Radish seedlings on a bentgrass nursery after fumigation

Last November I saw a creeping bentgrass nursery in Japan. The nursery had been fumigated to kill seeds in the soil before the bentgrass seeds were planted.

I was surprised to see, scattered across the nursery, plants with big leaves that clearly were not creeping bentgrass.

“What’s that?” I asked, wondering how such plants could be growing if the soil had been fumigated.

“It’s a daikon,” the greenkeeper told me. That’s a big radish, Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus.

“These daikon seeds germinate in just a few days,” he told me. “We use them to check that the soil is safe for planting the bentgrass, after fumigation.”

A few radish seeds are planted in the fumigated soil. Once the radishes germinate, then the bentgrass an be planted with full assurance of safety.

I hadn’t seen that before. That’s a cool turfhack and no need to worry about those radishes infesting the bentgrass nursery as a weed. The radishes won’t tolerate low mowing, so once the bentgrass is mown, no more daikon.

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