Embracing Integrated Turf Management for turf excellence

Integrated Turf Management (ITM) is shaping the future of professional turf management by combining proven practices with the latest in turf products and technologies.

January 31, 2024
3 mins

Dr. Andy Owen, International Technical Manager at ICL, sheds light on how ITM goes beyond mere turf maintenance. He explains, “ITM involves creating bespoke programmes that take into account the unique conditions of each area, aiming to produce turf that is both healthy and sustainable.”


Understanding Integrated Turf Management

Integrated Turf Management (ITM) is not be a new concept, but rather a refined method that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Dr. Andy Owen, International Technical Manager for Turf & Landscape at ICL, delves into the significance and advantages of this holistic approach to turf management.

“Integrated Turf Management, or ITM, is essentially a representation of good turf management,” Andy remarks. It combines the best turf products and technologies with optimal management to achieve superior turf surfaces tailored to specific site conditions. It’s the blend of good cultural practices that ensures the best outcome for each turf area.


Embracing Integrated Turf Management

Many turf managers have already begun incorporating elements of ITM into their practices, as Andy emphasises. These turf professionals design t programmes specific to their sites, incorporating fertilisers, wetting agents, biostimulants, and other vital treatments. Depending on the unique needs of each site, additional strategies like overseeding or species adjustment may also be employed.

ICL’s commitment to ITM stems from two main reasons. Firstly, ICL’s research, which underscores the importance of integrated practices and the most effective product combinations. “This approach is about harmonising all elements for the best turf outcomes,” Dr. Owen elaborates. Moreover, the evolving regulatory landscape is also a driving factor.

With plant protection products becoming less accessible, there’s been a notable shift towards a more informed, integrated approach to turf management.


Sustainability in Integrated Turf Management

Traditionally, reliance on plant protection products, such as fungicides and pesticides, was common among turf managers. However, with these products becoming less accessible, there’s a shift towards a more informed, integrated approach to turf management

Sustainable turf management is inherently linked with ITM. “Sustainable practices in golf or sports clubs involve managing surfaces to meet club standards while ensuring success. ITM equips greenkeepers and groundskeepers to maintain top-quality surfaces both efficiently and sustainably,” Andy points out. Sustainable management encompasses environmental, economic, and social considerations, aligning with the club’s long-term strategy, including responsible input management.

ICL has demonstrated effective management of Dollar spot effectively reducing its occurrence and extent of outbreak with the right ITM approach.


ICL’s role in advancing ITM

ICL’s commitment to ITM is reflected in their extensive research efforts. “For over a decade, ICL has been pioneering ITM approaches, continually testing and integrating products and technologies, analysing past trials, collaborating with sales managers and customers globally, and keeping abreast of industry developments,” Andy explains.

ICL’s research focuses on nutrition and water management as well as employing proven biostimulant solutions, drawing numerous research insights to progress and enhance turf management practices. A notable example is ICL’s research on Dollar spot disease, increasingly prevalent in Northern Europe. “Our research proves that we can effectively manage Dollar spot with the right ITM approach,” Andy asserts.


A closer look at bio-based turf products

In the quest for sustainable solutions, ICL programmes employ speciality technologies, including biostimulants and water management surfactants, which are gaining increasing levels of prominence in turf management programmes. ICL is actively researching and testing these in ITM frameworks.

Biostimulants enhance plant quality by enhancing nutrient uptake or stress tolerance, without directly supplying nutrients. Water management surfactants such as H2Pro TriSmart have been found to have far reaching benefits including enhanced soil water and nutrient availability to result in improved plant health and turf quality when tested in drought conditions.

While the biostimulant products are beneficiat, Andy stresses that they are supplements to existing programmes. Key components like proper nutrition, moisture management, and the use of modern grass cultivars for overseeding remain irreplaceable.


The (sustainable) significance of Integrated Turf Management

ITM might not be a new practice, but its relevance and benefits are increasingly apparent in contemporary turf management strategies across golf and sports industries. Andy emphasises, “ITM empowers turf managers to utilise available tools to create the best possible surfaces, potentially in a more sustainable manner.”

Adopting this integrated approach ensures turf health and quality, while promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices.