Blog

Welcome to the New York State Best Management Practices blog page. On this page we will be providing news, information, and insights on the use of Best Management Practices to protect natural resources. To be notified of new postings, please sign up using the form at right.

Know Your Soil

Few would argue that knowledge of the soils you are managing is a critical aspect of successful golf turf management. Soil management begins with knowing the type and characteristics of the soil at your property. Fortunately, most of the data we need is easy to access and interpret. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.

Of course, once you know the soil types and characteristics, soil testing allows for precise nutrient management programs for all nutrients other nitrogen as it can be used to determine nutrient levels, make fertilizer recommendations, and in some cases diagnose the cause of poor performing turf. Assessing the existing reservoir of available nutrients in the soil can minimize the need for supplemental applications of fertilizer, which saves money while protecting the environment. Learn what you need to know about soil testing: http://nysgolfbmp.cals.cornell.edu/soil-testing/.

Pollinators

Pollinators are in trouble all over this country, including New York State, with documented significant declines in population levels. However, because golf courses provide a large expanse of mostly undeveloped land, they can help pollinators by providing habitat. These undeveloped expanses of land are of special significance especially in urbanized /suburbanized areas of the state that may not have expansive open areas.

The NYS BMP program has conducted a case study of the Rockville Links Club on Long Island where superintendent Lucas Knutson has renovated three areas on the golf course with pollinators in mind as well as adding bee hives to the golf course. These case studies (both written and video) show how Knutson established native areas, utilizes best management practices to protect pollinators, and how these efforts have been communicated to club members.

At Rockville Links, BMPs to protect pollinators from any impact from pesticide applications include:

  • scouting, to determine pest location, movement, and overall pest pressure;
  • product selection and selecting an effective product with low toxicity to bees and short residual toxicity;
  • timing applications so as not to apply pesticides to blooming plants when bees might be present and mowing before applications; and
  • watering in pesticides to drive product into the roots for uptake, unless the label indicates otherwise.

The NYS BMP program will be adding more information on BMPs for protecting pollinators and enhancing habitat to this web site later this year. In the meantime, additional BMPs for pollinators are detailed in the New York State Pollinator Protection Plan, http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/nyspollinatorplan.pdf.

NYS BMP Quiz and Assessment Results

Since publication of the NYS BMP guidelines, the BMP committee has focused on outreach and education efforts to promote the acceptance and implementation of BMPs in New York State’s golf industry. As part of these efforts, the state’s golf course professionals were surveyed last year to conduct a formative assessment of BMP concepts and a survey of BMPs as implemented on NYS golf courses.

The results were analyzed by Cornell University to determine educational and outreach priorities for our target audience of NYS superintendents and assistant superintendents. The following PDFs provide more detail on the analysis and the detailed responses to each question for both the quiz and survey:

The NYS BMP quiz and survey will be available again in late 2017 and early 2018. Look for notices in the fall and plan to participate in this process.