University of Waterloo
Turf Grass Maintenance Action Plan

Prepared by: Department of Plant Operations
Dated: January 1994

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Existing turf grass maintenance practices
3. Proposal for modification of turf grass maintenance
4. Recommendations


The University of Waterloo has been engaged in an effort to reduce the amount of chemical pesticide used in landscape maintenance operations. Progress has been made, but much-more remains to be done, and achieving it will be neither simple nor inexpensive.

Over the course of this five-year Action Plan an attempt to eliminate pesticide spraying on turf grass at the University of Waterloo by 2000 is the objective. This will be done by implementing a modified turf maintenance program through the monitoring and evaluation of results.

This Action Plan reflects the recommendations for landscapes as outlined in the University of Waterloo's Master Plan and incorporates the Laurel Creek Watershed Study as is feasible and compatible with the University as a whole.

Pesticide activity using non-chemical and/or chemical means is undertaken as a part of our pest management program. In brief this is only one part of our total concept of the landscape maintenance program. It is with great concern that we recognize the interaction between the plant care programs and the environmental factors that come into play at any given site or at any given time of the year. A tremendous effort by our staff is required to co-ordinate maintenance programs that are not only beneficial to the plant materials involved, but also aid in minimizing maintenance requirements to eliminate duplication of effort and to remain cost efficient.

When pest control is necessary, the following guidelines are followed:

  1. The problem is identified and confirmed.
  2. The problem must exceed acceptable levels of damage.
  3. Alternative methods are evaluated.
  4. The best method with the least impact is implemented.
  5. Timing control for maximum results and safety.
  6. Monitoring results for follow up; record keeping.
  7. Modify the program as necessary.

We believe we have a minimum - impact system into which has been incorporated proven methods enabling us to be environmentally responsible while producing cost-efficient grounds maintenance techniques.

We are always working to find improved non-chemical control techniques. These include desirable vegetation (native plants, ground covers), mulches, manipulation of environmental factors such as irrigation, soil fertility, pest habitat, manual and mechanical cultivation. We exchange new ideas and share information with other agencies trying IPM (Integrated Plant Management) methods.

Our programs include mandatory certification of employees involved in pest control activities; mandatory annual refresher training seminars; and record keeping.

Where alternative control options are not effective or do not provide adequate results, chemical methods are still employed. The scope of any such application is limited to the area and pest involved.

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Existing Turf Grass Maintenance Practices

Following are existing turf grass maintenance practices with pesticide reduction initiatives that have been implemented and documented to date.

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Proposal for Modification of Turf Grass Maintenance

In order to achieve a zero percentage of pesticide use across campus by 2000 the following strategy will be implemented to modify existing turf grass maintenance practices.

This plan includes the recommendation as set out in the WATgreen Study on Alternative Turf Grass Maintenance Strategies.

The five (5) year period of the Action Plan should be implemented slowly, on a small scale and worked alongside existing practices.

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Recommendation A

Commission a Landscape Master Plan. Encourage this to be done by a landscape design consultant to follow the criteria of a Master Plan implementation. Funds permitting, this could require a timetable of 1995.

This should also incorporate the recommendations of the University of Waterloo Master Plan.

Recommendation B

Encourage the University of WATgreen Program to continue to have students contribute to the study of various programs related to turf for the reduction and elimination of pesticide use.

Recommendation C

Adapt the Action Program as set out in this report. This would reduce and/or eliminate pesticide spraying of turf grass areas by the target date of 2000.

Recommendation D

Recommend that the WATgreen Task Force on Turf Maintenance continue over the next five years. The purpose of the Task Force should continue as:

Recommendation E

Recommend that the WATgreen Task Force on Turf Maintenance develop a Public Relations Program to keep the University and the Community aware of progress and initiatives taken by the Committee.

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Last updated: November 3, 1997 plc