Winter is over and the warm spring sun is finally shining over campus. Library desks are being traded for blankets on Thompson Hall (T-Hall) lawn, people playing frisbee games fill the Fishbowl (Scott Hall lawn), and accepted students and their families crowd the busy sidewalks. After months of cold winter, everything seems to be alive everything, perhaps, besides some of the grass around campus.
According to the Colorado Master Gardener program, the heightened amount of foot traffic carried in by warm weather and public events increases soil compaction, and thus pore space between soil grains is reduced, leading to the air in any given area of soil becoming limited, resulting in inhibited plant growth.
Small yellow signs along a pathway through T-Hall lawn marked with, “notice,” inform passersby of the use of a product called Tupersan, which, according to UNH’s head of gardening Robert Bennett, is being used on the thinning parts of T-Hall lawn.
According to Robert Bruleigh, who runs the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture’s Divison of Pesticide Control Enforcement Program, the signs are placed anywhere in the state when a chemical is used in a public area, as required by pesticides rule #50801. The notices do not mean the products being used are harmful to those in the vicinity; they are just general notices.
“It’s to provide transparency for people who use the turf,” Bruleigh said.
The specific chemical being used on the grass is called Siduron, a general-purpose crabgrass killer. According to Bruleigh, other products of this nature do not allow new seeds to germinate while they are being used, whereas Siduron kills crabgrass and simultaneously allows other turf to emerge.
President of UNH’s Organic Gardening Club Francesca Genello said she does not feel the use of such chemicals is necessary. She said that pesticides are proven to drive pollinators like bees away from the area, and in a place where they are scarce it is important to protect them.
Genello pointed out the potential for people to experience negative allergic reactions to the chemicals used on the grass. “It’s not fair for people with sensitive skin to be sitting on T-Hall lawn and be afraid of having an allergic reaction.”