Golf Course Management

MAY 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 66 of 93

05.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 63 Turfgrass is an important cropping sys- tem covering more than 39 million acres (~16 million hectares) in the United States (9). Synthetic pesticides — including fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and plant growth reg - ulators — are important tools in managing turf landscapes. However, some of these man - agement tools have been implicated in the de- cline of managed and wild pollinators. Often, the public perception that use of these control agents is linked to pollinator decline threat - ens future use of these tools and our ability to maintain functional, high-quality turf. Extension and research entomologists from across the United States met in 2016 at the Summit for Protecting Pollinators in Turf to review the scientific literature on non-target impacts of pest management practices on pol - linators in the turfgrass landscape with the goal of developing best management practices (also known as BMPs) to protect pollinators, identify knowledge gaps and prioritize future research needs. e working group identified the limited research that exists in turf land - scapes and prioritized areas where research is needed to conserve pollinators while balanc - ing the needs for maintaining healthy, high- quality turfgrass. What to do about pollinator decline? e ecological services that native and managed bees and other pollinating insects provide to society are invaluable. It is esti - mated that 75% of the world's food crops could not reproduce without assistance from pollinators (5). Unfortunately, pollinator pop - ulations have experienced significant declines in the past few decades, ultimately threaten - ing the world food supply. Several factors have been implicated in their decline, including habitat loss, extreme temperature fluctua - tions (variability), pathogens, parasites, colony stressors and pesticide exposure (3). Regard - less of the numerous factors associated with pollinator decline, the popular press and pub - lic often wrongly perceive insecticides, espe- cially neonicotinoids, as the primary threat re- sponsible for pollinator decline. is negative perception has contributed to the imposition of bans on the use of neonicotinoids for aes - thetic purposes (including turfgrass manage- ment) by several municipalities in the United States. ese bans illustrate the need for the Without disturbing the game or the golf course patrons, facilities can establish out-of-play areas on the grounds that are attractive and provide pollinator habitat. Photos by Chris Williamson

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