Growth and Nutrition of Geraniums Grown in Media Developed from Components of Waste Tires

in HortScience

Our objective was to determine the feasibility of using waste tire rubber and fiber from the processing of waste tires as a root-zone medium for greenhouse crops. Two cultivars of zonal geraniums, `Danielle' and `Kim' were grown in media containing three grind sizes of rubber (10, 6, and 2.4 mm) and fiber from the fabric belting processed from waste tires in three proportions (1 rubber: 1 peat moss, 1 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peat moss, and 2 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss, by volume). Two control media were also included: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss and 1 rock wool: 1 peat moss, by volume. The largest plants were grown in the 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss medium, whereas the smallest plants were grown in the media containing the rubber grinds 2.4 mm and 6 mm making up 50% of the media. The media 1 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peatmoss, regardless of grind or fiber, produced plants equal to the 1 rock wool: 1 peatmoss medium. All plants grown in media containing rubber by products had elevated levels of Zn and Cu in the foliage, but was greatest in media containing 50% rubber. Foliar P: Zn ratio was less for plants grown in media where rubber was 50% of the volume. The P: Zn ratio also was lower in plants grown in media with smaller grind sizes of rubber. Geranium plants can be successfully grown in media containing up to 25% rubber waste products without reducing plant quality.

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