Recycled Paper Influences Container Substrate Physical Properties, Leachate Mineral Content, and Growth of Rose-of-Sharon and Forsythia

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Associate professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, University of Oklahoma, Stillwater, OK 74078-6027.
  • | 2 Undergraduate student, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, University of Oklahoma, Stillwater, OK 74078-6027.

Five container substrates—3 pine bark (PB) : 1 peat (PT) : 1 sand (SD), 3 PB : 1 recycled paper (RP) : 1 SD, 2 PB : 2 RP : 1 SD, 3 vermiculite (VM) : 1 RP : 1 SD, and 2VM : 2 RP : 1 SD—were used to grow rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syracus L. `Double Purple') and forsythia (Forsythia ×intermedia Zab. `Lynwood Gold') for 4.5 months. The control substrate (3 PB:1 PT:1 SD) had higher concentrations of NH4* in leachate than other substrates at each of four sample times during the growing season except 4 Aug. Leaf number and leaf area per plant and height of rose-of-sharon were greater and the leaf area per leaf was smaller in all substrates containing recycled paper than in substrates without recycled paper. Forsythia plants had greater stem and root dry weights and were taller in substrata without recycled paper than plants in substrates with recycled paper. Processed recycled paper is a possible component for container nursery plant production, but further testing on a large number of species is needed before widespread implementation.

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