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Operation Pollinator Action Fulfills National Plan

OPERATION POLLINATOR ACTION FULFILS NATIONAL PLAN

Golf courses and amenity areas can play an important role in fulfilling the first stages of a national Pollinator Strategy. The Government's initial Five Step Action Plan encompasses the core elements already embedded in Operation Pollinator and followed by many golf courses across the country.

The Five Step Action Plan to help pollinators form part of a call to action launched by Environment Minister Lord de Mauley at the Plant Life Conference last week (18 July 2014), hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales, to encourage people to do their bit to help insects such bees and butterflies.

Speaking at the conference, Lord de Mauley, said: "Pollinators such as bees are vital to the environment and the economy and I want to make sure that we do all we can to safeguard them.

"That's why we are encouraging everyone to take a few simple actions and play their part in helping protect our bees and butterflies. We will be publishing a nationwide strategy for pollinators later this year to set out everything that we can do to help pollinators flourish."

People are being urged to help create or improve a habitat for pollinators in five simple ways:

1. Grow more nectar and pollen-rich flowers, shrubs and trees

2. Leave patches of land to grow wild

3. Cut grass less often

4. Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects

5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

The five simple actions were drawn up with experts from Natural England, the Food and Environment Research Agency, conservation charities and the research community.

Syngenta Turf & Landscape Operation Pollinator Manager, Caroline Carroll, highlighted that the initiative, launched on golf courses three years ago, had already encouraged new pollen and nectar habitat creation on courses across the country.

She added that most greenkeepers involved are integrating their Operation Pollinator areas within wider environmental plans and creating a wealth of ecological features, which is attracting more wildlife to the course and making it a more interesting place to play. "That is attracting new players, which crucial is helping to make the courses both environmentally and economically more sustainable." 

"Golf Courses shuold be incredibly proud of what they have achieved for the environment. Getting involved with Operation Pollinator is a way to demonstrate to players and the public that clubs are already fulfilling the Government's pollinaotr strategy requirements", according to Caroline Carroll.

Operation Pollinator pollen and nectar rich flower areas are an undisturbed haven for all species of bees and a vast array of other wildlife - as well as an attractive feature to complement the well maintained golf course to attract players. 

Op Poll Area With Players On Fairway Web

"We are finding that most golf courses have areas that can be actively managed for ecological gain and protection of the environment, alongside the intensive management of the playing surfaces for golfers. All Syngenta products approved for use on golf courses and amenity areas have been rigorously tested and passed full environmental impact assessments," she said.Caroline further pointed out that Operation Pollinator techniques, such as using Rescue herbicide to selectively remove invasive coarse grasses and allow finer fescues to flourish, enabled greenkeepers to leave areas of longer rough without frequent cutting and allowing wildflowers to proliferate.  Furthermore, the wispy rough provided a more attractive environment and improved playing conditions that golfers desire. 

Furthermore, accurate application can help to ensure spray treatments are targeted where they are intended on the turf playing surfaces, without impacting on surrounding environment.

Using the Syngenta GreenCast decision support website to predict high risk conditions for disease attack can also help with more precise application timing. It has proven to give better levels of disease control and maintain better surface quality from a reduced number of fungicide treatments over the course of the season, compared to routine spraying or conventional treatment at the first signs of infection.

 Bombus Pascuorum Web

Bombus Ruderartus 2 Web

Bombus Humilis Web

Bombus Hortorum Web

Bombus pascuorum

 Bombus ruderatus

 Bombus humilis

 Bombus horotorum

"Golf courses involved with Operation Pollinator are already delivering on every stage of the Five Point Action Plan," advised Caroline. "We would urge all greenkeepers and golf courses to look at the benefits that can be achieved for their club, and the industry overall."