Organic Turf Management Areas
Background of Organic Turf
The Organic Turf Management (OTM) project is meant to cultivate a landscape (areas) that reflects a healthy, natural scheme. Principal goals include:
• Minimizing or eliminating the use of artificial chemical pesticides;
• Minimizing or eliminating the use of artificial fertilizer products;
• Use of cultural strategies appreciate aeration and overseeding; and
• Planting species that square measure is less liable to pests and diseases and well-tailored to the environmental conditions of this region.
What is a pesticide?
Pesticides square measure chemicals designed to kill living organisms, as well as microorganisms, insects, plants, and mammals. Herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and rodenticides all fall among the broad class of pesticides. A chemical, by definition, is intended to kill living organisms, be it plants, animals, or fungi. The term “pesticide” is employed loosely to check with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and rodenticides.
Many people associate chemical use primarily with agriculture, however, Americans truly use a lot of pounds of pesticides per acre in and around their homes than farmers use in their fields.
chemical use in areas wherever individuals pay time daily presents special concerns for human health, as a result of pesticide square measure concerned with a variety of human illnesses and disabilities. several pesticides square measure suspected carcinogens or endocrine disrupters; chemical exposure will induce or exacerbate asthma; and even low levels of pesticide exposure throughout crucial periods of craniate, infant, or kid development will have devastating long organic process consequences. additionally, to those health effects, pesticides usually have adverse effects on soil and groundwater. These issues persist over the lifecycle of pesticides, throughout production, use, and disposal.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigns pesticides to 1 of 4 toxicity classes. The classifications square measure supported the best acute toxicity from oral or dermal exposure, inhalation, and eye or skin irritation. class I product square measure the most toxic and must be labeled with the word “DANGER” and poison, in some cases.
Category II products are labeled “WARNING,” while products from either category III or IV bear a “CAUTION” label.
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Undisclosed or “inert” ingredients
Pesticides include “active ingredients” and so-called “inert ingredients.” The active ingredient of a pesticide is the ingredient that is specifically meant to kill the target organism. The “inerts” are all other ingredients: anything that is not an active ingredient is considered an inert ingredient. Many so-called “inerts” are as toxic as, or more toxic than, the active ingredient. These ingredients are often considered confidential business information, so users of pesticides cannot find out what “inert” ingredients they contain.
The EPA maintains four lists for inerts:
- 1 List = inerts of toxicological concern;
- 2 List = potentially toxic inerts;
- 3 List = inerts of unknown toxicity; and
- 4 List = inerts of minimal concern.
Because inert ingredients are considered proprietary information, their identity does not have to be disclosed unless they are on the List. Scientific evidence has accumulated steadily on the dangers of pesticides, making it clear that they can pose severe health hazards even when they are applied according to label instructions. Glyphosate, for example, is the active ingredient in RoundUp, a non-selective weed killer used on the Tufts campus around paved or sidewalk areas.
Glyphosate was registered with the EPA in 1994 as toxicity category III. A variety of inert ingredients are used in glyphosate-containing compounds that have greater toxicity alone or in combination with glyphosate than just the active ingredient. For example, glyphosate-containing products were found to be more toxic in subchronic tests than glyphosate.
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Applying the Precautionary Principle
Minimizing pesticide use on campus is an example of a precautionary approach to pest control products. The Wingspread Statement of the precautionary principle says that when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not yet fully established.
Grounds Management at Tufts: Baseline
The Tufts Medford field could be a patchwork of athletic fields, manicured lawns, flower beds, and alternative general-purpose areas. Ground management is customized to the precise land uses in every space of the field.
In the spring of 2004, Tufts ground management divided the field into 3 major zones: athletic turf, non-athletic turf, and decorative plantings. All area units are liable to the pests that have traditionally been problematic on campus.
These embody deciduous weeds (chickweed, clover, crabgrass, knotweed, and dandelions) and insects (Japanese beetles and European chafers). the subsequent could be a basic overview of the everyday grounds management arrangement before initiating the OTM pilot project.
Entire campus Of Organic Turf
The field grasses area unit is a combination of cool-season species: bluegrass, grass, and meadow fescue.
The varieties at intervals every species and therefore the p.c of the whole mixture vary relying upon location. Athletic fields, let’s say, have a better content of bluegrass, which spreads pronto. Non-athletic areas have a larger p.c of grass. This selection has only one blade per root, therefore it’s less seemingly to adult into pavement cracks and decorative plantings.
Broadleaf Weed Control
an doors contractor, Prescription organic Turf Services (PTS) of Middleton, Massachusetts, carries out one to 2 applications of deciduous weed killer annually. the merchandise Tru-Power was applied double in could and August 2018.
Their area unit 3 applications of artificial radical organic turf compounds every year. In a pair of there have been applications of fertilizer, coinciding with the weed management treatment.
The athletic fields area unit is managed a lot of intensively than most of the field grounds. In addition to the pesticides and herbicides applied by the contractor, the upkeep regimen consists of aeration, overseeding, and topdressing with compost.
These last three practices foster a property system within which the healthy soil is the main supply of plant nutrition and health instead of regular doses of field care merchandise. Simulating the action of earthworms, aerators automatically pull soil cores, leaving them on the surface to permit air and wet to succeed below the bottom.
This is especially helpful where there is excess thatch, a layer of dead and decomposing grass just above the soil, which can prevent nutrients from reaching plant roots. Overseeding involves spreading seeds on top of existing grass. The purpose may be to thicken the lawn or introduce a new variety that will green as the existing grass goes dormant.
Topdressing with compost is a form of supplemental fertilization used after overseeding or aeration to speed growth. Good quality compost may bring ample benefits including improving soil structure, disease suppression of some soil-borne pathogens, modifying soil pH, and encouraging favorable soil microbes.
There are subcategories within this division as some areas of campus receive greater attention due to their visibility. For example, the academic quad receives more attention than steeply sloped areas near residence halls or on the edge of campus.
Aside from regular clipping, the fertilizer and pesticide applications are the only maintenance these grounds receive each year. Just before graduation, a one-time application of a hydro-seed product (a combination of seed, fertilizer, and water) is used to make the grounds green quickly for a short period.
Non-Grass/Turf Management Areas
In areas not covered by grass, such as concrete and mulch beds, herbicides are used for weed control. Round-up has been used for concrete and mulched areas to kill weeds that could not be completely pulled manually. Additionally, Bromacil has been used on the edges and fence area, to prevent the growth of tall weeds.
This herbicide, used for weed and brush control, is usually sprayed or spread dry just before or during active turf growth. Liquid formulations are more toxic than dry formulations. Insecticides may be used against pests such as gypsy moths.