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New Pesticide Safety Booklets in Spanish

Using a format that is very popular these days, a new comic style 32-page booklet has been released by the Western Plant Health Association. Produced first in the early 1990s to teach farm workers about health and safety issues, this revised edition has all the new information required for training purposes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) standards are presented, and more importantly, the novella has been approved by the USEPA as appropriate for worker education. Over 250,000 copies of the revised Proteccion De Su Salud have been distributed at no charge since its publication, and requests keep pouring in from organizations in California, Arizona and Hawaii.

Targeted research is presently being done at Virginia Tech and Carolina State University to study the cultural issues surrounding communication errors with pesticide use. The increase in agricultural workers, who are primarily Spanish speaking, has led to a similar increase in the need to prevent misuse of these products. As the backbone of our nation's food producers, Spanish-speaking workers need updated, understandable educational materials.

Combining both pictures and words in what is known as the graphic novel format (already very popular in Spanish speaking countries and getting explosive popularity in the United States, as well), the novella tells the story of a new farm worker. Among the areas covered is the importance of protective clothing, washing work clothes separately from other clothes and washing hands before eating, smoking, drinking, etc. In addition, the booklet explains why it is important to understand and follow all application regulations, knowing what the symptoms of exposure are, and what workers should do if they have been exposed.

For more information visit this important web site

Connecticut Petition to Ban Pesticides

A petition to ban the use of lawn care pesticides in Connecticut has been started by the Ecological Health Organization, Inc. and the Grassroots Coalition, both of Connecticut. Their goal is to collect 5,000 signatures over the next year. A similar petition in Quebec started a movement resulting in statewide legislation banning the use of lawn pesticides in Canada. Several Canadian municipalities now have bylaws restricting the use of pesticides on both private and public properties. The current EPA standard regarding non-food use pesticides has the stated goal of a "risk/benefit balancing" standard of "no unreasonable adverse effects." The majority of pesticide products used by lawn and landscape professionals are identical or closely related to those used by homeowners, and many anti-pesticide groups wish to discontinue the use of pesticides on residential properties because they are only for cosmetic purposes.

Diazinon Phase Out

The last day that retailers can sell Diazinon is December 31, 2004. The chemical, marketed by Syngenta and Makhteshim, is in the process of being phased out of the non-agricultural marketplace, and they will buy back all remaining inventory from retailers after December 31, 2004. Marketers have agreed to stop selling product as soon as their supplies are depleted and they are recalling all obsolete formulator inventories. Only 56 percent of retailers sold Diazinon in 2003 compared to 2000, and very little inventory remains in big retailers' possession. All remaining inventory that has not sold will be incinerated. End-use products in the hands of consumers do not, however, have to be returned to either the dealer or the retailer and can be used up according to the label.

Proposed EPA Rule
Would Establish, Modify and Pesticide Tolerances

On August 4, the EPA published a proposed rule entitled “Bromoxynil, Diclofop-methyl, Dicofol, Diquat, Etridiazole, et al.; Proposed Tolerance Actions,” (OPP-2004-0154). In this rule, the EPA is proposing to establish, modify, and revoke specific tolerances as recommended in previously published reregistration eligibility documents (REDs), tolerance reassessment decisions (TREDs) and Federal Register actions. The rule concerns the insecticides fenbutatin-oxide and hydramethylnon, the herbicides bromoxynil, diclofop-methyl, paraquat, picloram and triclopyr; the fumigant phosphine; the fungicides etridiazole, folpet, iprodione and triphenyltin hydroxide (TPTH); the miticides dicofol and propargite and the plant growth regulator and herbicide diquat.

The comment period for this proposed rule will remain open until October 4, 2004.

Links to documents on these chemicals are available on EPA's pesticide reregistration status page at

Fertilizer Prices Going Up, Up Up

Natural gas prices in the United States are higher than anywhere else in the industrialized world which is having a devastating effect on fertilizer prices. However there are a host of other factors beyond the control of suppliers that are impacting what you pay. Natural gas is the first step in processing anhydrous ammonia for nitrogen fertilizers. Due to a large number of plant closures in the U.S., foreign sources are supplying our needs, and that means added transportation costs. Phosphate and potash inventories in the U.S. are also down, and because of increased demand from Asia and Latin America, competition for these raw materials is also driving up prices. To add further to the problem, higher commodity prices for corn and grain crops means that U.S. farmers are planting more acres of these crops and using more fertilizer to boost production. That in turn, is affecting pricing as more people are competing for a smaller amount of fertilizer. The California Plant Health Association recommends that users make sure they have clear usage plans, plus optimum application schedules and methods to make the best use of fertilizers they need.

For the latest information on efficient use of fertilizers go to:

Nu Destiny Wins Top Turf Honors

Dr. Doug Brede is the developer of Nu Destiny Kentucky bluegrass and 60 other popular turfgrasses. His research is headquartered in Post falls, Idaho, with remote test locations from Maryland to California.

Jacklin Seed has developed and released a Kentucky bluegrass variety that scored # 1 in the recent National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) trials, among 173 entries in overall turf performance.

The trials were conducted at 28 land-grant colleges across North America.

The purpose of the NTEP is to coordinate uniform evaluation trials of turfgrass varieties, and it is affiliated with the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Md. Test results are used by national companies and plant breeders to determine the broad picture of the adaptation of a cultivar. Nu Destiny scored a full 0.1 higher quality than the next contender.

Chemical Use Down

New members of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for golf courses received a copy of Environmental Guide to Stewardship on Golf Courses including information on Integrated Pest Management projects and strategies, Best Management Practices and implementing IPM programs from the EPA's pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. They, and an additional 2100 ACSP members, were subsequently sent a survey requesting information about the range of environmental activities on their properties specifically regarding changes in their pesticide use. The results showed a very high reduction in their use of chemicals.

86% had reduced pesticide and chemical use;

92% were using pesticides with a lower toxicity level;

90% had decreased chemical use by increasing cultural control methods.

66% had reduced fertilizer use;

84% had increased percentage of slow-release fertilizers;

78% had increased the use of natural organic fertilizers.

Growth of Salt-tolerant Plants

The Western region is an agriculturally rich area. However, soil salinity and drainage problems are common. West-side soils tend to be saline rich--a problem that's exacerbated by slowly permeable soils and a high water table, which can prevent the successful leaching of salts. In an effort to find ways of disposing of the excess salt, Fresno State researcher Sharon Benes, assistant professor, Department of Plant Science, California State University, Fresno, is studying plants that are native to saline conditions. Some plants are being tested with irrigation water up to two-thirds the salt content of seawater. For updates log on to

Super Texas Turf is Created by Scientists

LUBBOCK, Texas– Researchers at Texas Tech University have announced the creation of a genetically-modified turf that is remarkably green and soft yet extremely durable. Dubbed "Turffalo," the grass "has characteristics unmatched by any other lawn grass in the world," claimed Dick Auld, who chairs the university's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. The grass is now available through a partnership with Frontier Hybrids. In 2003, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program ranked the hybrid the No. 1 buffalo grass strain in overall quality for the southwest region.

Turffalo has a deep, green color and is extremely drought-tolerant, its maker claims, with a root system that extends from six to ten feet deep. It also requires less mowing than other types of lawn.

More information: Dick Auld, (806) 742-0775 or

Lebanon Turf Funds Rutgers University Research

Lebanon Turf, a division of Lebanon Seaboard Corp., presented a check totaling $130,175.60 to Dr. William Meyer and Dr. Bruce Clark of Rutgers University to support additional turfgrass research. Lebanon Turf has cooperated with Dr. Meyer on turfgrass development projects that have led to the release of several top-rated turfgrass varieties.

The check amount represents the royalties from a number of the company's turf varieties, including: Rembrandt, Picasso, Masterpiece, and Da Vinci Tall Fescue; Champagne, Bordeaux, Cabernet, and Sonoma Kentucky Bluegrass; Affirmed, Exacta, Churchill, and Charismatic Perennial Ryegrass; Oxford Hard Fescue, Pathfinder Creeping Red Fescue, Ambassador Chewings Fescue, and Independence Creeping Bentgrass. Many of these varieties rank at the top of the recent National Turfgrass Evaluation Program trials.

For more information, visit and

U.S. Sod is $1 Billion Industry

The 2002 census of agriculture reveals that since the 1997 census, the number of sod farms in the U.S. increased 13.6 percent (to 2,2124) and acres harvested rose 25 percent (to 386,500 acres). Extrapolating from those numbers (multiplying the 2002 acres by the 1997 sales figures), the Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) arrived at a "conservative" sales total for 2002--$1,001,250,000--breaking the billion-dollar barrier for the first time.

The census of agriculture is conducted every five years or so. Congress mandates that all sod farms complete the survey.
Florida, Texas and Alabama lead the states in farms and acreage, as they did in the 1997 census. New York, South Dakota and New Mexico lead the decline in number of farms, with New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada leading the decline in acres harvested.

New Court Rulings Could Affect Pesticide Spraying

An industry group that does not wish to be named is pushing for legislation that would exempt pesticide sprayers from lawsuits. This comes on the heels of recent rulings regarding lawsuits against spraying for West Nile virus.

Rulings Set New Precedent

A recent ruling has started a push aimed at Congress to adjust the EPA's guidance on pesticide spraying. At present, sprayers must comply with the provisions of the Clean Water Act's permitting requirements. If they don't, they are subject to lawsuits brought by either the federal government, or private citizens.

On December 9, 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that citizens could sue if a pesticide sprayer didn't have the proper permits required by the Clean Water Act (CWA). Even if they were in compliance with FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act), they would still require the correct permists issued by the EPA under the CWA. The ruling in the case No Spray Coalition et al. vs. City of New York, said that New York City didn't file for the correct permit from the EPA (which in fact it did not) when they began spraying for mosquitoes to prevent a spread of the West Nile virus.

After several residents of Queens had gotten a strain of the West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, New York City sprayed the pesticides using trucks and helicopters to kill adult mosquitoes. The virus continued to appear each summer and the spraying program was continued, using three pesticides in the program: malathion (sold under the name Fyfanon), resmethrin (Scourge), and sumithrin (Anvil). All three pesticides are regulated under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act), and New York City had applied for their permits under FIFRA. However this spraying was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The CWA forbids the discharge of any pollutant into the navigable waters of the United States without a permit. The term "navigable waters" includes non-navigable tributaries of navigable waterways, including small streams. This allows the EPA to set caps for state or nationwide discharge of pollutants from all regulated sources. By taking into consideration the particular ecological conditions of particular kinds of waterways they can control the effects of certain pollutants and monitor how they spread by controlling the number and kinds of permits they issue.

This latest ruling clearly sets the precedent for citizen law suits involving the use of pesticides approved by the EPA under FIFRA but not approved under the Clean Water Act. In addition, there were two previous rulings where the courts upheld similar CWA mandates, making the precedent even stronger.

Industry Reacts

Certain groups aren't happy with the opening for lawsuits this latest ruling has created, and feel that limiting the effect of these rulings can only be accomplished by new legislation. One such set of lobbyists, an industry group keeping a low profile, is working to push for legislation on Capitol Hill that would amend the Clean Water Act so that any spraying done under FIFRA would not require EPA permitting under the Clean Water Act, saying getting the correct permits is an additional cost with no benefits.Also pesticide sprayers, whether they are farming groups, the pesticide industry, or mosquito control personnel would very much like to get immunity from any citizen lawsuits. If the legislation they are requesting gets passed, pesticide, fungicide and rodenticide spraying would be exempt from the Clean Water Act provisions and permitting requirements. They would also be exempt from the CWA's provision allowing citizens to sue manufacturers or users who may be in violation. They would only be required to deal with FIFRA. FIFRA is the regulatory law controlling the use of pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides. It requires that all such chemicals be registered if they are sold in the United States. The EPA accepts their registration only if the poison "when used in accordance with widespread and common practice" does not do damage to the environment. FIFRA makes it unlawful to use any of the registered pesticides in a way that is not consistent with its labeling, but does not provide any avenue for citizen law suits. If the EPA agrees to any changes in the CWA making FIFRA the governing law, citizen lawsuits would no longer be workable. The only lawsuits that could be brought would have to be by federal or state governments.

For more information go to:

Bleeding Beech Trees Not Sudden Oak Death

A relative of the microbe that caused the Irish potato famine may be the killer in the puzzling deaths of beech trees in the northeastern United States.

For the last 30 years, scientists have been trying to figure out why showpiece European beech trees, some that are hundreds of years old, are dying. The problem in finding a suspect lay in the fact that by the time someone called in George Hudler, a plant pathologist at Cornell University, it was too late. Only recently has he gotten calls before one of these majestic trees had become a skeleton.

Thanks to field tests of the bleeding cankers that form on the trunk, microscopic analysis and gene sequencing, Hudler has discovered that the culprit is phytophtor infestans, a variation of the microbe that caused the Irish potato famine. Initially, they'd thought this disease was an East Coast outbreak of sudden oak death, a current scourge for oaks on the West Coast. Plants and trees have been quarantined in nurseries, and that microbe is still on the move.

The symptoms found in beech trees are very much like those of sudden oak death: thin cracks in the bark that ooze sap, and a color change under the bark in the fall. Once a tree starts to get sick, it is attacked by a huge number of other pests and pathogens, and it becomes hard to tell which attacker is the cause of death. However, since getting samples from trees that were just starting the process, Hudler was able to classify the thread-like organisms and determine that they were much closer to brown algae than a fungus as they'd originally suspected. At the moment, all you can do for a sick beech is give it lots of balancing soil improvements and plenty of water, but antifungal treatments specific to this microbe are presently being tested.

Florida Nursery & Allied Trades Show
September 30-October 2, 2004

The Florida Nursery & Allied Trades Show (FNATS) is recognized as one of the premier nursery and landscape trade shows in the country.

The FNATS exhibit area uses 200,000 square feet of space to showcase more than 550 industry companies. Horticulture produce lines vary from trees, plants, shrubs, liners, annuals, perennials, foliage and more. Supplies include soils, mulches, equipment, fertilizers, chemicals, nursery and greenhouse supplies, computer programs, rocks and stones, and more.

Educational classes will cover everything from production to landscape management and design to retail to FNGLA's certification programs. Log on to to register.

Louisiana Irrigation Contractor License Law

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed legislation in July mandating the licensing of irrigation contractors by the state's Horticulture Commission. The Louisiana Irrigation Association had pushed for the change in the interest of increased industry standards. The legislation was sponsored by House Speaker Joe Salter (D-Florien) and encountered no real opposition on its way to approval. The governor signed the bill on July 12.

A similar bill has been stalled in New York's assembly since June. Called A6098, the legislation would require certification of all irrigation contractors in the state. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, is the product of long years of work by the Irrigation Association of New York.

Southern Bark Beetle Maps Will Be More Accurate

Forest One, Inc. has teamed up with the Texas Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service to produce more accurate maps charting the health of southern pine forests and their vulnerability to Southern Pine Beetle infestation. The effort will use satellite imagery to plot a hazard rating for tracts of timber with a resolution down to one acre.

The Southern Pine Beetle is one of the most destructive insect pests in the southern United States and ranges through Mexico as far south as Nicaragua. The pest causes damage in excess of $100 million each year.

Charting trees' relative health will enable forest managers to carry out preventative maintenance, helping to limit damage over wide areas. Project mapping will initially focus on the forested areas of east Texas, with mapping eventually extended across the entire southeastern pine belt.

More information: Clark Love, (601) 594-0479, or the Forest One web site,

Stephen Johnson Appointed EPA Administrator

On July 30, Stephen Johnson was formally appointed deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Johnson has served in the position of acting deputy administrator for the past year.

Johnson's experience includes working as the assistant administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. He has over 20 years of service at the EPA, principally in the area of pesticide programs. Before joining the EPA, Johnson held positions as the director of operations at Hazelton Laboratories Corporation and Litton Bionetics, Inc.

Beware the Invasive Species

Among the most noteworthy invasive plants are: 1) purple loosestrife; 2) Russian olive; 3) saltcedar; 4) water hyacinth. 5) English ivy; and 6) buckthorn

Invading extraterrestrial aliens are bad enough, but invasive species of the plant variety are not to be taken lightly either, at least according to the Invasive Weeds Awareness Coalition (IWAC). While most exotic plants are not a problem, the IWAC warns to be careful about selecting or planting nonnative plants, as some become invasive and can eventually destroy habitat that sustains native birds, butterflies, insects and small animals.

Mary Meyer, PhD, a horticulturalist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, notes that most garden centers are careful not to carry invasive species, but every year new species turn up. She advises asking the local extension service before choosing a nonnative plant.

The most serious invaders include: purple loosestrife, Russian olive, saltcedar, buckthorn, English ivy and water hyacinth.

For more information on invasive plants, visit

Georgia Water Plan Would Penalize Big Consumers

Georgia is considering a water conservation plan that would impact big consumers with higher rates. If implemented, water districts would change price structures, start audits to find leaks, begin educating customers about conservation and offer rebates to residents who install low-flow toilets and other efficient hardware.

But the plan, which has not received final approval, is drawing criticism from others who say it will stifle economic development in the state. Farmers, who now get their water for free, also oppose the plan.

But Mary Elfner, the state's conservation coordinator when the plan was developed, told the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph that she supported the plan.

It should "be taken seriously and be incorporated very strongly in the water-planning process," Elfner said. "It's important that conservation be seen as a serious tool for water supply in the state, and be more than kids turning off the water when they brush their teeth."

Source: the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.

New Irrigation Research

Scientists at Agricultural Research Service, the research arm of the Department of Agriculture, have discovered that pumping water back through the same buried pipes used to drain wet fields increases crop yields and cleans groundwater at the same time. Developed by Barry Allred and Norm Fausey of ARS in collaboration with Ohio State University, the Wetland Resevoir Subirrigation System (WRSIS) has three interconnected components: a wetland, a water storage reservoir and a cropland area with an underground pipe system for drainage or subirrigation. Water at the test sites now flows through a wetland and is then stored for later irrigation use. The wetland traps solids and organic carbons and uses the nitrogen to fertilize its own vegetation, thus cleaning the drainage water and creating cover for thriving plants and wildlife. More importantly, the reused water sent crop yields up 40 to 48 percent during the drier growing seasons, reduced non-point source pollution and kept the water table constant. Landscape architects could also apply these kinds of irrigation solutions to large developments or golf courses especially now that the Clean Water Act mandates that any project over one acre must treat its own storm water runoff. Further, using this kind of recycled water decreases fertilizer usage although scrubber filters are high maintenance and bio-swill techniques may work best.

For more information go to:

17– Percentage of California's recycled water used for landscape irrigation.

500,000– Acre-feet of water recycled in California each year.

Source: California Department of Water Resources

California Water-Meter Legislation Dries Up

A California bill that would require landscape irrigation meters for properties of one acre or more is apparently dead, the victim of lukewarm support in Sacramento. Assembly Bill 2298 would have required local water districts to monitor customers' irrigation, providing an incentive for property owners to limit outdoor water use.

The proposed bill stopped short of taxing customers for overly-thirsty lawns, but would have notified them of spikes in consumption suggesting leaks or waste.

Irrigation accounts for roughly 40 percent of California's urban, non-agricultural water budget, according to the Washington, D.C.–based Irrigation Association.

Some kind of landscape-based water conservation is needed to head off more stringent rules that might limit turf planting and other landscape options in California, said Larry Rohlfes of the California Landscape Contractors Association. "This would have been a baby-step in the right direction," he added.

A rule banning residential sod planting is already in place in suburban Las Vegas. Georgia is poised to implement a water plan that would impact heavy irrigators with higher rates. The stalled California legislation stopped short of mandating higher rates for over-quota quantities, as the Irvine Ranch Water District and a handful of others have done. That kind of "water conservation rate structure" would save more water but also encounter more resistance in the state capital.

A spokesman for Assemblyman George Plescia (R-San Diego), who introduced AB 2298, said the assemblyman had not made a decision on reintroducing the bill for the 2005 legislative session.

Air Conditioners Can Keep Gardens Green

Large air conditioning units can generate enough water to keep adjacent landscaping green, according to research reviewed by Virginia-based The Irrigation Association.

"The quantity of water coming out of some of these systems is astounding," said Karen Guz of the San Antonio Water System. "There are a lot of humid regions of the country with water problems. It's free, unrestricted water for irrigation purposes." One San Antonio shopping mall produces 500 gallons of clean, free water an hour. A city library is already diverting its air conditioner condensation for irrigation.

Systems for putting condensation to use will be discussed at this November's International Irrigation Show in Tampa, Fla. More information:

Robotic Bollards on the Run

The bollards line up and head off to work.

Have you always wanted a robot? Do you need to improve work zone safety? Could you use a few intelligent construction cones on a job site? Well, Shane Farritor of University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Robotics and Mechatronics lab has just what you need. His prototype robotic bollards look just like all the other normal orange safety barrels, but these can self deploy and self-retrieve with just a minimum of human help. Controlled at a distance by a worker on a computer console, they can move independently, they can be placed in parallel, and then they be reconfigured as the work area changes.

The base housing the robotic electronics and motor is covered by a standard orange bollard.

The Nebraska team developed software that would work with an image of the site produced by a digital camera on top of the truck. Then, using coordinates, a worker in the truck can send instructions to a "bellwether", or head robot. That robot then leads all the others out and places them correctly. The head robot makes sure the others "toe the line" and can also bring in any badly behaved robots. They can even be programmed in advance. If the bollards need to be in one place before lunch and then moved after lunch there's no need to go out, collect them all, and then rearrange them. The only difficulty may be in keeping the robots "stupid" enough so they'll be dependable. After all, it would be annoying if one were to run off someplace to start a little robotic life of its own.

Proper traffic control is very important during highway work, but accidents can still occur because of poor work zone design or driver negligence. Work on the idea began in 2002 with a grant from the National Academy of Sciences in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board. Now Professor Farritor and his team are working to get the price down, hopefully to about $200.

Chicago Searches for Emerald Ash Borer

The bark fissure is the work of the emerald ash borer (top). A young adult emerald ash borer. Photos COURTESY OF James W. Smith & David Cappaert, MSU

Over 35 communities in the Chicago area have agreed to assist the Morton Arboretum’s field survey to determine if the emerald ash borer is present in northeastern Illinois. The arboretum worked with state, local and federal agencies to release an Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Plan for Illinois in the spring of 2004, and has a grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture to help conduct the summer survey.

The emerald ash borer, introduced from China, established itself in Michigan in 2002 and has killed an estimated 16 million ash trees there. The borer has since been found in Ohio, Maryland and Indiana.

Edith Makra, the Morton Arboretum’s community trees advocate, estimates that about one in five trees in the Chicago area are ash. The inspection will target trees in nurseries, garden centers, firewood distributors and campgrounds.

No evidence of beetle activity has been found to date in the Chicago area. “Our hope is to find no trace of the borer, of course,” says Makra.

AEM Presents Annual Conference

Scott Shuster

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) will hold its 2004 annual conference Nov. 7-9, 2004 at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida. The conference is considered the equipment manufacturing industry's leading event for senior executives and their management teams.

This year's conference will feature talk-back sessions moderated by Scott Shuster, a longtime ABC News correspondent. Three breakout sessions are also on tap to engage peer-to-peer discussion.

For details and online registration, go to

Water Resources Conference Coming in November

The American Water Resources Association will hold its annual conference November 1-4, 2004 in Orlando, Florida. Water resources in states like Florida are facing enormous pressures from population growth, difficult planning, volatile politics and rapidly changing demographics.

On hand will be water resources managers from all levels of government, including consultants and academics providing the scientific and technical background.

Topics covered will include:

  • conservation practices
  • cultural issues
  • drinking water source protection
  • economics/finance
  • environmental watershed stewardship and education
  • hydrology and watershed management
  • innovative treatments
  • lakes and ponds
  • riparian and aquatic ecosystems
  • stormwater management
  • sustainable recycled water use
  • transboundary water issues
  • water information management
  • water quality and TMDLs
  • water policy, planning and management
  • watershed management plans
  • wetlands
  • wildland hydrology

Lunch & Learn Series

The GCSAA has created a new learning series for busy landscape superintendents that will be delivered as 90-minute webcasts available online on their computers. This innovative delivery system allows busy people to eat lunch in their offices while attending a class that earns them 0.2 education points per session. The first webcast, "What's Bugging You?," was on the subject of seasonal shifts in insect activity. Delivered by Rick Brandenburg, Ph.D., participants had the opportunity to email questions and/or photos regarding their specific insect problems to the GCSAA staff so that they could be addressed during the webcast. Dr. Brandenburg discussed pest management practices, long-term strategies for reducing the likelihood of severe turf damage, and how to use the latest products in a cost-effective way.

For more information on future Lunch & Learn sessions, contact

New Green Roof Blocks Ready to Install

Green roof blocks have a designed ballast weight similar to the ballast weight recommended by single ply roofing manufacturers.

The two-foot by two-foot blocks simply rest on the rooftops, and are available in four-inch and 12-inch depths

Developed from a professional roofers point of view, a new way of applying green roofing is making it easy and affordable without having to undertake major structural retrofits. Green roofs have been popular in Europe for decades, but here in the United States, building owners, architects and public officials are only now becoming aware of the benefits of vegetative roof surfaces. Green roofs keep heat in during cold weather and keep heat out during hot summers. Storm water runoff is dramatically reduced by the absorption of soils and plant roots. Reducing the urban heat island effect can lower the overall city temperature by as much as ten degrees. Made by Saint Louis Metalworks Company, Green Roof Blocks are a self-contained portable roof product that functions like roof pavers to ballast single ply roofing systems or rest on top of existing roofing. Since ballasted EPDM membrane roofing systems are the most economical on the market, these blocks let owners and specifiers stay within construction budgets. They combine live plants and growth media and are ready for shipping anywhere in the United States. Integrated pads at the corners and in the center of each roof block elevate them off the roof surface allowing water and air to move freely under the system. The block system allows building owners the option of covering portions of the roof each year as their budgets allow.

For more information, go to:

Watershed Storm Water Act Approved

The Comprehensive Watershed Storm Water Act introduced by Pennsylvania Representative David Steil among others was amended on the House Floor, and passed. The act enables counties and municipalities to develop a comprehensive watershed storm water management plan to regulate storm water within designated watershed boundaries. If counties choose to develop such a plan, responsibility would lie with the county to implement and maintain the storm water system. Approval with respect to state land would be from the appropriate state agency. Expansion of the advisory committee to include other agencies and groups is permitted. The legislation also provides for use of a common design flow standard and imposes duties and powers on DEP and the environmental quality board. The bill passed 153 in favor, 46 opposed.

Subsurface Drip Most Efficient, Study Concludes

A U.S. Department of Agriculture study examining four means of irrigating juvenile peach trees (furrow, microject, surface drip, and subsurface drip) has concluded that trees irrigated by subsurface drip systems were the best at getting water to tree roots. Microsprayers were the poorest performers, judging by the smaller fruit produced by the trees so irrigated. The microsprayer results may be due in part to the lack of shade in young orchards and the subsequent increase in evaporation of water from the jets.

Trees irrigated by the surface and subsurface drip also outperformed the furrow method.

The study was in conjunction with the Center for Irrigation Technology and the Agricultural Research Initiative.

The complete report, "Irrigation Management Practices for Improving Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency and Crop Productivity in Peach," is available at the website of the Agricultural Research Initiative (

Calif. Pest Advisers Slate Annual Conference

"Celebrate" will be the theme for the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) 30th annual conference and Agri-Expo Oct. 24-26 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. CAPCA represents more than 3,400 licensed pest control advisers in California.

The conference will include continuing educational hours not found elsewhere. Programming will focus on what is new in the industry, including technology, genetically altered crops, farming in the future, and a discussion on water and other regulatory issues.

Highlights of this year's conference will feature general session on Monday and Tuesday mornings, a sit-down membership luncheon with distinguished guest speaker Michael Reagan, the Monday night football reception, and the Agri-Expo, which attracts approximately 96 industry exhibitors. Two concurrent breakout sessions are slated for Monday afternoon.

Last year's event attracted over 1,000 licensed pest control advisers (PCAs).

For more information, visit or call (916) 928-1625.

ARS & NTF Launch Research Program

There are an estimated 50 million acres of turfgrass planted across the U.S.

The National Turfgrass Federation and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), chief research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced a long-term research program aimed at improving the nation's turfgrass. Working in conjunction with a dozen ARS locations and scientists from Maryland to California, six areas have been identified as top priority: improvement of water management, genetic enhancement of germplasm, collection and enhancement, pest management, improving turfgrass' role in the environment, soil enhancement and integrated turf management. Turfgrass is not only a large business, but it touches the lives of all Americans with school grounds, municipal parks and athletic fields. The aim is to develop turfgrass with added resistance to pests and pathogens, and create inter-generic hybrids with superior turfgrass characteristics.

Turf-Seed/Pure Seed Testing
Host 22nd Annual Field Day

The field day allowed superintendents and turfgrass professionals to see commercial and experimental turfgrass seed varieties tested under real-world conditions.

Turfgrass professionals learned about the newest seed varieties and turfgrass research at the annual Turf-Seed/Pure Seed Testing Field Day, June 17 in Hubbard, Oregon. The field day gave superintendents, turf managers, distributors and seed growers the opportunity to see turf varieties growing under different conditions. There were trials involving putting greens, fairways and shaded turf, test plots mowed at different heights and varieties planted in seed production trials.

Field Day Highlights

Expert sees need for salt and drought tolerant grasses

Dr. Ronny Duncan of Turf Eco Systems, LLC, spoke on the need for improved genetic tolerance in grass varieties and blends.

"Grass tolerance is going to become extremely important the further we get into this century," Duncan predicted. "We're going to need a lot more multiple stresses built into grasses or we're not going to have a lot of turf surviving out there. Salinity is going to be challenging it; we're also going to need a lot better drought tolerance in these grasses."

There are a variety of new salt tolerant and heat and drought resistant grasses currently available.

Tests say genetically engineered bents spread traits through pollination

Participants learned that genetically engineered glyphosate resistant bentgrasses growing in Oregon had contaminated nonengineered bentgrasses through pollination. "The pollen traveled two and a half miles," explained David Carillo. "It pollinated another plant, which produced seed containing the glyphosate resistant gene." Pure Seed Testing planted the contaminated seed in a greenhouse and after it grew sprayed the plant three times with glyphosate; the plant survived.

Trials show Velocity(TM) slowly eliminates Poa annua in bentgrass

A new chemical called Velocity was shown extremely effective at controlling Poa annua in test plots at field day. Developed by Valent Corporation, Velocity is being used for selective control of Poa annua and Poa Trivialis in perennial ryegrasses and bentgrasses.

New tall fescue variety shows great promise

Tar Heel ll, a new tall fescue developed at Pure Seed Testing-East has shown excellent resistance to brown patch in NTEP trials and those conducted by Pure Seed Testing. It also performed well in shade trials, and has shown the highest level of salt tolerance of any tall fescues yet screened by Pure Seed Testing.

Next year's field day will be held in Rolesville, N.C., June 17, 2005.

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PESP Achievements in IPM

As part of their annual PESP strategies, the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program members report indicates that they are getting a great deal of solid compliance on their Integrated Pest Management programs. Examples given were New York City’s Board of Education’s total use of bendiocarb and cyfluthrin (the only insecticidal concentrates they use) were down over 33 percent from the prior year. Their use in classrooms and student areas is still being avoided. The Central Maine Power Company’s crews used only one pint of active ingredient per acre in their tree care program, and only on those tree species capable of growing into the conductors of block access to the right-of-way. The Chicago Park Division of Conservatories have created a database of pesticide usage going back to 1996 which will serve as a basis for tracking annual pesticide use. They have also introduced biological enemies of the citrus mealybug, Leptomastix dactylopii and Cryptolaemus montrozourii, thus ending their use of chemical treatment for the pest. The University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has developed an IPM/Pesticide risk assessment tool for schools that identifies areas of risk as well and where IPM could be improved. They are implementing IPM pilot schools across Georgia.

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June 18, 2019, 8:42 am PDT

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