OLCA hosts Lawn Care Seminar

June 19, 2015 -  By

Logo: OLCAThe Ohio Lawn Care Association hosted its 13th Annual Northeast Ohio Lawn Care Seminar at the Ohio State University (OSU) Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio, June 18. The seminar updated attendees on industry news and offered up to three and a half continuing education units for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Reed Johnson, Ph.D., from OSU’s Department of Entomology, presented an overview on the problems facing bees. According to Johnson, bees make money. Worldwide, honey production is worth $500 million per year, and bees’ pollination value is $200 billion to $500 billion per year. Here are some other takeaways from Johnson’s discussion:

  • A third of our food would be lost without bees.
  • From 2006-2014, beekeepers lost an average of 30-35 percent of their bee colonies each year, however, many lost far more. An annual loss of 15 percent is sustainable;
  • Herbicides have not proven lethal to bees; however, they kill many of the plants from which bees extract pollen;
  • Dust-style insecticides are most dangerous to bees because, rather than the bee ingesting the insecticide on the spot and dying, the insecticide sticks to the bee like pollen. Then, the bee brings the insecticide to its entire colony, killing or harming every bee that ingests it; and
  • While pesticides are an issue bees face, it is not the only one. Parasites, diseases and lack of nutrition also plague bee populations, and Johnson said no one really knows the main cause of this massive population decline.

Johnson used a high-profile incident in Oregon, where the insecticide Safari caused the death of 50,000 bees in 2013, as a case study for the danger of poor pesticide application.

“Evening spray is probably better than dawn spray,” Johnson said, in regard to safe pesticide application. “And if you want to protect bees, never apply insecticides to flowers in bloom.”

Jerry Husemann, a sales representative for BASF, spoke on the importance of accurate spray applications to maximize effectiveness of pesticides and turf products. Husemann stressed the importance of checking the pH levels of water when mixing it with different products.

“Water quality can influence pesticide and fungicide performance, if its too acidic or alkaline-filled,” Husemann said. “City water is chlorinated to such a level that the pH is eight and a half to nine. Too high of a pH level will basically degrade the effectivenss of a pesticide or fungicide.”

The seminar also included demonstrations from Randy Zondag, OSU Extension educator and county chair of horticulture in Lake County, on ornamental weed management and major weed issues; Dave “BugDoc” Shetlar, Ph.D., from OSU’s Department of Entomology, on tree and shrub insect identification and management; Jerry Sullivan, technical manager from Scott’s LawnService, on accurate granular applications; and David Gardner, Ph.D., from OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science.

When checking for mites, Shetlar shared a trick. Smack a branch against a piece of paper on a clipboard or hard surface. Smash any dot left by the branch, and if it leaves color on the paper, it’s a mite. In this case, the color was olive, meaning it was a spruce spider mite. If you see less than 20, they’re in decline, so don’t spray, the BugDoc said.

The seminar’s afternoon rotation closed with a products and equipment showcase from C&S Turf Care Equipment, LT Rich Products, NuFarm Americas and Pace.

Attendees were also quizzed on the information they learned throughout the day, and at the end of the day, the group that answered the most questions correctly won a hat and t-shirt. Here are three quick facts:

  • When is the best time to treat for Emerald Ash Borer adults and larvae? May, as an early application, can take out adults prior to laying eggs.
  • How many grubs warrant treatment? Eight to 10 per sq. ft.
  • What are the main ways in which pesticides might accidentally contaminate the environment? Drift, runoff and leeching.

 

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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