The Use of Recycled Waste Paper as an Al Source for Blue-flowering Hydrangea

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  • 1 201 and 101 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849

Blue color development in Hydrangea macrophylla is usually accomplished by applying Al as an alum drench. Drenches are applied during forcing 10–14 days after transplanting at a rate of 17,500 mg·L-1. Cultivars Blue Wave and Nikko Blue were used to evaluate if the Al contained in waste paper can provide the necessary Al for blue flower development. Two waste paper forms, pelletized and crumble, were used as surface mulches and as media amendments. The amendments were incorporated into the media at transplanting and mulches were applied either at transplanting or 28 days later. Alum drenching was initiated at transplanting as a control. Leachates were collected weekly using the VTEM. Total Al, electrical conductivity, and pH were determined on all samples. All waste paper treatments resulted in pink flowers in both cultivars. Leachate pH, from plants in this test, was >6.5. Aluminum concentration was greater than the 15 mg·L-1 Al needed for blue color development in flowers, but Al concentration decreased with time. Control of pH at the waste paper surface and in the media is critical for increasing the availability of labile Al for uptake by hydrangea.

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