February 4, 2002
We would like to thank all of you for a very successful year last year. As our business is expanding, we find ourselves traveling farther and farther from the office, making writing these newsletters more difficult to do in a timely manner. Our goal when we began writing these informational letters was four times a year. I don't need o tell you that we have not been able to meet that goal, but we are trying to do that.
Last year we saw a lot of black layer in greens. Much of that was due to the very hot humid weather that occurred last summer and the heavy syringing. Many times black layer can be there, but we cannot smell it until it is too late.
This winter an article appeared in the December issue of Golf Course Management on field test methods for identifying black layer. The article discusses two methods for identifying black layer. One is placing suspected soil in a glass and adding diluted hydrochloric acid. After allowing the soil and acid to mix for awhile, you uncover the glass and smell for rotten eggs. The other is to place suspected soil in a jar and cover the jar with lead acetate paper. If the paper turns black within ten seconds, you have a severe problem. If it does not turn black within two minutes, you do not have a problem. I think this is a neat idea that can give you a leg up before black layer becomes a problem.
Remind me when we visit with you this spring, and let me know if you are interested in using this approach. I have the lead acetate paper, and will be carrying it with me this summer. By the way, there are two types of black layer. One occurs deep in your root zone, and the other occurs just below your thatch. I'll go more into those two and why they occur in more detail in the next newsletter.
Keeping a healthy microbial system in your soil is the key to good plant growth. As we have talked before, the microbes in the soil are the intermediary between the plant and your fertilizer. The key is that the microbes eat first. Whatever is left over is what the plant can utilize.
In keeping with a healthy microbial population, we began feeding greens last year with yeast. At the time of aeration, we mixed 25 lbs of yeast into a cubic yard of top dressing sand. What we saw was two fold. Number one, there was a deepening of the color of the green within forty-eight hours after the application, and two, there appeared to be faster healing of the aeration holes compared to those greens which did not receive the yeast. Those superintendents that used the yeast are going to use it again this year. If you are interested in using this product, there is one particular brand we recommend. The product name is called Diamond V yeast, and is available in many Co-ops around the state. Dairymen and herdsmen have known for a long time the benefit of adding yeast to a ration and the impact it has on the micorflora in a cow's stomach.
We are taking this a bit further. There are two types of yeast products we are recommending. One is the regular yeast product and is used when mixing this with your top dressing sand. The other is a concentrated form and may be applied using a drop spreader directly to the surface of the green. I recommend doing this at aeration time. That seems to be where we see the most benefit. The company has e-mailed me the co-ops that carry their product according to the zip codes of my golf course clients. That way, I can tell you which is the closest co-op with their product. We think that this is a very good product and has lots of potential in the golf course industry. If you have any questions concerning this product, please give me a call.
I will be in Florida for the National Convention. I would like to make contact with all of you before the season begins. If you haven't heard from me, and would like me to stop by, please, feel free to call.
Again, I want to thank all of you for making 2001 our best year ever, and we look forward to serving you in 2002. Sincerely,