Problem: Arboricultural use of aerobic compost teas (ACT) is rapidly increasing. ACT's are suggested for restoring degraded urban soils by increasing nutrient retention and mineralization, building soil structure and decreasing compaction, increasing aeration and water-holding capacity, increasing tree rooting depth and decreasing water use, detoxifying soil and water, and suppressing disease. Unfortunately, the knowledge base for ACT efficacy is based solely in practice, and data from replicated, controlled scientific research on the impacts of ACT on trees, soil, and environment is scarce.
Goals: The results of these experiments will contribute knowledge towards identifying ACT efficacy for improving: (1) urban soil quality and (2) tree health and growth.
Methods: Since 2007, the MASS laboratory has conducted ten ACT experiments in laboratory greenhouse, tree nursery, and urban landscapes. A variety of ACT recipes, brewing techniques and application rates and technologies have been assessed in this research. Numerous soil physical, chemical, and biological and tree responses have been tested in these experiments. Socioeconomic assessments of ACT for urban tree care is also being performed.
Personnel: This research is led by Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch and Michelle Catania.
Funding: This research is funded by a grant from The Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund.
Scharenbroch, B.C. 2013. Impacts of aerated compost tea on containerized Acer saccharum and Quercus macrocarpa saplings and soil properties in sand, uncompacted loam, and loam soils. HortScience 48:625-632.
Scharenbroch, B.C., M. Catania, W. Treasurer, and V. Brand. 2011. Lab assays on the effects of aerated compost tea and fertilization on soil biochemical properties and denitrification in A and Bt horizon soils. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 37:269-276.
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