One school district in New York is taking an environmentally-friendly approach to how it cares for its athletic fields.

The Shenendehowa Central School District is now using an organic and pesticide-free treatment to care for its athletic fields.

According to The Daily Gazette, Shen began the first round of treatments, which use organic fertilizer and compost tea to establish a strong root system while feeding the soil with healthy microbes, on April 12. The treatment will not only build organic matter in the soil and increase the soil’s ability to retain water, but also turn the turf green without the extra top growth.

The treatment also includes humates, a naturally occurring conditioner material that restores soil to healthy and fertile conditions.

Shen has been working with the New York State Education Department, as well as Alternative Earthcare Tree and Lawn Systems, on the project. The Board of Education has passed resolutions that will allow for the application of certain pesticides in “emergency situations.”

The new treatment plan should cut down on the amount of downtime the fields see. In the past, no one was allowed to use the fields for 24 hours after pesticide treatment, according to the district.

Shen aims to apply the treatment four to six times a year, and students and staff are able to use the fields immediately after application.

“There is no wait time to use the fields. Use can resume right after applications,” said district spokeswoman Kelly DeFeciani. “After receiving clarifying information from NYSED, hopefully this will allow the district to stay in compliance and keep the athletic fields safe in an organic way.”

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.