I taught 3 seminars at the Czech Greenkeepers Association (Český svaz greenkeeperů) conference in Lednice. What a grand location for a conference! The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is a UNESCO world heritage site and the conference was held at Lednice castle in the baroque (and very grand) riding hall.
My slides can be viewed or downloaded at these links:
- Using the MLSN method for turfgrass nutrient requirements
- Turfgrass efficiency: the best playing conditions with the fewest inputs
- Turfgrass growth potential and measuring clipping volume
I started off by talking about beer. This seemed appropriate considering that the Czech Republic has the world’s highest per capita beer consumption. My discussion with beer experts in the audience helped us solve an important problem—how to make sure we have enough beer. Running out of beer is an avoidable disaster. So are nutrient deficiencies.
After that start, we discussed how the MSLN approach to making fertilizer recommendations is very much like the approach one takes to prevent beer deficiencies at a social event. And I went on to explain why the MLSN guidelines are so useful, and there was a short discussion about how the guidelines were developed.
I also gave a presentation about the Short Grammar of Greenkeeping. That is based on an approach to turfgrass management that considers the growth rate of the grass as key. Grass growing too slow cannot produce the desired surface. Grass growing too fast may be able to produce the desired surface, but doing it that way requires a lot of work that wouldn’t be necessary if the grass was growing slower.
My final presentation was about the temperature-based turfgrass growth potential (GP) and about clipping volume. That’s a lot to pack into 90 minutes, but we did it. GP can seem like magic, going from high and low air temperatures all the way to predicted magnesium use in May in Prague, for example. I explained how this works, and how it can be so useful. For turfgrass nutrient requirements, I like to use GP as a tool for making site-specific starting point estimates of nutrient use.
That’s a forward-looking approach, and then as the grass grows, one can measure the clipping volume, which shows what has actually happened. One can then reapply nutrients based on how much the grass has actually grown. That’s an approach that looks back in time.
So there is GP to make predictions and look forward from the present moment. There is clipping volume to measure what has really happened and look backward from the present moment. And one can also flip clipping volume around, looking at how much N it will take to produce the amount of clipping volume you want to have in the future.
I closed with a rhetorical question. “I don’t need an answer now,” I said, “but please think about this over the winter.”
“If the growth goes down 25% in the first year, and another 30% over the next two years, don’t you think the topdressing and verticutting and coring can be reduced? Don’t you think the surfaces will be better for more days in a year?”