The images that come to mind when you think about the causes of climate change are big cars and trucks and coal-fired power plants that emit carbon to the atmosphere. Although the popular press is filled with discussions on the relative merits of different sources of “green energy,” little attention is being paid to how we manage the carbon in our soils.
Intensively managed turfgrasses, such as those on golf course putting greens, athletic fields, and other high-traffic areas, have traditionally been grown on soils modified through the addition of both organic and inorganic amendments. This is done to minimize compaction and other plant stresses, and to improve plant-soil relationships for the enhancement of turf growth.
Last Monday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe opened Elmhurst Park, a former brownfield turned greenspace, in Queens.
The $20-million six-acre project began in 2007 at the request of the community for more open space. The park replaces the former KeySpan gas tank site and features a new playground, a decorative fountain, lighting, new trees and landscaping, fencing, walking paths, benches, and the renovation of an existing building that will be used for maintenance staff.
Green with envy is the way the Upton Parks Department staff might describe the town’s sports fields these days. That’s because thanks to Gary Harper and John Johnson of the Parks Department, Upton’s athletic fields are going green and, as a bonus, saving money.
Quality compost is a valuable and versatile soil amendment for today’s horticultural industry and turfgrass industries. Compost contains two elements necessary for healthy plant growth: organic matter and diverse beneficial microbial populations.
Microbes are an integral link in the food chain and natural defense system of plant material. A lack of microbes in the soil profile reduces the efficient uptake of nutrients by the plant and allows soil borne pathogens access to the root system.