RICE HULLS AS A SOILLESS MEDIA COMPONENT FOR GREENHOUSE-GROWN PLANTS

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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Box 9555, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State, MS 39762

Rice hulls, a by-product of rice milling, were used at various rates in greenhouse media. The objective of this study was to determine if rice hulls can replace peat moss. Hulls, aged and fresh, were blended with vermiculite and peat moss from 0 to 50%, by volume replacing peat moss. Physical and chemical properties including bulk density, total pore space, water retention, pH and soluble salt concentrations were determined in the media blends. Marigolds and salvia were transplanted into 13 cm azalea pots containing each media. The bulk density increased with increasing levels of hulls. Total pore space of the media before planting was decreased with increasing levels of aged hulls, but no differences were detected at the termination of the study. Water retention of both fresh and aged hulls at all levels of media were equivalent to the control media. Before planting, the total soluble salts for media containing fresh hulls was greater than with aged hulls. The pH of the media increased with increasing levels of hulls, fresh and aged. The greatest dry weight and plant height was observed when the media contained 10 to 20% aged hulls.

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