“Turf Management without affecting the environment”

How big a deal to have lawn in your backyard? What are the factors involved in turf management?

What is an artificial turf?

An artificial turf is an artificially made patch of grass that is used for playing various sports on. It is recently more in demand with the rising popularity of several games. In its essence it is nothing but a carpet covered with grass.

Normally natural grass is used to cover the playing field. Natural grass provides the additional benefit of balancing the environment and the future human generations will also benefit from the grass providing them with a less polluted environment. Natural grasses also have the added benefit of needing less maintenance and care as compared to artificial grass.

IPM and Turf Management

IPM or Integrated Pest Management is a system put in place to guide the use of pesticides and other pest management solutions on turfs and ornamental crops. The recent popularity of turfs has led to IPM also gaining popularity in the ornamental grass and turf industry.

The turf management is done with the purpose of the grass in mind. If it is sports that the ground must cater to, weeding and pest removal is given the top priority as they can disrupt the game. Whereas if it is a garden turf that needs attention, aesthetic appeal is the main concern. Landscape gardens especially prefer using turf for the better aesthetic appeal it provides.

The main strategies employed in tandem with IPM include mechanical control, biological control, structural maintenance, sanitation and judicious use of pesticides. The purpose of IPM is not at all to prevent usage of pesticides on turf but for an effective use of the same.

Ecological effects

The main problem with pesticides is the impact on non-target organisms. Usually the pesticides are sprayed onto the concerned areas and there is no safety measure in place that prevents other organisms from being affected. Most of the time air carries the effluents to other areas and it is spread even more by runoff water or rain water. They might even infiltrate the ground water supply causing further complications.

The presence of fertilizers and pesticides in ground water can lead to further complications such as eutrophication. This can indirectly lead to a threat to the wildlife species in an area. The excess use of nitrogenous fertilizers also affects the soil acidity. Other concerns include phosphorous also leading to eutrophication and thereby threating the aquatic species with reduced oxygen content.

What are the possible solutions?

There are several methods that can be implemented to deal with these problems. Some of them are discussed below.

Fertigation- It is the process of using a controlled irrigation system to deliver fertilizers. This enables adjusting the quantity of fertilizers supplied based on the absorption power of the plants. This reduces wastage of fertilizers and stops the contamination of water bodies by excess runoff fertilizers.

Vegetative buffers– These serve the purpose of stopping the rain water runoff into neighboring areas and water bodies. They work by slowing down the runoff water which helps in refilling the ground water. Provisions are also made to filter the sediments and nutrients from the runoff water. These has been proven effective in reducing sediments by upto 90%.

Organic fertilizers– An organic version of any chemical additive is always a solution. In the case of fertilizers, derivatives of plants and animals can be used for the same. The have the benefit of being biodegradable and pose minimum threat to the environment or other organisms.

Native vegetation- The native vegetation of an area can also prove to be an important factor in controlling pollution. They provide services such as bank stabilization, wildlife habitat and nutrient stripping in addition to intercepting the runoff water and acting as a filter for surface water and ground water.

Affordability & investment

            Any industrialist working in the agricultural field always tends to think long term. People believe that artificial grass is a better investment since it is guaranteed to last longer. But the fact remains that natural grass is cheaper to maintain and cheaper to purchase as well. The costs are for synthetic turf $ 8- $11 USD per sq. ft. and for natural grass with sand cap costs $3- $5 USD per sq. ft. In addition to this natural grass has regenerative properties which artificial grass doesn’t have.

When it comes to maintenance, people are under the impression that artificial grass requires less care and investment. But this notion is completely wrong as cleaning, carpet repair, dragging and many other processes associated with artificial grass are quite expensive and most of these processes are not required for natural grass. Rounding up the construction and maintenance revenue, natural grass is a better cost-effective solution.

Durability & wear

            People are also under the wrong impression that since artificial grass is made up of synthetic fibers, they will last longer. They believe that it can endure endless abuse without needing any maintenance. This is another wrong notion since artificial turf has a maintenance cycle of 6 months. Natural grass on the other hand has the capability to repair itself and it is equipped to endure much more adverse conditions without fail.

Global Growth Estimates

North America and Europe are the matured markets currently for the turf and ornamental inputs and still continues to grow. Maximum growth of this market is soon to be witnessed in Asia Pacific region during the forecast period on account of rising awareness among the consumers, increasing demand on sports and landscape gardens.

Check out Market Data Forecast’s comprehensive reports with in-depth analysis about the Turf & Ornamental Inputs Market a free research sample can also be availed. Stay tuned for trending news stories about the latest technologies and interesting Agriculture tit-bits.

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