By Kaitlyn Ersek on Jan 13, 2015 10:33:00 AM
“I tell people I don’t grow shoots, I grow roots,” says Ed Michaud superintendent and part owner of Fox Ridge Golf Club in Auburn, Maine to a reporter in the Press Herald Paper. “It’s all about what you don’t see. If you create better soil, you’ll have healthier plants that can fend for themselves against drought and pests.” Michaud utilizes Holganix – an organic, bionutritional product derived from compost tea on his fairways and greens to increase soil health and reduce his dependence on synthetics like nitrogen fertilizers and fungicides.
Ed Michaud, superintendent and part owner of Fox Ridge Golf Club shows off a pint of Holganix to a Press Herald Paper photographer
Michaud joined Fox Ridge Golf Club when it first opened, the week of 9/11. “That was a tough time to open a business,” reflects Michaud. Despite initial hurdles, Fox Ridge has been named one of the top upscale public courses in Maine and Michaud is having a lot of fun in his duel roles as both superintendent and part-owner.
Prior to Fox Ridge, Michaud was the superintendent for Sugarloaf Golf Club and won a national award for environmental stewardship for his work. Michaud brought his passion for sustainable golf management to Fox Ridge. Not only does he utilize Holganix, but he also stocks his ponds with trout. The trout are thriving which means the water is clean of pollutants. Michaud has also nurtured natural areas with native plants that border fairways. “That way you water, mow and fertilize just down the middle,” he said.
“Our golfers love that we are using organic products and management practices. It’s great PR!” says Michaud.
According to Michaud, he is able to reduce the rate of nitrogen used per year because with Holganix “the nitrogen just goes further.” Michaud utilizes 2.5 to 3.5 pounds of nitrogen per season in conjunction with Holganix on his greens, and uses 1 to 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per year with Holganix on his fairways. He’s also reduced his fungicide use by 1 to 2 apps per year. “I can’t eliminate fungicides,” admits Michaud, “ but Holganix has helped with disease suppression, especially on fairways.” Michaud uses the minimum label rate with 21-day intervals between applications. “Historically, we get dollar spot and brown patch like crazy,” says Michaud. “But, with the addition of Holganix, we’ve been able to manage it really well.”
Over all, Michaud is trying to improve soil quality. Greens at Fox Ridge are 80% sand based which means, “you really need something to help beneficial soil microbes do their job and keep the plants healthy.” He is also seeing better, faster recovery from frost. While he’s can’t say that Holganix is only reason for recovery, he thinks it’s made an impact.
“Applying Holganix has been easy,” says Michaud. “Especially with the RAD system.” Michaud utilizes an RAD200 to store Holganix at its appropriate temperature for long-term use. “I love the fact that it has it’s own meter and fill up tab. It’s so easy.”
At the end of the day, “we are so grateful that Michaud was willing to try something new,” says Tom Rowell of Northeast Nursery, Inc., a Holganix distributor. “Michaud was looking for a product that would reduce traditional inputs and Holganix can do just that.”