The SafeLawns fall tour of the Midwest unveiled numerous examples of landscape sustainability in recent days. Hosted by our sponsoring partners at Calcium Products/NatraTurf and Purple Cow Organics, we visited installations at state capitols, college campuses, golf courses, public gardens and private residences during our whirlwind tour. Here are just a few examples:
On Monday evening, we visited Calcium Products Inc. in Iowa, the site of some of the purest limestone deposits in North America. Limestone and gypsum produced by the company is instrumental in improved agriculture and lawn care.
Golf course superintendent Rob Schultz of the Meadows of Sixmile Creek, flanked by Steve Stumbras and Sandy Syburg of Purple Cow, shows off his fairways, which utilize top-coatings of compost to keep the course lush and green. Schultz eliminated synthetic chemical fertilizer on the course everywhere but the greens three years ago.
The fairways at the Meadows of Sixmile Creek still appeared green in mid-November. Schultz said they performed particularly well during periods of drought earlier in the summer.
Our next stop on Tuesday was the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, Wisconsin, where Kentucky bluegrass lawns have been replaced by alternatives like Prairie Dropseed that turns golden brown in fall and winter.
As darkness loomed, we grabbed a shot of this pathway planted in a native sedge, Carix eburnea, that functions well as a lawn alternative.
Head horticulturist Jeff Epping, left, mugs with Sandy and Steve from Purple Cow. Epping has been encouraged by the success of the many environmental initiatives at Olbrich, where no synthetic fungicides are ever used — even on the rose gardens..
When ESPN Game Day visited the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 1, tens of thousands of students trampled the grass at the quad to death. Six weeks later, after it had been coated with grass seed and a generous top-dressing of compost, the lawn had recovered.
Protests are numerous at the Wisconsin state capitol building, where the folks like to make their voices heard on a regular basis. On Wednesday, however, this area of the lawn was looking lush after a coating of Purple Cow compost and grass seed.