Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Roadsides Benefit From Wastes, UF Researchers Say

Date:
August 24, 1997
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Roadside dumping may be the best way to keep state highways beautiful and safe, says a team of University of Florida researchers. Litterbugs they aren't, however. The waste they want to see spread alongside Florida highways is made up of organic material.

GAINESVILLE--Roadside dumping may be the best way to keep state highways beautiful and safe, says a team of University of Florida researchers.

Related Articles


Litterbugs they aren't, however. The waste they want to see spread alongside Florida highways is made up of organic material.

"The goal is to make roadsides a friendly environment to establish grass and at the same time get rid of waste products in an environmentally friendly way," said turfgrass researcher Grady Miller, of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Miller and his colleagues were charged by the Florida Department of Transportation with finding a way to improve roadside soil. The improved soil would help grass grow, and grass helps to stabilize roadways.

The researchers turned to cities and counties, which produce mountains of nutrient-rich organic wastes. Rather than use up precious landfill space with the wastes, the cities were glad to put the material at the disposal of the UF researchers. Miller said the material cannot be used on crops because it sometimes contains metals or glass.

"There's no better location than roadsides," Miller said. "They're everywhere."

In general, roadside soil is too sandy to hold nutrients or water, making it difficult for grass to grow well. Importing topsoil and adding commercial fertilizer helps but is prohibitively expensive. So the researchers turned to organic wastes.

"The roadside is a very harsh condition in which to grow turf," Miller said. "The organic wastes add nutrients and hold water, making conditions more favorable for grass to grow."

The compost has an added advantage over commercial fertilizer, said researcher Bob Black, in that it releases nitrogen slowly. With commercial fertilizer, there's a quick flush of growth after the initial application but no sustained nourishment of the soil and grass.

Black said motorists cruising with their windows down might get a whiff of the compost after it's dumped from trucks, but once it's spread, the odor dissipates quickly and no one has complained.

In field studies along an interstate in Broward County and a four-lane in Hernando County, the researchers are studying how the organic material aids the establishment of new grass. Along two-lanes near Steinhatchee and Melrose, they're using the compost as top dressing and looking at how it boosts the growth of the grass already there.

In UF's state-of-the art Turfgrass Envirotron, where grasses from all over the world are monitored in three computer-controlled greenhouses, they are comparing the growth of roadside turf samples using both commercial fertilizer and the organic wastes. In all the samples, the grass nourished with organic wastes is faring better, Miller said.

"We're seeing dramatic improvement in turf growth," Miller said.

DOT landscape architect Gary Henry said roadside vegetation is necessary because it ensures the structural integrity of the roadbed by preventing soil erosion and keeping asphalt from crumbling. He said the news that roadside composting looks promising is welcome.

"Importing topsoil and adding fertilizer is very costly, so this alternative will be a big help," Henry said. "This will save money, improve the grass and eliminate a landfill problem by reusing a material that still has some value.

"It's a win-win-win situation," Henry said.

-30-


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Roadsides Benefit From Wastes, UF Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970824234435.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1997, August 24). Roadsides Benefit From Wastes, UF Researchers Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970824234435.htm
University Of Florida. "Roadsides Benefit From Wastes, UF Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970824234435.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

Fox With Horrifying Injury Rescued and Released Back Into the Wild

RightThisMinute (Feb. 25, 2015) This wounded fox knew what she was doing when she wandered into the yard of a nature photographer. The photographer got "Scamp" immediately in the hands of Wildlife Aid and she was released back into the wild in no time. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins