Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: turf

Calcium Products - Displaying items by tag: turf

Managing Salts in Soil & Irrigation Water

On a recent trip to Arizona, I had an opportunity to meet with multiple superintendents that are currently using the SuperCal brands to manage high salts in the soil. Golf courses, particularly in the Southwest have started to use reclaimed water out of necessity to irrigate the turf. The global demand for fresh potable water is doubling every 20 years and due to this demand golf course superintendents must take an integrated approach to growing healthy turf.

One of the recurring issues we kept hearing about in Arizona was dealing with bicarbonates in the irrigation water. I have linked an excellent article regarding the management of salts in the soil and irrigation water. This article was written by Sowmya (Shoumo) Mitra, PhD. from the Golf Course Management magazine in January of 2001.  

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2014 Iowa Turfgrass Show

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to discuss SuperCal & bunker sands at the Iowa Turfgrass Show!

IA Turf Grass Photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IA Turf Grass Photo 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IA Turf Grass Photo 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IA Turf Grass Photo 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look forward to seeing you at the next show! 

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Gypsum is gypsum . . . right? Wrong.

 

Gypsum is gypsum…right? Wrong.

Gypsum is just gypsum and any will do, right? Wrong! Just like any product in the marketplace, there are high quality and low quality gypsum's and the adage of you get what you pay for is absolutely true.

Gypsum is a very misunderstood amendment; most people don’t understand the value. Before I talk about how the quality of gypsum can affect its effectiveness, let me give you a general overview of the material.

Gypsum comes in two different forms, both of which can be used in the turf industry. The first is calcium sulfate anhydrite and the second is calcium sulfate dihydrate. As you can read, both forms have both calcium and sulfur as part of the elemental make-up. The difference between the two, however, is directly tied to its effectiveness and that difference is water! The second form, calcium sulfate dehydrate, has 2 additional water molecules associated with the calcium sulfate crystal. It is these additional water molecules that make the elements of calcium and sulfur available to the plant within hours, opposed to days or weeks with the anhydrite form. For additional detailed information on the difference between the two forms, check out this video by Pace Turf.

Hopefully after watching the video you now understand that the ONLY gypsum you should use is the dihydrate form; now it is up to you to find the best form available.
By law, all gypsum bags must have a product analysis printed someplace on the bag. It will look something like this:

Guaranteed Analysis:
Ca (calcium)……………………………………………..#%
S (sulfur)…………………………………………………#%
CaSO4-2H2O (calcium sulfate dihydrate)……#%
Derived from: calcium sulfate dihydrate

The most important line in the analysis is:
CaSO4-2H2O (calcium sulfate dihydrate)……#%.

This is the line that will show you the purity or the quality of the material. The closer that percentage is to 100%, the more effective and efficient the gypsum is for your particular application. As that percentage gets further away from 100% the more material you will need to apply to maximize the nutritional value of the gypsum.

Another major factor in your selection of gypsum had to do with the fineness of the particle that makes up the gypsum in the bag. So what does fineness mean? Fineness has to do with how small the raw material is crushed to and how much can pass through a mesh screen before it is bagged or pelletized then bagged.

Side note: there are various mesh screen sizes. For example, if the screen size is 10 mesh, that means there are 10 holes for every square inch. If the screen size is 200 mesh, it means there are 200 holes for every square inch. Remember, the higher the mesh size the smaller the particle has to be to pass through.

I added the side note is because particle size is directly related to the efficiency of gypsum. The smaller the gypsum becomes the more surface area it will cover. This is important because if you can cover more surface area with less product, you are maximizing the value of the application. The fineness can be found on the bag alongside the analysis.

There are a lot of options in the marketplace for gypsum and to the less educated user, it’s all the same. Now you know why that isn't true. Turn over the bag now that you know what to look for. Check the analysis and mesh factor to make an educated decision. Trust me, your soil will thank you for it and, hopefully, you’ll thank me too!

 

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Is your turf protected for the winter?

It’s not too late to winterize your turf and protect it from the harmful effects of the winter climate. If your turf is not properly prepared for the harsh winter climates it is going to struggle to re-establish this Spring when it comes out of dormancy.

Did you know that gypsum is the perfect winterizer. If you are not applying gypsum to your lawn before the first day of winter you are really placing undo harm to the turf. Gypsum creates a great enviroment for your turf to go into dormancy. It creates soil structure that allows space for the roots, increases the water holding capacity of the soil so the turf doesn’t go thirsty and it provides an area for maximum oxygen intake for the plant. While all these are great reason to apply gypsum to your turf, the most important reason to apply gypsum before the first day of winter is because of it amazing ability to provide protection against the copius amounts of salt and winter de-icers we apply to our sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. These are the products that not only keep us safe but “burn” the turf in the spring.

If the excess sodium levels are removed from the rootzone, your turf has an excellent chance of survival in the spring. When gypsum is applied the calcium in the gypsum preps the soil for the turf to survive and the sulfur bonds to the sodium  from the salts and de-icers products and flushes the sodium out of the root zone into the sub-soil where it cannot be harmful to the plant.

Give gypsum a try, your turf will thank you for it and your neighbors will wonder why your turf appearance is better than theirs in April and May.

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A Guide to 16 Essential Plant Nutrients

There are 16 nutrients required to grow plants. Knowing these nutrients required to grow plants is only one aspect of successful plant development. Optimum production also requires knowing the rates of application, method and time of applications and the source of nutrients to use. Each of these nutrients is equally important to the plant, yet each is required in vastly different amounts. These differences have led to the grouping of these essential elements into 3 categories: primary (macro) nutrients, secondary nutrients and micronutrients. 3 of the Nutrients are taken up from either Air or Water; those are carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). The remaining 13 nutrients are taken up from the soil.

PRIMARY NUTRIENTS

NITROGEN

  • Necessary for formation of amino acids, the building blocks of protein
  • Essential for plant cell division, vital for plant growth
  • Directly involved in photosynthesis
  • Aids in production and use of carbohydrates
  • Affects energy reactions in the plant

PHOSPHOROUS

  • Involved in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division and enlargement
  • Promotes early root formation and growth
  • Improves quality of fruits, vegetables, and grains
  • Vital to seed formation
  • Helps plants survive the harsh winter conditions
  • Increases water-use efficiency
  • Hastens maturity

POTASSIUM

  • Carbohydrate metabolism and break down and translocation of starches
  • Increases photosynthesis
  • Increases water-use efficiency
  • Essential to protein synthesis
  • Important in fruit formation
  • Activates enzymes and controls their reaction rates
  • Improves quality of seeds and fruit
  • Improves winter hardiness
  • Increase disease resistance

SECONDARY NUTRIENTS

CALCIUM

  • Utilized for continuous cell division and formation
  • Involved in nitrogen metabolism
  • Reduces plant respiration
  • Aids translocation of photosynthesis from leaves of fruiting organs
  • Increases fruit set
  • Essential for nut development on peanuts
  • Stimulates microbial activity

MAGNESIUM

  • Key elements of chlorophyll production
  • Improves utilization and mobility of phosphorous
  • Activator and component of many plant enzymes
  • Directly related to grass tetany
  • Increases iron utilization in plants
  • Influences earliness and uniformity of maturity

SULPHUR

  • Integral part of amino acids
  • Helps develop enzymes and vitamins
  • Promotes nodule formation on legumes
  • Aids in seed production
  • Necessary in chlorophyll formation

MICRONUTRIENTS

BORON

  • Essential of germination of pollen grains and growth of pollen tubes
  • Essential for seeds and cell wall formation
  • Promotes maturity
  • Necessary for sugar translocation
  • Affects nitrogen and carbohydrate

CHLORINE

  • Not much information about its function
  • Interferes with P uptake
  • Enhances maturity of small grains on some soils

COPPER

  • Catalyzes several plant processes
  • Major function in photosynthesis
  • Major function in reproductive stages
  • Indirect role of chlorophyll production
  • Increases sugar content
  • Intensifies color
  • Improves flavor of fruits and vegetables

IRON

  • Promote formation of chlorophyll
  • Acts as an oxygen carrier
  • Reactions involving cell divisions and growth

MAGANESE

  • Functions as a part of certain enzyme systems
  • Aids in chlorophyll synthesis
  • Increases the availability of P and Ca

MOLYBDENUM

  • Required to form the enzyme “nitrate reductas” which reduces nitrates to ammonium in plant
  • Aids in the formation of legume nodules
  • Needed to convert inorganic phosphates to organic forms in the plants

ZINC

  • Aids in growth hormones and enzyme system
  • Necessary for chlorophyll production
  • Necessary for carbohydrate formation
  • Necessary for starch formation
  • Aids in seed formation
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This weekend’s event

Due to legal issues, the event Calcium Products has been planning (to be held March 30-31, 2012) will now be referred to as The Summit.

Pre-registration is no longer available. Tickets will be sold at the door. We will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday. Both days are scheduled to be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

All updates about the event will be posted right here. Please stay tuned.

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GCSAA members – the unseen heroes of many a golf course!

Golf Course superintendents’ work is often seen, but they are rarely seen or their work realized. It is not an uncommon practice for the maintenance staff at a golf facility to be up working well before the sun comes up.

As a PGA member since 1999, I certainly appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to be in the golf industry, but I know it takes even more hard work and dedication to be in charge of the grounds and maintenance. More times than not, GCSAA members and their colleagues do not get the accolades they deserve. I consider golf course superintendents the unsung heros of the golf industry.

Next time you see your golf course superintendent keep in mind, their jobs are often 24/7 shifts. It takes time, patience, flexibility, and supreme organization to manage 100 acres or more of managed turf, not to mention their staff and their families.

Yes, it is true; superintendents do mow grass, rake bunkers and pick up trash but consider this:

 

YOUR GCSAA MEMBER IS ALSO:

An ambassador for your facility

An environmental steward

A mentor to their staff

An agronomist for the facility

A communicator to the membership

Facility manager for the ground department

Human resources director for their area

OSHA director

Financial planner managing the facility’s largest portion of the budget

Material scheduler and planner

Landscape and golf course architect

A certified, licensed applicator

An artist

A mechanic

An irrigation technician

Meteorologist

Public speaker

An educator

A political activist

ALL IN A SINGLE DAY’S WORK!

The next time you head out the golf course, be sure to spend a couple of minutes getting to know the golf course superintendent and thank him for all the hard work and commitment they provide for your golfing enjoyment!

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How to safely remove salt from your soil

Hurricane season has arrived and the experts are expecting a very busy season. Not only do these types of storms leave immediate damage to properties in the form of flooding, wind damage, power outages but it can leave lasting damage to your turf and plants by increasing the amount of salts or sodium to your soils.

Unless you have salt-tolerant grass or plants, which most people do not, high levels of salts can be very devastating to your landscapes. Increased levels of salt act as a barrier to the plant’s cell wall, in essence tricking it into thinking it is in a drought situation even it there is plenty of water. When the plant can’t absorb the water in the soil it will shut down and go into dormancy and eventually will die due to lack of hydration.

There are a few ways to combat the salt issues if you don’t landscape with salt-tolerant plants and turf. You can spend time flushing the areas with clean water until the salts have been leached out of the ground. This takes an extreme amount of water to fully leach out the salts out of the root zone and is an irresponsible use of water in this age of conservation.

The safest, healthiest and most cost efficient way to rid your soil of high levels of salt is to use gypsum. But not just any gypsum, it has to be a calcium sulfate di-hydrate (CaSO4*2H2O). This form of gypsum is by far the most soluble form available. The best calcium sulfate di-hydrate gypsum on the market, SuperCal SO4 by Calcium Products, is extremely effective and efficient in correcting your high sodium levels in the soils.

Application of SuperCal SO4 is very easy. It comes as simple, clean, uniform pellets that can be spread using a broadcast or drop spreader. It is to be topically applied to the turf; for best results follow the application with a light watering to assist in the breakdown of the pellets. Because it is a naturally mined material it can be applied anytime during the year, regardless of the temperature. It will not burn the grass or affect the pH.

For the leaching of the salts due to extreme weather or due to high sodium levels from other factors, increase the suggested application rates from 5-10 pounds per thousand square feet to 20-30 pounds per thousand square feet.

Before long your turf will be thanking you; it will not only be salt free but healthier, stronger and more resistant to drought and disease pressures because the calcium strengthened the cell wall and increased the immune system of the plant.

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Goats on the course?

Mowing down unwanted vegetation…

I have been in the golf business for nearly 20 years. Most of the time superintendents turn to mechanical means to manicure their rough areas but in some locations superintendents go back to golf’s roots and employ goats.

Yes, you heard me, goats…check out how these two courses are using our four-legged friends to mow down some unwanted vegetation:

Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, Ca)

Hawks Tree Golf Club (Bismarck, ND)

 

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Want to avoid nutrient runoff?

Some interesting results have been compiled at the GCSAA TV website discussing an ongoing research project at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Brian Horgan at UMN has been involved in some great environmental concern-based research, and this study is one  I’ve heard about a few times and even had the pleasure of seeing the plots one time while visiting UMN.

The main take-home message from this research is that yes, excessive P inputs in your turf do lead to higher rates of runoff, however, properly fertilized turf will actually prevent erosion and nutrient runoff from the surface of your turf.  And unfertilized turf is actually more susceptible to nutrient runoff.  I’ll let Brian do the talking: http://www.gcsaa.tv/view.php?id=179

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