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The effects of turf

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The U.S. National Arboretum’s four-year program will focus on the uses and benefits of grass.

| June 4, 2013

Courtesy of the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association

The U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. announces a new approach to provide science-based information to visitors and the public. A new initiative called Grass Roots will focus for the next four years on the uses, benefits and role of turfgrass as it relates to the economy, the environment and society.

The project will include an onsite outdoor exhibit, symposia, workshops, and demonstrations, all aimed at expanding knowledge at a range of levels – from school children to policymakers – about the importance of turfgrass and turfgrass research on the landscape and the environment. The programs will range from scientific symposia on research related to turfgrass breeding and management, advances in lawn care equipment and techniques, “Turf Battles” (demonstrations of sports on turfgrasses), turfgrass management in the Chesapeake Bay region and other estuaries, new watering and irrigation systems, using turf and ornamental grasses in landscapes, and grasses in environmental improvement and remediation.

The initial focus of ‘Grass Roots’ is an interactive outdoor exhibit that will focus on the science of turfgrass improvement through research pro¬grams, as well as science-based management of lawns and turf. The primary message of the exhibit is that the best lawns are developed and managed with their purposes in mind, whether those purposes are golf and other sports, linking landscape elements, conserving soil, assuring water retention, or simply beautiful landscapes.

The exhibit will be thematically linked to gardens and displays throughout the grounds of the National Arboretum to support the message that turf and grasses are used for a wide range of functions in the environment, from soil and water retention, to activities, to aesthetic. Even though much information about turfgrasses will be presented, the overall goal of the outdoor exhibit is to make the expe¬rience of learning about grasses fun.

To make ‘Grass Roots’ a reality at the U.S. National Arboretum, financial support is essential to install and maintain the exhibit over its four-year lifespan and to create innovative programs to help visitors discover the science underlying horticulture, advances in turfgrass choices and management, and the role of grass in our natural and cultivated systems. Various sponsorship levels are available for organizations, companies and individuals.

The U. S. National Arboretum is a USDA, Agricultural Research Service research and education facility on 446 acres in Washington, DC, two miles from the U.S. Capitol. It is the home of many species collections, award winning displays, the National Bonsai Museum and the Capitol Columns.

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