Minimum Maintenance Practices For Turf - Tips and Resources

Posted on Friday, May 1st, 2020

Written by The Guelph Turfgrass Institute


The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  First, it seemed like the COVID-19 was going to be a small and quick wave of inconvenience.  Then, as cases rose, it soon became evident that the challenges it would introduce would hit much deeper and harder than ever anticipated.  Had you been asked in January if there was any chance of North America shutting down, I think we all would have suggested that was not possible - and yet here we are.

For the turf industry, the first concerns were regarding the inclusion of maintenance as an essential duty.  Despite significant challenge and delay, it appears all provinces and most municipalities in Canada have made some reference that lawn, sports field, sod farms and golf course maintenance could be practiced. Yet there is a variety of provincial, regional and local rulings (or lack of specificity in new essential work guidelines) that play a role in how and if various types of work can take place, and the necessary safety protocols to protect worker's and community health.  These new rulings vary significantly depending on where you are located and what sector of the turf industry you are in.  For example, sod production is considered to be in the agricultural commodity group and can continue regular operations provided they follow safe work guidelines.  Where as most other industries have been reduced to only practices that are considered to be essential to protect safety, sustainability, and function of the property or business.  Some golf courses have remained open in Western Canada, where as most other provinces have definitively shut-down golf play stating it is not an essential activity. This large variance in shut-downs, rulings and lack of clarity has left many turf managers confused regarding how they can legally and safely continue to operate and ensure their staff, property and infrastructure can be protected sustainably during this very difficult and unprecedented time.  The idea being that when the green light for normal operations resumes, we want to ensure the function of our fields, golf courses and properties can be quickly brought back to high performance function and service.

In spite of these challenges the GTI has collected a wide range of resources that are available and placed them here.  Most are from Canada and we attempted to include as many regional or provincial resources as possible.  In some cases, resources out of the US have also been included.  When reading, be sure you are aware of the location and source each resource is coming from to ensure it applies to your industry and regional laws and safe work guidelines. 











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