Sumagreen revisited

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Pilgrims' Pride, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Good questions axe.

    Ryegrass does not produce a thatch layer and I do not know if Decomposers in the sumagreen are out compeating the good guys?

    Clippings recycled yes.

    P is most available in the warm soil temps......But the P in my sandy loam soils is on the low side.

    What other Mineral element has such an effect on top growth besids N or P?

    Irrigation water is on the hard side so enough buffer there to bind some of the soluable P.

    Perhaps the Humic Acid in the Sumagreen is too high and knocks off too much bound Ca, Mg, P at this time?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Definately Points to Ponder... Usually turf, especially sand, is very stable when it lives in a self-sustaining soil environment...
    The only time I see runaway top growth in such soils, is when there is an excess of rain...

    How many inches per week are you irrigating???
    How often do you do the Sumagreen apps???
  3. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    1.5" a week total (every other day schedule) late afternoons so foliage can dry out before nightfall. Leaf wetness can be an issue here over 10 hours in the Valley. Soil drainage is excellent here on the test lawn.

    Rutgers suggests Midnight - 6am best watering times to avoid the 10 Hour wetness rule of thumb.

    I only made 1 Sumagreen application.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Early morning watering is the better way to go... around here the dew starts to fall around 3-4pm DST...

    There is very little information about Sumagreen and its 'phytohormones' or their high carbon cocktail, but if you got excessive growth on one application, I would be curious as to how long the effect lasts...
    The microbes may very well be cycling lawn debris and mining extra minerals from the soils, the wat that AM Fungi might, but that is most likely a growth spurt... will repeated applications of the product yield the same results, over and over again??? it is odd that they would develop a product that causes the same extreme growth that high energy urea causes...

    How did the lawn look in the Fall, when the heat of Summer was over???
    That is when the cool-season lawns are growing their best,,, so if the turf stayed lively, green and massive root development, then I'd say you have a winner...
    Otherwise I'd not use it before the Summer heat... I don't fertilize at all before the Summer heat(Late Spring instead)... If I thought Sumagreen was a valid product I would apply at the end of Summer heat and see if it grows the lawn into the Fall the way fertilizer does...
    The ground temps are still favorable for microbrial activity, so don't let that be an excuse... :)
  5. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    I wonder what your take is about the 'elephant in the room'?

    From my chair, the 'elephant in the room' is the idea that microbial or organic additions to the soil can positively impact the growing environment. The website you linked gives some great examples.

    In the article, Dr. David Zuberer (whose video presentation I've linked on this board previously) writes:

    "adding small amounts of organic materials like molasses to soils cannot do this. Soil microbes quickly use up substrates like these and little if any lasting effects are observed."

    "Probably the most significant thing a turfgrass manger can do to sustain soil microbial populations is to maintain a vigorous, healthy turf. We know that grasslands are excellent microbial habitats and they can accumulate substantial microbial biomass. The same is true of well-managed turfgrass environments."

    Adding to that, Dr. Zuberer also points out the failures (and their reasons) of soil innoculation with various microbes.

    No company selling such products has been able to produce reproducible peer-reviewed research showign that their products perform as claimed. They claim to defy science. This is why I an skeptical about their efficacy.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I agree that microbes will thrive in the right environment, but will not in the wrong environment, no matter how many times you apply them... I agree that adding compost to the soil will not only provide environment for microbes, but may actually modify the soil structure enough to benefit favorable microbes over the long term...

    Now let's take a closer look at the statement above from your quote...
    Maintaining "vigorous, healthy turf", as stated may sustain higher microbial populations... natural grasslands are excellent microbial habitats... and here is the clicher: "The same is true of well-managed turfgrass environments."

    What have we been told here??? healthy turf = healthy microbes... and one could even change the equation to say that ,,, healthy microbes = healthy turf... all of this is the basics of understanding the relationships between soil and plants that grow in them...
    I would like to take these basic ideas to the next level... whereas your quote said the same thing 3 times in 3 sentences in 3 slightly different ways,,, I would like to see a statement that goes beyond, and begins a discussion as to HOW that happens...
    Not only How, but WHY certain measures will work in some soils... and why certain measures will not work in other soils... the phrase "well-managed turfgrass" is so overused and such a meaningless cop-out that I can't really see how it applies to learning anything new...
    If you have weak and thin grass, you must not have "well-managed turfgrass", if you have disease well then you must not have well-managed turfgrass, and so on and so on...

    So what I'd like to see is for these platitudes and cliche remarks from great scientists to drop away as we rise up into the Hows, Whys and Wherefores,,, to actually create the environment and understanding what it is,,, that's happening... That's what I'd like to see... rather than just rehashing the same old introductory comments that don't get us started in actually doing something... :)
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We still need to learn enough about Sumagreen to explain Heritage's observation about rapid and excessive top growth... is it the humic acid, the phytohormones or a quick boost on N from another ingredient??? supposedly there is no N in Sumagreen...
    That is the subject at hand... :)
  8. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    I think you're misunderstanding your own link. You're insinuating that if you have unhealthy turf, you have to make the microbes healthy before you can make the turf healthy. That is not what Dr. Zuberer said in the link that you posted.

    Your link says that robust microbial populations accompany healthy turf and that the main way to produce a robust microbial population is by doing the things that create a healthy turf. The healthy turf MUST come first.

    I think this is the key point that most people are missing. Let's look at an important line:

    "To increase microbial activity in a soil one must make the environment optimal, or at least more favorable, in terms of aeration, moisture, and pH, and above all provide the organic substrates needed to fuel the population."

    If we make the environment favorable by providing aeration, moisture, proper pH, and nutrition, you will have healthy turf and it will produce the organic substrates that are needed to fuel microbial populations. The very same things that microbes need to thrive will produce a healthy turf!

    Further reading in your link also shows us that most types of microbial innoculations are a waste of time and money -- they don't work.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    So if that is where the misunderstanding is at then perhaps we can carry the conversation forward... becuz I agree with everything thing you just said...
    Innoculation onto bad ground is just about as useful as innoculation onto a gravel driveway... I hope this clears up what I think about innoculating problem turf w/out looking at HOW to fix the environment/habitat first...
    I also hope that it clears up WHAT the true issue really is!!!

    The real issue is not the platitudes of aeration, moisture, pH and the organic substrates... It is in the proper management of those things... So HOW is that done???
    Let me repeat this so that we donot cover the same ol'-same ol' useless back and forth ... How is it done!!!

    The real issue is How does the soil become properly aerated with correct management practices???
    How does the soil become properly moist with the correct management practices???
    Does dumping compost onto a lawn provide the correct management strategies of incorporating organic substrates???
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    Recall, too, that the link you posted also says that innoculation onto healthy stands usually doesn't work. It is nearly impossible to change the microbial populations in the environment. Applying Sumagreen's mix of microbes doesn't change populations in the soil at all.

    You're starting to draw a distinction without a difference. Read your own link:

    "To increase microbial activity in a soil one must make the environment optimal, or at least more favorable, in terms of aeration, moisture, and pH, and above all provide the organic substrates needed to fuel the population."

    There are microbes that do millions of different things and are useful for millions of different things. Zuberer is saying that the microbes that do useful things for turfgrasses thrive in environments that turfgrasses thrive in. How do you manage those things? You aerate to encourage soil oxygenation and plant root function, irrigate to maintain plant life, and maintain pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range. Organic substrates will occur from turf roots, thatch (ALL grasses produce thatch), and returning grass clippings to the lawn. Sandy soils could benefit from some OM addition, but the effect is usually only noticeable during the establishment phase.

    Again, read your own link:

    "bear in mind that amendments such as compost, which is essentially microbially decomposed organic materials, do not contain high levels of readily available carbon. Rather, they provide slowly useable substrates and contribute directly to the soil organic matter pool."

    Dumping compost on a lawn does very little to improve turf health and microbial activity of soils that already have at least some OM present. Remember, you still need proper aeration, pH, and moisture just to break down compost. You won't get any benefit from the compost if the soil already has some OM present.

    The lesson from your link and from the research is to manage turf how the universities have been telling us for quite some time: proper aeration, pH management, proper irrigation, proper fertility, and return the clippings to the lawn. It's not really any harder than that.

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