June 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 41 of 51

STMA IN ACTION News from the Sports Turf Managers Association 42 SportsTurf | June 2017 TOOLS & EQUIPMENT T U R F S C I E N C E R ightfully so, sports turf managers take great pride in their work. Creating a durable, healthy, beautiful playing field takes tremendous effort and a sophisticated understanding of the interactions of biology, chemistry, weather and exceptionally well—muscled men and women. Still, one of the most overlooked elements in turf health and appearance are the microbial populations in the soil. Microbes are bacteria and other organisms that live in the soil and help create consistent, even growth, disease and pest resistance, and improved water retention. There are a variety of factors that determine the quantity and type of microbial populations in the soil. Moisture, pH levels and most importantly, temperature all affect how these organisms will be working for you. Beneficial microbes exist naturally in the soil, but turf managers can increase their populations, and thus the health of the turf, by selecting a high—quality composted fertilizer. Healthy Grow Professional fertilizers are made using a unique aerobic composting process that creates the ideal environment for beneficial microbes to flourish. The litter from healthy, egg—laying chickens is mixed with organic materials and left to air—dry and breakdown at an indoor composting facility. The mixture is then carefully turned to ensure complete aeration, which is vital to promoting vital microbial growth. SO WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESE MICROBES DOING? Microbes increase root growth in the rhizosphere, an area of the soil that surrounds the root and is populated by a variety of microorganisms. When the rhizosphere contains the right mix of microbes and soil nutrients, something special happens. The roots provide carbon, which nourishes the microbes. In turn, the microbes "fix" the nitrogen in the soil, converting it to a form that can be absorbed by the roots. Stimulating microbial growth is also an effective way to control pests. The beneficial microbes that dwell in the rhizosphere cause disease to harmful insects, invertebrates and bacteria that damage the turf. Microbes can be a turf manager's best friend when it comes to controlling pests without the use of costly chemical applications; the result is a naturally more robust and resilient turf. Healthy Grow Professional is manufactured on—site at Pearl Valley Farms, one of the nation's largest fully sustainable egg farms and home to over one million egg—laying chickens. During the process of raising the chickens, the company founder realized that poultry manure makes some of the highest quality, lowest odor organic fertilizer available. The proprietary, indoor composting process takes up to 10 times longer than traditional commercial composted fertilizer. Most companies artificially heat their compost, which allows them to make it faster, but also kills most or all of the beneficial microbes, negating many of its core benefits. In addition to the beneficial microbes, aerobically composted chicken manure fertilizer is rich in humates, carbohydrates and trace materials, which naturally enhances any soil type and promotes turf quality. Plus, because it's completely organic, it won't burn the turf and the slow releasing nitrogen reduces fluctuations in turf appearance. Backed by university research and available in nine varieties, Healthy Grow Pro works great with all soil types and can be used during aeration, sod repairs, topdressing worn areas and most other stages of turf development and maintenance. GO TO THE SOURCE Most fertilizer providers do not manufacture the products they sell and have little control over material quality, consistency and content. When you buy directly from the producer, you cut out the middleman and take control of the product of the product you receive. At Healthy Grow Professional, composted fertilizer is all we do. We make it, we sell it and we even feed our chickens corn that was grown with it. —Jeff Leuzinger, Sales Manager, Healthy Grow Professional MICROBES MATTER: REWRITING THE PLAYBOOK ON TURF HEALTH

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