• 03 Mar 2018 3:26 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Dear Turfgrass Field Professionals,

    We need you!  To educate legislators on durable grass fields and funding for grass fields​ - to tell them that GRASS CAN TAKE IT!

    Please​ consider writing testimony and perhaps testifying in person March 7. Either way-  If you want Senator Manno’s office to make and deliver the required 30 copies for you please see instructions below and email the testimony to roger.manno@senate.state.md.us  no later than NOON on March 5th. Please also cc michelskm2016@gmail.com  shpfc.contact@gmail.com and  sheldon.fishman@gmail.com

    (and just a warning- as soon as you talk about $50,000 per year or more for  maintenance they jump on it as "grass can’t take it"  because the high cost of grass maintenance vs quoted $10,000 for synturf which needs more maintenance to be safe but often doesn’t get that maintenance or testing 


    WE NEED TO ADD GRASS and GRASS BUSINESS INFO to our message. Please recommend additional references and language)

    Who will be resubmitting/ submitting written​ testimony by March 5 (see instructions below)​?

    WE NEED to add more ​athletes, coaches, GRASS INDUSTRY/ BUSINESS EXPERTS and PARENTS who will be able to testify March 7 for the Senate Bill  1 pm

    PLEASE WRITE and PLEASE INVITE OTHERS TO WRITE -In just ten minutes, you can make a HUGE difference to protect both children and the environment from hazardous materials on sports fields and playgrounds.
    Please provide Testimony on:  SB0763:  "Use of Public Funds - Playground and Athletic Field Surfaces - Preferences and Prohibitions" 
    On March 7th, at 1 PM.  SB 0763 will be presented in the Maryland State Senate.

    “Establishing a preference for the use of state-of-the-art natural surface materials in any projects to construct playgrounds or athletic fields using public funds; prohibiting the use of State funds to finance any portion of a project to build a new, or replace an existing, playground or athletic field with a synthetic surface; and providing for the prospective application of the Act.”
    Some background:
    If you want to do some more research or want more information please see:
     Www.safehealthyplayingfields.org ; Www.ehhi.org;  Www.synturf.org

    By the end of 2018 at least 100 million pounds of plastic and tire waste will have entered air water and landfills from disposal of synthetic turf fields. An equivalent amount of petroleum-based plastic will be used to create new fields. Children face unique risks from toxins, heat, hardness and abrasions playing on plastic fields (with any kind of infill) or playgrounds made from tires. Infection due to abrasions is one major risk). For a good overview about the health hazards see:  http://www.center4research.org/nchr-letter-dc-city-council-artificial-turf/. Here are some basic background documents:
     Instructions on how to submit your testimonial:

    1. ​​Modify the letter below (attached word document) as you wish but please keep all the header and information and include  your full address and contact information.  Try to include personal experience or concerns.
    1. Paste your letter into an email. and add the letter as an attachment to the email.
    2. Address the email (with attached/included letter) to Senator Manno roger.manno@senate.state.md.us  and CC: your state senator  (or at least give your full snail mail address so your district can be ascertained. You can look up your state senator using this link and typing in your address: http://mdelect.net)
    3. PLEASE CC: michelskm2016@gmail.com, shpfc.contact@gmail.com  and sheldon.fishman@gmail.com , the volunteers who will coordinate in Annapolis on March 7th. 
    4. Send!

    Testimony Letter Format Click Here

  • 14 Jan 2018 7:11 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    MTC Board of Directors Needed

    • You have a passion for the Turfgrass Industry!
    • You want to help make a difference in the future of the industry!
    • You enjoy connecting with other members of the industry!
    • Why not make a difference as a member of the MTC Board of Directors
    There are two positions available. One as a 3 year Director and one as a 2 year Director on the MTC Board.

    What is required?
    • The Board of Directors meet one late afternoon a month, normally at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (Annapolis) or The University of Maryland Turfgrass Research Farm (College Park).
    • Desire to communicate with other Board members in person or over email.
    • Need to possess a passion for the Turfgrass Industry and desire to spread Turfgrass education and benefits across the State.

    How to Become a MTC Board of Director
    • Drop an e-mail or call Vernon Cooper at Execdir@mdturfcouncil.com or 410-745-9643 and express your desires.
    • At the Annual Meeting during the Mid-Atlantic Turfgrass Expo, last week of Jan, all interested persons will be presented and the two positions filled (you do not have to be present to be elected).

    Please send all information and / or have any further questions to: Vernon Cooper at Execdir@mdturfcouncil.com or 410-745-9643.

  • 12 Aug 2017 4:20 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Court strikes down Montgomery County’s ban on lawn pesticides

    Image result for home lawn pesticide

    By Rachel Chason August 3 

    Original Article by The Washington Post

    A Montgomery Circuit Court judge on Thursday overturned the county’s ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns, dealing a major setback to environmental advocates who argued that chemicals in the products are unsafe.

    Judge Terrence McGann said that the law — the first of its kind for a major locality in the region — would conflict with federal and Maryland state regulations that allow the use of the pesticides. The case was just one example of Maryland counties’ “insatiable appetite to tamper with existing state laws,” McGann said.

    Counties have also “tried to hijack a portion of the existing field of law” in areas including tobacco, guns and minimum wage, he said.

    The law, passed by a divided County Council in 2015, was to take effect in 2018. It bans pesticides that have been approved by the federal government but contain chemicals that some studies say may cause cancer. The law exempts agricultural land, gardens and golf courses, and does not prohibit the sale of lawn pesticides in the county.

    A provision of the bill eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides on certain county properties, which was not part of the lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners and pesticide companies, took effect in July.

    Council member George Leventhal (D-At Large), the bill’s chief sponsor and a candidate for county executive in 2018, said he was “very disappointed” by McGann’s ruling, which he said “sets a worrisome precedent for the ability of local governments to protect their residents on vital issues of health and safety.”

    The county has 30 days to appeal McGann’s ruling.

    Timothy Maloney, an attorney for the plaintiffs, including Scotts Co., a major manufacturer of lawn-care products, called the ruling a “significant victory for consumer safety.”

    If the ban had been upheld, he said, it would have set a legal precedent for the 187 jurisdictions in Maryland to have their own regulatory systems for pesticides.

    “There would have been total chaos and confusion in the marketplace,” he said.

    McGann said the desire to “avoid confusion from diverse requirements” that could endanger public health is the reason that the state legislature adopted pesticide rules that work with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The Montgomery County ordinance, he said, would disrupt the uniformity established by the legislature.

    But environmentalists who support the ban say federal regulations are inadequate — especially now that the EPA under President Trump is rolling back some Obama-era regulations.

    “Look at the EPA right now: It is a weak institution,” said Julie Taddeo, an environmental activist and leader of Safe Grow Montgomery who was in court for the ruling. “It’s not doing enough to protect our kids.”

    She accused McGann — who frequently makes jokes from the bench and on Thursday quipped that pesticide label-reading was a “cure for insomnia” — of not taking activists’ concerns seriously.

    Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D), who also is running for county executive, said he has asked the county attorney to advise the council on whether to appeal the decision and on other possible legal options for reducing residents’ exposure to chemicals.

    “With federal safeguards in the areas of public health and environmental protection dwindling, I believe that it is more important than ever for county government to work to protect the health and safety of its residents and our environment,” Berliner said in a statement.


    Maloney scoffed at an appeal as “a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars.” Trump’s election, he said, does not change the “well-established findings and protocols on pesticides” that exist across the United States.

  • 21 Mar 2017 7:19 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)
    Fun day and a good turnout of about 100 turf professionals for the Mid-Atlantic STMA meeting at Camden Yards today. The new bluegrass sod installed last fall looks great!  

    Thanks to the Orioles for hosting and the MASTMA executive and education committees for organizing a great event! Fun day and a good turnout of about 100 turf professionals for the Mid-Atlantic STMA meeting at Camden Yards today. The new bluegrass sod installed last fall looks great!

    Thanks to the Orioles for hosting and the MASTMA executive and education committees for organizing a great event!
    - Geoff Rinehart

  • 14 Mar 2017 6:55 AM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)
    Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association

    Membership Drive at Camden Yards on St. Patrick's Day!


    March 17, 2017
    9:00 AM - 1:30 PM


    $0.00 Members

    $25 Non-Members


    Camden Yards
    333 W Camden St.
    Baltimore, MD 21201





    MASTMA brings you the luck of the Irish next week on St. Patrick’s Day in the heart of Baltimore City. 


    Check out our speakers:

    Ryan Bjorn, Maryland SoccerPlex, MASTMA President

    Ryan will discuss the progress of the newly formed MASTMA, introduce you to the Board of Directors, highlight member benefits, and give you a sneak peek into what MASTMA has to offer its members in 2017.

    Dr. Joseph Roberts, University of College Park, MASTMA Board Member

    Dr. Roberts will provide a brief overview of turf microbiology as it pertains to turfgrass health, discuss current industry trends that have a significant impact on altering soil microflora, and gain insight from the audience on future directions for useful turfgrass research projects.

    Nicole McFadyen, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, MASTMA Secretary

    Nicole will discuss the challenges with the unique surface at Oriole Park and the factors that contributed to the decision to install a new playing surface in December.  She will provide an on-field equipment demonstration and give us a “behind the scenes” tour of this iconic facility.


    This amazing morning closes with lunch, networking, and Q&A session with these esteemed turf industry professionals.  This is your opportunity to learn from the best! Join your MASTMA friends after the event for green beer.

    You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity at Camden Yards on St. Patrick's Day.  We hope you can join us! 


    Register Now

    Cost of admission is FREE to members!  Complete yourmember application online now.  Don’t forget to return to the event page to register.

    Not ready to join?  No problem!  Come check us out for a nominal $25 event registration fee. 

  • 27 Jan 2017 6:28 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    January 30th-February 2nd

    -FREE Pesticide and Professional Fertilizer Re-Certification to active MTC members. 

    For full program, directions, and more information please go to:


  • 21 Nov 2016 5:18 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Preview YouTube video Turkey Bowl 2016


  • 17 Nov 2016 8:51 PM | Ben Ellis (Administrator)

    Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association Inaugural Meeting

    The newly re-formed Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA) had their first member organizational meeting at M & T Bank Stadium on October 25. About 150 STMA members and prospective members attended the event which included an educational program, information about the re-kindling of the chapter, and a field tour. The educational program included PowerPoint presentations, a panel discussion, and a field tour. The PowerPoint presentations included Baltimore Ravens Head Groundskeeper Don Follett, who spoke about the conversion of the M & T Bank Stadium from a synthetic surface to 419 bermudagrass, Jerrad Minnick from Growing Innovations who spoke about the latest technology in stadium lighting; Dr. Tom Turner who spoke about an overview of the turfgrass research program at the University of Maryland; and a panel discussion including lead groundskeepeers from many of the regional professional stadiums.

    The field tour provided an opportunity for attendees to take a look at the overseeded 419 bermudagrass field and the SGL lighting system used to improve the light quality for the turf against the long shadows of this second half of autumn. The on-field portion of the meeting also included a presentation by University of Maryland professor Dr. Kevin Mathias demonstrating uses of a variety of field tools and instruments sports field managers can use to make their job easier and increase their turf management precision.

    The event provided a good opportunity for sports turf managers in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia to connect after what has been a very difficult summer in the Mid-Atlantic region. Steering committee member Jason Kopp captured the mood, “After the event talking with several people about what they liked and found useful they all said they got to meet other managers from the area who they didn't know. This is what the chapter is all about.  Sharing resources, information, and building longstanding friendships.”

    “It was a great day of learning, networking, and sharing ideas with other turf managers from the Mid-Atlantic.  The overall attitude and response from the meeting was overwhelmingly positive, and I look forward to continuing to expand this network with MASTMA!” noted Ryan Bjorn, Director of Grounds and Environmental Maintenance at Maryland SoccerPlex.

    The groundwork of the chapter rejuvenation has been accomplished over the last several months by a steering committee including sports turf managers at some of the region’s professional complexes and industry suppliers.

    Re-starting a chapter that faded out about a decade ago, this first meeting represents a lot of hard work by the steering committee over the last several months. “I’m proud of what this steering committee has accomplished so far.  There is a lot of work left to do but looking at where we are today and how far we have come in a short period of time is remarkable,” noted Mr. Kopp.

    Nominations for the MASTMA Executive Board and Officers were accepted and members will be voting on these candidates in the next few weeks. After a new Board of Directors and Officers are installed later this fall, they will take the winter to continue to reach out to prospective members, set up committees, and get organized for 2017. Moving forward, the next chapter event will be March 17, 2017 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

    “It was invigorating to be a part of this process and to see it come together so well.  The number of people that attended was great, but the level of enthusiasm for what we are trying to accomplish was what excited me the most.  I can’t wait to see how we harness the momentum and carry it forward,” said Patrick Coakley, who manages Ripken [Sports Complex] in northeast MD and is on the steering committee.

    Hopefully, MASTMA can keep the momentum. As evident from the crowd at M&T, sports turf managers from around the Mid-Atlantic are happy to have an STMA chapter they can call their own!

    By Geoff Rinehart


The Maryland Turfgrass Council      P.O. Box 389, St. Michaels, MD 21663   Phone: (443) 742-6618       

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