Biosolid Residues as Soilless Media for Growing Wildflower Sod

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Botany and Microbiology, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH 43015.
  • | 2 Current address: Arizona State University, Department of Plant Biology, Box 871601, Tempe, AZ 85287-1601.

Two biosolid-containing waste media [sewage sludge compost and incinerated biosolids (flume sand)] were tested individually, together, and in combination with a commercial growing medium for growing wildflower sod in greenhouse trials over a 3-year period. A medium composed of flume sand and Metromix (7:3 weight/weight) in 7.5 {XtimesX} 10.5 {XtimesX} 2-inch deep (19 {XtimesX} 27 {XtimesX} 5-cm) plastic trays seeded at 20 oz/1000ft2 (6.1 g·m-2) with cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), cornflower (Centaurea cyannis), plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), white yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) produced a suitable wildflower sod in 10 to 12 weeks. A single application of slow release fertilizer (Osmocote 14-14-14, 14N-4.2P-11.6K) applied as a top dressing had no significant effect on sod development; however, a 4-mil [0.004-inch (0.10-mm)] polyethylene barrier placed in the base of each container resulted in increased dry weight accumulation and a higher root to shoot ratio relative to sod grown without plastic.