Sumagreen revisited

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

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I'm not sure why you are taking such an antagonistic attitude towards me and my wish to move beyond this intro. 101 article...
    Define Proper Irrigation, How often to aerate and Then we'll know what the Universities have been telling us all along...

    So the Sumagreen was likely a "Flash in the Pan" probably along the lines of compost Tea... quick action of converting some OM to useable form but will eventually eat up the food sources in the soil, the added humates and even the plant hormones... once they're gone the turf should return to normal growth...
    Maybe the stuff should be used only in the Fall as the grasses are starting to slow top growth but the warm soil continues to build root mass to the best of its ability... JMO... :)
  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    I don't think I'm being antagonistic at all. If you guys are talking baotu the same Sumagreen product they tried to sell to me, then we're talking about a mainly microbial product. Other things (humates, plant hormones, etc) are very small players -- small enough for their sales reps to tell me that they're inconsequential. The main thing they tried to sell me was microbes. The article you linked (with years of research to back it up) tells us that microbial additions to turfgrass systems are a waste of time and money. That's it.

    Even if you did have a product "along the lines of compost Tea... quick action of converting some OM to useable form but will eventually eat up the food sources in the soil, the added humates and even the plant hormones," you still couldn't reproduce the conditions and turf quality that you can get with conventional management -- and it would cost you multiple times more to go with a compost method.

    I guess I don't see the benefit in trying to re-invent the wheel. It seems that the best these alternative products hope for is to come close to conventional results. Why not use the conventional methods, get the conventional results, and save money in the process?
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Forget the stupid Sumagreen already!!! I'm asking now about proper irrigation... the word, "proper" has no real meaning of its own and so I'm asking you what is "proper" irrigation... for about 4 days now...

    The idea of "conventional" is another fallacy, becuz 1 Size does NOT fit all... So "converntional" and "proper" are generic and meaningless terms, when you are telling people, "HOW" to care for their turf and "WHY" it is better than Sumagreen, compost tea, or chicken poop...

    Remember my post about the Whys and Wherefores??? That is what needs to be nailed down... Heritage, isn't interested anymore and I gave my opinion as to why he saw a spike in growth,,, so it's done now...
    The typical nonsense about proper water and aeration, that doesn't bring into the equation Soil Texture and How we build a structure accordingly, is not proper at all...
    That's why Sumagreen, CT, and Fert salesmen make money with their superior products...

    So for the last time,,,I know that adding microbes to the soils is not a long term solution, however it IS obvious that the micrbes oftentimes mineralize nutrients for the plants, and even provide for them with their dead bodies... that is a natural reality and is no mystery... :)
  4. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    We really need to revisit this? Proper irrigation is somewhat less than an exact science and you can switch between competing philosophies depending on your needs. Some folks (like me) prefer the deep and infrequent strategy, while others irrigate based on various levels of ET replacement, and several other strategies exist.

    But, they all rely on one underlying principle -- make sure that water is not limiting plant function. This isn't that hard.

    Conventional management is NOT 1 size fits all. Conventional management dictates that you change your specific treatments based on the conditions on your site. No one on this site wants to read a post containing all the one-offs and what-ifs about managing turf on several different soils.

    The water and aeration talk was spurred on by the link you cited, which mentioned that water and aeration (among others) are the keys to healthy microbial populations -- and they are also the keys to healthy turf.

    Read your own link -- adding microbes is not even a short-term solution -- it doesn't work at all! The microbes involved in OM mineralization are always present in the soil and will thrive when the conditions exist that favor turfgrass growth. Adding a few drops of microbes per square foot makes no difference at all.

    Maybe you didn't read your link very well. The word "proper" refers to optimal conditions for growth. Your link explains that the optimal conditions for turf growth and microbe function are the same. If you manage to create helathy turf, you will create healthy microbes. Maybe you read that to mean that if you manage to create healthy microbes, you create healthy turf, but doing that requires the same mowing, watering, pH adjustment, aeration, and fertilizing that you do in conventional turf management.

    Again, your link says that the way to get microbes to work for you is to do the things that universities have been telling us for the last 50 years. Is that so hard?
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Using irrigation to build soil structure, by using irrigation,, to create an environment/habitat allowing structure building microbes to thrive...
    Using irrigation to grow healthy turf,,, with beneficial mictobes,,, while inhibiting fungal pathogens from taking over the lawn...

    People have supposedly done proper irrigation,,, yet are unable to create a suitable habitat for the microbes that are considered most benefical for nutrient cycling, aeration structures, etc...

    Why is that??? Why are the beneficial microbes, going to drop dead, and why are they not growing actively in the turf already???
    Perhaps you are correct , that no one is interested in the various irrigation strategies for the various soils and growing conditions... soil structure is definately not important to root development and turf health... sorry to have wasted everyones' time... :)
  6. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    What are you talking about?

    Maybe you're confused on soil structure (the combination or arrangement of primary soil particles into secondary units or peds).

    Why get all worked up about irrigation? Are you suggesting that all our turf problems can be solved with water applications? Irrigation isn't the end-all-be-all. Don't forget the other factors that your own link listed.


    The beneifcial microbes that you keep harping on are ALWAYS in the environment (read your own link!) They are less active when the turf is sparse and they are more active when the turf is healthy. Research has shown that you cannot add more or make the current ones more active in hopes of relying on them (in whole or in part) to help build your turf stand -- that doesn't work!

    Microbes increase in number and function only when things are done to encourage turf growth.

    Let's put it this way:

    Healthy Turf = Active microbes
    Unhealthy Turf = less-active microbes
    Cannot have the same level of activity and the same populations of microbes without active turf, even if you add microbes

    Microbes respond to their environment. You don't have the same levels and kinds of microbes in a sparse turf as you do in a thick turf. If you try to add microbes or substrates without first improving the turf, the microbes will ramp up until they eat the substrate (or each other), then you will be right back to where you started (I think Sumagreen et al know this and this is why they want you to buy their stuff -- so you'll always be coming back for more).

    All the research and university links agree -- conventional methods work, microbial methods do not.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    OK,,, I tried... :)
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I thought as long as I had this article and it would help put things in perspective,,, possibly,,, that I would go ahead and post it...
    The article can be found at this URL and is also being put forth in another forum...
    "... Irrigation, if not properly applied, can compound this problem by breaking up aggregates, increasing sodium content, and leaching clay."
  9. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    Ha ha :) You didn't read your own link, did you?

    The section in the article you referenced talks about the impact of tillage on soil structure of agricultural fields -- bare soil fields, annual crops, completely tilled and replaced each year.

    In case you're not familiar with home lawns, they are not usually bare soil systems, they are covered with perennial crops, and are not replaced each year. Tillage (in the same vein as referenced in your link) is performed only during establishment (and sometimes during renovation).

    In bare soil ag fields, irrigation can break up soil aggregates from the energy of the water drops hitting the bare soil. That won't happen in a lawn with turf cover on it. Sodium content is only increased when bare soil is exposed to excessive water evaporation at the surface -- which doesn't happen in established lawns. Clay is only leached when water is allowed to bombard bare soils, separate the soil fractions, then run off as water channels are cut into the bare soil. Again, this doesn't happen in established lawns.

    Remmeber, this whole thing goes back to the role of soil microbes in lawns. You are trying to tell me that irrigation is the most important thing in this process. Water is certianly important, but only to the point where water is not limiting to the function of the microbes. All you need is enough water to support life -- not too much and not too little.

    But, the proper amount of water for microbes is also the proper amount for the turf. Again, doing the things that promote healthy turf will promote microbial activity. You can't have healthy microbes without creating healthy turf first.
  10. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,376

    imho...The correct application of water is always the same for most actively growing high maintenance lawns or any growing turf for that matter and its to only apply when dry..any way you slice it.

    What has always been my practice is to irrigate when 50% to 60% of the turf areas show drought and only then. Established ornamental can handle much longer periods without water.

    Only water when dry period. Water does not cause growth but it sure aids in accomplishing this action.

    IMHO...the elephant in the room is the low discussion of how great the negative impact of having turf and ormamental irrigation zones tied together. This is the most ******ed instulation practice in the industry.

    This continued irrigation practice I use has IMHO enabeled me to minimize all pesticide us if not cut them out compleatly in my mature landscapes. All due to correct watering applications not proper watering.

    My best tip would be to cap any and all of your ornamental irrigation heads that irrigate well established hard woody ornamemtals. They will be fine. Trust me. What looks like severe damaging drought to the untrained eye will be different for the well experienced eye. My eye tells me which stage of drought is healthy and which stage in drought is going to be damaging.

    Just my opinion...If those responsible for installing irrigation systems recognized that segrigation of turf and ornamental zones are absolutely necessary under all climates. Any other way is miss managed irrigation from day one or at least setting the stage for failed areas of the landscape.

    After this has been accomplished I believe microbes would become more effective and that would be the right time to discuss their role in the surviving landscape.
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