07-07-2021 Maintenance

Hassle-free sport field maintenance without pesticides

French organisms Plante & Cité and FREDON have just published a new technical guide to help natural sports grounds.

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Starting on July 1, 2022, most natural sports grounds in France will have to be maintained without synthetic plant protection products. Public authorities will need to adopt a different approach to sports field maintenance. French organisms Plante & Cité and FREDON have just published a new technical guide to help them.

Une nouvelle ère se lève sur l'entretien des terrains de sport

The Labbé law completely changes sports field maintenance strategies 

Chemical pesticides are out! Since 2017, French law called "Labbé" prohibits the use of chemical plant health products for the maintenance of most green spaces open to the public, obliging public authorities to adopt differentiated and ecological management alternatives.

Previously, natural grass sports fields and cemeteries were exempted. But this exemption will end on July 1, 2022. From then on, nearly all playing fields will have to get their TLC without chemical plant health products, including:


  • Football and Rugby fields run by municipalities, secondary schools and high schools councils.
  • University sports fields and those used by the army and fire fighters for training.

For the tee-offs on golf greens, fairways and driving ranges and all playing fields to which access is controlled and reserved for members (big stadia, hippodromes and grass tennis courts), the law will not come into force until January 1, 2025.

This progressive transition, which concerns 46,000 turfed sports fields in France including 39,900 natural grass football and rugby grounds, threatens game quality and player safety. Unfortunately, it is not enough to replace the plant health product currently in use by others more environmentally-friendly. To take account of the agronomic properties of each sports ground, the whole maintenance management system has to be modified.

Are you wondering how you too can stop using chemical pesticides on your turfed sports field? In their technical guide Vers le « Zéro phyto » des terrains de sport en pelouse naturelle : démarche globale et gestion intégrée („Pesticide-free treatment of sports grounds with natural grass: an overall management approach”; published only in French) Plante & Cité and FREDON explain what to do in simple terms. 

Check our ultimate guide to ensure successful sports field design and maintenance

A new reference guide to help you do away with pesticides

Two organizations dedicated to plant care, Plantes & Cité - the French national technical center for green spaces and landscape studies and experiments - and the independent FREDON network of plant health experts have joined forces to publish a 96 pages technical guide targeting turfed sports field managers, public authorities, suppliers and service companies working with the natural playing fields concerned by the new plant health regulations.

This specialist guide defines what needs to be done to change maintenance practices:

  • The adoption of a comprehensive approach based on each sports field’s agronomy and the particularities of a playing field.
  • The 14 actions to take to stay within the French law while conserving the quality expected by sports federations.
  • Using experience feedbacks from pioneering public authorities.

Over and above the technical considerations, the guide addresses how to control change, with invaluable advice on how to train and accompany the maintenance teams and how to communicate with turfed sports field users.

This “must” guide is available in digital format go to Ecophyto Pro (free) or in print (35€) from Plante & Cité ([email protected]) or the FREDON network ([email protected]).

Do you want to adopt more environmentally-friendly maintenance for your sports field? You need to prepare your turf carefully. By adopting a strategy combining assistance, training and expert analysis of the soil, you can ensure that players will benefit from vigorous, dense and resistant grass, while conserving your environment. Come to the Paysalia trade show to learn how to maintain turfed sports fields naturally!

Visit the landscaping trade show Paysalia

© Photo credit: maewjpho / Adobe Stock

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in co-production with

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Since its launch in 2009, Paysalia has been organized in co-production with UNEP which supports landscape contractors on a daily basis through its 13 regional unions. UNEP defends for the interests of businesses in the landscape and garden sector, develops social standards for the profession, and leads the creation of professional guidelines for the industry.