Summer Management Considerations for School Sports Fields

by Becky Grubbs, Texas A&M AgriLife

Summer management for both active and inactive sports fields is critical to maintaining healthy, safe fields year-round. Even just light maintenance can make a huge difference in what is possible when school starts again in the fall. The tips below apply to all kinds of turf, from sports fields to golf courses to home lawns.

Irrigation

To prevent surface hardness from creeping up to dangerous levels, regular irrigation is important – even for those fields that remain otherwise inactive during summer months. In many parts of the state where fields are constructed atop our trademark “shrinking and swelling” clays, the lack of irrigation can result in significant cracks in the field surface by the time football season is upon us. It can take a considerable amount of time and water to properly re-saturate the fields and bring them back to a safe surface capable of supporting healthy vegetation. Deep watering even once a week during dry periods can prevent this. Water early in the morning. This will optimize water use and prevent disease on your fields as fall approaches. Monitor and correct any malfunctioning irrigation. Uniform coverage will prevent dry spots where soil will harden and pests will move in. Consider a catch can audit. Continue reading

AgriLife Extension program bolsters Texas schools’ pest management approach

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

More than a decade of work alongside Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts in integrated pest management, or IPM, has culminated in the national certification of four Texas school districts as “IPM Stars,” said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension school IPM specialist in Dallas.

IPM Star certification from the IPM Institute of North America was awarded in April to Plano, Conroe, East Central and Killeen independent school districts for consistent exemplary marks on the institute’s 37-point evaluation. Continue reading

Four Texas school districts receive national IPM certifications

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

More than a decade of work alongside Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts in integrated pest management, or IPM, has culminated in national certification of four Texas school districts as “IPM Stars,” said Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension school IPM specialist in Dallas.

IPM Star certification from the IPM Institute of North America was awarded in April to Plano, Conroe, East Central and Killeen independent school districts for consistent exemplary marks on the institute’s 37-point evaluation. Continue reading

2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Misidentified Pests in the Landscape

The 2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar for March is next Friday, March 2 at 2 pm Eastern time.

 Pests in the landscape?? We deal with it everyday. Did you know that many pesticides are often misused simply because the pest was not identified correctly? Beneficial insects also feel the wrath of our misuse. Let’s learn about some of our Misidentified Pests in the Landscape in this webinar presented by Erfan Vafaie, Texas A& M Agrilife Extension.  The link to the event is:  https://auburn.zoom.us/webinar/209793415   Note: on March 2, the link to the live webinar opens about 15 minutes before the webinar. If you try to log in earlier, you will get an error message Continue reading

Kathy Murray wins Healthy Kids Hero award

Kathy Murray has a national reputation for dedication, expertise, and leadership. Murray is co-coordinator of the Northeastern School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Working Group and a member of the National IPM School Steering Committee. The Northeastern Group is a regional group with representatives from land-grant IPM programs, government, private industry, and nonprofits from eleven northeastern states.

Read her whole story and why she won the award.

How IPM can help prevent the flu

Flu season is upon us, and good pest management can prevent more than pests–it can also help keep germs to a minimum in your school or office. Janet Hurley, school IPM expert with Texas A&M AgriLife, shares some tips on how to prevent the flu with an IPM program.

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Between the news, my social media feeds, email, and phone calls I know it’s flu season, how about you? Many who work in the IPM program are also involved in the school environmental health program as well, and there are lots of questions. The three big questions I get asked is what can we use, can we use disinfecting wipes, and do we need to post? Below are some of the best guidelines I can give you, along with some tips and documents to print and post. Continue reading

A Safer Way To Keep Schools Pest Free; Stop School Pests Launches Free Online Courses

Stop School Pests, a new online training program, is now available to school employees across the United States and beyond at www.StopSchoolPests.com. The training will help schools reduce pest complaints, pesticide use, and pest-related costs, and improve food and fire safety by teaching staff how to prevent pest problems before they occur.

Students spend a major part of each day in school – on average 30 hours each week. Exposure to pests and pesticides can create an unhealthy school environment. Mice and cockroaches can cause or trigger asthma attacks and allergies. Similarly, an over-reliance on pesticides can lead school employees and children to be exposed unnecessarily to dangerous chemicals. Continue reading