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Pressure on Ontario to ban golfing facilities from using cosmetic pesticides

Golf in Canada puts emphasis on integrated pest management and reporting.

24th November 2016
Using chemicals responsibly,Preventing pollution
Pesticides remain part of the greenkeepers toolkit, whilst alternative solutions are sought.  
A report released by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is calling for golf courses to be included in cosmetic pesticide bans.  Golf courses were given an exemption when Ontario passed its cosmetic pesticide law in 2008 prohibiting the use of all pesticides on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios and driveways and in cemeteries, parks and school yards.  Other Canadian provinces that have passed cosmetic pesticide laws also have exempted golf courses.

Instead of a total ban in Ontario, golf courses have been required to implement integrated pest management systems to reduce the need for pesticides and setting specific thresholds before applying pesticides to control insects.  Ontario also required golf courses to prepare and publish an annual report on what pesticides were used on the course and how much was applied.

James Beebe, president of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association, said “The decision by jurisdictions to exempt golf courses from full bans is the correct policy.  We are using products that are certified through the government, and applicators must go through stringent training and certification courses.”

“Other methods are relied on to keep golf courses looking great, such as proper aeration and application of water”, he added, “but sometimes pesticides are needed when there is an outbreak of turf grass disease or insect infestation.  It is one tool in the toolbox to manage properties. Because pesticides are expensive, golf course superintendents aren’t motivated to use pesticides and will use as many alternatives as possible,” Beebe said.