Friday, February 22, 2008

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day Two

Ontario Turfgrass Symposium Summary Day Two
More snippets from the Symposium
First speaker was Dr Alan Watson from McGill University talking about Sarritor. See our earlier blog entries about this new organic dandelion control.
Dr Sophie Rochefort of Viridis-Conseil presented information on Lawn Biodiversity-Debunking the Myth. Traditional view holds that a lawn has a lower biodiversity than natural ecosystems. And people tend to think that a monoculture is more likely to have pest problems. Her research has shown that there is a tremendous variety of arthropod (insects, archnids, and other) species and organisms living in a lawn. Given the large variety of arthropods, some of her work focused on Collembola or springtails.
A lawn can hold from 10 to 46 thousand individuals per square metre. The numbers were comparable to the populations in a prairie ecosystem or in a field crop. The population was also similar for newly established lawns and for a 10 year old lawn. Her work showed that even after pesticide applications, the population numbers were affected in a minor way and only for a short period of time.
Dr Ken Carey from the Guelph Turfgrass Institute spoke about his work on “Water Use Requirements for Turf Establishment.” His research shows that although different seeding or sodding methods can be used to renovate or repair damaged lawns, the most critical factor in getting the new lawn to establish was the amount of water. Not enough water and seeds will fill in slowly. Not enough water and sod roots will dry out and die. Given lots of water, establishment is faster and the density will be greater.
Ken Pavely from Dol Turf Restoration spoke about Lawn Renovation Techniques. One of his recommendations was to apply Kelp to overseeded lawns. Kelp is to grass seedlings as Steroids are to baseball players. His experience showed that an application of kelp to lawns that were establishing poorly was able to speed up the seedling growth to the place where the poor lawn was no different from the good lawn.
Dr. Eric Lyons from the University of Guelph discussed root growth. Dr Lyons stressed how “Healthy turf = Better roots” and “Better roots = Healthy turf.” The most important factor in producing good roots is mowing height. The higher the mowing height- the deeper the roots. The second factor is water. The third factor is nutrients. But, nutrients cannot be taken up by grass roots without moisture. Therefore watering is more important than nutrition when it comes to developing strong roots.
Dr Katerina Jordan also spoke on root systems. Stresses can greatly impact the health of a lawn. Stresses can include soil compaction, excessive thatch, incorrect mowing, insects and disease. In all cases, a healthy root system is better able to withstand poor conditions. So while correcting poor soil or poor mowing habits is important, keeping the lawn roots healthy will go a long way in reducing the negative effects of the various stresses and pests that lawns face.
Click here to request a quote online or Phone 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING