I was recently in Spain at the invitation of the Asociación Española de Greenkeepers (AEdG) to speak at their 34th Congreso in Madrid. My presentations were about nutrient requirements for putting greens and about turfgrass management in Asia.
Most of the greens in Spain are creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), and I spoke with the delegates about the growth potential of that grass in response to different temperatures and how we can estimate how much of each element will be required by the grass based on growth potential and soil nutrient analyses. We can actually simplify the nutrient requirements of putting green turf to what is essentially a one-minute version – keep pH more than 5.5 and less than 8.3, apply enough nitrogen to produce the desired growth rate, and make sure soil potassium is more than 35 ppm and soil phosphorus is more than 18 ppm using the MLSN guidelines.
The exposition held in conjunction with the educational conference was crowded each time I visited, with approximately 300 people there to share information and learn more about turfgrass management. I really enjoyed visiting the booths, many of which were stocked with jamón ibérico and vino tinto.
Other speakers at the Congress included Dr. Ron Duncan, Dr. Joe Vargas, and Dr. Alfredo Martinez. Dr. Duncan's presentation about irrigation water quality was a comprehensive overview of a major issue for turfgrass in Spain. I visited golf courses at Gran Canaria before the Congreso and at Catalonia after it, and in both of those places, and in speaking with turfgrass managers from other parts of the country, it became evident to me that managing the salts that are applied through irrigation is an absolutely essential aspect of turf management in Spain.
The Congress was capped off with a gala dinner at the Casino de Madrid. At this fine dinner, lasting into the early morning hours of the next day, delegates and speakers enjoyed wonderful food, entertainment, and speeches in a rather grand setting. At this Congress, I made new friends and spent time with old ones, learned a lot from the delegates and from the other speakers, and had a great time, as I'm certain the other delegates did as well.