We designed this project to provide information on the feasibility and performance of golf course turf managed with few or no chemical pesticides. The project is located at one of the 5 golf courses at the Bethpage State Park, Long Island, NY, and is funded by the USGA. Current golf course pest management practices ("unrestricted") are compared with IPM and non-chemical management. Further comparisons are made between standard cultural practices and "alternative" practices that we believe will reduce turfgrass stress and thereby minimize pest problems. Total management systems, as practiced by turf managers are imposed, rather than focusing on individual technologies and isolated practices. Two years of a three-year project have been completed.
Systems were evaluated for aesthetic and functional performance, pest occurrence, turfgrass species population dynamics, tissue and soil nutrient content, organic matter dynamics, rooting, nematode populations, pesticide impact, golfer satisfaction, and cost.
In 2001, pesticide applications on the IPM greens were 27-30% less than on the unrestricted pest management greens, and quality on 5 of the 6 IPM greens equaled that of the unrestricted pest management greens. As of late August 2001, we were unable to retain acceptable quality on any of the non-chemical greens and two of those greens were subsequently closed for 3 months. In November 2001, the 3 non-chemical, alternative culture greens were stripped and re-sodded with velvet bentgrass, in an attempt to avoid future disease problems. Results from the 2002 season will also be presented.
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