Most superintendents who use Nature Safe as a regular part of their fertility program have found that fungus diseases attack their turf less frequently and with less severity. We know that we can control some diseases, such as Necrotic Ring Spot, by fertilizing with Nature Safe on a regular basis and totally eschewing fungicides. On other diseases like Brown Patch, Dollar Spot and even Snow Mold, Nature Safe will usually have a suppressing effect, but it will not totally eliminate them. Our research work and field experiences have shown reductions of these diseases of over fifty percent as compared to plots that were fertilized with synthetic fertilizer. Having greens or tees that have fifty or even seventy-five percent less disease than untreated areas makes for wonderful research data. Yet, some organic purists, and even some makers of organic products, would have you to believe that if you are on an organic program, you cannot use any chemicals or you will supposedly destroy the effects of the organic products being applied. Evidently, you are supposed to live with some disease on your turf because you are using organic products. Try explaining that one to the greens chairman at an exclusive country club.
All of our research at Nature Safe indicates that there is a synergistic relationship between Nature Safe and fungicides. We get better results where chemicals are used in moderation along with a regular Nature Safe program. To better understand this apparent contradiction, consider what happens when you spray an insecticide in an attempt to control flies or mosquitoes. When you spray, you do not kill only the flies or the mosquitoes. You also kill many other species of insects that are present. Some of these species may be quite beneficial, such as spiders or honey bees. Others may not seem to be beneficial directly to man, but they all have a role to play in the overall scheme of things. The same thing occurs when a fungicide is applied to turf. If the original target was the organism that causes Brown Patch, that is not the only organism that is killed. Usually a wide range of soil borne microorganisms will be killed. Some will be pathogenic organisms, but many others will be beneficial organisms.
One of the characteristics of most beneficial organisms is their remarkable ability to reproduce themselves quite rapidly if a food source is available to them. When Nature Safe is the regular fertilizer on a given plot of turf, the beneficial organisms will reproduce much more rapidly than the pathogenic organisms because Nature Safe provides the food energy in the form of amino acids that is needed for growth and reproduction. That means that when a fungicide is applied a broad range of organisms can be adversely affected. Both beneficial and pathogenic organisms can be killed, but the beneficial organisms have the ability to reproduce much faster than the pathogens if they have a good food source. Therefore, the ratio of beneficial organisms to pathogenic organisms is being changed. The end results are higher levels of beneficial organisms and lower levels of pathogenic organisms. Is it any wonder then, that we continually see a lower incidence of diseases where Nature Safe is used? This does not mean that we can totally eliminate the use of fungicides at any point in time, but it does mean that we can probably reduce the rate and/or the frequency of chemical applications. Some golf clubs have reported reductions of over twenty-five percent in their chemical budgets after switching to a regular Nature Safe program.
There are nine university studies available on our web site (create a link to the research segment of the web site here) that focus on Nature Safe’s disease management properties in conjunction with fungicide use. This research can help you understand the benefits of incorporating Nature Safe into your fertility program.