OTS Session Details

The Leading Edge of Information

Day 1

Matt Legg

Matt Legg - The Art of Application and Turf Pests in 2022/2023

Wed. Feb 21, 9:30–10:30 in Room 101

During this 1hr presentation, we will cover the fundamentals of art of application. Listeners will review the components and benefits of product formulation, gain a deeper understanding of mode of action, learn how to perform physical compatibility tests, and finally review best practices before/during application to place control products.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 1 IPM

Trevor Warner

Trevor Warner - Better, Safer Ball: the Tip O'Neill Reconstruction Project

Wed. Feb 21, 9:30–10:30 in Room 103

Have you been to Woodstock's baseball field named in honour of Tip O'Neill? The Canadian Hall each year presents the Tip O'Neill Award in Tip's honour to "the player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball's highest ideals." Woodstock honours the ideals of athletes excelling in achievement and team contribution through the maintenance of their ball fields. Trevor is willing to share his years of expertise and dedication to athlete's success through the reconstruction of the Tip O'Neill Field. He will be sharing the entire project process along with his suggestions for success and also what to avoid. Bring your questions! 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Scott McElroy

Dr. Scott McElroy - Autonomous Mowers for the Sod Industry

Wed. Feb 21, 9:30–10:30 in Room 105

2023 ushered in game-changing technology for deploying autonomous mowers over large scales. Autonomous mowers have transitioned from small scale, wire-bound units to large scale virtual zoned that can traverse across larger acreage areas. This seminar will cover the current technology that is available and will discuss the terminology that will be associated with autonomous technology. For example, not all equipment will be truly autonomous. Due to the nature of the machinery, some equipment will require a pilot that still has sight of the mower when it is operating and can deploy a "kill switch" to stop the device. This seminar will further discuss the type of cut quality and environmental benefits that will be associated with various mowers.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Senator Rob Black© Senate of Canada / © Sénat du Canada

The Honourable Rob Black, Senator for Ontario - Road to the Senate, Role of the Senate, and the Senate's Study on Soil Health

Wed. Feb 21, 10:45–11:30 in Room 101

From farms to international forums, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has been gathering information, growing relationships and getting rooted in the latest science as it digs into the status of soil health in Canada.  This presentation includes an overview of Senator Black's road to the Senate, the role of the Senate, and some conclusions from the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee's study on soil health.  

Continuing education credits: 0.5 ORFA

Alec Kowalewski

Dr. Alec Kowalewski - Tall Fescue Integrated Pest Management Practices

Wed. Feb 21, 1:30–2:30 in Room 101

This presentation will outline the optimum mowing height, fertility rates and irrigation rates for tall fescue management. Research on the effects of mowing and fertility on winter quality, weed encroachment, and disease activity (Microdochium patch and net blotch) will be presented. Research on the effects of irrigation rate and frequency on weed encroachment, drought stress, and carbon sequestration will also be presented.      

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 1 IPM

Robert Heggie

Robert Heggie - BMO Field and the Road to the World Cup '26

Wed. Feb 21, 1:30–2:30 in Room 103

An introduction to BMO Field, the home of Toronto FC, The Toronto Argos and Canada Soccer. A review of its short history as well as insight into the investments into field of play by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. An introduction to hybrid grass, its pros and cons, maintenance and renovation process. The 2026 World Cup bid, the trials, the expectations, the need for consistency and time lines will be outlined. A detailed explanation of the different field testing practices we carry out for agronomical and playability reasons. These tests include soil tests (fertility and mechanics), tissue tests, gmax, deformation, energy restitution, force reduction, rotational resistance, and soccer “stimp”. A great overview of the professional soccer industry.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Nancy Xiao

Dr. Nancy Xiao - Fertilizer and Supplement Registration: An Industry Perspective

Wed. Feb 21, 1:30–2:30 in Room 105

Government regulations can be tedious and hard to understand. However, it remains important to have a full understanding of the regulations and registration process when developing and introducing new products into the Canadian market. Product users with knowledge of regulations would make a wiser choice to be compliant. In this session, Nancy will explain the structure of fertilizer and supplement categories in a clear way from an industry perspective, and elaborate on the registration process based on her years of experience. The hope is that the attendees could walk away from this session with a deeper understanding of fertilizer registration in Canada and find it not as intimidating as they might think.  

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 0.25 IPM

Eric Watkins

Dr. Eric Watkins - Improving Knowledge and Management of Winter Stresses on Golf Greens in Cold Climates

Wed. Feb 21, 2:24–3:45 in Room 101

Winter injury to turfgrasses on greens has challenged golf course superintendents working in cold climates for decades. The variability of winter at a single site, and over the years, makes understanding this stress difficult. Turfgrass managers are therefore left with few research-based solutions to prevent and mitigate this serious problem, one that brings great financial stress to the golf course and personal stress to the superintendent. The WinterTurf project, a multi-institutional and international research effort, aims to better understand the many ways that turfgrasses die in the winter, and then use this information to develop better grasses and improved management recommendations. In this presentation, I will update ongoing research projects, discuss upcoming research plans, and describe how turfgrass managers can help our team as we seek to reduce the risk of winter damage on turfgrass surfaces in cold climates.   

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 1 IPM

Sara Stricker

Dr. Sara Stricker - #NoMowMay and #LeaveTheLeaves, What Does it Mean?

Wed. Feb 21, 2:24–3:45 in Room 103

The #NoMowMay and #LeaveTheLeaves social media campaigns have gained momentum in advocating for a more natural approach to turf management in various settings, including home lawns, parks, and urban areas. These initiatives encourage homeowners and municipalities to refrain from mowing their lawns in May and removing fallen leaves in the autumn. This session will summarize a study  conducted at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute which examined the impact of these campaigns in regard to turf quality and the establishment of weeds. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 0.25 IPM

Casey Renolds

Dr. Casey Reynolds - Market and Consumer Trends in Turfgrass Production

Wed. Feb 21, 2:24–3:45 (Virtual Live Presentation) in Room 105

What do consumers think about natural grass lawns, sports fields, and other sites? Or, do they stop to think about them at all? Consumer perceptions of lawns and other grass spaces will drive future purchasing decisions and research shows that sustainability is increasingly becoming a part of those decisions. This session will cover current and future trends in turfgrass production and how consumer perceptions may impact purchasing decisions now and in the future. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Day 2

Ed McNabb

Ed McNab - A Case Study on the Effects of Long Term DMI Use on Dollar Spot Populations

In this 30-minute presentation I will briefly outline the development of DMI resistance that has been observed for dollar spot diseases in Canada, the development of a field kit that allows turf managers to assess leaves for the presence of DMI resistant isolates onsite, and an investigation into one site where we observed a high number of dollar spot isolates that were highly resistant to DMIs. 

Continuing education credits: 0.5 ORFA, 0.5 IPM

Thurs. Feb. 22, 9:30–10:00'

Jason Winter

Jason Winter - Negotiating Employment Agreements 

Thurs. Feb. 22, 10:00–10:30

This presentation will focus on the importance, content, negotiations and timing that goes into having a thorough and comprehensive employment agreement. First and foremost, the presentation will look at industry specific highlights to help understand where to start when working on the details of the agreement. Knowing where to find information on the market that includes standards for compensation, benefits and identifying priorities will be discussed. Communication strategies will be part of the presentation as they relate to negotiating and keeping a positive and constructive environment to maintain positive relationships with decision makers. Many of the key sections in an employment agreement will be touched on and include but are not limited to; Term and termination, confidentiality, employer property, employment policies, frustration, non-solicitation of employees and related schedules. Termination with and without cause will be discussed also and the importance of having a comprehensive and detailed severance package in place should there be no fault of the employee for the termination. This will help to ease the stress of finding yourself in a position of being without employment. The presentation will wrap up with a summary of the key points and takeaways, a question-and-answer period and open floor for discussions with the attendees.

Continuing education credits: 0.5 ORFA

Panel of people

Panel Discussion - We Want Sports Fields, but Not in My Backyard (NIMBY)

Thurs. Feb. 22, 9:30–10:30 in Room 103

This session will explore why some homeowners would rather not have a sports field within walking distance. Noise, light pollution, waste management, and stray balls are only some of the operational and management issues that impact public concern in having these facilities in their neighbourhood. Finding a balance of meeting community need and community peace requires careful planning and exceptional management to be successful. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Eric Watkins

Dr. Eric Watkins - Turfgrass Mixtures as a Sustainable Lawn Care Strategy 

Thurs. Feb. 22, 9:30–10:30 in Room 105

Turfgrass mixtures are a sustainable lawn care strategy Lawns experience any number of stressors, ranging from snow mould and ice encasement in the winter to severe drought and heat in the summer. These stresses can significantly reduce turf performance, and often result in stand loss. One approach to dealing with these challenges is by using new turfgrass cultivars that have been developed specifically to survive some of these stresses. Most turfgrass research focuses on individual cultivars of turfgrass species, while most lawns and other turf surfaces are established as multi-species mixtures. Leveraging the positive attributes of multiple individual grass species can be an excellent approach for a successful lawn. In this presentation, I will discuss research at the University of Minnesota that is investigating the use of mixtures for low-input landscapes, and provide recommendations based on recent and ongoing work from our group. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 1 IPM


Kevin DoyleAl Schwemler

Kevin Doyle & Al Schwemler - Utilizing Best Management Practices to Drive Sustainability at Your Facility and Advocate for Golf's Future

Thurs. Feb. 22, 10:45–11:45 in Room 101

Golf course superintendents in Ontario are professional land managers entrusted to protect the environment and communities the property lies within.  Regulatory requirements such as Integrated Pest Management Accreditation Program, Permit to Take Water, and others create a framework superintendents must abide by.  The Best Management Practices (BMP) for Ontario Golf Courses provides a comprehensive document, developed by experts, that can help foster the sustainability of our industry.

This presentation will discuss:

  • The history of the BMP initiative.
    • With rapidly changing regulations, our industry needs to better communicate golf’s positive environmental impact.  BMPs are the language of regulators.
  • A walk-through of the document, highlighting the integration of current IPM and Water regulations within the BMP for Ontario Golf Courses.
    • The BMP document serves as a conduit to access vital regulatory information and offers industry-expert recommended best practices to further enhance your environmental efforts.
  • Benefits to you and your golf course, specifically the impact on the sustainability triangle of people, planet, and profit.
    • From the minute the door opens at your maintenance facility the goal is to offer a safe environment for staff and golfers, the community at large, and the environment.  This comprehensive document helps superintendents in Ontario tell that story.
  • Finally, how to build your own facility BMP in GCSAA’s online tool.
    • Those in the regulatory world will applaud the efforts of the OGSA in building this document, then they will ask how many are using it.  Will you be one?

Join me and see how the BMPs for Ontario Golf Courses can become a vital building block to communicate and elevate your environmentally positive efforts to stakeholders, including those in golf, within your community, and the regulatory arena.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 0.25 IPM

Mike Greer

Mike Greer - Meaningful Access in the Built Environment

Thurs. Feb. 22, 10:45–11:45 in Room 103

Our mission at the Rick Hansen Foundation is to create and deliver innovative solutions that lead to a global movement to remove barriers and liberate the potential of people with disabilities and our vision is to have an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) is a rating system that encourages meaningful access in the built environment. An RHFAC rating goes beyond compliance with building code or adherence to minimum standards or guidelines and provides a snapshot of the real level of accessibility of a site along with recommendations for areas of improvement. Site owners or managers can use this information to make positive changes that will help to ensure all users of their facilities feel welcome. RHFAC is a nationally recognized rating system. Having RHFAC certified Sites attracts more inclusive and diverse staff and visitors and welcomes everyone including persons with disabilities, parents with strollers, and aging seniors.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA

Al Pinsonneault

Al Pinsonneault - Navigating Tenders and Contracts with Impossible Standards 

Thurs. Feb. 22, 10:45–11:45 in Room 105

When quoting to provide landscape management services, navigating unrealistic specifications requires careful consideration of liability and the establishment of clear boundaries. This session will cover examples of how it is essential to conduct a thorough review of the provided specifications. If these specifications are deemed unachievable or unrealistic, it is the responsibility of the service provider to communicate these concerns to the client because it isn't always feasible to align corporate-level requirements with on-the-ground realities. Clear and transparent communication is crucial to managing expectations and avoiding potential disputes.

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA



Katerina Jordan

Dr. Katerina Jordan - Sustainability and the Future of Turf 

Thurs. Feb 22, 1:15–2:15 in Room 101

We have seen large shifts in the turfgrass industry over the last 20 years, partly facilitated by legislation but mostly directed by environmental stewardship and an awareness of the impact of our industry. This session will discuss the changes in the turfgrass industry over the years with respect to management, sustainability, and social and public awareness. These changes will be framed in a way to consider the economic feasibility and environmental management of the turfgrass industry in the future.

Continuing education credits: 1.0 ORFA, 0.5 IPM

Scott McElroy

Dr. Scott McElroy - The Future is Now: Autonomous Mowers  

Thurs. Feb. 22, 2:15–2:45 in Room 101

In this rapid session, Dr. McElroy will cover how autonomous technology is currently classified so attendees can more competently explore this technology and its potential use in turfgrass management.

Continuing education credits: 0.5 ORFA
Panel of people

Panel Discussion - OM246 for Testing Soil Organic Matter Content

Thurs. Feb. 22, 3:00–4:00 in Room 101

Organic matter management is crucial to be a successful turfgrass manager. But what really is organic matter? How can I measure organic matter? What is too much, too little, optimal amounts of organic matter? Finally, what can I do to achieve optimal organic matter? This panel discussion will seek to answer these questions by reviewing provincial OM246 test data combined with performance metrics. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 0.25 IPM


Eric Lyons

Dr. Eric Lyons - Overseeding for Sports Turf Victory

Thurs. Feb. 22, 3:00–4:00 in Room 103

Sports field turf conditions throughout Canada consistently suffer from high usage, limited resources, and short growing seasons. To combat this, overseeding is a common practice to maintain turfgrass cover, reduce weed encroachment, and maintain optimum safety and quality of the turf stand. This session will present the current data from the project supported by the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation to improve drought resistance, weed management, and winter hardiness of existing sports fields. This trial implements overseeding with different grass varieties in conjunction with allowable weed control methods. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 1.0 IPM

Michael Stangl

Michael Stangl - Regenerative Lawn Care

Thurs. Feb. 22, 3:00–4:00 in Room 105

In today's ever-evolving world of lawns and landscapes, there's a man named Michael Stangl who's been making quite the impact. With over 43 years of dedication and innovation, he's emerged as a true pioneer in the realm of regenerative lawn care.
Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is regenerative lawn care? It's like taking the timeless wisdom of healthy soil, blending it with cutting-edge techniques, and sprinkling a touch of magic on top. Michael has devoted himself to nurturing lawns and landscapes, transforming them into vibrant, pesticide-free sanctuaries by collaborating with Mother Nature herself.
But it doesn't stop at lawns – not by a long shot. Michael's journey has taken him across various landscapes, from cash crops to orchards and even vineyards. He possesses a unique talent for employing root-injection methods and concocting solutions that bring trees, flowers, and veggies to life with pure delight. And here's the real game-changer – Michael is a staunch advocate for ditching synthetic chemicals. He's leading the charge in a new era, one focused on preserving the land we hold dear. Whether it's your own backyard oasis or sprawling acres of green, he possesses the expertise to ensure it thrives, teeming with life. Michael has stories and insights that will elevate your lawn to a neighborhood legend. 

Continuing education credits: 1 ORFA, 0.25 IPM

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