Testing is one thing, but what do they mean for the Turf Grower
Obviously the highest yield from a plant will come when the nutrient availability and levels are optimal. It should be understood that toxicity is just as bad as deficiencies, both these states will cause the plant to produce less growth. It is important to be able to test plants and growing conditions and understand the relationship these results have with the quality of plant growth. There are various testing methods and a number of suggested ideal results which should be aimed to achieve. These ranges are guidelines and as always, the turf grower will be the best person to understand what they want to achieve and what levels are best for them. Some may like to starve nitrogen from the plant to reduce leaf production whereas others may look to providing high levels of available nitrogen to create an influx of leaf growth; it will depend on what the grower wants.
Historically, the growers first tool is observation; looking for and detecting changes in growth patterns to identify changes in turf performance. This approach is generally coupled with historical data; whether by the built up knowledge the grower has made through experience or the records they keep. The other common method is to predict; this is done through the use of programs and schedules. It is a proactive approach to manage turf through schedules and predictions. Both of these techniques have their positives and negatives and are generally used in conjunction to get the best results.
To the left, we see a typical bell curve showing the effect of both nutrient deficiency and nutrient toxicity on yield. Although this curve will vary depending on the specific nutrient with some micro-nutrients having a steeper curve, it does illustrate how over fertilisation can be just as detrimental as under fertilisation. It is important to be able to accurately understand what the sufficiency range is and where your turf is on that range.
This can be achieved through various testing methods. Cazna's Horiba range of testing equipment is the leading on site testing method.
Growing Media 4th Edition
In the turf industry it is vital to be able to reference reliable information and quickly find key pieces of information. There are some components of knowledge we do not use every day but when we need them, we need them! Being able to find clear, easy to understand how to steps is a game changer.
The growing media text book has step by step instructions on how to conduct bulk density tests, set up an e-pan and many more useful quick and meaningful guides. It can be easy to get bogged down in daily operations and get caught up in just getting things done. Greenkeepers and growers especially in the growing period can be to busy to remember the fundamentals of the trade. This book helps us all center again and quickly remember past lessons and also teach us knew ones. A must on the work (or home) bookshelf.