And I don't mean ganja
No, this time we gotta give little brother his due, as our favorite agriculture college to the north has gone big time. Olympic sized. John 'Trey' Rogers, full professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Science Services, is THE expert in turfgrass management specializing in sports turf construction, establishment, and management. And, in case you are looking to be the next Carl Spackler, he is also the coordinator of the 2-year Turfgrass Management Golf Course program.
Professor Rogers is in the news these days because he and his team are responsible for the modular installation of the Kentucky Bluegrass turf in China's National Stadium, The Bird's Nest. Each module of turf weighs 1,100 pounds and the field will require 5,500 modules. The advantage is that each module can be removed and replaced without taking out the whole field. There is improved drainage and stability for the surface. It can be grown in advance, offisite, and then installed as needed. Rogers first installed his modular system for the 1994 World Cup at the Pontiac Silverdome as well as the 2004 Athens Olympic turf in Greece. Partnering with GreenTechIT, MSU is being paid $270,000 for the deal. Check out MSU's Field of Dreams.
Ok--so, off to the science--courtesy of HowStuffWorks, because while I do have a degree in biology, I sure as heck didn't take any botany!
What we commonly know as 'grass' is from the Gramineae family of plants. Grass stems, called culms, grow up from the base of the plant (the crown). In most grass species, the culms are hollow and rigid, except at the nodes -- joints that join stem segments together. Narrow leaves extend out from the culms, above each node. The leaves alternate in direction. That is, if the first leaf on a culm grows to the right, the second leaf will grow to left and the third leaf will grow to the right and so on.
The lower part of the leaf is called the sheath, and the upper part is called the blade. In most grasses, a ligule surrounds the connection between the sheath and the blade. A ligule can take the form of a thin membrane or a fringe of hair-like projections.
Like the leaves on a tree, grass leaves serve to collect energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. The photosynthesizing chlorophyll in the leaf gives grass its green color--and the stain on your knees.
Now, believe it or not, but grass has sex! Why yes! And, it can go both ways, asexual or sexual....
Asexual reproduction in grass is called tillering. (it's just so easy sometimes) A tiller is a shoot derived from vertical growth of an axillary bud and is a complete unit with roots, stem, and leaves. There are two types of tillering: intravaginal and extravaginal. ( I kid you not ) Intravaginal tillers grow vertically, close to the main shoot. Extravaginal tillers penetrate the enveloping leaf sheath and grow horizontally away from the main shoot for a distance before beginning vertical growth. This type of tillering results in the spreading or creeping growth habit of sod-forming plants. If this horizontal growth is below the soil surface, the structure is called a rhizome; if the growth is aboveground it is called a stolon. Rhizomes may be either continuous, producing tillers at progressive intervals, or terminal, producing 1 tiller when the apex turns up and emerges from the soil. Stolons have continuous growth and form tillers at progressive nodes. All young tillers are dependent on the main shoot for carbohydrates until they have developed their own root systems and mature leaves. After the tiller becomes independent, it remains in vascular connection with other tillers.
Sexual reproduction in grasses involves small flowers known as florets. Florets grow together in small groups called spikelets, which collectively form inflorescences. This stage of flower stalk development is occasionally referred to as the "boot" stage. At this point, 4 or 5 upper internodes, along with the attached leaf sheaths, elongate very rapidly. This short phenophase is referred to as head emergence phenophase. The inflorescence reaches near-maximum height shortly after emergence, and flowering and fertilization soon follow. The feathery stigma (female part) spreads out. The anther filaments elongate and expose the anthers (male parts), which dehisce and liberate pollen. Wind- promoted cross pollination is the most common process of sexual reproduction in grasses. Moved by the wind, pollen may land on the stigmas. About 30-40 hours after pollination, fertilization occurs which then produces seeds.
Wow. Anyone have a cigarette?
Here's a random idea about a non-sport use for all that grass.
Thought you guys might like.....