Golf Course Superintendent Bob Vaughey finds Geoponics products help move water and salt (sodium) through soil, turf at California golf courses.
Can you tell me about the properties where you’ve seen results with Geoponics?
I used Geoponics products, including Penterra, Agriox and HydraHawk for about three years at TPC Valencia and just began using them at Rolling Hills Country Club. We won’t begin the Agriox at Rolling Hills for a couple months when it warms up.
At TPC we had overseeded Bermuda grass. We used Penterra on the greens wall-to-wall in the winter. We used HydraHawk on the greens in the summer, from about April to September.
At Rolling Hills we have Kikuyu on the fairway, a mix in the rough and poa on the greens. It’s a 1960’s course with pushup greens.
What are some of the challenges on these California courses?
The soil is highly saline because we use reclaimed water. That also means soil compaction.
In California, there is poa everywhere, so trying to keep the poa out of the unique Bentgrass greens was a challenge.
When did you learn about Geoponics products?
About two or three years ago a friend in Northern California was using it and recommended I try it. At that time, there wasn’t a Geoponics sales representative in California, so I was talking to a sales representative in Florida. I must have talked to the rep for an hour and a half before I decided to try Penterra. They shared some really good information and had a interesting way of looking at soil and water and how they work together.
You said you tried Penterra first. What did you see?
I’d recently thrown a few thousand dollars down the drain on a different wetting agent. So I just bought a 2 ½ gallon jug as a trial, which is next to nothing in price.
I used every wetting agent on the market and that’s no exaggeration. Most of the time, you don’t notice any difference.
At TPC I did side-by-side trials. At Rolling Hills we have a soil monitor measuring everything and sending the data to my phone. I can see the temperature, salinity, percentage of soil moisture.
The members are commenting that the greens are much firmer than they were.
We only sprayed two applications of Penterra, so far.
If members are noticing it, that’s what counts.
So, at TPC I had my spray tech apply the Penterra without telling me where so I could test if I could detect if the product made any difference.
It honestly moved the water through the soil. We use reclaimed water, so we get sodium build up and moving the water through the soil helps prevent that.
I was using ——–(Brand Name Surfactant) at the time, which is still a good, good product. But side-by-side… I used the soil probe on the greens. After two applications of Penterra trial, I took the soil probe and could only get it 2 to 3 inches down into the soil it was so compacted in one area. I went to the other side and the probe went down to my knuckles, which is like a foot.
I asked my spray tech, “Did you spray the right side of green 3 and left side of 7?”
Sure enough. I’ve been using it ever since. It not only kept water moving through the soil, it also kept the salt from building up.
How about the HydraHawk?
Well the Penterra did exactly what it’s supposed to do. In the summer, the Penterra worked too well on the greens. So we sprayed and flushed the greens when it was 110 degrees outside and the next day we handwatered. The Penterra did it’s job. It was bone dry. So we started using HydraHawk to help hold water.
As a superintendent, what are your thoughts on the natural or organic aspects of Geoponics products?
Don’t get me wrong, it helps, but I want the product that will do the job. Penterra and HydraHawk definitely work well.
If I was told these products weren’t natural, I would still use them.
I won’t use anything worse than something with a caution label.
I will say though, it’s really nice when it comes to the safety of the guys working.
Also, the HydraHawk does have a nice smell to it, but other than that…
I’ve recommended Geoponics to a few buddies and all have liked it, said it worked and continued to use it.
I say, try on an area of your course. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t work, no harm no foul.