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Webinar Review: Sustainable Turf Management

February 24, 2014

What qualities do we want from our athletic fields? Safety? Playability? Where does environmental protection fit in?

Along with U.S. EPA Region 4 and the Sports Turf Managers Association, PPRC recently hosted a Webinar on Sustainable Turf Management at collegiate athletic facilities. If you’re in the turf management, groundskeeping, or landscaping business – or even if you’re just a concerned parent or athlete – you might want to give the webinar a look. Presenters detailed a number of ways that maintaining the safety of playing fields can also reinforce environmental protection.

John Sorochan, a PhD in Turfgrass Science with the University of Tennessee, emphasized the importance of maintaining safe and playable surfaces. He suggested that making fields safer could significantly reduce the number of costly athletic injuries that we see each year in the United States. Sorochan also suggested that using integrated pest management practices can improve both the public and environmental health of fields.

Dr. Beth Guertal, professor of Agronomy and Soils at Auburn University, addressed some of the myths of turf management, such as the idea that adding more phosphorous will always increase grass response. Guertal suggested that we recalibrate our recommendations of appropriate levels of phosphorous. She also described how maintaining the integrity of turf grass can act as a first line of defense in preventing harmful phosphorous runoff into surface water.

Dr. Andrew McNitt, a professor of soil science/turfgrass at Penn State University, addressed some of the ways synthetic turf has improved since its invention and the ways it still needs to improve. For example, McNitt detailed current challenges involved in manufacturing turf to be recycled or re-used. He also suggested that structural improvements could improve the groundwater recharging capacity of turf fields. Finally, McNitt gave a concise summary of the risks of MRSA and how groundskeepers and athletes can address these risks.

 

- Communications Manager

Cyrus Philbrick

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