Internship Program Reports

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An independent study project report by The Alice and J. Liddon Pennock, Jr. Endowed Horticulture Intern (2012-2013)


The importance of composting has been highlighted over the years, due to the large array of resulting benefits. Specific environmental conditions are essential to optimize microbial communities within the compost pile, which dictates overall compost health. The Morris Arboretum has been unable to maintain these conditions under the current composting system; therefore, producing a low quality product.

In 2011, the Morris Arboretum received a University of Pennsylvania Green Fund Grant to implement a Sustainable Landscape Management program. Through this program, a compost tea initiative was started that relies on quality compost to produce maximum results. To help continue with this initiative, I have developed a small scale composting system at the Arboretum separate from the current system. The goal is to create small quantities of high quality compost specifically for use in the compost tea project.

In order to evaluate the success of the project, Rodale Institute and Pennsylvania State University will be testing the compost. This includes the original compost being made, along with the subsequent batches produced after the new management plan is put into effect. The quality assessment is based on both the microbiology and the general characteristics of the compost.



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Date Posted: 09 September 2019