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IPM for Turf Pests on School Grounds

This is a webinar presentation on IPM for Turf Pests on School Grounds.

IPM for Turf Pests on School Grounds, one of a series of school Integrated Pest Management (IPM) webinars hosted by EPA's Center of Expertise for School IPM, was presented on March 15, 2016. Included here is the contact information of the presenters, webinar statistics, responses to questions and comments.

On this page:


  • Kim Pope, Pesticide Safety Education Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Turf Specialist, Oregon State University

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Statistical Information


  • 434 people from 46 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada registered
    • Top 4 states: CA (52), NY (49), WA (34) and  NJ (31)
    • Represented 1.9M+ students (1.971,191)
    • Registration breakdown:
      • 302 schools / districts/ childcare centers
        • 258 Facilities management
        • 21 Administration
        • 18 School Nurses
      • 19 Health Departments
      • 19 Pest management professionals
      • 9 Tribes including IHS
  • 69 registrants/attendees requested information on developing an IPM plan/program
  • 71% (303) preferred Webinars as the training venue of choice as opposed to classroom/workshops, conventions, websites, papers


  • 26%* (119) of those who registered attended (*there was a glitch with the Adobe Connect link that was sent out in the confirmation e-mail)
  • Represented  365,018 students 
  • Top states: CA , NY, NJ, WA
    • 68 schools / districts / childcare centers
      • 59 Facilities management
      • 7 Administration
    • 3 Tribes including IHS 

Teaching efficacy (measured by attendee feedback)

  • 98% have a greater knowledge of pest prevention protocols as a result of this webinar.
  • 100% have gained greater insight into IPM as it relates to managing pests on school grounds.
  • 100% have a better understanding of where to look for pests in and around school buildings as a result of this webinar.
  • 97% would recommend this course to others.

Outreach Effort (measured by how registrants learn about the webinar)

  • 64% (273) -  EPA E-mail or website
  • 16% school or district administrator (69)
  • 20%– other source (53),educational services contact (22), pest management association (11)

IPM Related

  • 76% of attendees  have an IPM policy or plan
  • 69%  of attendees have an IPM coordinator

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Questions and Answers

The questions below were posed by the webinar participants. The responses may have been refined by the presenters following the webinar for clarification or to include additional resources.

General Questions

  1. Will the presentation be available for download? Where?
    A PDF of the presentation is available on our website along with a recording of the webinar EXIT.

Turf Specific Questions

  1. With the belief that the climate is rapidly changing due to pollutants, thus causing an increase in temperatures, do you feel that IPM will eventually be revised?
    (K. Pope) IPM is ever-evolving with new information as it becomes available. It is not a one-size –fits-all set of procedures. It depends on what you are talking about based on the situation that you are dealing with. Pest control is ever-evolving, and when we incorporate an integrated approach it, too, is ever-evolving as new discoveries are made. Everything has got to be open to change.

    (A. Kowalewski) One of the things we should consider with climate is that we have two basic types of grass in the United States. We have cool season grasses and warm season grasses. So as things change, we will typically see warm season grasses being pushed farther and farther north across the nation. We have already seen this trend at Purdue University. Their football field now consists of Bermuda grass, which is the farthest north we have seen for the utilization of that warm season grass. So as the climate changes, we will have new grasses in different places and we will probably see pest common to the southeast moving farther north along with the grasses. Things will change, but I do not think that IPM will fundamentally change. The cultural practices that we use are very common across all of the states and the pest management practices are as well. Yes, things may change a little bit, but I do not see any major revisions to IPM. Because we are still going to be managing the same grasses that have already existed in the US.
  2. This a great presentation for the northwest and southern states, but what do you recommend for arid states like AZ, NV, NM and UT, where water resources are scarce?
    (A. Kowalewski) Some very good resources for arid states are at the NM State University, University of AZ, and UT State University. There are some great faculty in these institutions that do a lot of research with arid environments. Some of the things you should think about in these areas is the use of reclaimed water and gray water. This is actually required in several arid states and advancements in research is ever-continuing. That is developing of grasses that are tolerant of high levels of salt content. People are continually developing warm season grasses, Bermuda grasses, and Zoystra grasses, that can tolerate higher and higher salt content levels for irrigation with effluent water. In arid areas like that, think about using these grasses and using effluent water resources to minimize the use of potable water on the landscape.

    (K. Pope) I agree with what Alec said. I have worked out in AZ and have seen first-hand what he says about water conservation and newly developed tolerant grasses.

  3. In CT, we can only use organic material for European Chafer. Do you have any information on products that we can use?
    (A. Kowalewski) With the European chafer and Japanese beetle, and you see the same thing with the European crane fly in the Pacific Northwest. Because of the lack of insecticide options, primary cultural practices are going to be the best way to manage the grass. There are some things like milky-spore and other products that can provide some results, but typically the biologicals will not provide you with the quick response that we see from a synthetic pesticide. So particularly with regard to primary cultural practices, irrigation is going to be the big tool when managing grass infected with European chafer, European crane fly or Japanese beetle. If I remember correctly, I believe that the European chafer do not prefer to lay their eggs in irrigated turf grass. They like drier grass conditions. So if you irrigate the grass at ¼ inch, three times per week, it will improve rooting and provide conditions that are not conducive to the European chafer when it is laying eggs.

  4. We have a new soccer field that we planted last fall. When do we need to fertilize?
    (A. Kowalewski) The timing for fertilization depends on whether you have warm season grass or cool season grass. With cool season grasses, a real easy way to remember when to fertilize is by utilizing the 'holiday fertilization plan.' Fertilize on Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Halloween or Thanksgiving. Four to five times per year, twice in the spring and two or three times in the fall. If you are dealing with warm season grasses, start fertilizing in the spring, but avoid the late fall application: Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. As things begin to cool down, stop fertilizing warn season grasses. So if you have just established sod in the fall, it would be a good idea to fertilize twice this spring. 

  5. Do pH samples normally cost to obtain and about how much would that be?
    (K. Pope) If you do regular soil sampling it will cost you between $7 and $15.

  6. Many states now have laws restricting the use of pesticides on school grounds. There is some evidence that aerification can help to manage white grubs. Are there any cultural practices you have come across to deal with a grub population that exceeds threshold levels?
    (K. Pope) Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do for cultural control practices on grubs. Really the only thing that I know to do is replace heavily damaged turf areas and moisture management is something to keep in mind. Egg production can increase in areas where you have a high soil moisture in the turf area and dryer soil conditions in the surrounding areas. 

    (A. Kowalewski) To improve turfgrass tolerance to white grubs increase the mowing height, be sure to fertilize 4 times a year at a minimum to generate vigorous turfgrass growth and irrigate in the summer months.  Adjusting irrigation levels prior to infection typically has little effect because European chafer prefer to lay eggs in dry soil, while Japanese beetle prefer moist soil.  Considering this irrigate 1.0 to 1.5” per week in the summer months.  Heavily infested turfgrass will require light and frequent irrigation, daily at 0.2 to 0.25 inches, to keep the turf alive while the grubs are active.  Turf with excessive infestations will succumb to grubs despite frequent irrigation and should be re-seed or re-sodded.  Milky spore has long been marketed as a bio-control agent for white grubs; however, research on this product has produced variable results, and school laws may restrict the application of even bio-control agents.

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Upcoming School IPM Webinars

We welcome your participation in our upcoming webinars and ask you to encourage your peers to attend. These presentations are geared specifically to school and school district facility managers, buildings and grounds managers and staff, childcare facility managers, and school IPM practitioners. School nurses, school administrators, health officials, and pest management professionals are welcome to attend.

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PDF of PowerPoint Presentation

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