A day in the life of a turf professional is a lot like being a superhero.

Turf Professionals Are Like Superheroes

What would Gotham City be without Batman, or Metropolis without Superman? They would be once thriving cities infested with evil villains and criminals. Have you ever thought of yourself, the turf professional, as a superhero? Think about it. The work you do is much like that of any superhero. After all, what would landscapes, sports turf or golf courses look like without you? Much like the cities in the comic book stories, villains would take over. Except the villains you fight aren’t fictional. They’re real weeds, diseases and lawn pests.

Like many superheroes, your job isn’t a typical 9-5 day job and your work is usually done when no one is looking. You already have plans set to keep turfgrass and landscape in the best shape possible and out of harm’s way before the sun rises and while the rest of the world is still sound asleep.

You spend your days making use of your knowledge, detective skills, science and technology to seek out turf invaders and defeat them. And just when you’ve solved a weed, fungus or pest problem, another threat is lurking in the shadows. By using your techniques, you’re a superhero to your customers, players and members every day.

Superheroes need a good defense strategy in order to defeat the villains. First, they identify their strengths and weaknesses, then plan their attack accordingly, just like your do with turfgrass problems. Some of the most notorious turf pests are quite similar to famous super villains.

Broadleaf weeds, the Green Goblins of turf:

Their structure and color allows broadleaf weeds to stand out from desirable turfgrass and their physiological differences also make them easier to control with a selective herbicide than grassy weeds or sedges.

Broadleaf weeds spread throughout turfgrass through prolific seed germination. Just one dandelion head can hold over 200 seeds, which can travel far and fast by wind, water, animals and the bottoms of shoes. They germinate at varying times throughout the summer and they mature fast.

The best defense against broadleaf weeds and sedges is dense, well-maintained turf that’s been fertilized and mowed regularly. But these actions alone won’t stop them from rearing their ugly heads year after year. Sometimes even the toughest superhero needs help from time to time. That’s when preemergence and postemergence herbicides come in to act as your ultimate sidekick, much like Batman’s right-hand man, Robin.

Preemergence herbicides should be applied in advance of the germination of these broadleaf weeds.

A postemergence weed treatment is necessary to control existing broadleaf weeds. When different weeds such as yellow nutsedge, crabgrass and dollarweed show up in different varieties and in large numbers, much like a villain and their entourage, you need an all-in-one, fast-acting postemergence weed solution. Solitare® herbicide is specifically designed to combat many combinations of postemergence weed problems you encounter. When battling tough postemergence weeds like buttonweed, doveweed and dollarweed, Blindside® herbicide is a very useful sidekick.

Sedges and kyllinga are a lot like the Penguin:

Sedges and kyllinga work a lot like Batman’s super villain, the Penguin, who executes most of his underworld criminal activity in the Gotham Underground and eventually makes his way to the surface, creating problems in the city. Sedges and kyllinga, much like the Penguin, work underground. By using tubers and rhizomes, underground overwintering vegetative reproductive structures, sedges and kyllinga are able to store nutrients for energy production and emerge as serious problems in the spring. A good defense against this turf villain is an application of Dismiss® herbicide. Dismiss has been shown to stop tubers and rhizomes from germinating, affecting the viability of sedge and kyllinga the following spring.

Pythium blight is like the Joker of your turfgrass:

Just like the Batman comic villain the Joker, who leaves traces of his presence with calling cards, diseases like Pythium blight also leave traces of their presence behind when damage occurs on affected turfgrass. If sunken circles of straw-colored grass appear, or if grass leaves appear dark, slick and greasy, Pythium blight might very well be the culprit. Because this fungus can spread easily in water or equipment traffic, Pythium blight may also appear in streaks that follow the direction of water drainage or mowing patterns. It poses a threat to both cool-season and warm-season turf and thrives in hot, humid weather. The spores that cause Pythium blight are usually found in soils, diseased grass tissue and thatch. When the conditions are right (typically when nighttime temperatures are higher than 65 degrees and the turf is consistently wet), these spores will strike, germinating and infecting the grass plant.

Unlike the Joker, who was known to be immune to many plans of attack against him, Pythium blight isn’t so lucky. Possessing the advanced active ingredient Cyazofamid, Segway® fungicide inhibits all stages of the fungal life cycle, providing powerful, preventive control, and even works to reverse fungal disease after symptoms have appeared.

Turf Pests are like The Fantastic Four Super villain Galactus:

Some turf pests have made a name for themselves as being some of the most notorious enemies known to turfgrass, as Galactus has become to the Fantastic Four. Like many turf pests, Galactus must constantly feed to sustain himself. He also invades, takes over then devours planets, just like insects do to turfgrass.

Fire ants can be brutal in the south, invading yards, playgrounds, golf courses and playing fields. They’re aggressive, dangerous, and will strike quickly if disturbed. Little black ants, common in the east, leave unsightly brown spots on the edges of putting greens, damaging roots when they invade the soil underneath. Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granular technology is proven to control both of these turf villains. It blends into the grass becoming virtually invisible once applied and won’t wash away with irrigation or rainfall. Talstar XTRA featuring Verge contains FMC bifenthrin for long lasting residual control of up to four months plus zeta-cypermethrin for quick knockdown, eliminating ant colonies in just 15 minutes after being watered-in. How’s that for an effective weapon?

Mole crickets are another nasty villain of turfgrass, damaging turf due to tunneling. Nick Bright, superintendent at Melrose Golf Club in Daufuskie Island, SC was having a challenging time controlling them. When Fipronil didn’t even faze them, he turned to Talstar® XTRA GC as his secret weapon of choice. Much like any superhero vs. super villain saga, it took Nick years to defeat the mighty mole cricket. After a good battle, Nick saved the day and the party is now over for Mole Crickets at Melrose Golf Club.

Whether it is a beautiful landscape, a safe playing field or the intricate details of golf course greens, your customers and members are able to enjoy them because of you, your professional skills, and your hard work. Just like Metropolis or the city of Gotham, everyone can rest easy, thanks to the real life superheroes, the turf professionals.

What other tough turf villains do you face on the job? And when comparing your job to that of a superhero, who would you be?

 

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