(101) Fertilizer Source Affects Nitrogen and Phosphorus Levels in Leachate from Container-grown Quercus phellos L. and Magnolia virginiana L.

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  • 1 USDA-ARS, Floral Nursery Plant Research Unit, McMinnville, TN, 37110

Environmental concerns with nitrogen and phosphorus use at container nurseries and the subsequent effects of nutrient-laden irrigation effluent prompted this study. Bare root liners of willow oak (Quercus phellos L.) and sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana L.) were grown in #5 containers during year one and repotted into #15 containers during year two using 100% pine bark or pine bark: peat substrate (4:1 by volume). Two fertilizer sources, Osmocote 19N–2.2P–7.5K (19–5–9) or Harrell's 17N–2.2P–10.0K (17-5-12), were included in the container substrate in a fluoropolymer bag with 17 g N in each #5 container and 63 g N in each #15 container. Using a split plot design with fertilizer and media as subplots, a cyclic irrigation regime consisting of three irrigation applications spaced one hour apart was compared to a traditional irrigation regime with one irrigation application that equaled the total volume applied in the cyclic regime. Fertilizer source influenced cumulative amounts (mg/year) of ammonium-N, nitrate-N and orthophosphate in the container leachate. Nitrate-N and ammonium-N from Harrell's 17N–2.2P–10.0K fertilizer were each ≈20% higher in the container leachate from sweetbay magnolia than Osmocote 19N-2.2P-7.5K fertilizer. In the case of the willow oak, the differences were 32% and 19%, respectively. Orthophosphate averaged about 65% greater in leachate from both sweetbay magnolia and willow oak containers when grown with Osmocote compared to Harrell's fertilizer. At the end of year two, height and caliper growth were similar among treatments with both species.

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