Grass Roots exhibit opens to public

October 30, 2014 -  By
Margaret Pooler, research leader for Grass Roots, addresses attendees at the grand opening. Photo: Grass Roots

Margaret Pooler, research leader for Grass Roots, addresses attendees at the grand opening. Photo: Grass Roots

Grass Roots, a 1.3-acre interactive outdoor exhibit at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., held its grand opening Oct. 16.

The exhibit is the centerpiece of the Grass Roots Initiative, a four-year a collaborative effort between the Arboretum and the National Turfgrass Federation. The program consists of an outdoor interactive exhibit; turfgrass management information on the Web that complements the outdoor exhibit; workshops, product demonstrations and symposia. In addition, the initiative also will  lead the effort for development of the National Greenscape Corridor, a cooperative effort linking the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the arboretum.

Thematically linked to gardens and displays throughout the arboretum’s 446-acre grounds, the Grass Roots exhibit shows how turf and grasses are used for a wide range of functions in the environment, from soil and water retention to activities and aesthetics.

It is is adjacent to the arboretum’s administration building and visitor center. There are 12 stations, including a scaled down golf hole, irrigation and fertilizer displays, sports fields, a kiosk featuring information about common turf diseases and pests and a lawn display featuring swards of 12 different warm-and cool-season grass varieties.

Scott Aker, head horticulturist at the National Arboretum, headed the design and development team, which included Baltimore-based Rain Underground, National Arboretum staff and representatives from the National Turfgrass Federation. 

More than 75 invited guests attended the grand opening, including representatives from Grass Roots sponsor organizations, U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives, arboretum staff, local cooperative extension agents and members of the media. The exhibit opened to the public Oct. 18-19 and saw about 800 visitors.

Planning is already underway for outreach and educational programs on the Grass Roots exhibit for next season. Plans include hosting a series of lawn care workshops in the spring, an equipment field day, professional symposia and staffing the exhibit on busy weekends during the growing season.

LM Staff

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