High-resolution scans of plant cuttings were made for a plant identification course to create additional study resources. Stems, flowers, leaves, and other parts with identifiable features were cut and placed on a high-quality flatbed scanner. A framework suspended a black background cloth above the cuttings to create a dark scanning environment, and it was placed far enough away from the scanner glass so as not to appear in the scanned image. Botanical scans can be shared, manipulated, composed, and otherwise provided to students for study materials. Scans are complementary to other common study aids such as pressed herbarium samples or photography.
Soil degradation during construction often results in soil loss through erosion and reduced vegetation establishment. Composted organic materials are used to restore soil health of compromised urban soils when planting trees and shrubs; however, less is known about compost amendments for turfgrass establishment. The objective of this trial was to determine the effects of differing compost incorporation rates in two soil types on perennial ryegrass [PR (Lolium perenne)] establishment. The hypothesis was that as compost incorporation rates increase, turfgrass germination would increase until the compost rate becomes detrimental to turfgrass germination because of increased nitrate content and electrical conductivity (EC) levels. A salt-sensitive PR cultivar and a salt-tolerant PR cultivar were seeded into a loam topsoil and a clay subsoil at soil:compost volume ratios of 100:0, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50, 40:60, and 0:100 using a mixed-source mature compost. Percent green cover (PGC) and leachate pH, EC, and nitrate content were measured during the 5-week establishment period. This trial showed that with a suitable topsoil, compost incorporation may be unnecessary to obtain acceptable PGC, but that compost additions (30% to 40%) to a clay subsoil achieve faster establishment while limiting the potential for reduced establishment because of increased nitrate content or EC associated with greater levels of compost incorporation. The EC or pH of soil:compost leachate was not found to predict turfgrass establishment. This trial suggests that soil type should be considered when making compost use rate recommendations; however, further research is needed to link compost physiochemical properties to compost use rates.
Because of public concern about exposing children to pesticides, legislation restricting its use on school playing fields has increased. One way to manage weeds without chemical herbicides is overseeding or the practice of repetitively seeding with a rapidly germinating turfgrass species. Overseeding for broadleaf weed control was tested on eight fields in Central New York (CNY) for three seasons and 40 fields across the northeastern United States for two seasons. Half of each field was treated each season by overseeding Lolium perenne L. (perennial ryegrass) three to five times each season for a total of 731 kg seed/ha (15 lb per 1000 ft2). Changes in the percent broadleaf weeds, grass, bare ground, soil moisture, Dark Green Color Index (DGCI) of grass cover, depth to soil compaction, and shear strength were measured after each treatment. The percent broadleaf weeds decreased and the percent grass cover increased due to overseeding in the Northeast fields, but not in CNY fields. Depth to compaction, percent soil moisture, and shear strength varied over time in the Northeast fields, and the percent bare ground, DGCI, and soil moisture varied over time in CNY fields. DGCI in the Northeast and soil compaction in CNY were affected by the interaction of overseeding × time. Although overseeding can be a beneficial weed management tool and affect other turf and soil traits in an integrated turf management program, monitoring environmental conditions and supporting field maintenance routines are critical weed management strategies for maintaining healthy turfgrass.