(41) Growth of Japanese Holly in Pine Chips and Pine Bark as Influenced by Fertilizer Rate

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  • 1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Horticulture, Blacksburg, VA, 24061

Many industrial and agricultural wastes have been evaluated for use as alternative container substrate components. Recently, a new material produced from ground pine logs (Pinus taeda L.) has been utilized as a substitute for peat moss and pine bark (PB). On 17 Aug. 2005, japanese holly (Ilex crenata `Compacta' Thunb.) plants were potted in milled PB (Pinus taeda L.) and debarked ground pine chips (PC). Pine chips were ground with a hammermill to pass through a 6.35-mm screen. Osmocote Plus 15–9–12 (15N–4P–10K) was incorporated in both PB and PC substrates at the rates of 3.5, 5.9, 8.3, and 10.6 kg·m-3. Plants were greenhouse grown until 22 Nov. 2005. Substrate solution nutrient content and pH were determined for all treatments in each substrate. Shoots were dried, weighted, and tissue analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Cu, Mn, and Zn. Shoot weights were higher in plants grown in PB than PC at the 3.5 and 5.9 kg·m-3 fertilizer rates. At the 8.3 kg·m-3 rate, shoot dry weight was about the same for each substrate, but at the 10.6 kg·m-3 rate, growth was higher for plants grown in PC than in PB. Substrate EC increased with increasing fertilizer rates and with the exception of Cu, was higher in PB substrates at all fertilizer rates. Plant tissue levels generally increased as fertilizer rate increased in both substrates but were higher in plants grown in PB than PC with the exception of Cu. Therefore, higher rates of fertilizer are required to produce optimal plant growth in PC compared to PB.

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