Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment



First Advisor

Dr. Daniel A. Potter


The goal of this study was to evaluate several sustainable turf maintenance techniques for their potential to increase beneficial insect populations, which could then provide ecosystem services including pest suppression and pollination. The three techniques in question were 1) raising mowing height in commercial and residential lawns, 2) establishing naturalized roughs on golf courses, and 3) creating pollinator refuges on golf courses through the program Operation Pollinator. We found that raising mowing heights did increase populations of some predators such as spiders and staphylinids, but did not increase predation, which was ubiquitously high because ant populations were unaffected by mowing height. In addition, we found that pests reared in high-mowed grass were less likely to survive and gained weight more slowly than when raised in low-mowed grass. On golf courses, we found that naturalized roughs and traditional roughs supported different populations of predators, but contrary to our original hypothesis, naturalized roughs had little impact on biological control on the rest of the golf course. Operation Pollinator was successful in supporting 49 species of pollinators, including rare and declining bumble bees, demonstrating that turf systems can provide valuable pollinator conservation services, especially in urban systems where pollinator habitats are already rare.