At 6 foot 3 inches, bright blue eyes and a mop of unruly brown hair, Muirfield Village Golf Club’s Horticulturist, Tim Hollowell, was exactly as I expected, the inquisitive and passionate scientist. As I sat down with him and Holganix inventor and scientist, Stephen T. Lange, at the 2014 Bionutritional Summit, I’m again reminded that I’m a novice in plant science. The two threw around “big” plant terms that have me reeling, but at the end of the day it’s clear Tim is excited with the results he’s seeing on his plants with Holganix.
“This is great stuff!” says Tim of Holganix. “Why I didn’t know about this stuff 30 years ago is beyond me!”
It all started when Paul Latshaw, Director of Grounds Operations at Muirfield Village Golf Club, gave Tim left over Holganix product to utilize in his two, 3,000 square foot green houses. The green houses contain some 2,200 hanging baskets and 9,000 plants. “My first experience with Holganix was taking container stock shrubs and dipping the plants into a solution of Holganix (5 ounces of Holganix) and water (3 gallons) before planting them.” Tim then planted the shrubs, watered them in and mulched. Two weeks later without any additional water, “the plants didn’t skip a beat. I never saw signs of stress or wilting.” This was especially important since the shrubs were planted in August before the Presidents Cup. “They looked great.”
In another instance, Tim treated annuals with Holganix. After 30 days, Tim removed the annuals from their pots and examined the roots. White, web like mesh was growing around the roots. “It was Mycorrhizae!” exclaims Tim. “I could see it with the naked eye. I knew that if I had good things going on down below the soil line, life was good.”
Being the Horticulturist at Muirfield Village Golf Club is no picnic. “It’s not for the average mortal man.” During tournaments, Tim and up to eight other team members will work up to 100 hours a week in order to get plants camera-ready for the Memorial Tournament. When spring hits, Tim has two months to get the plants in mid-season conditions. Being the Horticulturist at Muirfield Village Golf Club“ is INTENSE. So intense. But I really love what I do.”
Tim was inspired by his grandmother to pursue a career in plant and turf care. He speaks fondly of memories tending to the garden with her in his youth. “She had a tiny piece of property,” says Tim. If he helped garden, his reward would be a delicious tomato sandwich straight from her garden. Playing gardener inspired Tim to attend a Vocational Technical High School for agricultural business. In college, he earned an A.S. turf grass management and earned a B.S. in agriculture and forestry. After a few years as an assistant superintendent and then a superintendent (he earned his Certified Golf Course Superintendent status) he moved into the horticulture end of golf course management. That’s when Tim became the horticulturist at Muirfield Village Golf Club where he’s spent the last 9 years of his career.
“Each year I’m doing more at Muirfield Village Golf Club and learning more. Things are great!” exclaims Tim. “I always say, if I stop learning I may as well lay down and call it quits.”
After his initial experiences with Holganix, Tim started utilizing Holganix Tree and Shrub on his plants and annuals (he’ll be incorporating Holganix Bloom on his flowering plants later this year). At the start of the season, he used Holganix Tree and Shrub on and off as he continued to test. However, it didn’t take long until he started applying it every month on all plant beds. So far, he’s applied Holganix to the beds at a 10oz rate each month from Mid March to October 1.
“Along with Holganix, I’ve been applying .175 pounds per 1,000 square feet of nitrogen per monthly application,” says Tim of his current program. “The cool thing is that with Holganix, the nitrogen is going straight to either the plant or the bugs (microorganisms found in the soil). It’s great to for the pocket book, the plants, the soil and me!”
Because Holganix promotes optimal plant health, it has also helped Tim produce healthier and stronger plants that see less pest and stress issues. “We have 1,000 rhododendrons. I lose at least a couple dozen rhododendrons due to phytophthora each year,” claims Tim. “Since using Holganix, I’ve seen huge reductions in the number of lost rhododendrons. They are much healthier.” Over the past seven years, he has one stubborn rhododendron that never seems to get green. “It was a manganese deficiency. No matter what I threw at it I never got results.” With Holganix, it’s green and the leaves are expanding.
Tim has also seen exciting things with Impatiens walleriana. After hearing about a home trial that Dr. Neidermyer (Holganix Director of Plant and Soil Sciences) conducted to test the effects of Holganix on downy mildew infected Impatiens, Tim decided to try his own test. Several impatiens acted as a control while another set were treated with Holganix. “The plants treated with Holganix Tree and Shrub never got hit with downy mildew. Next year I want to try this test on a larger scale.”
Muirfield Village Golf Club has used compost tea, yeast, and mycorrhizae in the past, but “We have never used a product like Holganix,” says Tim. Holganix incorporates all of those ingredients and many others in a one jug to help create soil that is biologically in balance. “Holganix takes the soil food web and brings it all together; working as one unit.”