PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Global Soil Survey : 2014 Report

The Global Soil Survey was launched in August, 2013 to enlist turf managers from around the globe in the development of new, more sustainable turf nutrient guidelines, and we have just issued our first report on the Global Soil Survey. A summary of the report appears below:

  • We received 84 soil samples from four different countries (Canada, Japan, Thailand and U.S.A.) and one Crown dependency (Isle of Man) (Figure 1). All samples came from good performing areas of turf, with fourteen different turf types represented.
  • A complete nutrient analysis of each soil sample was conducted by Brookside Laboratories. The results were added to the existing MLSN (Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition) dataset, which is comprised of thousands of soil samples from good performing turf. The Survey data was also analyzed separately, so it could be compared with the already existing MLSN dataset.
  • The Global Soil Survey data showed what we have seen in the past — that good performing turf can be produced at nutrient levels that are much lower than conventional guidelines suggest.
  • As more Global Soil Survey data becomes available, we will continue to evaluate and re-analyze soil nutrient information, to incorporate the data into the MLSN database, and to make any adjustments in the MLSN Guidelines that the data indicate are necessary. All reports will continue to be made publicly available in a variety of public locations, including the websites of the Asian Turfgrass Center and of PACE Turf.

Thanks to the Global Soil Survey participants, the MLSN guidelines are now more robust and more broadly applicable than ever before. You can join the growing number of turf managers who have participated in the Global Soil Survey, by signing up here. You'll find out how rewarding and interesting it is to compare your own nutrient programs with the MLSN Guidelines, as well as to contribute to the development of the new, more sustainable MLSN Guidelines that will be used by turf managers everywhere.

Nematodes: the number don’t lie (or do they?)

The research study and report, "Impact of Plant Parasitic Nematodes on the Quality of Golf Course Greens" was conducted and written over 20 years ago, but still has significant applications today. It shows that although plant parasitic nematode numbers can very often reach very high levels, most nematodes have very little impact on turf quality — especially if turf is otherwise healthy.

While there are some exceptions to these observations (see this PACE Turf Update on "Status and Control of Nematodes"), it is important to remember that because healthy turf frequently supports higher levels of nematodes than struggling turf (probably due to much greater root mass, and therefore greater sources of food for nematodes), nematode counts can be very deceiving.

In the 22 California golf courses that were surveyed in this study, we found six different genera of nematodes including (nematode names followed by the asterisk, *, were the most commonly found nematodes):

  • Criconemoides* (ring nematode)
  • Helicotylenchus* (spiral nematode)
  • Meloidogyne* (root knot nematode)
  • Paratylenchus (pin nematode)
  • Trichodorus (stubby root nematode)
  • Tylenchorhynchus (stunt nematode)

Read the report, "Impact of Plant Parasitic Nematodes on the Quality of Golf Course Greens"

For more information on nematode biology and management:

MLSN Guidelines: The scientific basis

The MLSN (Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition Guidelines were introduced in 2012, and since then, have helped turf managers reduce fertilizer inputs without a loss in turf quality. Superintendents and academic who have evaluated the guidelines are profiled in these articles.

The scientific basis for the MLSN guidelines has just been published in the journal, Applied Turfgrass Science in the article, "Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition" by Drs. Larry Stowell and Micah Woods. The full text of the article can be seen here.

A 15 minute presentation by Dr. Stowell at the Crop Science Society of America annual meeting in 2014, entitled "Only What the Turf Needs: Updating the Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) Guidelines" can be heard here.

If you want to put the MLSN guidelines into place at your facility, consider taking part in the Global Soil Survey, a citizen science project sponsored by PACE Turf and the Asian Turfgrass Center that provides customizes MLSN guidelines for site specific conditions.

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