When turfgrasses face stresses such as heat and drought, pests can become a problem. Pesticides alone will not control pests; a more effective approach is to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to reduce pest damage and reliance on pesticides. IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks and maintains turfgrass quality. The turf industry has embraced IPM and virtually all modern textbooks and courses on turfgrass management include IPM.
Progressive IPM programs following the seven steps discussed here include pesticides as an integral component and a tool used to increase or maintain the economic value of properties being managed. Selection and evaluation considerations can be used to help select an appropriate pesticide that can be used safely on the site in question while being protective of the environment. Because of the potential issues associated with storing, handling, and applying pesticides, BMPs should be followed so that they do not reach surface or ground water through point source releases, runoff, leaching or drift.
For more information on the general use and management of pesticides, see:
- Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP), Cornell University Pesticide Management Education Program (PMEP): psep.cce.cornell.edu
- Pesticide Product Ingredient Manufacturer System (PIMS): pims.psur.cornell.edu/
- Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Occupational & Environmental Health Pesticide Program Overview: oeh.cals.cornell.edu/pestmain.html
- Conduct thorough assessments of pest pressure.
- Establish appropriate pest thresholds for managed turf areas.
- Identify and correct growing environments that exacerbate pest pressure.
- Implement sanitation, exclusion, and cultural practices to minimize pest pressure.
- Determine least toxic pest control programs including preventive approaches.
- Assess control program effectiveness using established monitoring practices.
- Recognize environmental fate of pesticides and select pesticides using a selection strategy that includes an evaluation of pesticide characteristics and potential for nontarget effects.
- Ensure full compliance with existing pesticide regulations, including applicator and technician certification and following all label directions.
- Adapt or implement as many NYS Department of Environmental Conservation pesticide storage guidelines as possible.
- Assess site and weather conditions thoroughly before applying pesticides to avoid the potential for runoff, leaching, or drift.