Inspect and protect your outdoor space
Natural playing surfaces

Responsible and judicious pesticide use protects us from weeds and insects that irritate allergies and asthma and reliably keeps parks, playgrounds, and playing fields safe and playable. In addition to illness transmitted through insect bites, the places we live and play are safer we control the following pest problems:

  • Uncontrolled growth of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can lead to an increase in pollen in the air, which cause respiratory problems afor allergy sufferers and people with asthma. According to the American Skin Association, about 85 percent of the population is allergic to poison ivy, sumac or oak, making it one of the most common allergic reactions in the U.S.
  • Studies show allergens from cockroaches and rodents are a significant cause of asthma in children (particularly in urban areas1).
  • Cockroaches, ants, and other insects can track bacteria into your home if left uncontrolled. Cockroaches, for example, commonly transmit salmonella.
  • Over-grown and insect infested playgrounds and athletic fields can harbor stinging insects and create a playing surface that’s harder with less reliable footing. Read more in this article from the Washington Post.
  • Common challenges like grubs can destroy a field literally from the roots up. This leads to re-sodding of fields, taking them out of commission for a time and requiring significant investment.

Inspect and Protect Your Outdoor Space

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) sounds technical and complicated. But IPM is a simple process that can help reduce the risk of insect-borne diseases, allergies, skin irritation, and outdoor hazards caused by unwanted pests that try to make your homes and lawns their own.
Be the boss of your backyard! Create a safe outdoor environment for your family, friends, and pets by implementing home pest inspection and protection steps:

  • Make your lawn less tick-friendly. Tall grass, piles of leaves or brush, frequent visits from deer, and wooden areas nearby make lawns attractive to ticks and, therefore, more likely to harbor them. Keep your lawn mowed, remove excess leaves or brush piles of leaves, and create a border of wood chips, gravel, or mulch to make it tougher for ticks to wander into your space.
  • Say goodbye to harmful weeds. Remember the camp-ground phrase “leaves of three, let it be” to help identify and avoid poison ivy? Control the weed long-term by mowing regularly, carefully “digging out” the plants (wearing water proof gloves), or using an appropriate pesticide product according to the label. (If you’re really allergic to the weed, pesticide use is your best option.)
  • Be on the lookout for invasive pests. Check with your state’s department of agriculture and land grant university to learn what invasive and nonnative weeds and insects you should watch for in your area. Select and purchase non-invasive plants when adding color or variety to your landscape.

Natural Playing Surfaces

A growing discussion among athletic communities – both amateur and professional – is the importance of available, well-maintained, natural playing surfaces. The debate came to the forefront before and during the 2015 Women’s World Cup, as all games were played on artificial turf. The concerns expressed by many Women’s World Cup players and other supporters are the same as those parents of outdoor athletes should consider when thinking about their children’s playing fields.

Here’s how the natural turf compares to artificial:

  • Natural turf means safer athletes. Well-maintained playgrounds and athletic fields provide a safer landing surface with more cushion for anyone who plays field sports.
  • The right turf changes the game. The feel of the surface is important for all athletes, especially soccer players. Artificial turf alters the speed and quality of play, impacting every aspect of the game.
  • Less impact, more play. Natural grass also creates softer, cooler fields with less pounding and impact on muscles and joints, making it easier and safer on athletes’ bodies.

Whether you’re a professional athlete, or you just want to maintain a great lawn for your kids to play on, there are important benefits to choosing natural turf.

Here are some ways fields are kept game-ready:

  • Healthy athletes need a healthy field. Grass needs certain nutrients so it can grow well. Proper fertilization is important to keep grass healthy, so nourish your grass using products formulated for your region to keep it in tip top shape—just like the athletes who will play on it!
  • An integrated plan is key. Invasive weeds and insects such as grubs can infest and destroy playing fields and potentially impact the health and safety of athletes, if not treated. An integrated pest management (IPM) approach is important to identify, monitor and, as needed, control weeds, insects and diseases that harm grass.
  • Every field has needs. Each field has its own needs, which can vary with region, soil type, weather patterns, field use, and more. With proper maintenance, natural grass fields do not have a fixed life and can be used for more than 20 years without replacement.

1Malveaux, Floyd J. and Sheryl A. Fletcher-Vincent. 1995. Environmental Health Issues. Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements, Volume 103, Number S6.

2Nelson CA, Saha S, Kugeler KJ, Delorey MJ, Shankar MB, Hinckley AP, et al. Incidence of clinician-diagnosed Lyme disease, United States, 2005–2010. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Aug.

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