A Golf Course Perspective

June 18, 2009

I have been posting here more lately, and I know my suggested methods rub a large number of you the wrong way. I post what I post not to brag or be difficult, but because I want everyone to be able to achieve the results that they desire. I retired early from the Government in 2005 and have been working my dream job at a Private Golf Club for very low wages ever since. What I have learned and since put into practice is leaps and bounds greater than anything I thought I knew about turf. Turf is my hobby, and attempting to have the most radically short cut, dense and green turf is my objective. It makes me happy and like any serious hobby, I am willing to put time, money, and effort into the cause. I've made many mistakes. My obsession for ultra-low cut turf has been with me since my teens, and before I knew what I was doing, I found myself behind the controls of a Jacobsen PGM 22 with eleven blade reel and roller-drive trying to turn my front yard of TTTF into a putting green. After that disaster I tried Creeping Bentgrass. My limited management skills allowed that to last but one season before it all died from stress, disease, insects, etc. Since starting my work at the golf course an entirely new world has opened up for me. There is no doubt that some of these tips and practices will be helpful to some. Others will hate them and lose even more respect for Golf Courses than they already have. Take what you want from these tips and apply them at your own rate.

Soil... Boy is this going to piss off the organic guys. My soil is comprised of 70% sand and 30% Sterilized top soil. That's right, sterilized. There are basically no nutrients in the soil itself. All nutrients are applied synthetically. The benefits of sterilized soil are that there is no odor, which eliminates digging squirrels, birds, some pests, etc. Herbicide is not needed at all because I have no weed seeds anywhere to begin with, and simply don't have to deal with pre-emergent, post emergent or anything else. I simply have no weeds. The rate of disease is still present, but lower than what would be expected with organic matter.

Seed.... I currently have Rye grass. What I did not know was that there are cultivars within cultivars that allow for very short mowing like Paragon and Avenge. These grasses will handle 1/2 inch cutting height without any problems. Most Rye grasses would be dead within a month or two from the stress of such radically low cutting heights.

Fertilizer... My Rye gets hit once a month with 1lb Nitrogen regardless of rainfall, humidity, disease pressure, or summer temps. The use of stress reducing compounds and heavy fungicide applications eliminate the conditions in which free or excess Nitogen would disable the turf.

Disease control... Simply put. There is NO comparison between money making turf chemicals and stuff you can purchase for home lawn use. None. When I say "money making turf" I mean golf courses, sports stadiums, lawn bowling, etc. Anywhere where money is charged to use or view the turf. The difference is night and day and I can only suggest that you give some a try someday. You will become an immediate believer.

Micronutrients... In addition to the monthly fertilizer, bi-weekly applications of 15-0-0 urea/Sulphur/chelated iron are applied to keep the turf green.

Stress relief... A very little known formula of 0-0-50 is applied at 1 lb per 1000sqft in June, July, and August. This massive dose of potassium (red potash) or sulfate of potash as opposed to muriate of potash reduces summer stress drastically, and allows for the coninued use of high nitrogen levels during the heat of summer and continued low cutting height.

Wetting agents... Many soils become hydrophobic in localized areas and can often be mistaken for disease. These areas basically become water resistant and shed all forms of irrigation. This is also called LDS or localized dry spot. It is very common on home lawns and can perplex homeowners and lawn services alike who believe it is disease or pests. Wetting agents break the surface tension of the soil and water and allow your irrigation to penetrate more rapidly and thoroughly. Increasing your irrigating experience.

Aerating and overseeding every year. All of you know what this is, and it should be done religiously.

There is more, but I've typed too much as it is. Again, take from this what you can use....maybe you will be surprised.

Comments (32)

  • jimmygiii

    Thanks for the interesting read reelfanatic. Congratulations on working your dream job! I bet it doesn't seem so much like work anymore.

    Where do you live?

    Do you ever have soil tests?

    Having a dog, I'm hesitant to use a hardcore chemical like Daconil. Is the stress relief 0-0-50 red potash something that I can find at a box store? I've been using milorganite 5-2-0, and am now kicking myself for leaving out the K.

    Thanks again for the info and a fresh perspective on lawn care.

  • organicnoob

    "I know my suggested methods rub a large number of you the wrong way"

    From what little I've seen it's not your methods it's your presentation. While I just started posting here I've been reading a lot of forums since I decided I could do something about my lawn. You seem to be the synthetic version of kimmsr.

    Most people that advocate for organic/natural lawn care aren't going to beat you over the head over it or tell you that synthetics don't work but I've seen you say that certain organic approaches don't work even though you haven't tried them.

    Some of the things you've said in this thread for example. After saying that things like Pythium couldn't be treated with cornmeal and I show you a study where Pythium was grown on corn meal in the lab but couldn't be established in the lawn when it was applied to the soil. Then a few days later you go on as if you never read that. You've indicated that no golf courses would use organic methods but it doesn't take much effort to find at least one organically managed golf course and another poster mentioned someone treating golf course greens with corn meal.

    You even said that it may not be corn meal it could be the cultural practices that were also advised. Well the cultural practices are a big part of organic lawn care. It's not like you have X problem you apply Y chemical, it's more like an IPM approach.

    You say you're retired, if you have any grandkids imagine one of them running around your lawn laughing and tripping. When they fall would you prefer they get a mouthful of corn meal or chlorothalonil?

    We've had pretty much constant rain here and while my neighbor's lawns are getting to be more orange, mine is getting greener and I posted pictures. Was it the corn meal? milk? Sharp blade? Who knows but it wasn't a synthetic fungicide since I never applied one.

    You mention you never used organic methods so you have no right to dismiss their efficacy when others have found them to work. With such a large turf area to play with, why not do some experiments? You must have some areas that aren't used for play that you can get permission to treat organically to see if it works or not. With such a large input of chemicals you may not see results right away as your soil adjusts but if you are interested I'm sure some people here could give you a guideline on how to proceed.

    The other thing I have to say is that while we all want a lawn that looks like golf course quality, the reality is that residential lawns and golf courses are very different. I don't have hundreds of people walking across my lawn every day. I don't need to mow to any regulation heights. I don't have little white balls landing on my lawn that I expect to respond a certain way. And I like to walk around it barefoot.

    I'm starting to see good results from only a couple of years. I have a long way to go because I previously didn't do anything to my lawn for many years. My biggest issue that I seem to have quite an unpleasant mix of mediocre grasses, including some tall fescue which gives me an uneven texture. Only thing that will fix that though is starting over which I will probably do at some point.

    I'm not trying to offend you by saying this but you seem to be curious why you're getting the responses you are.

  • reelfanatic

    Thanks for the nice post Organic noob. You do not offend me. I'm not curious as to why I get the responses I do. I KNOW why I get the responses I do. My approach to turf care is frowned on by a good number of regular posters here. Organic most certainly is shoved down throats here in this particular forum when there already exists a forum on this site dedicated to organic lawn care. I would like to be able to suggest other options without receiving e-scowls from the organic fans. You were one hundred percent correct about cornmeal and Pythium and I told you so. A turf area that was treated with cornmeal had Pythium ADDED to it, and the cornmeal suppressed it's development. I did not deny that nor pretend that you did not provide that link. That sounds great and if you can prevent Pythium with cornmeal, good for you and your friends. Most that post questions about disease are in the midst of an outbreak. Cornmeal will not cure Pythium AS FAR AS I KNOW. I can succesfully cure and prevent pythium with what I use, so good for me too...right? Or is it not good for me, because I am swimming against the current social tide of "going green"?
    You can continue to reccomend whatever organic product works for you. I would like to be able to reccommend whatever synthetic product works for me. Let the Poster decide which they want to use.
    We obviously have the same turf goals or we would not be posting on a turf site. I congratulate your methods. Just don't dismiss mine out-of-hand. I will do the same for you. You must concede however, that I am VASTLY outnumbered here.

  • reelfanatic

    Hey Jimmy, I got caught up in the debate with Orgnoob. I live in Maryland (D.C. Suburb) in the transition zone where it is too cool to grow Bermuda, and too hot to grow Rye, but I do both. I can't even imagine having a soil test done. I don't want to know what kind of disaster is going on with my so-called "soil" even that isn't really "real". When I first started working at the Golf Course I had envisioned the Superintendent out there every day with a vial and test kit checking the soil for optimum balance. They laugh at soil tests. A constant barrage of synthetics would yield test results they can't even imagine. In the last 30 years not one soil test has been performed at the course on the playing surfaces. The rough is managed more naturally but I still don't think they do them. As far as 0-0-50 goes, I've never noticed it in a box store, but it could be there. Most have never even heard of it. The poster Texas-Weed might be familiar with it but I'm not sure. I would say this has been the most beneficial product I've used. I'm tempted to come off the disease chemicals temporarily to see for sure, but summer turf performance has been greatly increased. I used to have to raise the cutting height sometimes up to 3/4inch prior to it's use. Now I can keep it at 1/2inch all summer long.
    Lesco sells a milder product called Green Flo Phyte. It is sprayable and is 0-0-18. If you have a Lesco nearby they will sell it to you without any problems, generally.

    It's elusive but here it is...........


  • organicnoob

    "A turf area that was treated with cornmeal had Pythium ADDED to it, and the cornmeal suppressed it's development."

    You seem to have missunderstood it. The pythium was grown on the corn meal. That's a common method for culturing fungi in tests. Then the corn meal and pythium were applied to the turf. The point was to add pythium but the corn meal went along for the ride because they weren't going to pick out the fungi from the corn meal to apply it.

    The pythium had to have been successfully thriving on the corn meal otherwise the test would have stopped there. They grew the pythium for several weeks then applied it to the grass. To say that corn meal suppressed it's development does not seem accurate.

    The way corn meal seems to work is that it becomes a host for trichoderma which exist in healthy soil. Corn meal is a good host for fungi which is why the researcher used it to grow the pythium. It's possible the trichoderma started to take hold on the corn meal and wiped out the pythium before it could take hold on the plants. If trichoderma can beat out pythium on corn meal, why couldn't it beat it out on grass?

    There's no way of knowing what happened because the researcher focused on the lack of germination and wound up patenting CGM as a pre-emergent for annual weeds. Who knows, maybe had he investigated why pythium didn't take hold he could have also patented corn meal as a treatment for disease. Looks like Texas A&M is working on corn meal now though.

    You have to understand it's not corn meal that kills the pythium it's the trichoderma and you need to have it in your soil for it to work. There has been research that shows pythium being attacked by trichoderma. Trichoderma kills pythium, in fact here's a picture from Cornell that is titled {{gwi:2101408}}.

    If your soil is sterile from the use of synthetic fertilizers and fungicides then you probably don't have trichoderma that will colonize on the corn meal. In that case you can apply trichoderma directly which is an option.

    "I can succesfully cure and prevent pythium with what I use, so good for me too...right? Or is it not good for me, because I am swimming against the current social tide of "going green"?

    Whether it's good for you or not is something that you need to deicde. They way I think of it there were lawns and golf courses long before any synthetic fungicide was developed. For me it's not about "going green" it's about safety. I recently read on another forum where a lanscaper was saying he had devloped sensitivity to glyphosphate, something even the organic crowd here seems to recommend when doing a renovation. He said he always used latex gloves but now even if he gets a drop of it on his hands they go numb. That's not something I want to risk and there are other health concerns I would rather not be exposed to.

    I don't think anyone is dismissing your methods but I think you cross the line and you even did so in this post.

    "Disease control... Simply put. There is NO comparison between money making turf chemicals and stuff you can purchase for home lawn use. None. When I say "money making turf" I mean golf courses, sports stadiums, lawn bowling, etc. Anywhere where money is charged to use or view the turf. The difference is night and day and I can only suggest that you give some a try someday. You will become an immediate believer."

    First and foremost unless you've done some serious testing saying something so definitively based on anecdotal evidence seems foolish.

    The fungicides you are recommending over the fungicides a homeowner can purchase themselves have are regulated by the EPA and need to be applied by someone with a license and training to apply such products. These are dangerous chemicals that need to be mixed and applied properly so that they are both effective and the risk of using them is minimized. What you are doing by recommending these products the way you are is wrong at best and possibly illegal at worst. I would guess that you don't have a pesticide license and you're definitely not licensed in every state where someone on this forum might be asking a question. If you were licensed you would know that you can't diagnose and recommend a treatment just from a description someone posts on a forum. It would be like a doctor giving out prescriptions to a patient he's never seen before based on what they tell him over the phone. It's unwise to say the least and reckless in my opinion.

    I'm going to repeat. These are nasty chemicals that are only approved for use by professionals to treat diagnosed problems using exact application rates. Do they work? They're probably very effective when used properly, at the right time, and using them at the correct application rate minimizes environmental risk.

    I think a better approach to using synthetic fungicides is taking an integrated pest management approach. You basically use the right cultivars for your region and you follow proper cultural practices to prevent disease rather than treat it when it occurs. This isn't an organic vs synthetic approach, where I've read about IPM it's been mostly synthetic.

    Now, you're not the only person here that isn't organic, I don't usually pay attention to usernames but people like texas_weed and garyinchicago come to mind. Nobody is trying to force anyone to use what they use that I've seen.

    "You must concede however, that I am VASTLY outnumbered here."

    To tell you the truth, I wouldn't know but I would bet that it wasn't always the case and maybe that should tell you something.

    Dchall_San_Antonio seems to be the big proponent of corn meal here and the FAQ he wrote is where I learned about it. Everyone here seems to be talking about it, even the chemical folks. But look at this 5 year old post on another forum where he's not getting a warm reception over the use of corn meal.

  • trplay

    I laughed when I read your original post. No Reel you dont have to feel guilt because you aren't adhering to the organic cults directives. Its OK you are not alone, there are many who seek exactly the same as you, a nice healthy lawn through chemicals designed to provide precisely that.
    This could actually be a fun thread where confessions from lawn junkies told their tales. I could start by confessing to multiple violations to the 1 inch of water per week commandment. Unfortunately, some would be unable to see the humor and the thread would go down hill fast. I learned to stay away from discussions with the Cult when I heard one espouse that their child was making D's in school until they started rubbing organic mulch on his forehead every morning before school and that since then he is a straight A student. At that point I stopped trying to reason with them- Just remember you aren't alone and chemicals are OK.

  • formicburn

    You got my support reel. I work with chemicals everyday and I love it. Going green is just a fad, and global warming is the biggest hoax in the last 50 years.

  • dchall_san_antonio

    I was going to say that five years ago this was the only lawn forum. Things really got heated back then. Now there have been several people banned for various infractions of the rules and, of course, the organic lawn forum has been created. But also many people left GardenWeb to find other forums. All in all this forum is very quiet compared to what it has been like.

    Personally I don't mind if someone wants to use a chemical approach even if they have proclaimed their organicity. What I do mind is when someone make a blanket statement that this or that approach does not work when they have not tried it. Without jumping to the link above, I can almost guarantee you that that was the situation there. Those guys were simply belligerent. I don't see any of that here anymore.

    If there has been a general shift to organic materials it is because of the discoveries made in the 1990s that there were tens of thousands of microbe species in the soil instead of ten. All they could grow on a petri dish in the lab was about ten species, but once they did DNA testing, they found 30,000. A more sensitive test in the 2000s found 100,000 species. Suddenly the theories about how organic fertilizer worked came together...if again only in a new theory. The conundrum was how could plant food be created by 10 species of microbes when everything about those species was well known? The idea that 30,000 or 100,000 species worked together to make plant food was extremely plausible, but without proof of their existence, that theory was highly skeptical. Now it is all coming together. Science still needs to name and sort out all the species but for now we at least know enough to grow grass with grain.

    I should also say that I was not committed to organic materials when I joined here. I was organic curious. What I learned forced me to unlearn what I thought was the truth about grass and soil. I'm glad I was able to do that and to communicate reasonably well through the Organic Lawn Care FAQ. I think the idea that an organic approach does not have to be super expensive, smelly, or favor the weeds instead of the grass has been what people like about the approach in the FAQ. Then when people try it and suddenly realize their grass is incredibly dark green, that's when they start to believe and convert.

    TexasWeed is a font of knowledge. He grows grass with chemicals for a living and with organics for his personal yard. In today's grass forums, where the organic folks can't seem to tolerate any chemicals (at least in what they write), that puts Weed on the chemical side of the fence; but he knows his organics, too.

    Stress relief: Mowing low is what is causing the stress. If that is what you are looking for, you might try growing grasses adapted to horizontal growth. Creeping bentgrass and bermuda are two popular ones that come to mind. They can be mowed to 1/16 inch high and not get stressed.

    Hydrophobic soils: I'm not sure that is an issue with organic lawns. I have seen peat moss and even compost turn hydrophobic if it dries out too much. But lawns usually get a drink every week and that helps to keep the "water penetration fungi" alive...again we don't know the nature of all the species of microbes, but there is a theory that fungi allow water penetration.

  • eriocaulon

    I do not think many homeowners desire 1/2" tall lawn, even if practical, especially up north. Even on a golf course, the beauty is not the putting greens but everything in between! And most homeowners, even lawn enthusiasts, do not want anywhere near as heavy inputs as you are suggesting. I don't know anyone who would consider heavy handed reliance on fungicides as a good thing. I guess to each his own. Most of the management practices you describe is nothing new and certainly no golf course secret. Summertime potash? Foliar spray? core aeration? Wetting agents? All common topics on this forum and others. You could have at least touched on practices outside of the domain of homeowners like tank mixes of Primo Maxx/Proxy!

  • jacksnife

    reelfan... I love you man! now you got me wondering how i can sterilize my topsoil :)


  • buzzsaw8

    >>>I work with chemicals everyday and I love it.LOL, you too? When I think fun, I too think "chemicals!!!" We should hang out and do some beer-bong funnels with malathion and snort some lines of chlorothanil. Yeah!!1!!

  • organicnoob

    "What I do mind is when someone make a blanket statement that this or that approach does not work when they have not tried it."

    Similar to that, people that speak in absolutes are always wrong. Period! :)

    Anyway, for me organic seems more interesting. There's still a lot to learn. With synthetics it's you have A you want B you need C to get from A to B. C has thoroughly been tested and proven to work. Where's the fun in that? You don't get to experiment with your own stuff safely, you don't get to be surprised. You aren't happy when it works, it's supposed to work. They only reaction you can have is dissapointment if you spent a lot of money and it didn't do what it said it would. They made this product to do this thing, if you have this thing apply this product at xxxx per gal per yyy sq ft, wear a respirator, rubber gloves, burn your clothes when you're done and don't let children or pets on the lawn until it stops smoking. End of story.

    And I would think people that come here regularly do so because they like to take care of their lawn, they like to learn more about taking care of their lawn and they like talking about their lawn.

    I don't know why but whenever I think of lawn care I think if King of the Hill. I picture organic vs synthetic to be something like this.

    [synthetic conversation]

    Hank: I applied Immunox on my St Augustine on Saturday and by Sunday night all the grey leaf spot was gone.

    Dale: yep

    Bill: yep

    Boomhauer: mmm hmmm

    [organic conversation]

    Dale: Bill, your lawn is looking somewhat not as pathetic as it usually does. Has the grass become accustomed to your smell?

    Hank: He must be using that fancy new sulfur coated urea we got a brochure for. I tell you what.

    Bill: Nah well I haven't been doing nothing really. Oh! maybe it likes to hear birds singing. I know I sure do. Every Saturday morning while you guys are having breakfast with your wives and your kids or your ladie friends I walk around my lawn and feed cracked corn to the birds so I have someone to talk to. And they sing and they chirp and it makes me happy and it makes my lawn happy too. Yep. That's what it is.

    Hank: Well that's just asinine Bill. Grass can't hear.

    Dale: It's not the singing you idiot. Your cluelessness never ceases to amaze me. The Government has been feeding birds in secret labs nothing but nitroglycerin to create the ultimate flying secret weapon. They obviously are attracted to your lawn because it looks like a war zone and are defecating pure nitrogen all over. I'd watch my step if I were you.

    Boomhauer: Nawh man ain't no dang ol' sploding poop whut yu got man is that dang ol flock goin peck peck peck peck peck I'm talking about dang ol' aeration man does the grass good I tell yu whut.

    Hank: It's a good thing we have you around to clear things up Boomhauer.

    Now you tell me which one's more fun :)

  • garycinchicago

    > "The way corn meal seems to work is"

    blah blah blah ... we have Google, thank you.

    > "Dchall_San_Antonio seems to be the big proponent of corn meal here"

    Yes, but he doesn't present it the way you do - The "my way or the highway" David states things like "in my experience" or "what I have read in forums". Your posts are just like kimmsr's!

  • lou_spicewood_tx


    You crack me up. I watch King of the Hill and I find it funny. Maybe because I'm from Texas. Anyway you and Dchall are right. There is much to be learned about organic ways. When it comes to chemical stuff, it is not really the stuff that's advertised, it's the "inert" ingredients in the chemical products. Supposedly, they are more toxic or supposed to make advertised chemicals more "effective". Who knows? Still, I don't want to use that stuff around kids and pets. My soil is much more improved compared to neighbors soil which is like trying to dig a hole in the concrete street. They don't have many earthworms yet I have tons of them whenever I dig a hole. That's a proof that organic program works very well to improve poor soil quickly.


    That's what I have to deal with. Limestone rubbles. That means never ending high pH.


    What it looks like during summer.

    Of course it's only st augustine that needs to be mowed around 3 inches.

    Guess what? Extremely few neighbors would be willing to put in all the work reelfanatic suggested for bermuda lawn. As as result most look terrible when we hit extended dry spell because they don't have a clue what deep and infrequent watering means. Some don't give a rat's ass and just let it go to hell. Very demanding grass to look good...

  • organicnoob


    There was obviously some sort of misunderstanding of what was stated in the study. Pythium wasn't applied to corn meal treated soil so I tried to be clearer on what happened, what I think happened and how it works by pointing to other references.

    I don't see how I came across with the "my way or the highway" feel. That wasn't my intention and if that's the way I came across I apologize.

    I don't care what anyone uses on their own property if that's what they want to do. But dismissing something because they misread some information seems like it should be corrected, especially if they are going to repeat the wrong information on the forum. All I thought I was doing was clearing up the misunderstanding but maybe in trying to give more complete information this time I came across more preachy.

  • bpgreen

    I've been around a few years, too, and I would hate to see things degenerate into the kinds of arguments that cropped up before. There was a time when responses to just about any question degenerated into a name calling "debate" on organics versus synthetics.

    I use a lot of organic methods in my lawn, but it's because I needed to do something to get the soil to absorb water and using free coffee grounds to fertilize made more sense to me than paying somebody $30-50 once or twice a year to core aerate the lawn.

    When I answer questions, if the poster is using synthetic fertilizers, I'll respond with advice on the synthetic fertilizers. If they're asking for general advice, I'm more likely to suggest using at least some organics, especially if they've got problems with drainage (either too fast or too slow).

    David is one of the biggest proponents of organic practices that I can think of, but I've seen him give advice on synthetic fertilizers and herbicides.

    There's plenty of room for both approaches and I think the main thing is to try to keep the discourse civil.

    When they first started the Organic Lawn Care forum here, I thought it was a waste, since we could discuss organic methods here, too, but I now appreciate it. If I respond to a question on the organic forum, I know that any non organic approaches are off limits. On this forum, organic, synthetic or combined are all okay.

  • lamcon

    Roger Cook had a good take on Ask This Old House. He said that lawns are all about personal preference. "Golf" lawns take a lot of work and chemicals because they're not natural occurences. "Organic" lawns take a lot of work to keep the soil happy and work problem areas. It's just a matter of preference.

    I didn't mind using the Scott's products. I've enjoyed the switch to organics, especially having children and poor soil. But as someone else pointed out, if we're talking on here, we probably really love working on our lawns and enjoy putting in the time. If you're gonna put in the time, you have to do what you think is best.

  • dchall_san_antonio

    > "Dchall_San_Antonio seems to be the big proponent of corn meal here"

    Yes, but he doesn't present it the way you do - The "my way or the highway" David states things like "in my experience" or "what I have read in forums".

    One of my hobbies is lawn care. Another hobby is writing about lawn care on these forums. I'm continually trying to improve at both of them. I used to be accused of 'my way or the highway,' too. It doesn't matter whether I perceived it that way or not, others did. So I studied (and am still studying) the writing of others who were more respected for their presentation. It's not easy to make changes, especially when you don't perceive the problems.

  • reelfanatic

    Thanks for the posts everyone. I am certainly not here to initiate heated debates or Ill Will. I enjoy reading each and every post, by each and every one of you.
    Organicnoob. How about if I just say "whatever you say about cornmeal is right". I'm certainly willing to do that. What I'm not willing to do is pour over the minutia of some cornmeal study so that I can get my verbage right. So it's official....I defer any and all opinions about cornmeal and it's byproducts to you!!

    And to whoever asked about Primo Max, and Trigger.. I never suggested that I have some secrets about golf course turf management. It's what I do, so I thought I would share. I did not think commenting on or suggesting the use of growth regulators was neccessary.

  • organicnoob

    "Organicnoob. How about if I just say "whatever you say about cornmeal is right". .... I defer any and all opinions about cornmeal and it's byproducts to you!!"

    That's not necessary. I wouldn't call myself an expert on corn meal and I only started learning more about it recently. I had applied it some time ago and after 3 weeks it didn't seem to do anything so I did some digging to see if I might have done something wrong. Then after I posted my issues things started to work and I became more of a believer.

    If I ever post about using an organic method it's because it's something I've looked into and/or tried. I think it's a good idea for you to not bring up anything good or bad about corn meal or anything else you haven't used or studied. Most people on here won't give you a hard time about promoting what works for you but like I said be careful about suggesting pro chemicals to homeowners.

    It's not that I don't think those chemicals should be used but it could cause problems for them or you. Had you said something like "Contact a local lawn treatment service because they have access to more effective treatments." And you didn't imply corn meal won't work I'd have no problem.

    And in the thread in question I don't remember replying to anything you said in particular or saying anything negative about chemical fungicides. I only mentioned it here because you indicated you were getting the impression that your input wasn't welcome.

    You hit two of my big pet peeves which is why I thought I'd reply here. Those being blanket statements about something they never tried and misquoting something to give it almost the opposite meaning.

    I don't come here to make friends or enemies, just to get a better understanding to get a better lawn. It's not right to just take so I try and give when I can.

    If you find resistance to what you recommend or you see people aren't following your advice it may have more to do with the current economic climate giving people more incentive to try a $20 bag of corn meal that people have had success with over a $180 treatment you suggest. It's not personal.

    By the way, I get disapproving looks when I'm putting stuff on my lawn too. The only difference is I can throw some corn meal or spray some milk in my mouth and gargle it which will freak them out and then they'll leave me alone :)

  • reelfanatic

    O.K. Noob. Perhaps we can drop this? For the record, I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything. I understand clearly that your pet peeves are broad or blanket statements. I'll make a note of that. With those kind of pet peeves the internet sure must piss you off.

  • organicnoob

    See, if you really wanted to drop this gracefully you could have left out the snarky comment "With those kind of pet peeves the internet sure must piss you off."

    My skin isn't so thin that I get riled up over what random people might say on an lawn forum.

    Do what you want, post what you want but this is at least the second time I've seen you start a post where you allude that people aren't receptive to what you have to say> I thought you might be trying to figure out why.

    Now I've probably already given too much unwanted advice but like I said I don't care what people think :)

    You work on acres of very nice sounding grass and use equipment some of us can only dream of using. Take lots of photos of grass, equipment and techniques. I'm sure everyone here, myself included loves lawn porn. :) It'll be a whole lot better than the usual pictures asking "why does this picture of my lawn want to make me throw up" :)

    Even better yet. Post them here and on a blog ( It's so difficult to follow individual posters on here and I'm sure there would be people interested in reading and seeing what its' like working on a golf course and you seem eager to share. Who knows, maybe you even get a good bit of traffic and can throw some advertising on there for some extra beer money.

  • garycinchicago

    > "and I only started learning more about it recently"

    Imagine THAT!
    Don't worry, I'll still genuflect when you post. U 'da man!

  • jacksnife

    Wetting agents...

    I have a couple areas that aren't absorbing water very well. Would you describe this part a little better please. i.e. what you use, how you use it, how often, etc...

  • reelfanatic

    @Jacksknife.... There are tons of wetting agents out there under a variety of trade names.. Quickwater, Atlantis, Lesco-Flo, and Lesco-Wet come to mind. They are generally applied monthly as a foliar spray at 4-6 ounces per 1000sqft. Keep in mind most hydrophobic conditions occur in sandy soil, but more organic soils can be affected as well. The whole hydrophobic thing is not completely understood yet, and there are lots of studies out there that describe different causes.
    I think in home lawns, hydrophobic conditions are more attributal to construction debris, tree roots etc.
    The application of wetting agents is usually paired with spiking of the surface. "Solid tine aeration" as opposed to core aeration. This is not to say that you spike the entire turf area, just the problem areas. I have also heard mention that a very mild liquid dish detergent such as Ivory can be used with similiar results. I don't know whether this is accurate or not, but I thought I would put it out there. The guys that do this add one drop of liquid soap to one gallon of water.

  • bpgreen

    "Keep in mind most hydrophobic conditions occur in sandy soil"

    I have a spot in my lawn that always goes dormant fast. This spring, the rest of the lawn was green, but this spot was dormant. Then we started getting rain in June (very unusual for us) and I dug a portion of the dormant spot up. Most of my soil is clay, but this spot was sand and rock. And bone dry despite the rain.

    Soaps and shampoos can be used as wetting agents. Some people will use baby shampoo for that. I may try using some on my dry spot to see if it helps. Before I dug there, I thought there was probably a rock under the surface.

  • organicnoob

    "Don't worry, I'll still genuflect when you post. U 'da man!"

    That was my plan all along! While you're down there pull some weeds will ya :)

    Would you mind pointing out where you feel I came across with a "my way or the highway" approach? I still don't see it.

  • mike9

    Reelfanatic what is your golf course perspective on earthworms? Theyre supposed to help with thatch and aeration. I inherited alot of them. The robins love em.

    I just seeded. I want to get a manicured fairway or soccer field look for my shade lawn.. Im not 100% tied to organics or synthetics but, Id rather not depend on a constant and intense regimen of insecticide and fugicide application. At least not without trying other methods first.
    Topdressing and push reel mowing my small supina bluegrass lawn I can do.

    Where can I buy a small amount of trinexapac ethyl?

  • reelfanatic

    @Mike.. Well you can't legally spray for earthworms in the U.S. and they are good for the soil. However, as you may know, if you have alot of them, they leave piles of worm castings on the turf surfarce which when run over by mowing equipment leave lots of "soil patches" all over the place. Common pesticides like Sevin for surface feeders, or Merit and Bandit for subsurface feeders seem to reduce their numbers though.
    I had to look up the chemical compound you referenced, which turns out to be Primo Maxx. I don't use plant growth regulators, because I like mowing. However the golf course uses the stuff under about ten different names frequently in an attempt to not have to mow constantly.
    From what I understand, there are some downfalls to it's use if you are not using other chemicals to combat Primos' shortfalls. The turf color fades greatly when PGR's are used regularly and must be constantly offset with 15-0-0 chelated Iron. Also, summer stress is greatly increased with PGR use. Are you looking to reduce mowing intervals, or to suppress existing growth so you can overseed?

  • reelfanatic

    Sorry, I didn't answer your question. Seeing that stuff is about 500.00 a gallon and generally sold in quantities of 2.5 gallons at a time, I'm not sure where you can purchase a small amount. If you have a Golf course nearby, find the Super and bring a tiny jar and tablespoon with you. Ask if you can buy 4 ounces from him. He will probably give you that tiny amount (in the scheme of things) for free.

  • eriocaulon

    Re: Primo Maxx et al. Some have some slight yellowing short term, but once the product starts to kick in, it actually produces a DARKER green. Chelated iron is often used to blunt the short term yellowing. Not only is the vertical growth slowed dramatically, but it will encourage greater density and horizontal spread. Turf quality is noticeably improved. Because energy is spent laterally and downward to the roots, PGRs can be used as a stress conditioner. For example, when used before summer stress in the spring, it will actually help a improve a lawn's ability to weather the hot/dry conditions. You do not want to apply a PGR when the lawn is already stressed however.

    If Primo maxx is out of your budget, you might try Proxy--although that is not labelled for residential lawns whereas Primo Maxx is.

  • mike9

    Can earthworm mounds be raked? I'm going to mow @1".

    I heard that primo increases the density and qaulity of supina grass. I'm more interested in my new grass filling in than wasting energy growing too tall. The grass growing speed is slow due to the shade. I read a study where they augmented the grasses low carbohydrate production in low light with a spray of fructose sugar and a surfactant I might try that boost till the turf is filled in and dense.

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