Greetings from two of our three “O” states! Take a trip to Oregon to learn about their turf grass fields and then over to Oklahoma to learn about their pecans!
Here in Illinois, we see grass everywhere! But not all states or areas are able to grow grass. In fact, some people and businesses even buy already grown grass, called turf, when they can’t grow their own grass or don’t have time to. Luckily, farmers in Oregon can help with that! There are around 1,500 grass seed farmers in Oregon who farm nearly 40,000 acres of grass seed fields for turf grass and cool-season grass. Grass from Oregon farmers has been used in communities, yards, baseball and football arenas, gold courses, the FIFA World Cup, and even in different places for the Olympics!
Find out what lives in the grass in today’s read aloud “In the Tall, Tall Grass” by Denise Fleming.
Have you ever seen a bare spot in a yard? In many areas across the United States, grass can be difficult to grow because of different variables in the environment. With a parent/guardian, take a walk and observe areas that do and don’t have grass!
- Why does a grassy yard or field have dirt spots?
- Is all grass the same color green?
- Pick some blades of grass in different locations and compare their size, shape, texture, and color!
Learn more about Oregon at https://agclassroom.org/teacher/stats/oregon.pdf
Oklahoma produces an average of 17 million pounds of pecans each year. Eighty-ninety percent of their total production comes from native pecan trees. It takes 7-10 years before a pecan tree can produce a full supply of nuts, but once the process starts, it can produce for up to 100 years!
Because it takes 7-10 years for a pecan tree to start producing nuts, farmers use a technique called “grafting” to speed up the process! First, watch a video on how pecan trees are grafted.
Now, test your grafting skills using a carrot! When you’re finished, draw and label your carrot model.
Extension: Research other trees in agriculture that farmers use grafting with.
Learn More about Oklahoma Agriculture at https://agclassroom.org/teacher/stats/oklahoma.pdf
Ever wonder about the grass fields in sporting arenas? Some of the FIFA World Cup arenas use turf from Oregon! Design and create your own foosball table game out of recycled materials! https://teachersareterrific.com/2018/02/how-to-create-foosball-frenzy-in-stem.html
Something for Everyone
Sometimes Pecans can even make you talk silly, just like in this famous Hollywood scene!
Assessment and Extended Response
- What is turf? (already grown grass-the grass, roots, and top layer of soil rolled up)
- What are some locations that use turf grown in Oregon? (lawns, parks, sports arenas, etc.)
*Why doesn’t grass grow everywhere?
- How long does it take a pecan tree to begin producing nuts? (7-10 years)
- What is the process called that ‘speeds up’ the tree growing process? (Grafting)
*Explain how grafting works using your activity as an example.