Leading figures and representatives from across the amenity turf grass sector met at Royal Holloway University recently to consider how best to advance an integrated approach. The event followed on from a national conference late in 2014.
Recent legislation and the need to adhere to directives such as Sustainable Use Directive and the Water Framework Directive have sharply increased focus on integrated approaches especially in terms of weed, pest and disease control but also in terms of sustainability. Integrated Turf Management, an approach dating back to the 1970's, involves a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological and genetic methods alongside chemical use. Not only can this approach satisfy future requirements but it can be the most effective.
The meeting agreed that a way forward could be to establish a Turf Research Foundation to raise funds to finance or part-finance research projects, co-ordinate & communicate existing research & develop education and training opportunities. The emphasis is to promote new & existing research of all aspects of integrated control methods with a key aim of promoting understanding and disseminating research so as to ensure the very best links between researchers and those actively engaged in such tasks within the sector.
Work on the project has been progressed thus far by a small group chaired by John Moverley from the Amenity Forum. Others in the group are Professor Alan Gange (Royal Holloway), Steve Isaacs ( R & A) and Russell Seymour (MCC). The plan is now for an expanded group to further develop the plans and bring forward firm proposals.
John Moverley said 'The Amenity forum is the voluntary initiative for the sector promoting best practice in weed, pest and disease control. We very much welcome this initiative to further develop knowledge and its dissemination across all aspects of amenity turf management. It is a great opportunity and one which could have a major impact'
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Alan Gange (Royal Holloway) and his staff for hosting this important debate and thank all the delegates for their support and feedback.
The integrated approach will feature at the Amenity forum conference being held at Leicester on October 16th. Further information is available on the Amenity Forum website, www.amenityforum.co.uk