267 Phytotoxic Effect of Pine Bark Mulch in Landscape Beds

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

The use of shredded bark, wood chips, and other organic mulches to conserve water and moderate soil temperatures is a common practice in landscape maintenance. Four mulch materials (cottonseed hulls, cypress pulp, pine bark, and pine straw) were examined to determine effects on plant growth and soil conditions in annual flower beds during a 1-year rotation of warm season to cool season annuals. Inhibited plant growth was observed in pine bark treatments at the conclusion of the growing season for both plantings. Effects on soil conditions were insignificant over the year-long study in pine bark treatments. To further investigate potential phytotoxic effects of pine bark and other mulch used in the initial study, a seed bioassay was performed to determine the influence of mulch extracts in solution on germination and primary root elongation.

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