Comparison of Pour-through and Ceramic Cup Methods of Extracting Nutrients from a Pine Bark Substrate

in HortScience
Authors:
Ronald F. WaldenDept. of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327

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Alex X. NiemieraDept. of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327

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The pour-through (PT) nutrient extraction method involves collection of leachate at the container bottom that results from displacement of substrate solution by water applied to the substrate surface. The PT is a convenient and effective means of monitoring the nutritional status of the soilless container substrates used in the nursery industry, but is less convenient for large containers, particularly those used in the “pot-in-pot” system of growing trees in production containers within in-ground socket containers. We describe a simple vacuum method of extracting solution from pine bark in containers using ceramic cup samplers. When N was applied to a pine bark substrate at 56–280 mg/L, extractable N was slightly higher for the PT than for the ceramic cup method. The correlation between applied and extractable N was 0.99 for both methods. Further comparison of pine bark extract nutrient and pH levels for PT and ceramic cup methods will be presented.

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