Posts by Wayne Lamarre

5 Reasons The Use Of Synthetics Are No Longer A Best Practice In Turf Management

All industries eventually arrive at best practices. These practices generally represent the most productive and efficient method to deliver desired results while minimizing negative impact. Our industry is no different. We have adopted protocols and products to deliver the green lawns and turf spaces our clients and end users expect. The fact remains that all practices are subject to change over time. In our industry change has been motivated by the knowledge that the synthetics we use have had unintended consequences at times. When we use the general term synthetics, we are referring to chemicals that are used as both fertilizers and pesticide control products. Each of these have their own issues and causes for concern that contribute to the 5 reasons synthetics are no longer considered a best practice for the management of turf. 5 Reasons The Use of Synthetics Are No Longer Considered a Best Practice in Turf Management: 1. Stormwater runoff into water bodies – Rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and ocean 2. Groundwater contamination 3. Children’s health 4. Human health 5. Nonproductive influence on the creation of healthy turf systems- plant, soil, and environment (compromising native beneficial soil organisms) 1. Stormwater Runoff Into Water Bodies When using water-soluble synthetic materials, we run the risk of allowing that material to move off target. Even with best intentions, certain environmental conditions may present themselves to facilitate the movement of these soluble nutrients. If we have a turf system with less than maximum density, very often we do not have enough root system to process these nutrients as rapidly as they are being released. 2. Groundwater Contamination Some synthetic materials are more mobile in the soil than others. Along with other information on the label about health effects and environmental effects of a particular pesticide product, we also have information about soil mobility. Some pesticides and fertilizers have the ability to move rapidly downward in the soil and eventually find groundwater. 3. Children’s health Science and medicine is now looking at children’s exposure to pesticides very differently than they did in the past. The major cause for concern is not an acute oral or dermal exposure, but multiple low dose exposures over several years that can have a cumulative effect. 4. Human health Not all mammals react to all pesticides in the same way. It is typically the lawn care pesticide, when used at the homeowner level or in the public sector,
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Transitioning to an Organic Lawn Care Program is Simple if You Follow These 3 Steps

  “What are the steps to take when transitioning turf to natural management practices?” I have found this is the one question that most people ask me when beginning to consider a natural turf management program. Before answering this question it is important to understand that managing a residential lawn is very different from managing a public park or a playing field, but the principles are the same. It is the principles of a system based approach to natural land management that dictate the first steps to take as well as the proper sequence of those steps for every program. “Managing residential lawn is different from managing a public park or playing field but the principles are the same.” The protocols and cultural intensity is where the differences occur on properties that have different usage needs. Cultural intensity is simply the total amount of resources (product and labor) that goes into management. In either case we are beginning at the same starting point. There are 3 considerations or steps that must be addressed upfront, and applied across the board, for all lawn and turf management professionals to be successful.   1.  The Soil Must be Tested [Because we have to know current soil health.] 2.  There Needs to Be a Commitment to the Use of Organics [This one is vital.] 3.  Adoption of Revised Horticultural Practices [It’s easier than you think.]   When we follow these 3 steps we are on our way towards the beginning of a successful program. Lets look at each of the steps in more depth.   1.  Testing The Soil One of the fundamental differences between a natural program and conventional turf grass management is the thought process regarding soil. Most of the products that are used in conventional management work directly with the plant and essentially bypass the living portion of the soil. In natural management the soil is integral to the way nutrition and disease management function and this is why we first focus on the creation of good soil health. Soil testing guides us in this process. When we look at the nutrient, textural, and biological aspects of the soil together, we begin to get a snapshot of what is going on. It becomes the job of the turf manager to begin to assess current situations and then move properly in the right direction. As long as the initial move involves addressing
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