The ATC blog has moved

After eight and a half years, and 841 posts, I've moved the blog to www.asianturfgrass.com. More details about that at the end.

If you are subscribed to this blog by e-mail, and want to continue to receive the new blog by e-mail, please subscribe here.

If you prefer the RSS feed for the new blog, it is here.

That first post about Banyan GC in Hua Hin sure seems like a long time ago!


What's going to happen with the 841 posts that are here now? I'm going to leave them just as they are, for now. I may migrate them to another address sometime, but I'd like to do that while still having pointers to the new location from the existing addresses, so I don't break too many links. Since I don't know how to do that right now, I'm not going to rush to change anything. For now, just expect this to be as it is, and all new content is going to be at www.asianturfgrass.com.

Why make the change? I have a few reasons.

  • It will be easier for me to write and make use of what I've written using the new setup
  • I think the new site looks better and I hope you do too
  • The new site should load faster

I've used the Beautiful Jekyll template to generate the new site. I write posts in Markdown, Jekyll generates a static site, and there you have it. And I get to have my blog in plain text and under version control, which is useful for me in a lot of ways. For example, A Short Grammar of Greenkeeping is written in Markdown too. If I want to make books or booklets with some of the content from the blog, it is going to be a lot easier if I have it all in folders on my computer in plain text files, rather than in messy HTML in databases on some server I don't own.

Plus, it's faster and looks better.

"I've waited far too long to voice my opinions concerning this extraordinary profession of greenkeeping"

How's that for a start? "The Walking Greenkeeper" introduced himself this morning. I expect this will be a fun blog to read.

Selection_010Now for an assortment of things that came to mind today, all of which are in some way related to Joe's blog post.

He wrote about some of his research this winter. Among other things, he mentioned me, MLSN, Jason Haines, and Chris Tritabaugh. "These fellas," he wrote, "and what I consider to be their alternative style to greenkeeping have inspired me ..." -- that's awesome.

So what came to mind? First, the #MLSN approach is about something very specific -- making fertilizer recommendations from soil tests to prevent nutrient deficiencies by ensuring the grass is supplied with enough of each element. However, the approach we have taken with MLSN has attracted interest from turf managers around the world who are interested in minimizing other inputs as well. And it is a lot of interest. I've been surprised that the MLSN newsletter mailing list, started just 6 weeks ago, already has more than 300 subscribers, from more than 30 countries.

If you are interested in the MLSN approach, you can subscribe to the newsletter here.

If you want more than just MLSN, you can sign up to the ATC newsletter here.

Here's an interesting question. Just what is the MLSN approach? Nadeem Zreikat wrote that he prefers efficient to minimalist:

Here's how I'd describe it. Lots of people are interested in MLSN and in the idea of managing things as efficiently as possible. I'd describe what I try to do, and with MLSN as a part of that, in this way:

For turf management at any site, the first thing to do is to define the conditions that one is trying to produce. Then, produce those conditions with the fewest possible inputs.

One could describe that as efficiency, or as minimalistic. I think both words, and many other words too, can fit the MLSN approach.

I wrote more about that in the Short Grammar of Greenkeeping. To produce the desired conditions, the turf manager manipulates the growth rate. In the Short Grammar, I wrote that greenkeeping can then be defined as modifying the growth rate to get the desired surface conditions. And the grammar provides a framework for adjusting the inputs to produce the desired conditions.

If that all sounds really vague, you'll want to read a great description of that approach in practice. I recommend Jason Haines' Turfhacker summary of everything that's interesting to me as a description of how these principles can be applied.

The whole idea is to produce the conditions we want, doing so with the minimum amount of work. Maybe that's efficiency, or minimalism, or sustainability, or something else. But that's where I'm coming from, that's the type of definition that the MLSN approach fits into, and this is for any type of turf.

I made a huge omission in last month's roundup. I forgot to include the 2016 Ryder Cup: Hazeltine National Turfgrass Team video featuring Chris Tritabaugh.

2016 Ryder Cup: Hazeltine National Golf Club, The Turfgrass Team from Chris Tritabaugh on Vimeo.

This is part of the approach too, and the video shows it. Be passionate about the work. Produce the conditions one is trying to produce. Do so with a minimum of inputs. Or as efficiently as possible. Have fun doing it. Find ways to do it better.

I expect everyone in this business is doing that in some way. It seems to me that the MLSN and Short Grammar approaches have provided a framework from which we can all work on and compare ways to do it better.

Top 10 posts of 2016

These ten posts from 2016 had the most pageviews. Here they are, counting down from the tenth to the most viewed post. And I'm including a pretty photo of Mt. Fuji just for fun.


[10] November, Both of these are worth your time about organic matter management, and coring greens, or not.

[9] May, Roots, growth potential, and fertilizer discussing what was applied to putting greens in New Delhi.

[8] April, Is this the most common oxymoron in turf? about a question that just won't go away. Can nutrients be adequate but not available?

[7] November, Fall potassium and winter traffic on a bentgrass green about the remarkable tolerance of creeping bentgrass to traffic when frozen.

[6] October, Daily versus monthly calculations of ET and irrigation requirement in which I show that a daily soil water balance gives a totally different irrigation requirement than does a monthly calculation using the standard method.

[5] February, Which products and technologies are truly beneficial and cost-effective? is a quote from Dr. Carrow's Green Section Record article on Purchasing new products and technologies: an ethical and common-sense approach. He explains why this is an ethical issue, and gives 7 questions to ask about products and technologies.

[4] January, Knowing which soil test results are important can simplify turf management. That's a quote from Bill Kreuser; he says that "while soil tests can be useful, their results are frequently overanalyzed and overinterpreted."

[3] September, Fast release fertilizer, fertilizer burn, and root growth in which those topics were mentioned.

[2] November, High expectations, about the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from golf courses.

[1] May, Data to support an anecdote about decreasing organic matter in the top 10 cm of putting greens with minimal coring or topdressing.

Thanks for reading!

Lists of the most popular posts from previous years are here:

  • Top 10 posts of 2015 about fertilizer, green speed, soil tests, wind at St. Andrews, the 1/3 rule of mowing, U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, and foliar applications.
  • Top 10 posts of 2014 about seasonal N use, control of turf diseases, an anecdote about ammonium sulfate, salesmen suggesting calcium, cool-season grass in the tropics, irrigation, and soil moisture.
  • Top 5 posts of 2013 about summertime syringing to cool bentgrass, nutrient requirements, and potassium.
  • Top 5 posts of 2012 about five articles every greenkeeper should read, 1 minute on fertilizer, the real price of fertilizer, and the imaginary problem of calcium deficiency.
  • Top 5 posts of 2011 about modifying fairway conditions in Thailand, sandcapping or topdressing, weeds in Malaysia, and turfgrass potassium requirements.
  • Top 5 posts of 2010 about zoysiagrass fertilizer, the China Golf Show, grass selection and manilagrass, Guidelines for Tropical Turfgrass Installation and Management, and turfgrass performance data at the Open Championship.
  • Top 5 posts of 2009 about mowing patterns and grass color, core aeration, salt for weed control, seeded seashore paspalum, and turfgrass in Dubai.

Golf Course Management Blogging World


You may have already seen the impressive blog aggregator, Golf Course Management Blogging World. If you haven't, and are at all interested in golf course maintenance, you will want to check it out now and bookmark it for future reference. 


A blog aggregator brings all the latest posts from multiple sources into one place, and the Golf Course Management Blogging World site does a great job of compiling superintendent blogs, industry magazines, and university researcher blogs all into one attractive site.

It is, actually, too much information to read all at once, but when you are wanting to find out what is going on in golf course maintenance and how it is being done, this site is a great resource. It is put together by Steven Biehl, who himself works as a golf course superintendent.

ATC Articles Featured on Pitchcare Oceania

Have you seen the Pitchcare Oceania site? This online magazine has information about turfgrass management for golf and sports turf and this year has begun featuring selected articles from ATC.

With news, information, online message boards, and links to a variety of suppliers, this is a site that may be of interest to turfgrass managers in Asia. Check it out here.

New Calendar Page on ATC Website

I've added a new page to the Asian Turfgrass Center website with a calendar of selected turfgrass conferences and educational seminars that may be of interest to turfgrass managers in Asia. This is not a comprehensive list of events, but I will keep it updated with events as I become aware of them. If you would like me to add an event to this calendar, please send me an e-mail with details of the event.


Two Excellent (and free) Resources about Turfgrass Diseases

Controlling turfgrass diseases is one of the most important ways turfgrass managers modify the growing environment to produce the desired playing surfaces. Two resources that I find quite useful as reference material and as a source of new information are the Turf Diseases website and the University of Kentucky's Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases 2011.

At the Turf Diseases site, you will find updates about disease outbreaks, control options for different diseases, new information about ongoing research, and witty banter from an interesting group of university professors. The associated page on Facebook also contains information that can help turfgrass managers in their efforts to produce better playing surfaces.

Chem_control_disease_2011 The 24 page Chemical Control of Turfgrass Diseases 2011 was written by Paul Vincelli and David Williams at the University of Kentucky and is a guide that you are likely to find useful throughout the year. Not only does this document contain the latest information about fungicides and which products are most effective at controlling specific diseases, it also discusses cultural controls of turfgrass diseases and gives suggestions on how to minimize disease intensity. There is a wealth of useful information in this free document.

The Turf Diseases Website

Turf Diseases website

If you are looking for a great source of information about turfgrass diseases, the most effective methods of prevention and control, and updates on the latest turfgrass research, then you should subscribe to the Turf Diseases website. Almost all the information on the site is from university professors in the United States. I occasionally contribute an update about international turfgrass disease issues. Some of my recent posts include:

Mites, a Corpse Plant, and Native Grasses

Clouds With No Rain

Large Patch on Zoysiagrass

More About Seashore Paspalum

A Most Unsightly Disease

The Wow Factor, Seashore Paspalum, and Dollar Spot

Nozzle Selection for Spraying Pesticides and Fertilizer

Sprayer-nozzleOne of the topics I will discuss at next week's Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2010 seminar is nozzle selection, spray droplet size, and water volume. Depending on the product (fertilizer? herbicide? fungicide?) being applied, its mode of action, and the reason for the application, one can choose the nozzle type that will produce the most effective spray pattern on the turf.

The Turf Diseases blog has some good posts on this topic, including photos that show the drastic differences in spray patterns between different nozzles and tips on improving disease control by proper nozzle selection.

Don't Neglect Your Nozzles by Dr. John Kaminski

Mazel Tov! It's Nozzle Talk! by Dr. Megan Kennelly

Should I Water That In? by Dr. Lane Tredway

I also recommend reviewing the guide to nozzle selection that Tee-Jet publishes, available for download here.

Bermudagrass White Leaf


I recently wrote about bermudagrass white leaf, a mollicute disease seen in Asia on bermudagrass, at the Turf Diseases blog. See the bermudagrass white leaf post here. If you have this problem on your grass, it will probably go away in time as healthy plants grow over the dying chlorotic plants. For more information about ATC's investigations of bermudagrass white leaf, download the Field Day Book from 2008 at the Turf Information page of the ATC website.