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November 26, 2000

Dear Client:

This newsletter brings to a close another very successful and rewarding year for us.  Time and time again I hear how balancing your fertility program has made solid changes in how your turf has responded. What is very gratifying to me is when superintendents explain that the universities and the chemical companies have not been able to come through for them, but that they can see a response when they begin to apply our corrective program. You are also telling me that we are saving you money as well. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you.

Treating bicarbonate problems

This time of year affords you the opportunity to look over fertilizers. If you have an irrigation water problem due to high bicarbonates, now would be a good time to begin looking for products that have calcium in them. Anytime you have bicarbonates over 120 p.p.m., the bicarbonates will tie up available calcium in your soil. To ensure that your turf has enough available calcium, you need to be adding some type of calcium during the growing season. There are a number of liquid calcium products that will do the job.

I am probably more partial to gypsum for a couple of reasons. Because gypsum is approximately 22% calcium and 18% sulfur, it will give you a net of about 4% calcium that will be available for your plants. Secondly, the sulfur in gypsum will work away at the bicarbonates in your soil’s pore spaces.  The sulfur from the gypsum will break the bonds that the bicarbonates form, and then you can leach them through your soil profile.  Bicarbonates will also tie up your potassium as well. Again, because of the anion/cation relationship here, you need to apply enough potassium during the year to offset the bicarbonates you are applying every time you water.  Remember, high bicarbonates will tie up calcium and potash, so those two items need to become a part of your maintenance fertilizer program Incidentally, the USGA Green Section Record for September/October of this year has an excellent article entitled  “Understanding Water Quality and Guidelines to Management.” If you don’t receive the Green Section, and would like a copy of this article, call me and I’ll see what I can do, otherwise, you can reach them on the net at

New greens contruction test package

I received some welcome news from Bookside Labs. The lab has put together a new quality control test for new greens construction that will have a turn around time of 24 hours. This is for superintendents, contractors, and architects who are in the process of building new or rebuilt greens and are looking for a confirmation on the blending of your sand and peat. The test package includes: silt and clay (reported as one combined value), sand, gravel, organic matter, sand fractions, and saturated hydraulic conductivity. As I said the results will be available in 24 hours at a cost of $225.00/sample.  

Minnesota phosphorus issue continues

There is one more thing that I would like to briefly touch on before I go on.  From paging through my issues of Hole Notes, It appears that this issue over phosphorus in the seven country metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota is not over. As I have mentioned to you in my past newsletters, Brookside has a number of tests that can be taken to accurately determine what your phosphorus levels are and what your needs are. If this is an area of concern to you, please visit our web page at and go to the newsletter section, or feel free to contact us at . We will be more than willing to help you.

Winter conferences

I look forward to visiting with many you at the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation Seminar in Minneapolis in December. Unfortunately we will not be able to be there all the time. We will also be at the National Superintendents Conference in Dallas in February.  I also look forward to visiting with many of you there. Please feel free to stop by our booth at the national in Dallas this February. Our booth number this year is 1941.

Again, thank you for your support, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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