Proper control of weeds, insects and diseases is an important and necessary component of any turfgrass management system. On athletic fields this is not only for the purpose of aesthetics but also from the standpoint of insuring that the turfgrass system provides proper traction and footing which hopefully reduces the possibility of injury to the users of the field. Depending on which pest you consider, pesticides are either a tool that can be used to make the management of turfgrass pests easier (for example, dandelions and other tap-rooted weeds), or perhaps they are the only plausible way of dealing with a particular pest (for example, grey leaf spot or another pathogen).
One of the routine maintenance tasks for athletic field management is the control of weeds. This is not just for aesthetic purposes. Sometimes the weeds can result in reduced lateral shear strength and increased chance for athlete injury. Herbicides, when used according to the label, have been shown to present minimal risk to end users and are typically employed by athletic managers to selectively remove different weeds. However, we are increasingly seeing laws and regulations being passed aimed at reducing exposure to pesticides, including bans of pesticide use on public lands or on school property. In these areas the use of synthetic herbicides is not permitted and alternative management strategies need to be used. Continue reading