the use of wetting agents, you would think we understand them very well. In fact, maybe we don’t. For example, among golf course superintendents, the latest buzzwords for wetting agents are drain or retain - classifying them by how they work. This primarily comes from field observations by superintendents. You can’t do a Goggle search and find a list of drain or retain wetting agents. To date, there is no true university testing exploring a drain or retain wetting agent theory. Some wetting agents claim to do both - figure that one out. An important fact to note is that wetting agents are not federally regulated, and only a few individual states regulate them. This makes it extremely difficult to compare different wetting agent products, like we can with federally regulated products. Therefore, superintendents really need to do their own homework to determine what’s most important to them regarding wetting agent performance, and have this supported by independent research data. The most interesting research data I’ve seen recently, comes from the University of Minnesota, which investigated surface firmness with wetting agent use. Surface firmness can be directly related to a wetting agent that certainly doesn’t retain in theory. Many superintendents don’t want moisture to be held at the surface, which results in softer conditions and playability issues. You can see in figure 1 and figure 2 below, the ranking of the tested wetting agents. In this particular study, WinField Pro’s Aquicare ranked #1 in the surface firmness testing.
This is a very important finding. Through 3rd party testing, it clearly indicates to golf course superintendents that Aquicare has all the wetting agent benefits. Plus, there is a peace of mind that it keeps surfaces firm. This is a great choice to have in the superintendent’s tool chest when it comes to wetting agent selection.
Friday, September 8, 2017
The next WinField Lunch and Learn I will be presenting at will be held right here in my home state of Colorado. The agenda is outstanding. Really looking forward to presenting at this event. Also looking forward to learning about snow mold updates from Tim Klein, Syngenta and learning about what actually makes this worm extract so good for turfgrass systems from Tom Madison of Worm Tee. My usual speaking partners, Dr. Thom Nikolai, Michigan State University and Rob Garcia, WinField will also be in attendance. This is a great event and it's FREE. Mark your calendar!
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Attending the Solheim Cup and helping my good friend Rick Tegtmeier was certainly something I will always remember. The hospitality I received and the people I met were fantastic. I will no doubt have many takeaways from the event forever. In this video for TurfNet.com I selected a few of the many takeaways to highlight. It is just a small sampling from a milestone event for me. To view click HERE Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
In this video for TurfNet.com I talk with Rick Tegtmeier about the finish of the Solheim Cup and how everything went for him and his staff. As usual Rick never takes any of the credit and gives it all to his staff. Come on Rick, puff out your chest for at least for an hour or two, you deserve it. Check it out HERE
Saturday, August 26, 2017
In this video for TurfNet.com I talk with Rick Tegtmeier about his special Elite Forces Bunker Team. Rick tells us about his thought process for the bunker team and selection. It is a very neat gesture on his part. Well done Rick! I also talk with two members of the team Stephanie Schwenke of Syngenta, and Tracey Maddison from the British International Golf Greenskeepers Association (BIGGA). This video was a lot of fun to produce and these ladies were a blast to work with. Take a look, CLICK HERE
Thursday, August 24, 2017
In this TurfNet on Tour video for TurfNet.com I have a chat with Rick Tegtmeier about a couple unique things I noticed out on the golf course. It's an Iowa Thing. Click HERE to view.
In this TurfNet on Tour video for TurfNet.com I have a chat with my good friend Rick Tegtmeier who is the Director of Grounds at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. Rick has done an amazing job at DMGCC and had things perfect for the tournament. Click HERE to view. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Most of my volunteer time at the Solheim Cup was spent mowing fairways morning and evenings with a tremendous group of individuals. Click HERE to view this video about Volunteers in a Fairway Symphony. This was truly a treat!