Kao-Kniffin’s colleague at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., entomologist Karl Wickings, has submitted a proposal to the USDA seeking funding to get researchers and industry stakeholders like turf managers, compost manufacturers, and sod farmers together to talk about how to create sod that is more sustainable. They are hoping to get funded for that next year.
Thompson said he doesn’t yet know the full implications of that biodiversity in terms of turf performance, but he and Kao-Kniffin took away that BEF theory might also be applied to lawns and, by extrapolation, to other urban managed landscapes such as ornamental gardens. Bearing in mind that this greenhouse study would need to be replicated in field settings, Thompson said this study shows that turfgrass polycultures contribute to soil microbial diversity and they enhance grass biomass while decreasing leaching of nitrogen from soils. This is in line with the consistent findings of BEF that biodiversity supports multiple ecosystem functions.