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?
In order to grow well, plants need a place to grow, access to nutrients, and in most cases sunlight. A rich soil provides that home and a good supply of nutrients. But young soils have less to offer – yes, soils can have different ages ranging from hundreds to thousands to millions of years old. … Continue reading How does young soil support plant life?
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?
Have you ever wondered about the living organisms in the soil? Let’s dig into the soil today and meet our very special friend. We will be learning about the secret abilities of this friend and how this tiny friend shows friendship to us. Our friend has a cool Latin name “Trichoderma.” Trichoderma is a genus … Continue reading What is Trichoderma and how is it beneficial?
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?
Improving soil health on farm fields integrates the three types of soil management: physical, chemical, and biological. Physical management includes how farmers use their equipment on fields – tilling, harvesting, etc. Chemical management involves the timing and choice of fertilizers, manure, and other additions. Soil biology is the next frontier being researched for optimizing soil … Continue reading What is the current research about soil additions to help soil biology?
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?
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?
You most likely know that roots are important for grasses to grow, but the roots help do other things, too. They build soil carbon and support other life forms in soil. But did you know that various management tactics can force grass roots to break down, decompose, and add to the stored carbon pool in … Continue reading What drives roots’ decomposition and carbon storage in grassland soils?
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?