Physical and Chemical Properties of Coal Cinders as a Container Media Component

in HortScience
J. C. NealDepartment of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631

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D. F. WagnerDepartment of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631

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Selected physical and chemical properties of pine bark, 2 sources of coal cinders, and mixtures thereof, were evaluated as container media components. Bulk density, air-filled pore space, particle-size distribution, cation exchange capacity, and soluble salt levels were quantified. Aged and freshly combusted cinders demonstrated no major physical or chemical disadvantages when used in container media. Acid and water extracts indicated that both sources of coal cinders released significant amounts of micronutrients and heavy metals. The concentrations of certain metals were sufficiently high to warrant concern over the possibility of plant nutritional disorders; whereas, other released elements resembled those of a supplemental micronutrient fertilizer.

Contributor Notes

Former Graduate Research Assistant. Present address: Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27650.

Associate Professor of Horticulture.

Received for publication November 26, 1982. Published with the approval of the Director of the Clemson University Agricultural Experiment Station as Technical Contribution No. 2113. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of J.B. Jones, Jr. and F.A. Pokomy, of the University of Georgia, Dept. of Horticulture, in the execution of many of the analyses presented in this paper. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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