Golf Course Management

DEC 2013

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

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research Barona Creek GC's overseeded bermudagrass tee surrounds (2007) (top) were removed (bottom) and replaced with native vegetation (2008), a move that decreased the turf acreage and resulted in signifcant savings in water and fertilizer inputs. Photos by L. Stowell. Credits for Google Maps images: 2007 – Image ©2013 Digital Globe, ©2013 INEGI, ©2013 Google; 2008 − Image U.S. Geological Survey, ©2013 INEGI, ©2013 Google for turf health. The operating principle in most cases was a desire to ensure that there is never a defcit in soil nutrients. But as economic and environmental concerns have grown, the emphasis has shifted to targeting the lowest levels of soil nutrients that will provide turf performance that meets expectations. This may seem like a subtle shift in thinking, but it can have enormous impacts on sustainability, as shown below. To fnd out how low we could really go in terms of soil nutrition, Pace Turf and the Asian Turfgrass Center pooled a huge database of more than 17,000 soil samples that had been collected from turf facilities over the past 20 years. Of these, we identifed 1,500 samples that met our requirements (primarily that they were collected from areas where the turf was performing adequately), and then statistically analyzed the data to determine the lowest levels of each major nutrient that could predictably support good-quality turf. The result was the Minimum Levels for Sus- tainable Nutrition (MLSN) soil guidelines (Table 1), which were introduced last year (4) and call for reductions of 50% or more in many key soil nutrients. Since that time, the guidelines have been adopted by turf managers around the world, many of whom have been pleasantly surprised at how low they could go in terms of soil nutrition without sacrifcing turf quality or playability. We believe that most superintendents can make signifcant reductions in the total nutrients applied at your location by using MLSN as a guide. To participate in the effort to identify more sustainable turf nutritional guidelines, read about the Global Soil Survey for Sustainable Turf (Page 82). Measure total pounds and toxicity levels of pesticides applied Reducing the total pounds or kilos of pesticides used is a good goal, but reducing the toxicity of the pesticides applied is equally important. Determining the weight of pesticide (insecti- December 2013 GCM 79

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