Have You Repurposed Lately?

Victoria BC is an expensive place to live. To help with the cost of living, we have taken in students from other countries. After two years of participating in this exchange program, I have identified two of the greatest challenges living with people from another country. The first is language barriers; the second is differing regional customs or cultural practices. For example, students from some areas of Latin America do not have sewer systems of sufficient capacity to flush down toilet paper. Instead, they place newspaper in the garbage next to the toilet. I found it difficult to explain and justify our cultural practice of flushing the paper down the toilet.

In reviewing the traffic from last week’s blog, we have recorded hits from around the globe, over 20 countries! It occurred to me that a blog discussing and defining common “Green” terms may help us understand our common and differing points of view.
The first term I would like to define is “sustainability”. Probably the best and most neutral definition as found in Elisa’s Green Scene web site:
“[Sustainability is] actions and products that meet current needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability is a broad term and often refers to the desire to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future.”
Given that definition, how would you define sustainable turfgrass management?

A good example of a "sustainable" turfgrass management practice is the recycling of turfgrass clippings. A typical 100 square meters of turfgrass can generate more than 300 pounds of grass clippings annually. This is more than 6 tons per acre each year! Included in the grass clippings are significant quantities of stored or latent water, fertilizer, labor and fuel. If clippings are not reused or recycled all those resources are wasted. A sustainable turf management program implements “grass-cycling” by composting clippings on site to be reused later, or immediately return clippings to the turf canopy. The later practice of returning clippings to the turf surface or canopy can reduce fertilizer requirements by as much as 50% annually with no increase to thatch or soil organic matter.

The second term I would like to define is “IPM”. North Dakota state university defines IPM as:
“a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks."

In terms of turfgrass management IPM, I would widen the definition to include: determining and staying true to damage and/or pest thresholds, scouting and pesticide reductions plans.
This broader definition of IPM requires explanation of a few sub-terms:
  • Damage and/or pest thresholds - the quantity of damage or number of pests required before a pesticide is applied or a corrective action is implemented.
  • Scouting is the practice of 1) identifying areas where pest outbreaks occur first, indicator areas; 2) regularly monitoring these areas and 3) determining the appropriate level of action considering predetermined thresholds.
Ok, a few commonly misused definitions presented to get us started this week. Now it is your turn to expand on the ideas presented, argue my interpretation or bring up a few more “Green” terms for the first green industry…the turfgrass industry!
Oh, in case you cannot find the definition of “Repurpose”, I offer the following definition: To reuse something with inherent value for a different purpose than originally intended. A repurposed item has inherent character and style… with that definition in mind; we will all be repurposed one day!



IPM = Ecologically-based strategies to prevent and treat pest problems.

Sustaianable Turf Management = Ecologically-based strategies to prevent pests from becoming a problem in the first place.

G, thank you for the reply. I agree and would add (as it pertains to turf):
IPM - is the utilization of all plant management tools to prevent and sometimes treat pests. This includes: scouting; developing cosmetic/aesthetic and economic threshold; pest application reviews; develop pest reduction programs including reducing fine turf areas...

Sustainable Turf Management - giving more back to the environment than we take away...