Search research reports:
Biology and Management of Insects Attacking Turf and Woody Landscape Plants
D.A. Potter, C.T. Redmond
Department of Entomology
More than 80% of US citizens reside in cities and suburbs, creating high demand for lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs, parks, golf courses, playing fields, and other green spaces. As natural areas and croplands give way to suburbs, stable communities of native plants and animals are supplanted by relatively low species diversity of street trees and manicured turf, and a mosaic of ornamental plants, all frequently maintained with fertilizers, water, and pesticides.
Often such changes are associated with higher densities of insects that rarely, if ever, reach become pests in natural forests or grasslands. Ever-tighter restrictions on insecticides and invasion and range expansion of serious alien pests (e.g., emerald ash borer) highlight the need for safe, effective solutions to pest problems of lawns, landscapes, sport fields, golf courses, parks, horse farms, and production nurseries and sod farms. Urban plantings also supply oxygen, filter dust, reduce glare, soil erosion, water runoff, and noise pollution, and reduce street temperatures, and they enhance recreational and leisure activities, making cities and suburbs nicer places to live and work. These benefits are critical to mental and physical well-being of urban citizens.
Turf culture alone is a >$45 billion per year industry in the USA. There are > 600 million urban trees in the USA having immeasurable value. Horticulture, including nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod, is a multi-billion dollar per year industry. It is especially important in Kentucky's agricultural transition from tobacco.
My research program has studied insect pests of turf and landscapes for 31 years. It has provided safe and effective solutions to pest problems for homeowners and professional landscape managers, and supported environmental stewardship by the horticultural industries. We have trained many students now working as professional entomologists. A focus of the proposed work is to support a transition from control that relies on broadly toxic insecticides to an approach that incorporates conservation biological controll, resistant trees, shrubs, and grasses and, as necessary, reduced-risk insecticides. Its breadth reflects the diversity of urban pest problems and interests of present and future student investigators.