Field Insights Blog | GreenCast | Syngenta
Field Insights Blog | GreenCast | Syngenta

Condition. Perform. Recover.

This blog focuses on the importance of maintain one’s health and that of your golf course turf. I cannot help thinking of the similarities between plant health and coronavirus. As mentioned in my previous blog I experienced Covid-19 firsthand this past spring. One thing I gained from that experience is how important monitoring and testing are to my overall health.

From the hospital to recovery and now to maintaining my daily health, monitoring is an essential component. Prior to Covid-19, I would make the qualitative evaluation that I was healthy. I took my required prescriptions, watched my weight, and visited the doctor every 6 months. Those doctor appointments focused on my borderline hypertension and Type-2 diabetes. Nothing serious, I took my prescribed medicines and promised I would exercise more. I followed this routine for years.

When I contracted Covid-19 you could say I fit the profile that the virus targeted. I was over 60, with pre-conditions. My pre-conditions were Type-2 diabetes and hypertension. Although my pre-conditions were treatable and under control, I fit right into the wheelhouse of the virus.

Covid-19 infects and spreads rapidly. The severity of the disease appears to be keyed on how it exploits weaknesses in your health often described as pre-conditions. These conditions include not only the ones mentioned previously but also obesity, smoking, alcoholism, etc.

Although pre-conditions are important in the severity of Covid-19, health strengths can counteract or minimize the impact of the disease. My brother told me once I was recovering from being intubated and on a ventilator for over two weeks that he spoke with doctor friends in California inquiring about my chances of surviving. The doctors asked him if I smoked. Was I obese? Did I drink? And he responded no to all the questions. The doctor's responses were “he’s got a good shot”.

I believe the severity of Covid-19 is tied to how it exploits one’s health deficiencies and one's ability to tolerate the virus and recover is based on overall health. Not much different then looking at a turf systems ability to tolerate and maintain during pest and environmental stresses.

Since my hospital discharge and subsequent recovery period I have purchased health monitoring devices and recommitted to using some I already had based on my doctors' orders. I monitor and chart my blood sugar levels daily along with taking my blood pressure. I purchased a finger pulse oximeter that is pretty cool and cheap. The device measures the blood oxygen level. When I was in the hospital nothing attracted the attention of the medical staff more than a blood oxygen level below 90.

A potential sign with covid-19 or any other respiratory problem is a drop in blood oxygen levels. Along the respiratory path, I have a Voldyne 2500 that measures my lung capacity. I have an assortment of other things like bouncy balls, rubber bands, putty, and elastic bands to help with strength and fine motor skills.

The monitoring I do tells me if I am really “healthy” and helps forecast any potential problems if the values fall out of range. At this point, medication dose or product can be adjusted to account for changes in my health.

Monitoring the health of a golf course turf shares similarities with human health. Turfgrass pathogens seek out and attack weaknesses in the turfgrass stand, while environmental stresses predispose plants to more severe attack. The selection and rate of products to manage diseases for example is based on the pathogen and severity of attack. Management practices are often adjusted based on conditions present. Changing the putting green mowing height or reducing the frequency of mowing with a corresponding increase in green’s rolling is often based on weather and soil temperatures.

We can monitor, on a daily basis, weather, soil temperatures, degree-days, and follow disease and pest prediction models to help make the decisions for maintaining healthy turf.

Photograph:  Soil temperature maps are one of several monitoring tools available on

One of the unique features of is that several monitoring methods for maintaining a healthy turf are available. Additionally, a resource found on entitled Condition. Recover. Perform integrates monitoring with explanations and agronomic programs to maintain a healthy turf.

I hope you will take the time to look and use the resources at Condition, Recover. Perform. Not only will it help you maintain a healthy turf but your own health too.

About the author

Dr. Karl Danneberger is a professor of Turfgrass Science at The Ohio State University. Dr. Danneberger's contact information can be found here. You may also follow Dr. Danneberger on Twitter:

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