If your family is anything like mine, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. In fact, around the country this winter many schools have been closed more for illness than weather. Why? If I knew I wouldn’t be selling fertilizer, but my guess is that there are a lot of similarities between the bugs that cause high fever and close schools and the bugs that kill grass.
In our industry, there are usually two distinct camps regarding disease management, each supported strongly by intelligent people with PhD after their names and well respected university affiliations. One side says rotate fungicides to minimize resistance, while the other claims a particular chemistry be used until it doesn’t work anymore. Both typically support preventative spraying at regular intervals.
At home, there are more medications and treatments for the common cold or flu than ever before. Most claim to be “new and improved” and they all taste like candy. So, why don’t they work? My theory is that we are continually building better mousetraps (medicines); unfortunately the mice (bugs) are getting smarter! Also, these medications treat the symptoms, not the cause. Of course, flu shots are offered yearly. It is a preventative measure to take to either avoid the disease altogether, or to lessen its impact on your health.
I believe similar challenges occur in turf. Maybe the bugs are evolving/mutating. Or, maybe it’s the same bugs that have just built up a resistance. Either way, the problem can cost your customer his/her job, not to mention a lot of money. What we do know is that sickness (human or turf) is best managed when the host is healthy. How many times do you get sick at the most inopportune time (usually a by-product of stress, not eating right, lack of rest, etc.)? The same is true with your turf. Disease occurs when the turfgrass is weak from stress. Therefore, an emphasis on turf health can have a dramatic impact on disease pressure. When sound nutrition is coupled with reducing the breeding ground for disease (thatch), the results are impressive.
To maximize turf health, a Nature Safe program is a must, it is a “flu” shot for turf. Nature Safe enjoys not only the validation of dozens of university studies around the country, but some of the strongest, most passionate testimonials in the industry. Why? I think the answer lies in the fact that Nature Safe delivers more than just NPK. The nutrition foundation creates an excellent tool to combat thatch, improve rooting, porosity, and turf density, all critical in warding off disease. Furthermore, the product performs better over time (the reverse of the fungicide debate noted above).
Managing turfgrass is a challenge. There are many excellent products that you represent that add tremendous value to your customers. To maximize your success and your customers, program sell products that work together to not only get the best result, but gain efficiency, thereby saving your customer money and headaches. Just like my Mom use to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure