Successful Turf Management and Disease Control Methods

There’s more to turf management than just painting the field and filling in the divots. Being able to recognize turfgrass disease is extremely important for successful turf management and disease control. Forecast, diagnose and treat disease, environmental and insect problems in a strategic and cost-effective manner with these suggestions.

Disease Control Methods

There are many ways to go about diagnosing turf diseases on sports fields. Here are some tips for successful turf management and disease control.

Write it down. With all of the inputs, applications, and staff, it’s best to keep a running list of the maintenance and any issues. Keep a record book filled with detailed notes on products used, application rates, locations of troubled areas, application equipment, etc. It is a helpful tool in overall disease management.

Turf disease

Consider the symptoms. When considering turf diseases, they come in many shapes and sizes. Knowing the symptoms goes a long way towards narrowing down the number of possibilities. Make observations about which part of the plant seem to be affected the most such as, odd-looking spots on the leaves, mushy roots and interesting patterns on the field will be essential information when matching it to disease field guides.

successful turf management

Look it up. Expert or not, a quick comparison will never hurt. When an incorrect diagnosis is made, products chosen to fix what was thought to be the problem will not work or could cause more problems. The following books are good resources, as well as the many identification tools offered by land-grant universities:

  1. “Compendium of Turfgrass Diseases,” by Smiley, Dernoeden and Clark
  2. “Managing Turfgrass Pests,” by Watschke, Shetlar and Dernoeden
  3. “Integrated Turfgrass Management for the Northern Great Plains,” by Baxendale and Gaussoin
  4. “Controlling Turfgrass Pests,” by Shurtleff, Fermanian and Randell

dollar spot turf disease

Timing is everything. Timing is a key control factor because, in the life cycle of each disease, there is an optimal point for treatment. Be sure to apply a fungicide product at the most vulnerable stage of the cycle to get the greatest degree of efficacy. It is equally important to make sure you are targeting the correct zone. Timing is vital because most diseases are favored by certain environmental or weather-related conditions. As such, the season of the year becomes crucial in the consideration of potential pathogens. Knowing which diseases are likely to occur at what point in the growing season is a powerful tool in disease management.

turf management for disease control

Get a fresh perspective. Take a step back to gain a fresh perspective of your field. It’s quite possible that other factors have led to the turf issues. Some of these other factors, such as compaction, scalping, heat, localized dry spots and nutrient deficiencies, can cause symptoms that mimic those of diseases.

Tell us about your successful turf management and disease control methods using the hashtag #MirimichiGreen on Instagram or Twitter.

Help Customers Avoid Soil Erosion and Runoff

Help Customers Avoid Soil Erosion and Runoff. When preparing a landscape for the cooler seasons, be proactive for potential soil erosion and runoff that is likely to occur.

Fall Is The Best Time To Improve The Soil

Fall is the best time to improve the soil for next year’s growing season. By adding a proper soil amendment to your client’s yard in the fall, the yard will have all winter to restore the soil’s biology and nutrients. Before you can improve your client’s soil, determine what the soil needs and use products that can replenish it.

Start by testing the soil

Test the soil to know how to improve the soil.

Testing the soil is the first step you need to take in order to improve the soil. Without a soil test, you are often walking in blind as to what your client’s property needs. Assuming all soil in the area is the same can result in using the incorrect fertilizer or amount of soil amendment.

Be sure to take multiple samples from the property. Separate samples should come from areas that differ in texture, color and previous applications of fertilizers, organic amendments, and lime.

Adjust the pH level to improve the soil

The soil’s pH level is important because a majority of the necessary plant nutrients are soluble at levels of 6.5 to 6.8. When the levels are too low or too high, plants can suffer from the soil problems and develop diseases.

Mirimichi Green’s CarbonizPN Soil Enhancer is the ideal soil amendment for any soil pH problem. The product is a pH optimizer – it is able to lower the pH if it is too high or raise the pH if it is too low.

Add organic material to improve the soil

Organic materials are all ideal to add in the fall as they help provide food for soil microbes and protect the soil from being bare during the winter.

Compost is a good material to consider adding as it helps nourish microbes. Compost easily gets worked into the soil over time in the fall and winter thanks to the rainy or snowy weather. Additionally, spring-applied compost can attract a number of pests. Luckily, Mirimichi Green’s CarbonizPN is 50% compost and 50% biochar, so not only will adjust the pH, but it will also provide organic material to the soil.

Tell us how you improve soil for your customers during the fall using the hashtag #MirimichiGreen on Instagram or Twitter.

Post-Hurricane Harvey Insecticide Aerial Spray

Clean up efforts and support after Hurricane Harvey are underway including monetary donations, food, water, volunteering, etc. With the excessive amount of sitting water in the Houston area, there is a growing concern about the growth of pest insect populations, such as mosquitoes. Now, a post-Hurricane Harvey chemical insecticide aerial spray application is underway. The Pentagon announced that it has dispatched C-130H Sprayers from the Air Force Reserve’s 910th Airlift Wing in order to “assist with recovery efforts in eastern Texas,” by spraying the insecticide, Naled. The aircrafts are set to spray a chemical insecticide in order to help control pest insect populations. The pest populations pose a health risk to rescue workers and residents of Houston.

Post-Hurricane Harvey Insecticide Aerial Spray

The aircrafts will spray more than 6 million acres throughout the Houston, Texas area. The Air Force stated this effort is expected to surpass any previous aerial spraying applications. The Pentagon’s choice of insecticide could do more harm than good for Texas citizens. The Air Force reported the mosquito control aerial spray protocol involves spraying the “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved and regulated material, Naled,” which the Air Force says will not be used in amounts large enough to “cause any concern for human health.” However, the insecticide Naled, is currently banned in the European Union due to the “unacceptable risk” it presents to human health and safety.

Post-Hurricane Harvey Pesticide Aerial Spray

Chemical Insecticides Come with Side Effects

Although Naled is an “EPA approved” insecticide, the EPA is re-evaluating the product and its safety. The EPA’s website states, “the EPA expects to issue new human health and ecological risk assessments for Naled before the end of 2017.” Scientists and many alarmed citizens have stated that Naled will surely be banned soon as the EPA has found it to harm 22 out of 28 endangered species exposed to it.

Naled insecticide has harmful side effects

Naled is a known neurotoxin in animals and humans, as it inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential to nerve function and communication, and has even been known to have caused paralysis. Scientific evidence, including a recent Harvard study, has pointed to Naled’s responsibility for the mass killing of North American bees. After only one day of Naled being sprayed in South Carolina last year, more than 2.5 million bees died.

Naled’s manufacturer, Sumimoto Chemical Corp., is also the manufacturer of SumiLarv.  SumiLarv is a product that is now believed to have been the cause of the spike in birth defects in Brazil that was originally blamed on the Zika virus. The most concerning consequence Naled poses for human health is the chemical’s ability to harm pregnant women and fetuses. Side effects include smaller brain sizes of newborns, having a child born with an autism-spectrum disorder and other symptoms like dizziness and nausea.

Alternative to Chemical Insecticide and Pesticide Products

With the extreme side effects that are possible by using harsh chemical products, Mirimichi Green urges landscapers, homeowners, and others that are seeking a pesticide or insecticide to use natural and safe products.

There will be a safe alternative for insecticide spray applications after natural disasters occur. Mirimichi Green will be launching a 100% natural and safe pesticide – Mirimichi Green Pest Control. A common stereotype of natural products is the natural products don’t work as well as chemical products. Mirimichi Green’s Pest Control has been tested by the World Health Organization, exhibiting an 80% kill rate efficacy report for pests and larvae upon contact. Products don’t have to be chemically based to be effective.

The soon-to-come pesticide works on mosquitoes, fleas, ants, roaches, no-see-ums, chiggers, spiders, mites, whitefly, aphids, plus many more insects. Mirimichi Green’s Pest Control is safe to spray around people, pets, and plants and has an immediate re-entry time after the spray has settled, making it ideal for any outdoor space.

Top 8 Plants That Repel Bugs and Mosquitoes

Pesky bugs and mosquitoes can ruin any outdoor experience and cause harm to a landscape. Here are the top 8 plants that repel bugs and mosquitoes that you can recommend to your customers struggling with insect infestations.

1.) Citronella Grass

Citronella grass can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Citronella is known for its oil being used in patio candles. Citronella grass is a better option than candles because it doesn’t burn out. True citronella plants, Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus, are grasses. Often times there is citronella scented geranium being advertised as Citronella grass, so don’t be fooled.

2.) Petunias

Petunias can repel bugs and mosquitoes

This perennial is sometimes referred to as “nature’s pesticide,” because it can repel aphids, tomato hornworm, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, and squash bugs. It’s recommended to buy transplants and place them in light, well-drained soil in full sun after the last spring frost.

3.) Lavender

Lavender can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Lavender is a fragrant plant and luckily its smell deters mosquitoes. Plus its purple blooms add a nice pop of color to any landscape. It likes to be hot and dry, so it’s perfect for summer.

4.) Nasturtium

Nasturtium can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Nasturtium repels whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, several beetles, and cabbage loopers. This one will help other plants in your garden, too. It produces an airborne chemical that repels insects, protecting not only themselves but other plants in the grouping. Plant in early spring in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. They should be regularly watered and deadheaded to promote blooming.

5.) Rosemary

Rosemary can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Not only can this plant be used in the kitchen but it can help keep the bugs away. This is another plant perfect for summer heat because it likes to be dry. Mosquitoes are deterred by the smell of Rosemary. It can be planted it in containers, but it also works well as a hedge.

6.) Basil

Basil can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Basil is an annual herb and repels houseflies and mosquitoes.  This plant needs six to eight hours of full sun daily, and its soil should be moist and well-drained. This versatile herb can also treat mosquito bites.

7.) Lemongrass

Lemongrass can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Lemongrass is closely related to citronella and repels mosquitoes, but unlike the latter, it’s edible and is commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. It can grow 3 to 5 feet tall and adds lots of extra height and texture to the landscape. Avoid planting lemongrass in clay soil. This tropical plant craves moisture but is quickly killed by heavy soil that makes water puddle.

8.) Mint

Mint can repel bugs and mosquitoes

Refreshing mint can be used in dishes and cocktails, but it has an added bonus. It’s a perennial that can repel bugs and mosquitoes. It’s recommended to grow mint in a pot in order to control the plant.

Tell us which of the Top 8 Plants That Repel Bugs and Mosquitoes your customers prefer using the hashtag #MirimichiGreen on Instagram or Twitter.

Top 6 Ornamentals To Include In Fall Landscapes

Plants, shrubs, and flowers aren’t the only options for a fall landscape. Fall ornamental grasses add more personality and uniqueness to any landscape. Some ornamentals can survive well into the warmer seasons, so customers will be able to appreciate them even longer.

Enhance Any Landscape With Live Mulch

Brown mulch is out and ground cover or “live” mulch is in. Instead of spreading wood chips, peat or straw over planting beds, consider spreading a ground cover that will spread out over bare soil. So what is live mulch? Any plant that is used to cover an area of soil and adds nutrients, enhances soil porosity, decreases weeds and prevents soil erosion, among other attributes.

Shannon Easter To Speak At 2017 Distinguished Ideas Summit

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Boca West Country Club and The Polo Club of Boca Raton are hosting the 2017 Distinguished Ideas Summit for the General Managers, Board Members and Leadership Staff of currently-awarded Distinguished Clubs on October 1st, 2017.

Boardroom Magazine developed the Distinguished Clubs award program to help vitalize and preserve the institution of private clubs by fostering a ceaseless drive to ever improve the “Member Experience” provided by private clubs throughout the world. A club will become nominated and certain factors about the clubs are evaluated in order to determine award winners.

Pre-selected speakers for the Distinguished Ideas Summit will discuss how they created a great member experience at their own clubs by implementing unique ideas and strategies. Shannon Easter, Director of Golf Maintenance and Environmental Consultant at Broken Sound Golf Club, is scheduled to speak about how incorporating Mirimichi Green products helped lead to the recognition the club has received for its sustainable efforts.

Shannon Easter will specifically detail how he is using CarbonizPN Soil Enhancer to develop a carbon filter in the soil profile. “Building a true carbon filter often brings up a lot of questions. It is no different than the idea of using a carbon filter to filter a house or air-conditioning unit. Why wouldn’t you do the same thing in the soil profile? Plus, it has a positive impact on the environment – it decreases our water usage, decreases the electricity I use for my pump houses, increases my fertility, keeps the plant healthier and we are using fewer fungicides,” said Easter.

Easter was the guest speaker on Turf’s Up Radio on Saturday, August 27th, 2017. He revealed that his course is “coming in under budget and opening 8 weeks early” due to hard work and success with Mirimichi Green’s CarbonizPN and liquid fertilizers. “We are able to profit about half a million dollars by spending around 10% more on the initial planting of the golf course,” said Shannon. He is able to cut down his maintenance, irrigation and avoid paying for members to play elsewhere. Shannon Easter’s newly renovated course, The Club Course, will be opening in November 2017, 2 months before the originally scheduled date of January 1st, 2018. Click here to listen to the full podcast.

Easter will also speak about Broken Sound Club’s program that focuses on water conservation, water quality, energy conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, wildlife habitat conservation and enhancement, as well as, their efforts to educate the community on sustainable practices.

Be sure to check back in for an update after the 2017 Distinguished Clubs Ideas Summit for more details on Shannon Easter’s speech.

6 Factors To Keep In Mind About Artificial Turf Fields

Real vs artificial turf

Artificial turf fields have been gaining popularity for being low maintenance and eco-friendly because it doesn’t need to be watered, fertilized, or mowed. Is it truly beneficial and environmentally friendly to put down synthetic turf? Let’s explore 6 factors to consider about an artificial turf field installation.

Artificial Turf Field maintenance

1. Maintenance for artificial turf fields

It is incorrect to think that synthetic fields require less maintenance than natural turf grass or to say that artificial turf fields are maintenance free. Artificial turf grass fields require:

  1. Additional infill
  2. Irrigation because of high temperatures on hot days
  3. Chemical disinfectants
  4. Sprays to reduce static cling and odors
  5. Drainage repair and maintenance
  6. Erasing and repainting temporary lines
  7. Removing debris accumulation

2. Costs start to add up

Long-term costs are less with natural turf fields compared to artificial turf fields. Artificial fields need replacing every 8-10 years, whereas a natural turf field requires consistent maintenance and occasional replacing. When artificial turf needs renovating every 8-10 years, there is a hidden cost of disposal of materials. Since the fields are filled with a ground-up rubber material, the material may require special disposal which could be costly.

3. Players prefer natural turf

A recent survey of 1,511 active NFL players by the NFL Players Association found:

  • 73% of the players preferred playing on natural turf grass field
  • 18% preferred artificial turf
  • 9% of the players had no preference

4. Player injuries are a concern

There is little to no research comparing injuries incurred on new artificial turf fields vs. natural turf fields. Some data indicates that the traditional artificial turf fields increased athlete injury, primarily due to increased surface hardness. NFL players were asked in a 2006 survey “Which surface do you think causes more soreness and fatigue to play on?”

  • 74% felt that artificial turf systems were more responsible for fatigue
  • 21% felt they were the same
  • 5% felt like natural grass systems increased fatigue
  • The most common comment was in the open survey section was “make all fields grass to prevent injuries.”

5. Potential infections increase

The potential for increased spread of infections among players has been under close inspection when it comes to artificial turf complexes. In a report titled “Texas Football Succumbs to Virulent Staph Infection From Turf”, at least 276 football players were reported to be infected with an antibiotic-resistant staph infection. These infections were primarily associated with increased skin abrasions stemming from artificial turf.

6. High temperatures are an issue

Artificial fields cannot be played on all the time due to the higher temperature on summer days.  The surface temperatures of artificial fields have been documented as high as 199°F on a day with an air temperature of 98°F. Researchers at Brigham Young University reported that “the surface temperature of a synthetic football field on campus averaged 117°F, with a daily high of 157°F. On an adjacent natural turf field, the surface temperature averaged 78°F, with a daily high of 89°F.” Artifical turf fields can be cooled down with irrigation but it is only a short-term fix. The only permanent fix for this issue is having the field be in an indoor facility. Because of these high temperatures, an artificial field will remain largely unusable during warm days. Additionally, practicing on an artificial field could increase the incidence of heat stroke, muscle cramping, and overall athlete fatigue.

Keep these 6 factors in mind when considering an installation of an artificial turf field.

The Top Problems And Solutions For Soil Compaction

Turf Symptoms Of Soil Compaction

Here are 5 signs to look for to determine potential soil compaction. If any of the symptoms are occurring there is a good chance the soil is compacted and needs attention and immediate maintenance.

Turf Symptoms Of Soil Compaction

  1. Shallow, thicker and shorter roots
  2. Smaller and fewer leafs/blades
  3. Thin patches
  4. Lacks green color
  5. Overrun by weeds (e.g., knotweed, crabgrass, annual bluegrass, goosegrass, clover)

Tips for Preventing and Correcting Soil Compaction

Incorporating any of the 3 tips below into a turf maintenance program can help reduce soil compaction.

Reduce and direct traffic:

Tips for Preventing and Correcting Soil Compaction

  • Reduce traffic by the establishing pathways of concrete, pavers, gravel or dirt.
  • Minimize traffic when the soil is wet or near field capacity.

Take the extra necessary steps:

  • Use maintenance vehicles with pneumatic tires.
  • Change up the mowing patterns to reduce mower use on the same route.
  • Increase the height of the cut to increase wearability and root depth.
  • On golf courses, build large greens in order to frequently rotate cup placement.
  • On sports fields, occasionally move around the field boundaries.

Modify the soil:

The Top Problems And Solutions For Soil Compaction

  • Develop a soil medium that is more resistant to compaction with sand or loamy soils.
    • Note that the addition of sand to clay soils may actually increase their compatibility and destroy soil structure due to the development of cementing conditions. 
  • Add organic soil amendments such as Mirimichi Green’s CarbonizPN Soil Enhancer to decrease compactibility of the soil. (However, it is not a long-term fix and requires additional amending.)
  • Incorporate one or more cultivation practices (e.g., coring, grooving, slicing, or spiking) into the turf maintenance practices. 

There is no single practice or product that can solely correct compaction problems and several must be combined for a successful maintenance program. The top solution for soil compaction is combating compaction before it has developed into a problem.

Give these tips a try and let us know what works best for you.