We use a holistic approach to pest management, which means that in addition to maintaining optimal soil quality and fertility we select cultivars that are resistant to our specific pests and disease problems (e.g. America is resistant to rust and helps crowd out Poa, Midnight is resistant to leaf spot, P105 is resistant to leaf spot and it is very aggressive in crowding out weeds), we rotate crops to prevent pest population build up (e.g., planting grain after turf minimizes the weeds in the grain and subsequent crops), and maintain our crops so that they are less habitable for pests (e.g., watering less frequently and limiting compaction for managing poa anua, mowing shorter, and keeping a thick stand help to crowd out weeds).
If pest activity rises above a practical threshold (determined by economic impact) after using cultural controls, we use chemical controls. When choosing chemicals we try to balance the following criteria: minimize hazard to both the human applicator and the environment; use of chemical agents that will not be active when the customer gets the end product; and not applying chemicals after the seed head forms. Some of our chemical strategies include: timing our applications for maximum control using the smallest dose of chemical as possible; using pre-emergent herbicides; and using burn down herbicides instead of systemic ones where possible.
Our employees tasked with applying chemicals are licensed as private pesticide applicators by the State of Massachusetts, Department of Agricultural Resources. They undergo continuous training and education not only to maintain this level of credentialing but also ensure appropriate and effective application measures.