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American Society for Horticultural Science

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Study reveals exercise intensities of gardening tasks, informs garden-based therapeutic interventions for youth

The metabolic cost of 10 gardening tasks was measured in children to determine associated exercise intensities. The children performed the tasks while wearing a portable telemetric calorimeter and a heart rate monitor to measure oxygen uptake and heart rate. Results showed digging and raking to be high-intensity, while the other activities were determined to be moderate-intensity. The data can facilitate the development of garden-based exercise programs for children that promote health and physically active lifestyles.

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Study finds mixed results for outreach workshops' effectiveness

Researchers studied the effectiveness of workshops designed to focus on residential water conservation using a sample of irrigation water use data for 57 workshop participants and 43 nonparticipants. Results indicated that the 2-hour workshops were effective in reducing attendees' irrigation water use; however, the effect was short lived. Results also showed that effects of workshop attendance depended on the household sample, and found that water use increased for some low-use workshop participants.

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Information helps residents and planners create landscape budgets, manage water resources

Researchers developed a method to quantitatively classify urban residential landscapes in a desert environment in New Mexico. The team studied areas around 54 homes and classified 93% of all the landscapes into nine common types. Results also showed that landscape types are distributed differently in front- and backyard landscapes in the desert environment. They anticipate that the study will help landscape horticulturists to design water conservation plans that are landscape-specific.

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Offset round-bale unroller makes mulching more efficient in organic mulch trials

An existing round-bale unroller was modified to create an offset bale unroller for applying hay and wheat straw mulch at two thicknesses to between-row areas of watermelon. All of the hay and wheat straw mulch treatments controlled weeds significantly better than the non-treated controls. The offset bale-unroller was found to efficiently unroll round bales of a variety of organic mulches for weed control.

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