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  • Author or Editor: A.M. Rist x
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Natural (hay, wood chips, recycled paper pulp) and synthetic (polypropylene film and polyester fabric) mulches were compared with mechanical tillage and residual herbicides as orchard groundcover management systems (GMSS). In two New York orchards-the Clarke farm and Hudson Valley Lab (HVL—GMSS were applied from 1990 to 1993 in 1.8-m-wide strips under newly planted apple (Malus domestica; `Liberty', `Empire', `Freedom', and advanced numbered selections from the disease-resistant apple breeding program at Geneva, N.Y.) trees. GMS impacts on soil fertility, tree nutrition and growth, yields, crop value, and vole (Microtus spp.) populations were evaluated. After 3 years at the Clarke orchard, extractable NO3, Mn, Fe, B, and Zn concentrations were greater in soil with herbicides than synthetic mulches; soil K and P concentrations were greater with herbicides and wood chips than synthetic mulches. At the HVL orchard, topsoil NO3, K, and Mg concentrations were greater with hay mulch than herbicides or other mulches; Mg, Fe, and B concentrations were lower in soil with wood chips than other GMSs. Soil organic matter content was not affected by GMS. Apple leaf N, K, Cu, and Zn concentrations were greater with herbicides, hay mulch, and polypropylene mulch than cultivation or recycled paper mulch at the HVL orchard during hot, dry Summer 1991. Despite transient differences among GMSS during the initial years, after 4 years of treatments there were no consistent GMS trends in cumulative tree growth or gross yields. The higher establishment and maintenance costs of several mulches were offset by their prolonged efficacy over successive years; crop market values from 1992 to 1994 were considerably greater for trees with polypropylene film, polyester fabric, and hay mulches than herbicides, cultivation, or other mulches. Voles caused more serious damage to trees in synthetic and hay mulches, despite the use of mesh trunk guards and rodenticide bait.

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Golfers are demanding increased ball roll distances on a daily basis, but cultural practices to achieve this often are detrimental to the green. One option for increasing ball roll distance without altering cultural practices may be to select creeping bentgrass genotypes that provide less resistance to ball roll. Studies were conducted at the John Seaton Anderson Turfgrass and Ornamental Research Facility near Ithaca, Neb., and at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Facility in Manhattan, Kans., to determine genotype and seasonal influences on golf ball roll distance. Eighteen creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) genotypes were evaluated. Genotype was not a significant source of variability, but the location × season interaction was. Significant seasonal differences in ball roll occurred at both locations. Ball roll distances for spring, summer, and fall were 98, 15, and 31 cm greater at the Nebraska test location than at the Kansas site. Correlations between turfgrass visual quality and ball roll distance were not significant. Therefore, the use of genotypes exhibiting high turfgrass visual quality will not necessarily result in longer ball rolls. Since there were no season × genotype or genotype × location interactions, ball roll distance on genotypes at each location changed similarly with season. Genotype selection appears to have little influence on ball roll distance under the conditions tested at these two locations.

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