Management of turfgrass on golf courses and athletic fields often involves application of plant protection products to maintain or enhance turfgrass health and performance. However, the transport of fertilizer and pesticides with runoff to adjacent surface waters can enhance algal blooms, promote eutrophication and may have negative impacts on sensitive aquatic organisms and ecosystems. Thus, we evaluated the effectiveness of chemical application setbacks to reduce the off-site transport of chemicals with storm runoff. Experiments with water soluble tracer compounds confirmed an increase in application setback distance resulted in a significant increase in the volume of runoff measured before first off-site chemical detection, as well as a significant reduction in the total percentage of applied chemical transported with the storm runoff. For example, implementation of a 6.1 m application setback reduced the total percentage of an applied water soluble tracer by 43%, from 18.5% of applied to 10.5% of applied. Evaluation of chemographs revealed the efficacy of application setbacks could be observed with storms resulting in lesser (e.g. 100 L) and greater (e.g. > 300 L) quantities of runoff. Application setbacks offer turfgrass managers a mitigation approach that requires no additional resources or time inputs and may serve as an alternative practice when buffers are less appropriate for land management objectives or site conditions. Characterizing potential contamination of surface waters and developing strategies to safeguard water quality will help protect the environment and improve water resource security. This information is useful to grounds superintendents for designing chemical application strategies to maximize environmental stewardship. The data will also be useful to scientists and regulators working with chemical transport and risk models.
- Application setbacks
- Management practices