I'm a sucker for punishment (but I like to say I have a "curious mind."). I started another research project. This time with the help of a few dozen Autumn Blaze maples in Windsor and Tony Koski. There's a general consensus that when you fertilize your turf in a landscape, you're also fertilizing the trees. Tree roots tend to be shallow (no more than 12" deep in most of our clay soils, but 6" deep in many situations) and need oxygen, so they are mixed right in with our Kentucky bluegrass roots. Through an extensive literature review (I love the CSU Library), we found that very few replicated studies exist to look at how much fertilizer the trees are using compared to the turf. Primarily because tree roots are rarely contained and the extent of tree root systems are unknown.
Enter the Autumn Blaze maples in the New Windsor Metro District. I think they designed this place for us. Ok, maybe not. New Windsor is located just north of Windsor and it has these "beds" (medians) planted with a monoculture of bluegrass and Autumn Blaze maples (all the same age). We are treating each bed as its own replication, which means that the roots for both the bluegrass and the maples are totally contained....and ours to study. And there are enough beds to keep me busy for quite awhile.
|Autumn Blaze maples as far as the eye can see|
|Collecting turf clippings using a very sophisticated system |
of a lawnmower and paint strainer bags
So, what do y'all think?