Looking into giant reed

giant reedGiant reed can grow in Ohio. But should it? In a recent OARDC study (pdf; p. 35), the fast-growing plant survived winter, grew tall and thick, and gave “exceptional yields.” But the scientists said further research is needed on basic agronomy-related issues, such as weed control, and on whether the propagation methods used in the study will work on a field-scale level. There’s growing interest in giant reed as a big-producing biofuel crop. But there’s also concern about the risk it poses as a possible invasive species. Giant reed, which is native to Asia, has escaped and spread in the South and West. (Photo: Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org.)

How well do organic lawn fertilizers work?

lawn mower for GBIn a recent greenhouse study by OARDC scientists (pdf; click the down arrow to p. 29), organic lawn fertilizers produced higher-quality turfgrass, taller growth of grass blades, and a greater capacity to resist pests when compared to a popular chemical fertilizer. Testing the fertilizers under field conditions is needed as the next step in the research, the scientists say. OARDC is CFAES’s research arm.



Panelists set for breakfast program

As a followup to our previous post, here are the panelists for July 9’s Environmental Professionals Network breakfast:

Mike Baker, chief, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA).

George Elmaraghy, P.E., chief, Division of Surface Water, Ohio EPA.

• Ted Lozier, P.E., deputy chief, Division of Soil and Water Resources, Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Scott Jackson, P.E., deputy director, Michigan and Ohio Water Science centers, U.S. Geological Survey.

The moderator will be Steve Grossman, director of the Ohio Water Development Authority.

Sponsoring this month’s program is Ohio State’s Ohio Water Resources Center. 

A look at what our water is facing

child on dock with water for GBThe July 9 breakfast program of the Environmental Professionals Network dives into Ohio’s many water-related issues. It’s called “Vexing, Wicked, Intractable, and Emerging Water Issues in Ohio — Yes, We May Have a Few!” and features a panel discussion by leaders from Ohio and federal agencies. Download the flier here (pdf). Get details, including a link to online registration and payment, here. The deadline to register is July 5.

Distributed energy powers up in Ohio

solar panel with sun for GBMore and more farms, schools, and businesses in Ohio are producing their own renewable energy — through onsite wind and solar systems, for instance, which collectively go by the name distributed energy. And more and more, CFAES’s statewide outreach arm, OSU Extension, is lending its expertise to help them do it. Read the story …

New light on green energy: 2 workshops, 2 majors

green light bulb-1Ohio State ATI, which is an associate degree-granting unit within CFAES, and is a nationally ranked one at that, is hosting two bioenergy workshops for high school STEM teachers in June. (One of them has already taken place.) (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.) The organizers are faculty with ATI’s Renewable Energy Program, which offers associate of science degrees in bioenergy and wind and solar. Completing one of these degrees also completes about half the requirements toward an Ohio State agriculture bachelor’s degree. Details on how to enroll at ATI.

Tiny trouble for walnut trees?

walnut twig beetles for GBThe Ohio Department of Agriculture last week announced more detections of the walnut twig beetle in Butler County in southwest Ohio. The tiny insect, some 10 of which are shown here fitting easily on a penny, carries a fungus that causes deadly thousand cankers disease (pdf) in walnut trees, although at this point the disease itself hasn’t been found in the county. If you’re a reporter or a blogger, get a list of CFAES experts you can talk to here. If you’re a gardener, a forest owner, or are otherwise interested, get details on getting a free wallet-size walnut twig beetle ID card here. (Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org.)