Differences in Bedding Plant Growth and Nitrate Loss with a Controlled-release Fertilizer and Two Irrigation Systems

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314.

Growth of hand-watered and subirrigated `Ultra Red' petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort.) and `Super Elfin Violet' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook.f.) plants were compared when grown using four controlled-release fertilizer rates and four fertilizer placements in the pot. Furthermore, the amount of NO3-N leached from hand-watered plants was compared to amount captured by subirrigation system. Before planting, Osmocote (14N-6.2P-11.6K) (4 month release) was either topdressed (TD), layered in the middle of the pot (M), layered at the bottom of the pot (B), or incorporated throughout (I) the substrate at 1.25, 2.5, 5.0, or 7.5 kg·m-3 (oz/ft3). Shoot dry mass of petunia plants was similar between both irrigation systems and among the four fertilizer placements. Subirrigated petunias fertilized with 2.5 kg·m-3 had similar shoot dry mass as hand-watered petunias fertilized with 7.5 kg·m-3. Hand-watered impatiens had greater shoot dry mass than subirrigated impatiens. Hand-watered impatiens also had greater shoot dry mass in pots with fertilizer at TD, M, or I than with fertilizer at B, but no difference in growth was observed in subirrigated impatiens among the different fertilizer placements. Finally, significantly more NO3-N was leached from hand-watered plants than was captured with the subirrigation systems.

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