PENN STATE GOLF COURSES: Solving Green and Tee Box Troubles
RhizoSorb™ has been shown to significantly improve root growth in a variety of cool and warm season grasses. Root systems reaching further in the soil profile with a higher density of root hairs are better able to defend against disease, drought, and damage, leading to a reduction in chemical inputs, lower management costs, and less water consumption. The Penn State Golf Courses offered their 36 holes to conduct the field research described below.
ABOUT THE CLIENT: Blue and White Goes Green
Richard Pagett, the superintendent at Penn State Golf Courses, manages over 300 acres of landscape not far from campus. The course is built on native soils heavy in clay and faces typical weather conditions for a course in the Northeast. Greens and tee boxes are a mix of bent, rye, and poa.
Pagett was facing a number of challenges when we approached him in 2015 to run some field trials. Some challenges were heavily shaded tee boxes not establishing completely, high traffic areas struggling to recover, and like most courses in the Northeast, shallow rooting during stressful weather in the hot summer months.
The course had used traditional means to addressing their root issues: Regular deep core aeration and topdressing, well monitored watering and drying cycling, and DryJecting once per year.
RhizoSorb™ was originally tested on a practice green at the Blue Course. Four 45ft2 plots were marked using spray paint. Two of the plots were aerated with 3/8” deep core tines at a depth of 4.5” and spacing of 2×3”. One aerated plot received RhizoSorb™ and one received sand only as a control. One non-aerated plot had RhizoSorb and sand topdressed and the last non-aerated plot was left without any treatment for a control. The application rate of RhizoSorb™ was 30lbs per 1000ft2.
A second application was applied to the original plots and a replication of the four treatments was done on the same green. During the hottest week in July, the irrigation line broke on the research plot and forced a drought for two weeks on the green. After the small scale studies, RhizoSorb™ was applied to the front nine greens on the Blue Course and one on the White Course. RhizoSorb™ was also applied to the back half of the tee boxes.
In just two months from the first application, RhizoSorb™ more than doubled the root depth in the plots receiving the product during aeration. The second application of RhizoSorb™ drove roots even deeper. Top dressing the product did not stretch roots nearly as when applied to the aerated plots. The replicated plots verified this in multiple conditions, from heavily shaded tee boxes to practice greens facing a severe drought. When the irrigation line broke, the entire green had died besides the small plots containing RhizoSorb™. A profile sample was taken and showed the root systems reached three inches deeper, which was more than double the control plot, saving the turf during the heat stress. Tee boxes in heavily shaded areas were reseeded after aeration and the half that had product applied established quicker. Aeration holes closed 40% faster in plots with RhizoSorb™.
RhizoSorb™ more than doubled the root depth at the Penn State Golf Courses after just one application. The product works by soaking up and controlling the release of key nutrients overtime. Controlling the availability of phosphorus in particular stretches roots deeper. RhizoSorb™ is an annual/biannual application incorporated during aeration to ensure it gets mixed uniformly into the root zone to provide a cost effective and long-lasting impact on root growth. Better roots allow for a better quality turf using less chemical inputs.
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