A good environmental testing program will help your course meet environmental concerns about soil fertility programs. Innovative Testing, Better Analysis Help Superintendents Meet Environmental Concerns

 

 

 

 

In Minnesota and other states, new environmental protection laws impose strict new limits on phosphorus use in fertilizers. Golf course superintendents, who have always tried to be good stewards of the environment, now face even more rigorous requirements in the use of fertilizers on the links. Moreover, the stakes for golf club investors have been raised, for in some instances environmental tests can dictate whether a golf course can use fertilizer at all.

The case of The Preserve Golf Club near Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, illustrates just how important meeting the requirement of the new law can be. Operating under a conditional use permit, the course was under close scrutiny. It would not be able to fertilize at all, had it been unable to prove that its fertilizer programs were not increasing the level of nutrients beyond the naturally occurring levels in the soil, and therefore, were not contributing to chemical effluent in water run-off into adjacent wetlands and lakes. Had these levels been elevated, the fertility practices of the golf course would have been in jeopardy.

The superintendent's job was made more difficult because there is no easy way to determine how much phosphorus or nitrogen in the runoff is coming from fertilizer applications, and how much may be naturally occurring.So innovative testing and thorough analysis were called for.

In order to monitor the leachate levels in the different areas, several collection jars, called lysimeters, were buried in the greens, fairways, and woods. Their purpose was to collect water flowing through the soil to be analyzed for phosphorus, nitrogen, pH, conductivity, and ortho-phosphorus levels.

For the first several years, a local firm analyzed the results. Their analyses, however, shed no light on how much phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen occurred naturally and how much resulted from the fertilization program. In 2000-1, the course called in Craig Paskvan.

Craig broke down the data into their elemental forms, then submitted the data to Dr. Lam Ho, formerly the Director of the Environmental and Industrial Division at Brookside Labs, Inc., and now the owner of his own environmental consulting business.

After looking at all the data and work that was done at The Preserve for the 2001 growing year, Dr. Ho concluded that the fertility program in place at the golf course did not increase the levels of nutrients in the lysimeters beyond the baseline concentration ranges.

Why is the story of The Preserve important to golf course superintendents?

To see Dr. Ho's complete report, including tables and graphs, click here. The report is in PDF format, so Adobe's Acrobat Reader is required.

An article on our innovative testing and analysis at The Preserve Golf Club was published in the March 2004 Hole Notes, a publication of the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents' Association. You may see that by clicking here.

Cover of "Hole Notes" magazine containing article on Paskvan Consulting's innovative environmental testing.

 

Paskvan Consulting logo--soil tests, water tests, environmental tests, advice for golf course construction, sod farms, solutions for turf problems.Horizontal Red Bar

 

Intro
|
Who We Are
|
What We Do
|
New Courses
|
Bottom Line
|
How We Work
|
Laboratory
|
News-letters
|
Environmental Testing
|
International Work
|
Contact Us
|
Links
|
Seminar
| Discussion