Whenever we lose turf during the summer months, we try to find the cause. We run chemical analysis of the soil, leaf tissue analysis, send samples to plant pathology laboratories to check for fungus diseases, test the irrigation water, and perhaps, we may even look for other causes, such as nematodes or problems with the soil structure. Frequently though, none of these tests show any problems that were sufficient to cause the loss of turf. When that happens, we tend to chalk up the loss to “summer stress.” We assume that the heat of the summer just put so much stress on the plant that it weakened and died. What really killed the turf is a combination of many factors.
Additional factors that can be associated with summer turf loss include: elevated salt levels from certain types of fertilizer, poor soil structure, localized dry spots, high soil temperatures, reduced root systems, fungicide deficiencies, and many others. None of these factors are sufficient to do damage separately, but acting in unison, they become lethal. However, since nothing shows up on our test results, we blame it all on summer stress.
The regular use of Nature Safe fertilizers as a part of an overall turf program can help alleviate all of these problems. You cannot wait until you have a problem before you use Nature Safe and then expect miracles. Many of the benefits that can be derived from using Nature Safe are cumulative and can only be realized through regular use of the product.
Regular users of Nature Safe report better rooted and denser turf. This is a result of the improvements in soil structure and the premium ingredients in Nature Safe. Soil that is flocculated and friable is conducive to good growth. It is the Nature Safe fed microorganisms that cement soil particles together, thus creating cracks and fissures in the soil that allows air and water to reach the roots, which can then grow deeper and to spread out. This, coupled with the extremely low salt content of Nature Safe, allows the plant to make better use of the water and nutrients that are available to it. The extra turf density helps to shield the soil from the heating rays of the sun and keeps the soil cooler.
Pathogenic nematodes and fungi are always present in soils in all areas of the country. These organisms tend to be poor competitors for the food and space available in the soil; however, they are excellent survivors. Their populations usually remain low until the opportunity presents itself, then they rapidly multiply and create problems. Even though their populations may be low, they can still cause some stress on the plant. This is normally referred to as subclinical damage. Nature Safe has been shown to greatly increase the populations of beneficial soil microorganisms and to significantly reduce the populations of the pathogenic organisms. In addition, Nature Safe has repeatedly been shown to enhance the efficiency of fungicides. The end result is a healthier plant that can withstand more stress from other factors.