Recycled Newspaper Reduces Nutrient Leaching from Container-grown Poinsettia

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849
  • | 2 USDA-ARS, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, Auburn, AL 36831
  • | 3 Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849
  • | 4 Mississippi State University, 711 West North Street, Poplarville, MS 39470
  • | 5 Ornamental Horticulture Substation, P.O. Box 8276, Mobile, AL 36689-0276

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate recycled newspaper products as nutrient filters in the bottom of containers. In Expt. 1 with poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch `Glory', three paper products were evaluated: ground paper, paper crumble, and paper pellets; each placed 2 or 3 cm deep in the bottom of containers, so that drainage holes were covered. Leachate samples were collected at the first irrigation after each liquid fertilization. Nitrate (NO3--N) and ammonium (NH4+-N) leachate concentrations were reduced up to 84% with recycled paper pellets, compared to the control (no paper). Recycled paper retained up to 732 mg of nitrogen (N) per container (paper pellets 3 cm deep). Shoot dry weight was reduced with paper pellets but was not affected by ground paper or paper crumble. In Expt. 2, `Freedom Red' poinsettias were grown with either single weekly applications of 500 mg·L-1 N from Peter's 20N-4.3P-16.6K, or 200 mg·L-1 N at each irrigation (2 or 3 times a week, as needed). Recycled paper treatments included paper crumble or paper pellets placed 2.5 cm deep in the bottom of containers, and a control without paper. Leachate NO3--N and NH4+-N concentrations were reduced up to 100% and 94%, respectively, 6 days after planting (DAP), and up to 57% and 50%, respectively, 25 DAP with paper crumble compared to nonpaper control. Paper pellets in the bottom of containers retained up to 776 mg N per container. Poinsettia shoot dry weight was lowest with paper pellets in the bottom of containers and continuous fertilization.

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