2020 has thrown the turf industry several challenges that none of us saw coming. But there are some lessons we can learn from such a tumultuous year.
Practice Patience. This year has not progressed like we thought it would. The visions we had for the year and the paths we planned to get there changed. But that being said, things have worked out for our industry in some part due to exercising patience. We all had to exercise patience when courses were shut down, when rules for playing golf had to change, and when new processes had to be embraced. Patience has proven invaluable for reaching goals in 2020 and, more than likely, for moving forward in 2021.
Communication has changed but is still vital. In lots of cases, now, we can’t just drop in and talk to customers and neither can our distributor partners. Also, events where communication used to take place, like association meetings and their golf outings, are not occurring as much. In-person communication is giving way much more to virtual and phone calls. With that being said we still believe it is key. We pledge to pick up the phone or join a virtual conference to help meet your needs. In fact, one of our reps has routinely taken conference calls and zoom meetings in 2020 to go over soil test results and recommendations.
Show up, even if it’s virtually. 2020 has been isolating for some and this can take a toll. Take a minute to call or check-in virtually with your friends, family, and customers. Just hearing your voice or seeing your face can brighten up someone’s day.
Product + Soil Sample Specific Lessons
Increased density of creeping bentgrass via Foundation Forty and CSi L. One customer noted to us this year that using Primo and higher rates of Foundation Forty and CSi L really increased the density of his creeping bentgrass. We have observed this for the last few years but not all customers are aware.
Foliar-Pak helps with green moisture management. A customer commented this year that he maintained lower moisture levels in the fall on his greens, which translated into better green speeds without mowing and rolling as much. Foundation Forty and CSi L are a big part of his program.
Foundation Forty and Grow-In expedite the recovery process. Increasing the rate of Foundation Forty helps the plant build energy without forcing excess growth and limits nitrogen inputs. This year, we saw increasing Foundation Forty rates, while making a recovery spray with Grow-In, accelerated the recovery process. Sometimes only a high rate of Foundation Forty (4 oz / 1000) will provide great recovery on its own.
Even in 2020, soil samples are important. Our customers noticed this year that submitting soil samples during peak summer stress was meaningful for making adjustments to nutrient and wetting agent programs. The repeated use of irrigation water in the dry periods has a major impact on the soil chemistry and nutrient availability in the soil. This, along with the fact that the turf system has consumed a lot of nutrients for a few months, will usually change the nutrient composition in the soil. Having said that, it is important to know what nutrients the plant needs during a very stressful period, especially for cool-season turf managers, since this is the most important time of the year in terms of visibility.