Managed turfgrass areas (golf courses, lawn care companies, sport facilities, others) are vastly important for businesses in the New England economy. Intensively managed areas on golf courses, in particular, are challenged by abiotic and biotic (mostly by fungi) stresses that require monetary investment for maintaining optimal appearance. Dollar spot disease (caused by plant pathogenic fungi) is one of the most economically challenging pathogens, requiring repeated chemical inputs annually to maintain acceptable playing surfaces.
Stockbridge School of Agriculture
In recent years, there has been interest in low-cost, reduced-risk materials that could be used for attract-and-kill of the invasive pest, spotted-wing Drosophila Drosophila suzukii. This pest causes heavy economic damage to soft fruits in many countries. In a series of behavioral and physiological studies, we will quantify the effects of using Concord grape juice either, alone or incombination with borax, boric acid, and salt on (1) male and female D.
The goal of the project is to improve irrigation and fertilization practices in ornamental plant production in order to improve production efficiency and to reduce the environmental impact of ornamental plant production by limiting nutrient laden runoff from nurseries and greenhouses. Improving production practices relies on a better understanding of plant water and fertilizer needs as well as assessment of improved application methods.
The concept of the current experiment is to study carbon storage and possible cycling in soils which alternate between saturation and nonsaturated conditions on an annual basis. To allow the data to be considered robust, or applicable to numerous locations and soil types it will be necessary to have multiple years of data, but to also have data that 'repeats' or replicates itself.
Soil organic matter acts like a sponge within the soil, retaining water, carbon, and nutrients. It also serves as a source of carbon, or food, and nutrients, like nitrogen, for soil microbes. Because soil microbes demand carbon and nutrients in specific ratios, the quantity of soil organic matter and how nutrient rich it is compared to carbon may determine: how much nitrogen is kept within microbial bodies, how much is held within soil organic matter, and how much is transformed by microbes into a plant-available form for uptake or leaching loss.
We are testing how plant viral infection impacts the effect of cover crops on soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and soilnutrient status. We expect that the virus impact will vary with cover crop species and soil type. Our results are expected toinform how virus infections of cover crops may impact soil health. To quantify changes in soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and nutrient status of soils subjected to virus infected covercrops, we are using a combination of field trials and pot experiments as well as basic and advanced soil characterizationtechniques.