ST. MARY’S CITY, MARYLAND — An international panel of lawn care innovators will gather together for the first Natural Green Turfgrass Workshop presented by the Maryland Turfgrass Association
and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
In the midst of pending regional and national legislation involving nutrient reduction in lawn fertilizers, as well as bans of synthetic chemical pesticides in several states and Canada, conference organizer Mike Barberry said he expects a fiesty dialogue among the presenters and attendees.
“We know some people in the lawn industry will love this theme and others will ask us what we’re thinking,” said Barberry, president of the Maryland Turfgrass Association.
Lead presenter Paul Tukey, the founder of the national non-profit known as SafeLawns.org, will offer an overview of emerging techniques and products from across North America.
“This is an incredibly dynamic time of transition in the lawn care industry,” said Tukey, the author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey 2007). “Just in the past three years we’ve seen an incredible influx of natural weed killers, insect killers, fungicides and fertilizers that are all based on naturally occurring substances and safer chemistries.”
The day-long event at St. Mary’s College will feature a presentation and tour hosted by Kevin Mercer, the university’s groundkeeper. A graduate of the Univ. of Georgia Sports Turfgrass Management and
Professional Turfgrass Management programs, he is a former golf course superintendent who has given sustainability lectures for sports turf locally and nationally. He has worked closely with the Department of Natural Resources and is an environmental steward for the State of Maryland through the Audubon International.
Other presenters include: Stephen Duke, Director of the Natural Products Utilization Research at the University of Mississippi and Kurt Vanclief, Director of Natural Sod Growers Association of Ontario & owner Willowlee Sod Farms Limited, Ameliasburg, Ontario, Canada.
The cost of the event, including lunch, is $50.
Please address and questions to: Vernon Cooper, MTA Exec. Dir.
“Natural Green Turfgrass” Conference & Workshop
Cole Cinema at the Campus Center
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, April 1, 2011
8:00 to 9:00 Registration and Seahawk Continental Breakfast
9:00 to 9:15 Welcome and Introduction by Master of Ceremonies, Mike Barberry, President MTA
9:15 to 10:45 Emerging Techniques and Products available for Turfgrass
Paul Tukey, Founder SafeLawns.org
What is available to the turfgrass professional to grow and maintain turfgrass with limited or minimal pesticides, nutrients and chemicals?
10:45 to 11:00 Break
11:00 to 12:00 Turfgrass & The Crystal Ball
Kevin Mercer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
The past, present and future of turfgrass management and what our moral obligation is to the industry and tomorrow’s turfgrass manager. Discussion of total organic and non-organic programs will be discussed with less chemical fertilizers and pesticide usage. New programs will be discussed for managing storm water and reducing carbon foot prints from customer properties.
12:00 to 1:00 All American Deli Lunch
1:00 to 2:00 Tour of the “Natural Campus” at St. Mary’s
Kevin Mercer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s Campus is more like a golf course than a college campus. Kevin will show us his secrets for
maintaining the beautiful campus on a limited budget and minimal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
2:00 to 3:00 Research Update of “Natural” products for the Future of Turfgrass in the United States. Stephen Duke, Dir. Natural Products Utilization Research, Univ. of Mississippi.
Potential green products for future use in turf fertility and what research is being done to find other safer pest control products for turf. Plus the possible use of allelopathic grasses in turf. (Allelopathy is how one plant suppresses other plants.)
3:00 to 4:00 The ONLY Natural Sod Certification Program in North America
Kurt Vanclief, Director of NSGA of Ontario & owner Willowlee Sod Farms Limited,Ameliasburg, Ontario, Canada
Explanation of what and how the Nursery Sod Growers Association of Ontario developed the ONLY “Natural Sod” certification program in North America.
Willowlee Sod Farm, Limited
A common insect that you should watch for is the white grub. Grubs live in the soil under the grass. If you suspect their presence in your lawn, remove a block of sod and count the grubs. If you have as many as five per 1/10 sq. metre, treat your lawn with a good soil insecticide such as Diazinon.
The sod web worm is a lively brown worm about 2 cm. long that feeds on grass and causes grass to turn brown. Chinch Bugs are small black insects about 1/2 cm. in length that suck the juices from the grass plant. The damage shows large irregular yellowish brown patches, usually along the edge of a sidewalk, curb or foundation. These pests may be controlled by using Diazinon. If in doubt consult your local landscaper or garden centre.
The Nursery Sod Growers Association of Ontario (NSGA) is pleased to announce their new socially responsible “Green” Certification program. After two years of diligent work and testing, the program is available to all members of the NSGA. The goal of the program is to meet the desired expectations of consumers to protect natural resources, enhance conservation through best management practices, provide a safe workplace environment, promote recycling and enhance community relations. This strictly voluntary program provides assurances that NSGA members meet or exceed standards for water conservation, water source protection, soil conservation, and approved nutrient application. In addition, the program promotes a safe workplace environment, recycling and community relations. The program is designed to certify sod operations that are meeting the NSGA standards. In order to receive certification, all sites owned or leased by a grower must participate in an independent third-party on-site audit. Upon certification, each operation must submit an annual report and conduct an on-site verification audit a minimum of once every three years.