Golf Course Management

JUL 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/139656

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Rutgers University's Bingru Huang, Ph.D., emphasizes that effcient management practices are an important component to the plant health picture. What's next? So what is the next big thing after plant health? Although they likely don't have a crystal ball at their disposal, key fgures in the industry still have their opinions. "We're looking at some things now that potentially we can treat a golf course with and would require half as much water as you used to use," says BASF technical representative Kyle Miller. "There's something out there, and we're looking at it." Water undoubtedly will be a front burner topic for a while, says Syngenta lawn and garden fungicide brand manager Howard Jaekle. "How you manage it more effciently is one of the big issues," Jaekle says. "From a broader perspective, how do we do a better job working with people to do our part on this issue?" Bayer senior principal scientist, Richard Rees, Ph.D., mentions nutrient optimization as a down-the-road initiative. "I don't know how far we want to look out there, but one of the most limiting factors in the future will be the quantity of nutrients we are able to use," Rees says. Cornell University associate professor Frank Rossi, Ph.D., indicates that the post-plant health era sets the stage for something major. "The fnal frontier is the relationship between turf systems and soil microbiology," Rossi says. "Fundamentally, we undervalue the role of the microbial communities — in the soils, both on and in the plant — for how they mediate responses to things we do and how we might be able to manipulate that system or design that system or engineer that system in a way that it is, in fact, more sustainable." — H.R. 56 GCM July 2013 something we all believe in," he says. "I think we're all very vested in trying to better understant and contribute to plant health. But defning it is another story." At least one expert is convinced that plant health products aren't the only way to secure a plant's health. "Superintendents should keep in mind that plant health could be promoted by using other effcient management practices, such as proper mowing and irrigation in addition to chemical and pesticide applications," Huang says. Blevins, a 16-year member of the association, uses products that are promoted as offering plant health benefts on his course in Virginia. They have helped him with pythium control, and he certainly doesn't mind paying a little bit extra if it is going to make a difference. In the end, though, Blevins realizes all of these products aren't the be-all, end-all. "You can have all the plant health products you want," Blevins says, "but if you don't have the soil chemistry right in the frst place, it's an uphill battle no matter what." GCM Howard Richman (hrichman@gcsaa.org) is GCM's associate editor.

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