Turf In Focus: Turf Professional Captures Image of Frozen Golf Course

This month’s Turf in Focus was taken by turf professional Mitch Davidson of Dinosaur Trail Golf & Country Club in Drumheller, Alberta. The photograph shows what happens when golf course irrigation systems malfunction during fickle fall weather. As Davidson says, the course was so icy that you “could have almost skated” on it. Fall is a tricky time for superintendents as they have to balance the needs of the course and customers with mercurial temperatures. Looks like one of our fwy block valves decided to stay on. Could have almost skated on 18 today @SuperProblems pic.twitter.com/VorMkSgdJP — Mitch Davidson (@MitchDavy) October 15, 2013 Stay tuned for more turf industry snapshots and if you have one of your own you would like to submit, please send it our way. On Twitter? Share your photo with @FMCturf or just add the #TurfInFocus hash tag to your tweeted photo! What is In Focus? As a turf care professional, you often come across interesting situations. Strange turf diseases. Huge fire ant mounds. And for some of you, even the occasional alligator. Many of you take pictures to document these encounters, and as true turf enthusiasts, we want to see them and share them with the world! That’s why FMC Turf Wire runs Turf In Focus, a monthly feature highlighting some of the most eye-catching photographs captured by turf care professionals on the...

An Analytics Tool for Turf Industry Social Media

At its most basic definition, link-shortening is using a social media analytics tool to create a URL that uses fewer characters to go to the same website. Link-shortening also provides a way to determine whether a link is being clicked on by users as noted above. Though there are many different social media analytics tools used to shorten links, a commonly used service is the ow.ly domain, generated by Hootsuite. An ow.ly link is formed once a link is copied and pasted into its “Add a link” feature. Besides ow.ly, you can use bit.ly, goo.gl and tinyurl to shorten URLs. Twitter also has a built-in link shortening system called “t.co” that automatically shortens any URL that is over 22 characters to a http://t.co link. Not only is a shortened link more aesthetically pleasing than an endless string of characters, it also allows you to analyze the link when created through a trackable URL shortener to see how users are interacting with it. You can determine which time of the day and what types of content perform best, thus more likely to lead to user interaction. To learn more about social media analytics tools, read our post related to using Google keywords and UTM codes. With only 140 characters to convey a message on Twitter, using a shortened link cleans up the valuable space you have and makes for a more effective tweet. Though Facebook’s character limit is higher, a shortened link simply looks more professional. Here is an example of link shortening: Before: http://fmcturfwire.com//2013/06/five-free-online-marketing-and-search-tools-for-turf-professionals-2/ After: http://ow.ly/nG3iv If you click both links, you’ll notice that they both go to the...

Fall Lawn Care Tips to Keep your Turf in Tip-Top Shape

Now that fall has arrived, lawn and landscape professionals may expect their contract work to ease up a bit. But fall is a good time to focus on specific lawn and landscape maintenance tasks that will supplement income and maintain labor force well into winter. Here are four fall lawn care suggestions: Fall Herbicide Treatments: Cooler fall months are an optimum period for controlling perennial broadleaf weeds, such as white clover, wild violets, dandelions and plantain. Fall weed control is better when plants are not under stress due to heat and drought. Plus, perennial broadleaves take in nutrients in the fall for storage during winter months. A fall-applied broadleaf herbicide will accompany the nutrients stored in the crown. QuickSilver® herbicide is engineered to be effective in both cool and warm climates. Add QuickSilver to every postemergence herbicide tank mix and see fast control of a broad spectrum of mature, perennial broadleaf weeds. Fire Ant Control – South: The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is a stinging nuisance and potentially serious health threat in more than 13 Southern states. Fall is an excellent time to treat for fire ants in customers’ lawns or on commercial properties because fire ants become more active when temperatures cool down (air temps between 70-85 degrees). In addition, fire ant mounds don’t stay very deep in the ground in cooler fall weather, which makes them easier to control with a granular insecticide. Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granular insecticide eliminates fire ant colonies within 15 minutes and provides residual protection for at least four months. Also, treating fire ants in the fall when colonies are...

Turf Industry Pros Further Water Conservation Efforts

Recently, I was channel surfing one evening and came across In Play with Jimmy Roberts on The Golf Channel. This was the first time I had ever seen or heard of this show. The first story on this particular episode was about water conservation in the golf industry. The piece started off with the following statement: “Water is now oil in the industry.” Water is now oil in the industry — Pretty strong statement in my opinion. As I complete my 20th season being involved in the green industry, it seems as if the industry is under more scrutiny than ever before when it comes to water conservation. But, should it be? I believe the common public perception still today is that golf courses dump copious amounts of water on their sites to keep everything emerald green, when in reality that perception could not be further from the truth. The general public, more times than not, is unaware of what repercussions can result from over watering turf, not only from an agronomic standpoint. In some parts of the country using too much water can come with a stiff fine and many courses are even forced to buy water each year, so they have a vested interest in not buying more than they need. Instead of being scrutinized, our industry should be looked upon as stewards of water conservation. I tip my cap to golf course superintendents today and their efforts in maximizing water conservation. Many superintendents that I know and have worked with in the past are constantly tweaking their irrigation systems daily, if not more often, to maximize...

A Greenhouse Owner Discusses Aphid Control

Basil was big this year at Casa Verde Growers in Columbia Station, Ohio. So were parsley and cilantro. The 895,000-square foot greenhouse operation specializes in annuals, perennials and vegetable plants — but the herb business is growing fast. “We tweak production each year according to customer demands and what moved well the year before,” says Wayne Cousins, facility manager and head grower. “Herbs are picking up but we grow a little bit of everything – petunias, impatiens, Easter lilies and vegetable plants.” Casa Verde supplies nine retail stores — Petitti Garden Centers – in the Cleveland area and sells some wholesale plants to local garden centers and florists. A year-round operation, Casa Verde grows mums for the fall and poinsettias for the holidays, but gears most of its production for the spring. “You’ve got to make in the spring or it’s pretty much over for the year,” adds Cousins, who holds a master’s degree in horticulture and has been with the company for 20 years. “Our growers address each production challenge as it comes up throughout the year….mites, aphids, thrips and downy mildew are some of the issues we usually face.” Though his growers have successfully used beneficial nematodes for thrips, they tend to stick with conventional pesticides for tougher insect problems. For several years, they’ve used Aria® insecticide on crops that are particularly susceptible to aphids, such as Easter lilies, according to Cousins. “Aria is one of the main control products we use in our operation,” he notes. “It works very well for aphid control. The nice thing is that you can spot spray it where needed. “Aphids...