Top Four Tips for Top Flight Greens

Essential Plus 1-0-1, Companion Biological Fungicide, "TKO" Phosphite 0-29-26, Cal-Tec 9%,
Micrel Total, Nitro-30

July 2015

Summer heat, drought, or its opposite - excessive rain and high humidity - all take a toll on greens. But with sound agronomic practices and a proactive mind-set, golf superintendents can keep greens playable and attractive all summer long.

Four of our top tips for maintaining summer greens include: mechanical spiking, keeping a focus on soil biology, being proactive about disease control, and remembering to maintain calcium at an optimal level.

Spike Greens Regularly

Spike greens regularly to keep turf healthy and improve putting quality. In periods of heavy rainfall, spiking opens up soils to let in oxygen, critical to boosting root growth and preventing anaerobic conditions. During periods of drought, spiking cracks the soil's crust to allow water and nutrients to easily penetrate into the soil, and for more efficient use of irrigation water.

Several times a year, deeper coring of greens provides more effective aeration. With tines set to about 1 inch, spiking of greens can be done frequently, without disrupting play, and will mechanically prepare the turfgrass to best utilize the nutrients.

Focus on Soil Biology

To keep soil biologically active, apply 3 oz. of Growth Products' Essential® Plus 1-0-1 per 1,000 square feet of greens, every 14 days. Essential's humic acid, L-amino acids, sea kelp, yucca extracts, plant hormones, enzymes, hydrolyzed proteins, and long-chain organic molecules feed beneficial soil microbes and rejuvenate soil structure.

On sand-based greens, Essential coats the sand particles and improves the cation exchange capacity (CEC). As a result, nutrients that are prone to leaching are more likely to be retained long enough to be used by plants. With compacted turf conditions, Essential works to aerate the soil so that nutrients and oxygen can better penetrate the root zone, and roots can spread more easily.

Be Proactive on Disease Control

Be proactive with disease control by making regular applications of Companion® Biological Fungicide either alone, in rotation with, or tank-mixed with a traditional chemical fungicide. The multiple modes of action of Companion are strikingly different from that of chemical fungicides.' Companion is an extra arrow in your sling when it comes to shooting down pythium, brown patch, summer patch, fusarium and other turf diseases.

Companion's proven high efficacy can be boosted even further when combined with "TKO" Phosphite (0-29-26), as indicated in a 2014 Rutgers University study on Pythium. In that study, Companion and "TKO" Phosphite, when applied in conjunction, reduced Pythium blight by 70% compared to the untreated control, outperforming the two chemical fungicides tested.

Don't Forget About Calcium

Calcium maintains the strength and integrity of plants' cell walls, helps flush excess sodium from soils, and reduces plant stress during periods of high temperatures. Cal-Tec 9% 6-0-0 with 9% Calcium Glucoheptonate is a liquid product that provides immediately available calcium, to quickly correct deficiencies in leaves and soil.

Typical application rates for Cal-Tec 9% are 3 to 5 oz. per 1,000 sq. feet, every 30 days, but some superintendents apply it as part of a tank mix with fungicides, pesticides or other products, every two weeks, if that fits into their spray schedule more easily. Use tissue and soil sample analyses to determine optimal application rates or give your local Growth Products technical representative a call.

We have plenty of other tips for keeping your greens in top-notch shape, and we're happy to share them. The importance of magnesium in improving turf color, the critical role that micronutrients such as those in Micrel Total play in facilitating NPK uptake, or how adding a touch of Nitro-30 (30-0-0) as a spreader / sticker to a fungicide spray keeps pesticides on the leaf surfaces longer, are just a few. We are here to help, so give us call.