When natural ecosystems are replaced by roads, homes, and commercial structures, soil is negatively impacted. Studies have shown that, among other issues, distressed urban soils are often significantly compacted, may have alkaline pH, and may contain low amounts of essential organic matter and nutrients. This altered soil is typically not conducive to healthy plant root growth and establishment, leading to challenges for urban landscapes and home gardens.
"The management of urban soils often requires a different approach than is applied to natural or agricultural soils, but some management practices that are commonly used in agricultural systems have the potential to improve the quality of urban soils", explained Amy L. Shober, corresponding author of a new report from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Shober, along with graduate student Shawna Loper and their colleagues, designed a study to determine if the addition of compost—with or without the application of shallow tillage or aeration—improves soil properties and plant growth in simulated new residential landscapes.
According to the report published in HortScience, the researchers established 24 mixed landscape plots designed to simulate new residential landscapes. Each plot was constructed using 10 cm of subsoil fill material over a compacted field soil and planted with St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) and mixed ornamental plant species.
The scientists applied composted dairy manure solids as an organic soil amendment at a depth of 5 cm in combination with two mechanical soil treatments (tillage to 15 cm and plug aeration), then assessed soil physical and chemical properties, plant growth and quality, and plant tissue nutrient concentrations to determine the effects of the different treatments.
The data showed that applications of compost significantly reduced soil density and pH and increased soil organic matter, electrical conductivity, and concentrations of phosphorus and potassium. Growth was enhanced in all of the ornamentals (except one) when the plants were cultivated in soil amended with composted dairy manure solids. In most instances, plant tissue nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were higher for plants grown in soils receiving compost.
"We found that composted dairy manure solids can improve soil physical and chemical properties in residential landscapes when sandy fill soils are used. Application of composted dairy manure solids can also enhance the establishment and improve the growth of selected ornamental landscape plants", Shober said. "However, topdressing with composted dairy manure solids enhanced plant growth and quality as much as incorporation of compost to a depth of 20 cm by tillage."
The results also showed that shallow tillage and aeration had little effect on soil properties or plant growth.
The study showed the benefits of compost additions only during the first year after planting; the authors noted that the increased growth and the subsequent health of plants resulting from applications of compost may also prevent future plant failure. They recommended that future studies be done to evaluate the long-term effects of compost addition after the plant establishment period.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/10/1522
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org
Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University
New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences