Remediating Hydraulic Spills on Golf Courses

June 25, 2018 Larry Cooper

By Michael Gardner, Senior Director of Huma Gro® Turf Sales at Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

[NOTE: This article first appeared in the June 2018 issue of Tee Times Golf Guide Magazine.]

Technology is all around us. There aren’t many places we go where technology doesn’t influence us. Golf is no different. In fact, golf is exploding with new technology. Just watching the PGA Merchandise Show on the Golf Channel is amazing.

Last year, my son was using one of my old drivers on his high school varsity golf team. The local pro told him it was time to “get into technology.” He advised us that the best technology in a new driver included a properly-sized grip, shaft flex, and length, and new metals in the head with a forgiving face. This new technology added 45 yards to my son’s drives.

Golf technology doesn’t stop with drivers. It’s in our golf balls, shoes, club fittings, spin rates, GPS, clothing, and more. I recently saw a golf cart with a custom cooler, stereo, and air conditioning unit on top. And now, you can buzz around the course on a Golfboard.

I would like to discuss a technology of significant importance to the game. Byron Nelson was once asked what he thought the greatest technological breakthrough was in golf. Most of us would have listed one of the aforementioned items. Byron Nelson’s unexpected, yet genius response: “the lawn mower.”

The mower has taken golf to a new level—it benefits all players with no regard to their equipment. If you were to glimpse into the maintenance shed of your local golf course, the first thing to catch your eye would be the high-tech mowers: riding greens mowers, triplex mowers, push-behind greens mowers, fairway mowers, and mowers for the rough.

Unfortunately, advancements in technology come with a price. The hydraulics that power these high-tech mowers can damage the turf. As hard as our superintendents and mechanics work to keep equipment running smoothly, leaks will occur. We’ve all seen the effects of hydraulic leaks on the course: that tell-tale brownish yellow streak across the green.

It’s impossible to predict when a leak might occur. Because greens are mowed during the dark of early morning, it’s difficult to see a leak while it’s occurring. Fluid is left behind the mower in a split second, undetected by the operator who is facing forward and mowing quickly across the greens.

How can we minimize the damage and speed recovery? Firstly, the extreme temperature at which hydraulic fluid is used kills turf on contact. Secondly, hydraulic fluid is toxic to both the roots and the soil, disrupting photosynthesis and respiration, literally smothering the life out of the soil. By taking oxygen out of the soil, it kills the microorganisms in the soil.

So, what about biodegradable crop-based hydraulic fluids? Because turf is killed on contact by the high temperature of the spill, whether the hydraulic fluid is crop-based or petroleum-based, the initial damage is the same. However, turf damaged by crop-based hydraulic spills does recover quicker than turf damaged by petroleum-based hydraulic spills, reducing down time.

I’ve worked on spills 30 feet long and four feet wide. At Huma Gro® Turf, we repair this kind of extensive damage through soil remediation and turf repair, eliminating the visual damage as quickly as possible. Huma Gro® Turf has put together a Hydraulic Spills Program that remediates the effects of hydraulic spills by breaking down contaminants in the soil, bringing natural health and color back to the affected grass. This program stimulates soil microbial activity that attacks and digests hydraulic oil residue, changing its molecular structure so that it’s no longer toxic. It also provides the nutrients and stimulants needed to help grass recover.

A combination of Huma Gro® Turf’s Surf-Max®, Kleenup™, and Breakout®, along with Turfplex® VII, dilutes the contaminants and begins the repair process. Surf-Max® is a surfactant designed to improve both penetration and lateral movement of water within the root zone and to increase soil moisture retention. Kleenup™ is a soil remediation product. It encapsulates the toxic molecules and starts the soil detox and rebuilding of soil health.

Many times, with extensive damage where the turf and roots have died or are severely damaged, new growth must creep inward from the outer edges. Breakout® stimulates and rejuvenates the root system for quicker horizontal turf growth. Turfplex® VII supplies the nutrients and energy turf needs to repair itself.

Huma Gro® Turf products contain Micro Carbon Technology® (MCT), a proprietary blend of very small organic carbon- and oxygen-rich molecules that enable more effective absorption of nutrients into the plant through the soil and the leaves. MCT-based products promote the growth of roots and beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

Enjoy technology, embrace it. I plan to enjoy the beautifully mowed greens where my favorite courses are mowed with increasingly high-tech mowers. And when those high-tech mowers leak hydraulic fluid, as they inevitably do, the technology of Huma Gro® Turf Hydraulic Spills Program will be there to clean up and remediate affected turf and contaminated soil.

Huma Gro® Turf Special Turf Programs can be found at https://humagroturf.com/special-turf-programs/.

 

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