Drought: Saving Water with Plant Genetics, Breeding Salt Tolerance

As arid conditions increase in various parts of the nation and world, scientists focus are focusing on using drought-resistant plants and increasing the number of plants able to use treated wastewater that still contains salt. The less water for plants, the more clean water for humans… Researcher Stacy Bonos, at the Department of Plant Biology & Pathology at Rutgers University, and her team recently published their research on perennial ryegrass in Crop Science journal. They’ve found that perennial ryegrass is controlled by additive genetic effects rather than environmental effects, meaning that salt tolerance can be bred for… Bonos’ research team measured salt tolerance using something called "visual percent green color"–the percentage of the plant that is green and actively growing, as compared to brown and therefore dying, according to a release… "It most makes sense…in areas like Las Vegas where there may not be much drinkable water available to water your lawn," Bonos said in a release. "That’s a prime example."

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Third Graders and the Rutgers Master Gardeners “Seeds to Salad” Team Harvest Bountiful Crops at Whiton Elementary

In mid June the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County completed their Seeds to Salad program with third graders at Whiton Elementary school located in Branchburg… It took many weeks of preparation to reach the much anticipated “Harvest Day.” In early spring the children planted various types of lettuce, radishes, beets, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, spinach, onions and were also instructed in how and why it is important to weed, thin and transplant their crops as the plants grew. Master Gardeners also presented weekly lectures about several topics such as soil and soil temperature, “good bugs/bad bugs,” worms, tropism and much more… For many children “Harvest Day” was a highlight as they pulled up all the vegetables they had grown and shortly afterwards enjoyed consuming them at the “Salad Extravaganza” party. The program was a hit with third graders, their teachers and volunteers alike.

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Freeholders Praise Master Gardeners of Hunterdon County

The Master Gardeners program of Hunterdon County was praised by the Freeholders, who adopted a resolution honoring the group… Freeholder Director John King presented it at the board meeting Tuesday, June 16. Several volunteers in the program along with County Agricultural Agent Robert Mickel and Rebecca Magron, horticultural consultant, from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hunterdon were at the meeting… Its purpose is promoting and extending the Rutgers New Jersey RCE’s educational programs in the area of home horticulture. Probably the most familiar aspect to most residents is the Master Gardener Helpline, in which the trained volunteers and Extension personnel answer questions on home horticulture topics from callers and visitors. These topics include trees and shrubs, perennials, annuals, lawns, insects and plant diseases.

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From Tree to Greens, a U.S. Open Unlike Any Before

This is a story about countless blades of grass, a single tree and a freight train. Combined, the three will make the 2015 United States Open next week at the Chambers Bay Golf Course in Washington State unlike any played in the previous 120 years of the tournament… Fine fescue is a prized jewel in golf, the carpet beneath the feet of golfers near the game’s Scottish birthplace. But it is also a delicate, persnickety tourist that does not happily acclimate to the customs and climate of most other environs. It struggles to grow in most of the United States… "The shallow roots are ideal for a golf course because it means the fine fescue doesn’t need as much water as other grasses do," said Dr. William Meyer, the director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project at Rutgers University. "It’s something we’ve perfected."

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Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County Complete Major Planting Projects

Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County completed major plantings at the Women’s Heritage Marker, the Global Village Immigrant Memorial, the Meditation Garden at the Seabrook Buddhist Temple, and at the Cohanzick Zoo… On June 10, Master Gardener Coordinator, Pam Burton, led four members in planting, weeding and  beautifying these gardens and their accompanying historic markers.

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