More bang for bionutrients

More bang for bionutrients

Enhance fertilizer programs with additional bionutrition.

April 26, 2013

Don’t doubt Shawn Emerson, superintendent at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., when he tells you about the efficacy of bionutrition products. He’s been using them for 20 years and says they greatly improve his turf care program.

He developed the bionutrition program at Desert Mountain as a way to enhance the raw materials he was using. The costs for these materials were becoming increasingly expensive and Emerson was looking for a way to use less of them. In his research he found that by implementing a biostimulus nutrition program he could help the plant use its own natural processes to fend off diseases and other environmental stresses.

“I started by learning how to introduce microbes into the soil and how to enhance indigenous microbes that already existed in the soil. In the early days of the program, I used Green Relief and Toro BioPro. I have moved on to products such as Floratine, Performance Nutrition, Cycle Works and other bio nutrient products from major manufacturers like CPS, Simplot and Helena.”

Emerson says these products helps reduce his use of raw materials and synthetic fertilizers and enhances the plant elicitors that trigger the natural stress responses from the plant itself. He employs them nine months of the year, March through October and uses them sparingly November through February.

“I have been able to reduce fertilization rates on the courses. We have achieved better soil quality and our actual turf grasses have handled heat and drought stresses much better.”

Emerson saw the fastest response on Desert Mountain’s greens but the most dramatic results on fairways. “My weak areas on the fairways have improved tremendously, the reason being that most greens are consistent in their soil depth and mix where a fairway can have all kinds of depth and quality to it.”

Emerson, who says many superintendents in the north Scottsdale corridor use bionutrients on their courses, finds that bionutrients seem to help most in late spring and early fall. “They allow the plant to get an extra two weeks of growth at the end of the growing season and a two-week head start at the beginning of the growing season. I also notice that they allow the plant to stay healthy in the hottest part of the often-sizzling summer weather of the Scottsdale area without requiring the addition of “gunpowder” type fertilizers.