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  • Author or Editor: D.S. Gardner x
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Vermicomposting is the process of fragmenting organic wastes with certain species of earthworms. A variety of vermicomposts are being marketed as fertilizer materials for turfgrass management, particularly in the golf course industry. In 2002 and 2003, field trials were conducted on established kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) in Columbus, Ohio, to evaluate the use of vermicomposted animal, food, paper, and turfgrass clipping waste materials as a turfgrass fertilizer under home lawn maintenance conditions. Visual quality of the plots was significantly higher for 2 weeks after application of paper vermicompost, regardless of application rate. Few other differences in either turfgrass visual quality of clipping yields were observed during a 6-week period after application, regardless of application rate or source of vermicompost. Based on the results of these studies, the use of vermicompost as a fertilizer material on established turfgrass is not warranted.

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In 1992, a cultivar trial was initiated in Columbus, Ohio to evaluate differences in establishment and long-term performance of cultivars of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), creeping red fescue (F. rubra), chewings fescue (F. rubra ssp. fallax), hard fescue (F. brevipila), kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), rough bluegrass (P. trivialis), and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) under low maintenance conditions in a shaded environment. Fertilizer and supplemental irrigation were applied until 1994 to establish the grasses, after which no supplemental irrigation, or pesticides were applied and fertilizer rates were reduced to 48.8 kg·ha-1 (1 lb/1000 ft2) of N per year. Percentage cover and overall quality data were collected in 2000 and compared with data collected in 1994. Initial establishment success does not appear to be a good predictor of long-term success of a cultivar in a shaded environment. There was some variability in cultivar performance under shade within a given turfgrass species. The tall fescue cultivars, as a group, had the highest overall quality and percentage cover under shade, followed by the fine fescues, kentucky bluegrass, rough bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass cultivars.

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Plant establishment and lateral growth of glyphosate-resistant creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera (synonym A. palustris)] were assessed to determine if the insertion of the construct conferring herbicide tolerance affected establishment rate or aggressiveness characteristics in unmowed situations. Field studies were carried out in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Oregon in 2000 and 2001 to examine the relative lateral growth of several transformed lines of creeping bentgrass, non-transformed controls, and cultivar standards. Vegetative plugs of creeping bentgrass were transplanted into replicated bare-soil plots and irrigated as needed to prevent moisture stress for an initial 6-week period. Measurements of maximum and minimum stolon spread, percent cover, and stand density for each entry were made in the field at all locations during 2000 and 2001. Few statistical differences (P = 0.05) in establishment and lateral growth were observed between individual lines of transgenic creeping bentgrass, non-transformed control lines, and standard cultivars and over a 15- to 18-month period. Overall, lateral growth and establishment rate of transgenic lines were similar to their non-transformed parent and the standard cultivars tested. Transgenic creeping bentgrass lines should have no greater potential for lateral growth than conventional creeping bentgrass cultivars currently in use.

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