Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Years ago a group gave a presentation to a number of investors in a Nashville Airport conference room.  Below is the details we received after we inquired about what they were doing in turf. As part of our business planning process we brought the document out again. This time we decided to share it with others.


Beautiful turf that is easy and inexpensive to maintain have always been the desire of professional turf manager’s and homeowners ever since turfgrasses have been used to cover the soil. Today, lawns, sport turf and golf courses have become one of the most important factors reflecting prestige, value, quality, environmental concern, as well as beauty.  Most everyone realizes that "First Impressions are Lasting Impressions".  The first visual contact one makes with any building or site is its outdoor setting; including the landscaping, building and turf areas it is that first visually retained image that is so important.  It is this image that will be associated with a specific company, governmental agency, golf course, building site, home, etc.

People love and appreciate beautiful turf and landscapes. They expect dense, deep-green turf at the establishments they do their business.  This is the chief reason advertising agencies always place beautiful lawns and landscapes on the outside cover of their ad materials.

Turf Managers also realize that beautiful turf not only adds beauty and warmth to their properties, but also significantly increases its value. Professional turf managers’ attempts to obtain this desired "beautiful first impression turf" often become expensive and frustrating investments in time and money. To add insult to injury, these attempts require a continuing increase in time, energy, and expenses. Yet, the agonizing poor results keep showing up despite these repeated efforts one would expect that the turf should become stronger, denser, and less expensive to manage, and gain in beauty as they become more mature.  This is a very logical conclusion for anyone to reach; but, in reality, it most often does not happen.

One would also expect that the more expensive the products used on turf, the higher the application rates, and the more frequently they are applied, the better the results, the more the turf is "babied", the stronger, healthier and more beautiful turf.  Again, the complete opposite usually results:  The more products and care provided, the weaker the turf and the more susceptible it becomes to insects, diseases, adverse weather conditions, wear and tear: Eventually the turf loses its natural ability to fight off such adversaries and heal from the damage; the results never seem to justify the efforts or expense. 

What’s different about our approach? The answer is Nature!

In nature, prairie grasses grow quite effectively.  As the prairies mature, the grasses become more dominant; their growth multiplies and becomes denser.  Their root systems become aggressive and grow deep into the soil.  The soils supporting this grass growth become increasingly productive. Prairie soils are recognized as the richest soils in the world. It is the natural characteristics of grass growth that makes the soils richer. The richer the soil becomes the healthier and more productive the grass.  The process continues unless something upsets the cycle.

It is also known that turf grown and maintained by man, does not develop in the same manner, and the soil does not improve while the grass is growing. In fact, the opposite occurs, the majority of the time:  the grass roots do not grow deeply into the soil, but instead grow and accumulate on the soil surface. The accumulation does not decompose and forms an unhealthy layer of "mat and thatch". Once the turf is stressed in this manner it is very susceptible to insects, disease and weed infestation. Dead spots develop that require reseeding and/or resodding. Frequently this seed and sod does not become well established, and the turf becomes thinner, weaker and harder to maintain.

*The soil supporting grass managed by man does not improve as does the prairie soils.  Instead, the heavier clay and silt soils typical of most turf become tighter, harder, and more compact.  Levels of organic matter (humus) decrease. Water and fertilizers do not penetrate well and penetration decreases year after year. More frequent heavier watering is required to keep the turf alive.

These negative plant and soil conditions on golf courses, athletic fields, parks, industrial/commercial sites, home lawns, etc. are not rare occurrences.  In fact, these occurrences are rapidly multiplying throughout the world, wherever turfgrasses are grown for site improvement, looks, use and soil cover.  Turf problems and resulting consumer dissatisfaction have been around for many years.  Today the problems are more numerous and complicated.  Poor results obtained from generic turf products available for use resulted in the development and rapid growth of the custom turf (liquid and dry fertilizer + pesticide) application products.

Turf Managers look expectantly to these chemical applications to solve their turf care problems and frustrations. Professionals, using professional products, were certain to cure whatever problems existed and bring all turf back to good health and beauty.  But again, the turf managers have been disappointed.  These products have not solved the problems or conditions that created many turf problems

Surface observations indicate that when applying fertilizers on a routine basis, such as provided by these firms, some of the problems noted in the past have multiplied.  In some cases, turfs under such heavy treatments tend to thin out and die away at a faster rate. If this is true, then why do these negative reactions continue to occur at such an alarming rate? Because similar negative turf responses were occurring for so many years, it was obvious that answers and solutions had to be found that would correct the conditions.  The few universities engaged in turfgrass research 30 years ago did not have the funds or the facilities to begin such studies. If answers were to be obtained, they would have to come through private research.

Thirty years ago, our research was engaged in many areas of the turfgrass and ornamental field including:
* Garden stores and homeowners.
* A prescription Blender - Designing and formulating special products to cure, control, heal, and maintain turfgrass areas.
* A Service Applicator of Prescription Problem-Solving Products - Formulating the special products, writing detailed programs for turf improvement, scheduling applications to meet specific needs, designing and building specialized equipment for accurate application of the products.
* An Instructor - Teaching the science of turfgrass management.

Chemical firms supplying this market were interested in researching new products, but not in doing any basic research to find the causes and solutions to problems.

If anything was to be found and accomplished, a basic research program had to be designed, implemented, staffed and funded.  Thus, the research could be a continual operation, without any stoppages or delays.  The project was originally designed and initially staffed with one horticultural biologist.  As time passed, additional staff members were added to include turfgrass specialists, soil biochemists, plant pathologists, soil microbiologists, and many other specialists required to carry out such a complex, all-encompassing research project.  The funding has been supported from royalties received from the sale of products discovered and sold for consumer use, from consulting, training, and lecture fees.

Because of the growing negative results obtained from application of chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.), it was decided that the initial studies should be aimed at attempting to isolate the chemical or chemicals that were causing the problems.  Three years of extensive studies were initiated and carried out on product ingredient screening.  It became apparent that the obtained data was incomplete because no one had completed any intense studies based on how nature worked.  No one really knew how grass grew in nature; why or how it flourished; what the relationship was between the soil and grass plant; or the detailed chemical, biological, micro-biological reactions occurring within the soil.  Without such knowledge, conclusions could not be reached since there was no information or data available that comparisons could be made against that would provide all of the essentials necessary to be able to draw conclusions that would be more right than totally wrong.  We had to learn how nature worked before we could make any judgments on existing management practices, programs and products.  The total endeavor was redesigned.  Staff members were added.

The project of studying nature, attempting to find its many secrets, learning all of the details about its many reactions, life supporting properties, micro-organisms, the complex interrelationships, has been a most intensive and rewarding experience.  We have found many characteristics, organisms, natural products and substances that must be present in the soil in order to obtain the beneficial soil and plant building characteristics desired.

The spring of 2007 completed our 32nd year of studies.  Each year so many new discoveries have been made, that the project has been continually expanded into other markets, crops, and areas of soil and plant management.  Over the years, as new discoveries were made, they were put into operation in all phases of the turfgrass industry.  There they were applied, and their reactions were studied.  With increased data on the products, their formulations were improved so that results could be achieved on a positive and universal basis.  The continuing buildup of knowledge led to the development of methods to copy nature - methods and natural processes with products that would speed up natural reactions and improve upon them so that results could be seen quickly, and continual improvements would be accomplished.  It was learned that nature has a definite rhythm.  Certain requirements must be met before it will respond positively in helping to grow grass and all other forms of plant life. If these requirements are not met, nature will react negatively, to fight off the adversities being created.  This is what most often occurs on man-managed turf.  If, on the other hand, the basic necessities of nature are provided, nature will assist in helping man obtain the desired results.

Years of costly research are now paying off!  We now know a great deal about the characteristics and workings of nature. We have been able to duplicate many of her reactions and substances, and have now been able to provide them in the form of specialized natural/organic products.  The very best results obtainable can be achieved without complex equipment, or hard laborious work.  By using specific products, you will be able to see positive reactions within a relatively short period of time.  For your efforts, that would provide all of the essentials necessary to be able to draw conclusions that would be more right than totally wrong.  We had to learn how nature worked before we could make any judgments on existing management practices, programs and products.  The total endeavor was redesigned.  Staff members were added.

This packet is designed to provide you with the basic information required to thoroughly understand the natural reactions, logic and purpose of processes that must be completed in order to achieve complete success.  The content of the packet is a summary of 32 years of detailed and accumulated research.  The conclusions and the products are, by all means, not final.  But, they will provide a far better understanding and safer method to acquire more positive turf results.  The methods, products, programs and other information should not be considered in total, or in part, to be an absolute cure-all.  Nature is a very dynamic system, but we are confident that the products, when applied as directed, will work as explained above with very few exceptions.

Many of the statements made in this text may be shocking. You might conclude that some of the products on the market are causing many of the problems associated with 90% of turf today.  Why do manufacturers sell such negative producing products?  In defense of the manufacturers, they may have been, or possibly still are selling poorly performing products.  Some of these products are not known by them to be poor performers.  They may have never thought to do extensive studies on their products, or felt they were needed.  (Note: Tobacco was never thought to be dangerous to humans until recent research indicated that tobacco causes cancer).

Still other characteristics of ingredients used in many of the products offered in the maintenance of turf and gardens have been known for years to be poor performers and possibly cause problems.  But, the economics of providing a product that will sell in large volume dictates the use of these problem producing products.

The real problem in most cases is the budgets.  Mangers are usually looking for the least expensive, most convenient product and program to grow turf.  Cost is usually the first consideration; therefore, the majority of products offered on the market for turf and garden usage is of the lowest possible cost.  The fact remains that the most managers have never been educated to the true needs of the turf; that is the purpose of this company.  In order to be successful, there are a number of factors necessary in order to understand why, how, and what must be done in order to overcome problems, excessive and unnecessary expenses.  Positive results are the ultimate goal.

The packet includes information on various topics including:

  1. The Technical Subject Matter - You must know how grass grows, what are soil, fertilizer, micro-organisms, and the relationship between all of these.  How Nature works, its living creatures, and their ability to work together to help each other.  How Man, unknowingly upsets      it, cancels out its many benefits, and creates a toxic condition thereafter.
  2. The Problem Section - How typical problems develop, how to recognize their symptoms, find their cause, and prevent re occurrences.
  3. The Program Section - Programs designed to solve and control some of the basic problems that affect turf.
  4. The Personal Help Section - Charts, forms, and miscellaneous information and assistance that is available.
  5. The Product Section - Identifies the products that are designed to control and prevent problems naturally. How the products are produced, what they do and do not contain, and how they work within the soil and plant.

Remember that their goal of obtaining a healthy, beautiful turf must be divided into several steps.  Each step must be accomplished before you can proceed to the next plateau.  The steps are:

  1. Save Your Turf - Strengthen, heal, and prevent further die-back.
  2. Relieve Soil Stress - Get rid of the toxic substances that may have accumulated over years of management.  Loosen the soil and assist the penetration of air, water and nutrients within the soil.
  3. Recharge the Soil - Apply essential ingredients necessary to obtain a natural, strong healthy plant and productive soil.
  4. Maintain the Soil and Turf - Treat so that the soil remains productive and the grass remains strong, healthy and beautiful.

It is very simple, easy and practical.  Although the costs may initially seem to be considerably higher than any fertilizer product, this is a total program that works with nature.  The products are more expensive than fertilizers.  But, the program will provide positive results that will reduce costs year after year.  Fertilizers applied on a continual basis will NOT reduce costs year after year. In fact, they may cause conditions that will encourage extra costs (insects, diseases, weeds, thinning and death). 

When Turf Mangers consider the cost of inexpensive chemical fertilizers, the total costs for all subsequent products, applications, seed, sod, labor, etc. must be taken into account.  When considering all of these factors, the natural/organic product approach will always prove to be least expensive overall. Best of all, beautiful turf is assured.

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