Thursday, June 4, 2015

Product testing

There is no shortage of fertility products on the market that we can apply to the course.  There are products that have been out for years that are well vetted in the industry, there are others that are fairly new to the market and raise an eyebrow when presented by a vendor.  I am open to trying new things when I think it is in the best interest of the club, BUT I want to see it work before I go all in.  One of the products we are trying this summer is labeled as a biostimulant - it is a fertility product that contains seaweed extract and acids that stimulant plant health and root growth.  There are plenty of golf course that use this type of product all the time and I want to see if it would have beneficial effects at FCC.

We are trying this fertilizer on half of our greens this year, we also split #3 green - with half the green getting the usual fertility package and the other half getting the new product added.  You will notice the red hash marks on #3 that split the green in half. 
We will be able to monitor the greens with and without this product to see if it lives up to its hype.  If plant health, root length and stress reduction is apparent, then we have a potential candidate for our fertility package in 2016.  If we see no difference in health, playability or appearance, then we know the product isn't worth the jug they put it in.  Many of these products are pricey and I don't want to apply it liberally if there is no significant benefit vs. our current program.  The only way to verify this is to have a "check" plot or spray certain areas with the product and some without.

During the summer months we fertilize the greens with the "spoon feeding" method - giving the greens small amounts of nutrients on frequent intervals, not using any granular products from April to September.  This gives us a very firm control on the health and growth of the greens.