Documenting Trends in Pest Management Practices on US Golf Courses

Gelernter, W., Stowell, L., Johnson, M., Brown, C. and Beditz (2015)

Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management


Since the initial 2007 survey on pest management practices at US golf courses, superintendents have reported increased reliance on nonpesticide approaches to pest control, including cultural practices (+66% increase), plant growth regulators (+44%), and biological control (+25%). Reliance on conventional pest control chemistries has increased slightly for fungicides (+4%) and herbicides (+2%), and has decreased slightly for insecticides (−4%) and, more dramatically, for nematicides (−15%). Pest management decision-making is most influenced by information obtained from personal interactions (98% of respondents), followed by websites (87%) and print publications (79%). Superintendents reported relatively low impact of regulations on pest management programs in both 2007 and 2015, with even less impact reported in 2015 than in 2007. The most frequently cited local government regulations were for record keeping, storage, and pesticide posting–notification. Development of written pest management plans was largely a voluntary effort, with <15% initiated due to regulatory requirements. Since 2007, participation in costly projects such as development of written pesticide plans, improved pesticide storage facilities, and improved mixing–loading stations has decreased. Further improvements in pest management efficacy and safety will rely on greater investment by: (i) golf courses in staff education, as well as safety-related facility improvements; (ii) universities and superintendent associations in research, outreach, and education on new pest management strategies; and (iii) companies in continued development of new, environmentally compatible, and efficacious pest management products.

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