Glenstone to Sponsor Major Organic Lawn Research Project
UMaryland To Evaluate SafeLawns Organic Program
POTOMAC, MD. — In what will be a long-term effort to evaluate natural lawn maintenance, a dynamic three-way partnership will launch later this year to research the applications of compost, compost tea and other natural techniques and products.
Sponsored by a non-profit foundation known as Glenstone, the multi-year program will be designed by the SafeLawns Foundation and University of Maryland turfgrass specialists. The goal is to emerge with peer-reviewed scientific studies to settle long-standing industry debates concerning natural fertilization, as well as weed, insect and disease control.
“Although many of us have been practicing and recommending natural lawn care for many years, the lack of funding has severely limited university study in this field,” said SafeLawns.org founder Paul Tukey. “We are both thankful and delighted that Glenstone has shown the vision to support this effort and advance the understanding of natural lawn care for Maryland and all of North America.”
Glenstone, a non-profit museum located on 150+ acres in Potomac, Md., has been undergoing a transition for the past year away from a chemically based lawn maintenance program under the direction of Tukey and his colleagues. The desire to develop and share information is part of that organization’s mission.
“At Glenstone, our focus is the seamless integration of art, architecture and landscape,” said Glenstone representative Tony Cerveny. “Whether it is the art collection, architecture or in this case, the landscape, it’s our goal to be a center for excellence and higher understanding. We now encourage an environment free of toxins and look forward to sharing what we’ve learned. SafeLawns and the University of Maryland will be ideal partners in this process.”
University of Maryland researchers, Dr. Mark Carroll and Dr. Thomas Turner, will oversee the trials that will involve applications of various types of compost, as well as spraying with a biologically active material known as compost tea. Previous studies have disagreed on whether or not those liquids provide lawn benefits.
“We are not coming to this process with any bias,” said Turner, who has worked for more than 30 years in turfgrass evaluation programs. “We do know, however, that there is tremendous interest in the utilization of compost and other natural organic products in the landscaping process. We are pleased that Glenstone and SafeLawns brought this opportunity to us, and look forward to obtaining further research information on how these materials can be most successfully used in the landscape.”