All course information is listed within this syllabus.

TURF 230: Turfgrass Pesticides (1 credit). TURF 230 provides the foundation in pesticide management upon which the other courses (Turf/Ornamental Weed Control and Turfgrass Pathology & Entomology) build. The focus of TURF 230 is to both introduce students to the concepts, terminology, and processes involved in the management of turfgrass pests and to gain an understanding of how to share information concerning pests with the public. TURF 230 is a one-credit experience designed to allow students to work within the given time frame to complete the course requirements. This course does not require any group learning components. Students can work through materials at their own pace.

TURF 230 will prepare the student for issues about turfgrass pesticides. This class will not substitute for the student taking their respective state certification exam to receive a valid state pesticide applicator's license. That responsibility lies with the student, not this class. If a student has a valid and verifiable state pesticide license, then he or she can request to be automatically exempted from taking the one-credit Turfgrass Pesticide (TURF 230) course.

Prerequisites: None


Instructor for TURF 230

Max Schlossberg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Turfgrass Nutrition/Soil Fertility

Department of Plant Science
403 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

If you need to contact me regarding your course, the best way to reach me is through Canvas Inbox. I will respond within 48 hours on weekdays, and by Monday on weekends.

Course Overview

TURF 230 covers a variety of topics central to the understanding of the use of pesticides in turfgrass management. Three important topics begin this course of study: toxicity, pesticide formulations, and the fate of pesticides. Next, the course takes a close look at the labels, Material Safety Data Sheets, certification, and regulations in use in the green industry today. A number of practical lessons focus on the calibration of equipment and the selection of spray nozzles. In particular, time is spent working through and practicing the necessary calculations used in preparing pesticide formulations. Finally, integrated pest management as a strategy for turfgrass managers to control problems in turf, and communicating with the public about the technical issues that surround pesticide usage, are the focus of the final two lessons.

This course is a paced-enrollment course which means that you will have an established start and end date. There is no required interaction with other students throughout the course. All course modules, quizzes, and activities are online.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of TURF 230 students will have learned to:

  • develop a foundational understanding with regard to pesticides, their development, their use, and the appropriate methodology for their delivery
  • develop an understanding about how to effectively communicate with the general public about such items as toxicity, environmental fate, and how turfgrass managers use cultural practices to improve turfgrass health and vigor as a means to decrease the use of pesticides
  • have an opportunity to apply concepts to solve simple problems in turfgrass management
  • have an opportunity to communicate and work together with other students through the course materials

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials


This course requires that you access Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. You can access these materials by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, or by accessing the Library E-Reserves Search and searching for your instructor's last name.

Readings in TURF 230 will be referred to by the Catalog Number within the course content.

  • Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification: Core Manual, #AGRS-106. Randall, Carolyn; Hock, Winand; Crow Edward; Hudak-Wise, Colleen; Kasai, Jeanne, eds. PSU Ag Sciences & Coop Ext., 2008.
  • Pennsylvania Pesticide Laws and Regulations for Commercial and Public Applicators, #AGRS-118. Scott, David, Compiler. PSU Ag Sciences & Coop Ext., 2011.
  • Supplement to the Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual, #AGRS-119. Jacobs, Steve, Compiler. PSU Ag Sciences & Coop Ext., 2011.
  • MSDS Sheet and Specimen labels for Confront Specialty Herbicide. Dow AgroSciences.


Modules 1-4 and 7-12 have a quiz or activity that you can use to test your understanding of the concepts presented in the lessons. Each quiz has a time limit of either 30 or 45 minutes once you open it and you must complete the quiz within this period. You only have the ability to take the quiz once; you will not be able to close and return to the quiz to finish it. Additionally, all quizzes and exams will only allow you to access one question at a time and will not return to a prior question once it opens. For each quiz, please choose the best answer provided for each of the quiz questions.

All modules are activated and the students have the ability to take the quizzes. Each week, a quiz will close down that corresponds to the material that should have been covered by the student that week. The course consists of twelve modules. Students may work ahead, but if you don't complete the module by the date shown on the Syllabus page, you will receive a ZERO.

All quizzes will close down on Sundays at 11:59 p.m., EST. Please be prepared to take the quiz before you open it. Timing will begin as soon as you start the quiz and will not stop even if you log out or switch browsers. Please refer to the Syllabus page on Canvas for additional information.

Module 12 Final Assignment: Communicating With the Public

A presentation has been solicited from you by a member of the local garden club interested in the potential of environmental risks posed by pesticides. What about the toxicity? Should they be banned? Are the regulations in place strict enough? These are just some of the concerns expressed by this group of local gardeners.

Based upon the information available to you, the information in this module, and the information gained via working through the previous 11 modules of this course, draft an outline, for a 25 to 30-minute presentation to the garden club to address the issue of using pesticides on turf and their environmental impact. You should have a well-developed outline so that you could have it on the podium with you and present your information to the garden club from the outline. As a part of this outline, indicate sections that show how you have anticipated questions that will likely be asked by your audience. Include the information that you will use to respond to these questions. Do not copy and paste information from this course into your outline. Use your own words for this assignment.

Communicating With the Public Assignment Rubric

  1. Work submitted in outline format with at least four headings and supported by several subheadings.
  2. Introduction: What makes you qualified to do this presentation?
  3. Content: Relevant information from this course.
  4. Questions and answers for each section within the body of the outline.

Assignment Outline Example (The Conquest of Mt. Everest)

  • 1st Main Level Topic: Introduction - Background information on Mt. Everest
    • Second Level Topic: Location of Mt. Everest
      • Third Level Topic: Geography of Mt. Everest
        • Fourth Level Topic: Specific information about Everest
          • Height
          • Peak Names
  • 2nd Main Level Topic: Major Explorers of Mt. Everest
    • Include subheadings as above
  • 3rd Main Level Topic: Impact of Exploration on Mt. Everest
    • Include subheadings as above
  • 4th Main Level Topic: Impact of Exploration of Mt. Everest Local Communities
    • Include subheadings as above

Submit this outline to Module 12: Communicating With the Public assignment page at the end of Module 12.

Grading Policy

The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value
Module Quizzes 110
Module 12 Assignment 50
TOTAL: 160

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 94% 149–160
A- < 94% – 90% < 149–144
B+ < 90% – 87% < 144–141
B < 87% – 84% < 141–132
B- < 84% – 80% < 132–128
C+ < 80% – 77% < 128–125
C < 77% – 70% < 125–112
D < 70% – 60% < 112–96
F < 60% < 96

The course's final grade is determined by the total points earned by the student. The percentages listed above are for reference only.

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

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Minimum Skills

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Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

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