Phosphorus Source Affects Phosphorus Leaching and Growth of Containerized Spirea

in HortScience

Commercially propagated `Halward's Silver' spirea (Spiraea nipponica Maxim.) bareroot cuttings and cuttings with substrate around the roots (plugs) were transplanted into 3.8-L containers and fertilized with various P fertilizers to determine the effect of fertilizer source on P leaching and plant growth. The following fertilizer treatments were applied: 1) 100% of the recommended rate of P from controlled-release fertilizer (CRF), consisting of 22N-2.6P-10K; 2) 100% of P from triple superphosphate (TSP, 0N-20P-0K) with N and K provided by 22N-0P-10K CRF; and 3) 50% of P from CRF, consisting of 22N-1.3P-10K, plus 50% of P from TSP (CRF/TSP). The most P leached from cuttings transplanted as plugs or bareroot and fertilized with TSP, while the least P leached from cuttings transplanted as plugs and fertilized with CRF or CRF/TSP. Plants fertilized with CRF/TSP generally had larger root dry weights than did plants fertilized with CRF or TSP. Plants fertilized with CRF had the smallest stem dry weights. Shoot-to-root (S/R) ratio was largest in plants transplanted as plugs in substrate amended with TSP, but cuttings transplanted bareroot into CRF-amended substrate had the highest S/R ratio and the lowest stem P concentration. Incorporation of CRF/TSP into the container substrate can reduce P leaching compared with incorporation of TSP, and can increase root and stem dry weights of plants transplanted as plugs compared with incorporation of CRF.

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E-mail address: jccole@okstate.edu

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