Number of Containers Affects Nitrate Nitrogen in Runoff

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  • 1 Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Dept. of Environmental Horticulture, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Multiple branched liners of Rhododendron sp. cv. Duc de Rohan were potted in 3-L containers using a 5 pine bark: 5 Florida peat: 1 sand medium (by volume) amended with Prokote Plus (20N–1.3P–8.3K, 9.2 kg·m–3) and placed on one of five treatment platforms (1.2 × 2.4 m) in a commercial nursery in Manatee County, Fla. Treatments were 88 plants per square grid with containers touching (T1), 44 plants per square grid with containers touching (T2), 44 plants per square grid with containers touching in rows and 15 cm between rows (T3), 22 plants per square grid with containers touching (T4), and 22 plants per square grid with 15 cm between containers in rows and 15 cm between rows (T5). Irrigation was applied by overhead impact nozzles (0.13 cm/0.5 h) before collecting runoff. Runoff volume was measured and ppm nitrate N determined on day 6, 23, 38, 63, 92, 161, 189, 217, and 274. Average nitrate N ranged from 97 ppm for T1 to 10 ppm for T5 and corresponded to volumes of 19 and 20 L, respectively. Volumes were not different due to spacing or number of containers; however, nitrate N increased linearly with container number when containers were touching (T1, T2, and T4). Nitrate N in runoff was similar for the same number of containers regardless of spacing.

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