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Speakers to address Ontario pesticide ban at OTS

January 5, 2010  By  Mike Jiggens

IMPLEMENTED as law last April, the cosmetic pesticide ban in Ontario
continues to be debated throughout the province. The issue will not be
lost in February at the 19th annual Ontario Turfgrass Symposium in
Guelph when two speakers will reflect on its first full season as well
as the true costs of turfgrass management in its aftermath.

Back-to-back presentations on Wednesday, Feb. 17 will be given by
Violet Van Wassenaer of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, who
will offer an overview of the ban, and by a trio of parks directors,
who will address the true costs of maintaining quality sports fields
without the use of pesticides.

The OTS, which has adopted the theme “The Culture of Green” for its
2010 conference, will be held at the University of Guelph’s Rozanski

On both days of the symposium—Feb. 17 and 18—speakers will address a number of subjects geared toward the sports turf, lawn care, golf and sod growing sectors of the turfgrass industry.


To learn more about the symposium or to register, visit http://www.ots.open.uoguelph.ca.

Speakers and their topics:


Wednesday, Feb. 17

• “Field of dreams: real turf for BMO Field,” presented by Bob Hunter, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The artificial turf at BMO Field in Toronto was sodded with natural turf this year in preparation for a contest between Toronto FC and Real Madrid. The successful sodding project led to an agreement to have the field permanently installed with natural turf. Hunter will talk about plans to have the new natural surface ready for Toronto FC’s home opener next season.

• “If you sod it, they will come: sodding BMO Field for Real Madrid vs. Toronto Football Club Friendly,” presented by Claus Zander of Zander Sod. The exhibition soccer game had to be played on natural turf, allowing only 40 hours to cover the artificial surface with sod. Immediately following the game, the field was restored to its artificial state. Zander will talk about the process from start to finish.

• “Overview of the cosmetic pesticide ban,” presented by Violet van Wassenaer of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. An overview of the ban including requirements for excepted uses on golf courses and by public works and specialty turf.

Sports turf

• “What are the true costs of the cosmetic pesticides ban for municipalities?” presented by Mark Dykstra of the City of Waterloo, Bill Slute of the City of Oshawa and Andy Wickens of the City of Mississauga. Parks directors who have been dealing with local bans for several years will discuss what it costs to implement the cultural practices necessary to maintain quality sports fields without pesticides.

• “Sports field speed and strength: just the beginning,” presented by Dr. Tim Vanini of New Dimensions Turfgrass. A discussion of the establishment of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, Poa supina and bermudagrass in 70 and 435-day windows. This study information can aid sports field managers in making best decisions regarding species and cultivars.

Lawn care

• “Sodding for success: sodding methods for reduced failure and lower weed pressure,” presented by Sean Jordan of the University of Guelph. Topics include the pros and cons of several sodding techniques and critical windows for success.

• “Return of the giant hogweed,” presented by Mike Cowbrough of OMAFRA. An overview of the weed’s biology, distribution, impact on human health and management. Native to Russia, the weed first appeared in Ontario in 1949 and is known to burn and blister human skin when contact is made.

• “Sarritor: another year under our belt,” presented by Gavin Dawson of GreenLawn Ltd., Chris Lemke of The Weedman and Kyle Tobin of LawnSavers. A presentation of results obtained by customers on lawns treated by Sarritor in the spring and fall of 2009.

• “From nematodes to Bt: insect control trials from 2009,” presented by Pam Charbonneau of OMAFRA. The results of trials on the testing of alternative insecticide products on leatherjackets and European chafer grubs in 2009.


• “Waitea circinata and its Rhizoctonia relatives,” presented by Karla de la Cerda of the University of Guelph. A review of the biology and ecology of W. circinata and its Rhizoctonia relatives which are responsible for severe damage to high-value turfgrasses throughout North America. Information will be presented on brown ring patch, and turfgrass managers will be provided a better understanding of the conditions which favour the disease.

• “Civitas™, a novel product for turfgrass disease control,” presented by Brady Nash of the University of Guelph. Civitas is a food grade isoparaffin-based product from SunGro (formerly PetroCanada) which has been tested in the field against several fungal diseases of turfgrass since 2004. Results of its efficacy will be presented.

• “Identification and management of turfgrass diseases,” presented by Dr. Tom Hsiang of the University of Guelph. An introduction to the art and science of detecting which turf disease is present, why it might be there and how it can be eliminated.

• “Summer patch, necrotic ring spot and other soil-borne diseases of cool season turf: what we know, don’t know and how to manage them,” presented by Dr. Hank Wilkinson of the University of Illinois. Attendees are encouraged to present questions and ideas for managing summer patch.

Thursday, Feb. 18

Sports turf

• “Advances in fertilizer: information on traditional, slow release, foliar and organic fertilizers,” presented by Dr. Eric Lyons of the University of Guelph. A look at both new and old fertilizer technologies and how they can be integrated to better achieve the goals of a healthy fertility program.

• “How to get a sports field ready in 70 days: from theory to practice,” presented by Dr. Tim Vanini of New Dimensions Turfgrass. Results of a high school case study in which turfgrass cover percentage ratings, traction and peak deceleration were looked at.

• “What works best for building a sports field? In-house, architect bid-contractor, design/buildor other?” presented by Gord Dol of Dol Turf Restoration Ltd., Mario Pecchia of the City of Toronto and Harry Kodoors of MMM Group. A panel discussion on the pros and cons of the different avenues for sports field construction.

Lawn care

• “Alternatives for renovation site preparation,” presented by Dr. Ken Carey, University of Guelph. A discussion of research results from 2009 with the objective of killing turf prior to a complete renovation using various alternative non-selective controls.

• “Fiesta™: a new tool in your weed control toolbox,” presented by Cameron Wilson of Neudorff North America. Fiesta is a fast-acting, selective bio-rationale herbicide used to control dandelions, narrow leaf plantain and other major lawn weeds. The presentation will look at its efficacy, the timing of applications and the weed control spectrum.

• “Seeding: sometimes timing is everything,” presented by Ken Pavely of Dol Turf Restoration Ltd. The ramifications of spring and fall seeding.

• “Customers’ expectations with the new pesticides act,” presented by Al Pinsonneault of Al’s Lawn & Garden, Richard Maass of Peerless Turfcare and Gerald Eagles of Eagles Weed Control & Lawn Service. A panel discussion to examine customers’ expectations of lawn care under the new cosmetic pesticides ban in Ontario.


• “Thatch management techniques for golf greens: what works and what doesn’t,” presented by Dr. Katerina Jordan of the University of Guelph. Research results from the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and American research facilities aimed at the prevention or reduction of thatch levels on golf course putting greens.

• “The benefits of overseeding,” presented by Dr. Jerry Pepin of Pickseed. Topics will include techniques, new varieties, seeding rates, what to expect and how to make it as successful as possible.

• “Golf IPM accreditation: frequently asked questions,” presented by Teri Yamada of the IPM Council of Canada. The session will help clarify the process and timeliness for golf course superintendents to fully comply with the legislation of the new cosmetic pesticides ban in Ontario.

• “2009 disease diagnostic update: the year in review,” presented by Dr. Katerina Jordan of the University of Guelph. A review of the year’s activities at the GTI turf diagnostic laboratory with an emphasis on diseases seen most often as well as new diseases and disorders which have emerged in recent years.

Sod growers

• “Four interactive talks: 1) What is driving the sod industry in 2010? 2) How is turf (sod) positioned in the ‘Green Revolution?’” presented by Dr. Hank Wilkinson of the University of Ilinois. An initiation of discussion on those themes.

• “Four interactive talks: 3) Turf and sod: contributors to green alternative energy? 4) New discoveries for sod production: are they enough to secure the future of the sod industry?” presented by Dr. Hank Wilkinson of the University of Illinois. Further discussion on those themes.

• “The great recession of 2008-2009,” presented by Dr. Jerry Pepin of Pickseed. A discussion on the latest in new varieties of seed and their effect on the future of the sod industry as well as the growing popularity of seed coating.

• “What’s bugging you: grubs?” presented by Dr. Katerina Jordan of the University of Guelph. A discussion on the biology of beetle grubs and their lifecycle as well as methods to monitor for grub presence and damage in sod. Cultural practices aimed at reducing grub populations in soil along with proper chemical management of grubs will also be discussed.

General sessions

• “Making sense of new products,” presented by Dr. Eric Lyons of the University of Guelph. A look at whether or not various new products, launched since the cosmetic pesticides ban took effect in Ontario. will work for a one’s specific operation. The session is designed to help turfgrass managers maximize their resources and achieve their agronomic goals.

• “Tweeting on turf: linking social media with your business,” presented by Andrew Douglas of the University of Guelph. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops to the presentation to learn how to get more for less from their communications budgets.

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