How does low-impact development help manage stormwater?

Cities can have many benefits when designed well, including reducing carbon imprints. Another way cities can improve their environmental impact is by using “low-impact development” with regard to water management. Also called “green stormwater infrastructure,” it provides planners with a toolbox of practices and approaches to manage water during rain events and snowmelt. On undeveloped … Continue reading How does low-impact development help manage stormwater?

How can we improve soil health in potato cropping systems?

Minimizing soil disturbance is one of the key tenets promoted to build soil health in agricultural systems. Many farmers across the county have adopted reduced and no-till systems to build soil carbon, a central component to healthy soils. But what if you grow a crop where the part you sell is underground – like potatoes? … Continue reading How can we improve soil health in potato cropping systems?

How can I manage my lawn to prevent nitrate pollution?

Lawns are a major part of urban ecosystems. Turf grasses represent one of the major crops in the United States. The area of lawns combined would be about equal to the size of the entire state of Wisconsin. Lawns have several environmental benefits, including carbon sequestration, reducing urban heat, and reducing. However, if they are … Continue reading How can I manage my lawn to prevent nitrate pollution?

What is a dead zone?

As the name implies, “Dead Zone” is an area with no living beings. When a dead zone occurs within a waterbody, that zone has no aquatic life. Dead zones can be found around the world. They are a problem for coastal waters, bays, and lakes. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and is … Continue reading What is a dead zone?

How does soil moisture impact our lives?

Soil moisture is key to understanding the land's surface and all the activities that occur there, both seen and unseen. These include agriculture, hydrology, weather, and human health, to name just a few. But first it is important to understand what soil moisture is. Soil moisture is the available water contained within the matrix of … Continue reading How does soil moisture impact our lives?

What do nutrients do for plants?

If a plant decided to go on a diet, you know, to keep its plant-like figure, what do you think it would choose to be as healthy as possible? It turns out that plants, like humans, rely on essential nutrients to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, what’s the plant equivalent of a protein … Continue reading What do nutrients do for plants?

What are controlled-release fertilizers?

Many of us who enjoy gardening or grow plants in pots on the balcony use fertilizers that are characterized as “enhanced.” They may have descriptions like “improved nutrient uptake,” “6 months feeding” and “feed and forget.” We use the fertilizer to provide extra nutrients to the plants we grow.  But what makes these products enhanced fertilizers … Continue reading What are controlled-release fertilizers?

What is struvite and how is it used?

Phosphorus is one of the main “ingredients” for healthy plant growth. Plants get phosphorus from the soil. And much of this phosphorus is applied to farm fields in the form of fertilizers. The major current source of phosphorus, which comes from rock, is running out. Plus, it must be mined, and then chemically converted and … Continue reading What is struvite and how is it used?

What are the best management practices of the Everglades Agricultural Area?

The Everglades of Florida are not just swamp-filled alligator territory! Part of the Everglades is managed as a highly productive agricultural area. Called the Everglades Agricultural Area, it is located south of Lake Okeechobee. The land mass area is about one fourth the size of the original everglades. Soils in the Everglades Agricultural Area are … Continue reading What are the best management practices of the Everglades Agricultural Area?

What is soil made of?

Soils can look like they are a homogeneous material. But in reality, soil contains solid particles of different sizes and different types. Some of the particles are minerals, and others are organic matter. There are spaces between the particles called pores. These pores may be filled with air or water. Soil is a mixture of … Continue reading What is soil made of?