Our Turf Expert
Michael Schafer, Turf Expert
Michael’s Introduction to turf care started at age 14 working at a golf course, as assistant to the superintendent, which continued all the way through his high school and college years.
His strong technical and field experience began in his years at Oregon State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture, additional education in Turf & Landscape Management and Post Baccalaureate courses in Soil Science and Environmental Health and Safety.
Management of a 2,000-acre Military Camp Rilea, located on the Northern Oregon Coast, one of the only live fire training facilities on the West Coast, gave him first-hand experience in running the maintenance for the expansive turf and related landscapes.
Experience and knowledge in how garden chemicals are made, and their impact on our environment came from his years working in the Retail Garden Industry selling garden products at Home Depot and Lowes.
This was furthered with his introduction to organics as a market researcher for a German based company where he traveled the West Coast analyzing synthetic and organic products and why consumers bought one over the other. As a Commercial Account Management for a large landscaping firm in Oregon continued his experience and understanding of why the right programs and products are essential for successful landscape management.
As a Product Market Manager for a large Wholesale Garden Supplier, Michael sold both synthetic chemicals and organic products to landscapers and city customers. This deepened his understanding of the differences in synthetic and organic, their manufacturing processes and how they release.
As a Landscape and Facilities Manager for a top management services firm, his experience gave him solid knowledge in how to restore soils and create successful plans of action for large properties such as Trilogy at Redmond Ridge in Redmond WA.
Today, at Restore Soils, Michael creates outstanding programs for all types of turf, be if for residential, parks, ballfields or golf courses. His extensive background in product analysis and all facets of turf restoration, growth and management makes us proud to call him our Turf Expert.
Changing The Industry
It all started in 2015 with a trial on some of the public lawn areas for the City of Redmond Parks. They had previously thought about going organic but were never approached with a good option so had not yet made the transition.
One of the downsides of most organics is that they stink, are dusty, release inconsistently, and have phosphorus. Our products are much different with very low odor, low dust, and consistent release.
At that time our Seasons 8-2-4 also had phosphorus so they could only do limited trials in a few areas. The Department of Agriculture no longer allows phosphorus in turf fertilizer applications unless soil testing shows low phosphorus, it’s new turf seeding, or over-seeding damaged turf areas.
The first trial areas were applied during the Fall of 2015 at different park areas in the City. The results the following spring were very good, and Meg from the City of Redmond wanted to expand applications. In order to do that we removed the phosphorus from our turf fertilizer, which led to the creation of our current Seasons™ 8-0-4.
With the new product the City was able to apply the product to any areas they wanted to. The results continued to be exceptionally good and by the Fall of 2016 the park system was 100% organic.
Since those early successful trials more cities, landscapers, big HOA’s, and golf courses have come aboard with more successful trials. Our goal is to determine how little of our organic products you need to grow lush, healthy turf. When an ecosystem in nature works correctly, grasses only uptake what they actually need from the soil through microbial break down for promoting and maintaining healthily growth.
Further trials with our newer Nitrogen Plus™ 10-0-2, which has quicker releasing organic nitrogen up front, has helped turf installations transition to 100% organic faster with excellent results.
These successful trials have helped shape our current Turf Program. The new data we get from ongoing trials and applications will continue to shape our program and help us provide the optimum results to professionals and homeowners. Changing the industry from chemical to organic with products and programs you can count on for outstanding, consistent results.