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Researchers discover potential solutions to New England roadside erosion
Date:12/30/2010

ed little bluestem, purple lovegrass, and tall fescue to be the best choices for anchoring roadside slopes. "All species root deeply and are adapted to roadside conditions but are similar in stature to red fescue", stated Brown. The researchers found that big bluestem, indiangrass, switchgrass, and bitter panic grass also combine deep rooting with adaptation to roadside conditions, but were significantly taller than red fescue. "These grasses are likely to be too tall for use on mowed roadsides. However, to the extent that populations of these species differ in height, selection for deep rooting coupled with reduced topgrowth would be effective in developing cultivars better suited to roadside use", noted the report.

The authors observed that little bluestem and purple lovegrass are warm-season grasses and dormant from October through May, adding that the best way to use these grasses would be as a mix with red fescue and other shallow-rooted cool-season grasses with rapid vegetative spread and minimal winter dormancy. The deep-rooted species would anchor the slope, whereas the rapidly spreading species prevented surface erosion, slowed runoff, and provided the green roadsides desired by the public.

According to the study, an added benefit to using a mix of species is cost-reduction, because seed of little bluestem and purple lovegrass is substantially more expensive than seed of red fescue and other traditional turfgrasses and a mix would permit the little bluestem and purple lovegrass to be seeded at reduced rates. "This work should be useful as a guide in choosing grass species to stabilize slopes", the researchers concluded.


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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