I recently met John Gay, superintendent at Forest Lake Club in Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to my visit, I was told that John was extremely well respected by his peers in the Southeastern U.S. One of the reasons John is held in such high regard is that he employs consistent turf management practices.

Since 1997, John consistently uses Nature Safe as part of his regular turf program. It is the consistency that helps John avoid the many challenges his peers face. This year, John’s turf challenge was a cool spring. There was only day in June above 90 degrees. You can imagine what that means for anyone with TifEagle greens; the greens have struggled to grow.

Cool temperatures slow photosynthesis and the growth rate of Bermuda. The plant then depletes carbohydrate reserves more quickly than it can be replenished. Nature Safe helps build the population of beneficial microbes in the soil. When these microbes die off, they release C02. The C02 drifts to the soil surface. Elevated levels of C02 at the soil surface makes it easier for the photosynthetic process to occur and easier to build carbohydrate reserves. The plant is then better able to weather any stresses that might develop as the summer unfolds and temperatures soar above the 90s.

John’s consistent use of Nature Safe made his turf less susceptible to the challenges that can be brought on by a cool spring. He avoided the challenge of a weak stand of Bermuda, unlike many of his colleagues.

John Gay’s Nature Safe Program


John applies 8-3-5 at .5 lb. N/1,000 sq. ft. on a monthly basis for maintenance of his TifEagle greens.


Two annual applications of 1 lb. N/1,000 sq. ft. each application.

John does one conventional core aeration where Nature Safe is drug into the holes.

Dry Ject aeration is used for his second application where the sand and the Nature Safe are injected into the hole with forced air.