COURSE CARE
Practical Pollinator Programs February 2, 2016 By Addison Barden, agronomist, Northeast Region

This low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly planting attracts a diverse group of pollinators with various flower petal shapes, sizes and colors.

Several states in the Northeast Region have begun developing Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s). These plans are developed on a state-by-state basis as a means of promoting better management practices for promoting pollinator health. Before drafting MP3s, each state holds open-forum meetings so that green-industry stakeholders can have input on their state's plan. Information on each state's MP3 developmental meetings can be found at Pollinatorstewardship.org. Notify your local golf course superintendent association of these meetings and encourage that a representative attend to ensure the needs of your local golf industry are considered.

Pollinators are extremely important to our environment. Slower times of the year are perfect opportunities for superintendents to consider establishing pollinator-friendly plantings on the golf course. Fortunately, golf courses can support a variety of pollinators by providing multiple habitats and food sources. Completing several inexpensive, pollinator-friendly projects on your golf course can have positive environmental impacts in your community.

For example, planting native seed blends in out-of-play roughs is an easy way to place pollinator-friendly plantings on a golf course. Also, pollinator-favoring seed blends – e.g., the Pennsylvania Pollinator Conservation Seed Mix – are formulated to attract a diverse group of pollinators. Pollinator seed blends use plants that have season-long nectar production and a diversity of color, flower sizes and shapes. Visit Pollinator.org or Wildflower.org and use their simple search functions to determine which pollinator-friendly plants are best-adapted to your geographical location.

Additionally, providing pollinator habitats, also called “nesting sites”, throughout your golf course and near nectar sources will promote pollinator health. Creating pollinator habitats requires minimal supplies and very little maintenance once the habitats are in place.

Specifics on selecting pollinator-friendly plant species, seed blends, planting considerations and how to build habitats can be found in the USGA publication, Making Room for Native Pollinators. The Xerces Society, Operation Pollinator, and the Pollinator Stewardship Council can provide additional information on pollinator conservation. To improve the environmental impact of your golf course on the surrounding community, make this year the year you implement pollinator-friendly plantings and habitats.

Source: Addison Barden (abarden@usga.org)  

 

Northeast Region Agronomists:

David A. Oatis, regional director – doatis@usga.org

James E. Skorulski, agronomist – jskorulski@usga.org

Adam Moeller, agronomist – amoeller@usga.org

Elliott Dowling, agronomist – edowling@usga.org

Addison Barden, agronomist – abarden@usga.org

 

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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