Big Ten schools work to develop environmentally friendly lawns

How much are homeowners willing to pay for a lawn that looks like this and resists drought, disease and wear? Scientists from Rutgers and the University of Minnesota are trying to find out…"We’re trying to make the low-maintenance grass less vulnerable to disease and more wear-tolerant for homeowners’ lawns," said Austin Grimshaw, a research technician at the Center for Turfgrass Science in Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, who is working with colleagues Stacy Bonos and William Meyer on researching fine fescue.

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Gaining ground: farmers markets turning away vendors

Greg Lewis stood behind a table under a white tent on a hot summer afternoon in July. On the table sat brown paper bags labeled, "Hawaiian 100 percent Kona," "Java Taman Dadar" and "Dos Locos." A woman walked up and greeted him by name, telling Greg she stopped by to get her fix while another customer holding a cloth shopping bag purchased 16 ounces of coffee beans she had yet to try…The Rutgers Garden Farm Market in New Brunswick on Fridays started in 2008 with 12 vendors, said programs and development manager Mary Ann Schrum. It now consists of 28 merchants selling traditional farmers market products and baked goods from local growers. "We try very hard to not have the same products. It’s not fair to the vendors and customers," she said. "So many people contact us, and we feel bad about turning them down."

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How hot is it? The air in NJ might be dangerous

Looking forward to sultry, summer-like weather? Heat has been rare so far this spring in New Jersey. But the mercury, accompanied by uncomfortable humidity, is expected to climb into the 90s in parts of the state today and most areas Wednesday, according to experts…David A. Robinson, the New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University, said "everyone thinks it’s been so chilly and it really hasn’t. I don’t know if it’s an absence of an early season heat wave or people are still reeling from a winter that was severe and took a while to end in March. Again, (it’s) probably a combination of both."

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Pollen count on the rise in New Jersey

For those who experience seasonal allergies, the past week may have felt like the most severe of the year. But while it may seem like the start of one of the worst allergy seasons, allergist Leonard Bielory says the opposite. "The sky is not falling this year," said Bielory, an attending physician at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and professor at Rutgers University’s Center for Environmental Prediction. "This is the first normal season in at least 10 years. The grass is not as high, pollen counts are normal."

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Jersey Shore golf clubs putting harsh winter behind them

The light coating of snow and ice that greeted many at the Jersey Shore when they woke up Wednesday morning served as one final reminder of how tough the winter has been. The first measurable snow fell on Dec. 8, 2013, and through Wednesday some areas of Central Jersey had received upwards of 63 inches of snow from 16 different storms. Those snow totals, along with bitterly cold conditions, will play a role in the type of conditions players will encounter early in the season. It’s not all bad, however. “In some respects, having that cover helped take some of the pressure off the grass and the soil,” said Dr. James Murphy from the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University. “If there is a lot of play during the wintertime greens and tees can get packed, and when they get compacted like that it’s not good. Come summertime if it gets very hot you can have some problems.”

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