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Donald H. Steinegger

Most of Nebraska's population resides in the urban centers of eastern Nebraska. Traditionally, how ever, the Cooperative Extension Service has catered to the rural populations of the state. Now, it is imperative that the public and the legislative representatives from these urban areas learn that the research and outreach programs of the University also serve them. A Festival of Color was the vehicle for delivering this information to the urban audience, as well as to Agent Educators and Aides, Natural Resource District personnel, and other professionals, including government officials. Both professionals and the general public responded enthusiastically to the Festival's innovative use of the research site.

The educational objective was to answer the public's questions on the environment, including water quality and conservation in the landscape, and reduction of fertilizers and pesticides. Information was presented by Extension Specialists and Assistants, Master Gardeners, Natural Resource- District personnel, Department of Environmental Quality, State Energy Office, and Nebraska Association of Nurserymen.

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Donald H. Steinegger

The Festival of Color is the annual plant and landscape open house sponsored by the Univ. of Nebraska's Horticulture Dept. The festival is the culmination of many water-centered activities that have preceded the festival throughout the year. Last year's September event drew over 10,000 people to the UNL Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Neb. The festival was created to increase the urban public's awareness and motivation regarding the best landscape management practices for developing environmentally compatible landscapes and reducing urban runoff of water and pesticides. The Festival of Color is an event for all ages. By including the activities for the entire family, the festival draws a large spectrum of the urban population. The festival has grown steadily from 850 visitors in 1993 to 10,000 in 1998. The festival will continue to include demonstrations and talks on selection, installation, and management of turf; irrigation equipment and management methods; pesticide selection and pest management alternatives; fertility management alternatives; low input landscaping with native and adapted species; composting; and more. At the Sixth Annual Festival of Color: 1) 42% of new attendees learned how to implement water conserving landscape techniques (66% of the previous attendees implemented water conserving landscape practices), 2) 30% of new attendees learned how to irrigate more efficiently (63% of previous attendees used water more efficiently), and 3) 29% of new attendees learned how to fertilize more efficiently (actual positive behavior change was higher than the proposed change reported by first time attendees), 4) 98% of new attendees learned how to choose plants based on site/location “Right Plant, Right Place” (86% of previous attendees have improved their plant selection skills by putting the right plant in the right place).

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Donald H. Steinegger

“Backyard Farmer” is a Cooperative Extension (CE) television program that airs one night a week on the Nebraska Educational Television Network (ETV). “Backyard Farmer” is a one-hour program which airs throughout the lawn and gardening season from approximately April 1 to September 1 each year. This program combines a live call-in format, along with mailin questions and samples to be answered by the panel. In addition they discuss timely topics which are illustrated by videotapes and live demonstrations. The panelists are specialists in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology and agronomy (weed science).

Slightly over two-thirds of the Nebraska households (69%) were familiar with “Backyard Farmer”. Backyard Farmer has been watched in 49% of Nebraska households. Thus Backyard Farmer is viewed in approximately 270,000 households.

Viewers are more likely than non-viewers to have sought advice from Cooperative Extension in the past two years. Although the total number of viewers in the urban area was higher than in the rural area, there was a higher proportion of viewers in the rural area. Nearly half of the “Backyard Farmer” viewing audience (47%) was under age 45.

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Donald H. Steinegger

“Backyard Farmer” is a Cooperative Extension (CE) television program that airs one night a week on the Nebraska Educational Television Network (ETV). “Backyard Farmer” is a one-hour program which airs throughout the lawn and gardening season from approximately April 1 to September 1 each year. This program combines a live call-in format, along with mailin questions and samples to be answered by the panel. In addition they discuss timely topics which are illustrated by videotapes and live demonstrations. The panelists are specialists in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology and agronomy (weed science).

Slightly over two-thirds of the Nebraska households (69%) were familiar with “Backyard Farmer”. Backyard Farmer has been watched in 49% of Nebraska households. Thus Backyard Farmer is viewed in approximately 270,000 households.

Viewers are more likely than non-viewers to have sought advice from Cooperative Extension in the past two years. Although the total number of viewers in the urban area was higher than in the rural area, there was a higher proportion of viewers in the rural area. Nearly half of the “Backyard Farmer” viewing audience (47%) was under age 45.

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Donald H. Steinegger

Most of Nebraska's population resides in the urban centers of eastern Nebraska. Traditionally, however, the Cooperative Extension Service has catered to the rural populations of the state. Now, it is imperative that the public and the legislative representatives from these urban areas learn that the research and outreach programs of the university also serve them. A Festival of Color was the vehicle for educators and aides, Natural Resource District personnel, and other professionals, including government officials. Both professionals and the general public responded enthusiastically to the Festival's innovative use of the research site. The educational objective was to creatively answer questions on low input landscapes; their design and maintenance. Information was presented by Extension Specialists and Assistants, Master Gardeners, Natural Resource District personnel, Dept. of Environmental Quality, State Energy Office, and Nebraska Association of Nurserymen.

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Annie L. Wrobel, John E. Watkins, and Donald H. Steinegger

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Donald H. Steinegger, Danilo A. Agüero, Ron J. Johnson, and Kent M. Eskridge

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Richard A. Wit, Garald L. Horst, Donald H. Steinegger, and Blaine L. Blad

Depletion and contamination of traditional water supplies and population pressures are straining the water resources of the United States. This has placed increased emphasis on the need for water conservation through all phases of the use cycle. Objectives of this research were to: 1) Determine water use in residential, commercial, and institutional landscapes; 2) Evaluate landscape irrigation system performance; and 3) Evaluate feasibility of landscape irrigation scheduling. Beginning in 1991, water meters on 18 test sites in Lincoln, NE were read on a weekly basis. Water meter readings during the winter were used to develop a baseline on non-landscape water use. The “can test” method was used to evaluate landscape irrigation system precipitation rate and distribution efficiency. Four recording weather stations were used to estimate daily potential evapotranspiration (ETp). Lysimeters (20 cm dia. × 31 cm deep) were installed in two Kentucky bluegrass and one tall fescue landscape to estimate water use coefficients for calculating landscape evapotranspiration. Irrigation system Christiansen coefficients of uniformity ranged from .43 to .87 with scheduling coefficients ranging from 1.31 to over 15.14. Poor irrigation system performance characteristics made it difficult to schedule irrigation on estimated water use.

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Amy L. Neigebauer, Garald L. Horst, Donald H. Steinegger, and Greg L. Davis

Significant research has been conducted on wildflower sod, but the reasoning behind the production system methods is not clear. The purpose of this research was to determine the influence of mowing height on the subsequent leaf growth and root biomass distribution in a wildflower sod production system. Rudbeckia hirta was grown in sand in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes in simulating field conditions. Plants were either not mowed (control) or hand-clipped to 5.1, 7.6, or 10.2 cm to simulate mowing. After the initial mowing, plants were mowed at ≈7-day intervals. Total root depth, number of root axes in the top 2.5 cm, root: shoot ratio, total root dry weight, and root dry weight at depths of 0.0-2.5, 2.5-21.7, 21.7-40.8, and 40.8-60.0 cm were measured at the end of the study. Comparing the total root dry weight of all segments indicates that mowing significantly reduces root biomass. As mowing height increased, the depth of longest root increased linearly. Plants not mowed or plants mowed to 10.2 cm produced significantly more root axes in the top 2.5 cm of sand than did mowing heights of 5.1 or 7.6 cm. Root dry weight in the top 2.5 cm was considerably greater in nonmowed plants. Increased root axes in sod with higher mowing heights indicated a greater root density, which may also increase wildflower sod stability.

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Amy L. Neigebauer, Greg L. Davis, Garald L. Horst, and Donald H. Steinegger

Field-grown wildflower sod has been in production for several years, but as with any crop management system, the reasoning behind the methods is not always known. One characteristic of wildflower sod production that has been debated is the height at which the plant is maintained. The above-ground shoot growth is managed to reduce the damage to plants when undercut and to allow for ease of shipping. Growers typically use a height of 7.6 cm because this is the highest height allowed by many mowers. Also, root production is the key to forming a sod that will hold together well and withstand the rigors of undercutting, lifting, storage, and transplanting. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of cutting height on the plant's ability to produce a sod. Rudbeckia hirta L. was used as a model wildflower species and was seeded into polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes 10.2 cm in diameter with a depth of 60 cm to simulate a field situation. To characterize shoot and root growth, during a period of 12 weeks plants either received no clipping or continuous clipping at heights of 5.1, 7.6, and 10.2 cm. Root dry weights were measured at depths of 0-2.54, 2.54-21.7, 21.7-40.8, and 40.8--60.0 cm. Leaf area measurements of the clippings were recorded to determine productivity. Results indicated that clipping the shoots of Rudbeckia hirta caused a decrease in root biomass.