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Chris A. Martin and Dewayne L. Ingram

Thermal properties of pine bark: sand container media as a function of volumetric water content and effectiveness of irrigation as a tool for modulating high temperatures in container media were studied. Volumetric water and sand content interacted to affect container medium thermal diffusivity. Adding sand to a pine bark container medium decreased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was less than 10 percent and increased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was between 10 and 70 percent. Thermal diffusivity was greatest for a 3 pine bark : 2 sand container medium if volumetric water content was between 30 and 70 percent. Irrigation was used to decrease temperatures in 10-liter container media. Irrigation water at 26°C was more effective if 1) volumes equaled or exceeded 3000 ml, 2) applications were made during mid-day, and 3) sand was present in the container medium compared to pine bark alone. However, due to the volume of water required to lower container media temperatures, nursery operators should first consider reducing incoming irradiance via overhead shade or container spacing.

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Chris A. Martin and Dewayne L. Ingram

A three-dimensional computer model was developed to simulate numerically the thermal environment of a polyethylene container-root medium system. An energy balance was calculated at the exterior container wall and the root medium top surface. Thermal energy exchanges at the system's boundaries were a function of radiation, convection, evaporation, and conduction energy flaxes. A forward finite difference form of a transient heat. conduction equation was used to calculate rates of temperature changes as a result of thermal energy exchanges at the system's boundaries. The χ2“goodness-to-fit” test was used to validate computer-generated values to actual measured temperature data. Probabilities for the null hypothesis of no association ranged from P = 0.45 (Julian day 271), to P = 0.81 (Julian day 190), with P ≥ 0.70 on nine of 10 validation days in 1989. Relative to net radiation and convection, conduction and evaporation had little effect on thermal energy exchanges at the root medium top surface during sunlight hours. The rate of movement of thermal energy (thermal diffusivity) was slower and generally resulted in lower temperatures in a pine bark medium than in a pine bark medium supplemented with sand when volumetric water content (VMC) ranged from 0.25 to 0.45.

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John M. Ruter and Dewayne L. Ingram

High root-zone temperatures have been shown to affect photosynthate partitioning, respiration, nitrogen nutrition and growth of `Rotundifolia' holly. The loss of chlorophyll and protein in shoots of other plants in response to high root-zone temperatures has been documented. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to look at the effects of supraoptimal root-zone temperatures on RUBISCO activity, leaf protein and photosynthetic pigment levels.

Soluble protein levels in leaves increased linearly as root-zone temperature increased from 30 to 42 C. RUBISCO activity per unit protein and per unit chlorophyll responded quadratically to root-zone temperatures. Total chlorophyll, chlorophyll a & b, and carotenoid levels decreased linearly with increasing root-zone temperature. It is possible that `Rotundifolia' holly was capable of redistributing nitrogen to maintain RUBISCO activity for photosynthesis.

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Dewayne L. Ingram and Charles R. Hall

Previously published life cycle assessment (LCA) studies regarding the global warming potential (GWP) of tree production have shown that the carbon footprint during the cradle-to-grave life cycle of a tree can reduce atmospheric CO2. This study provides another unique contribution to the literature by considering other potential midpoint environmental impacts such as ozone depletion, smog, acidification, eutrophication, carcinogenic or non-carcinogenic human toxicity, respiratory effects, ecotoxicity, and fossil fuel depletion for 5-cm-caliper, field-grown, spade-dug trees. Findings from this study validate using data from various literature sources with a single-impact focus on GWP and compiled and calculated in a spreadsheet or using a LCA software package with embedded databases (SimaPro) to generate comparable GWP estimates. Therefore, it is appropriate to use SimaPro to generate midpoint environmental impact estimates in LCA studies of field-grown trees. The authors also compared the midpoint environmental impacts with other agricultural commodities [corn (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max), potato (Solanum tuberosum), and wool] and determined that trees compare favorably, with the exception that fossil fuel depletion for the trees was greater than the other products as a result of the high equipment use in harvesting and handling trees. In addition, the water footprint (WF) associated with tree production is also determined through LCA using the Hoekstra water scarcity method in SimaPro. The propagation-to-gate WF for the three tree production systems ranged from 0.09 to 0.64 m3 per tree and was highly influenced by irrigation water, which was the major contributor to WF for each production system. As expected, the propagation stage of each tree represented significantly less WF than the field production phase with larger plants and lower planting densities, even with more frequent irrigation/misting in liner production.

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Chris A. Martin, Dewayne L Ingram, and Terril A. Nell

Trees were grown for 2 years as a function of three container volumes (10, 27, and 57 liter) the first year and six shifting treatments (10 liter both years, 10 to 27 liter, 10 to 57 liter, 27 liter both years, 27 to 57 liter, or 57 liter both years) the second year when containers were spaced 120 cm on center, Height and caliper were greatest for magnolias grown in 27- or 57-liter containers both years. Caliper was greater for trees shifted from 10-liter containers to the larger container volumes compared to trees grown in 10-liter containers both years, Trees grown in 10-liter containers both years tended to have few roots growing in the outer 4 cm at the eastern, southern, and western exposures in the grow medium, During the second year, high air and growth medium temperatures may have been primary limiting factors to carbon assimilation during June and August. Using large container volumes to increase carbon assimilation and tree growth may be even more important when daily maximum air temperatures are lower during late spring or early fall compared to midsummer.

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Chris A. Martin, Dewayne L Ingram, and Terril A. Nell

Trees were grown for 2 years as a function of three container volumes (10, 27, and 57 liter) the first year and six shifting treatments (10 liter both years, 10 to 27 liter, 10 to 57 liter, 27 liter both years, 27 to 57 liter, or 57 liter both years) the second year when containers were spaced 120 cm on center, Height and caliper were greatest for magnolias grown in 27- or 57-liter containers both years. Caliper was greater for trees shifted from 10-liter containers to the larger container volumes compared to trees grown in 10-liter containers both years, Trees grown in 10-liter containers both years tended to have few roots growing in the outer 4 cm at the eastern, southern, and western exposures in the grow medium, During the second year, high air and growth medium temperatures may have been primary limiting factors to carbon assimilation during June and August. Using large container volumes to increase carbon assimilation and tree growth may be even more important when daily maximum air temperatures are lower during late spring or early fall compared to midsummer.

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Dewayne L. Ingram, Charles R. Hall, and Joshua Knight

Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to analyze the production system components of a 20-cm Chrysanthemum grown for the fall market in the north Atlanta region of the United States. The model system consisted of 2 weeks of mist in a greenhouse followed by 9 weeks on an outdoor gravel bed equipped with drip irrigation. The carbon footprint, or global warming potential (GWP), was calculated as 0.555 kg CO2e and the variable costs incurred during the modeled production system (from rooting purchased cuttings to loading the truck for shipment) totaled $0.846. Use of plastics was important in terms of GWP and variable costs with the container contributing 26.7% of the GWP of the product and 12.2% of the variable costs. The substrate accounted for 44.8% of the GWP in this model but only 12.1% of the variable costs. Consumptive water use during misting was determined to be 3.9 L per plant whereas water use during outdoor production was 34.8 L. Because propagation is handled in various ways by Chrysanthemum growers, the potential impact of alternative propagation scenarios on GWP and variable costs, including the purchase of plugs, was also examined.

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Dewayne L. Ingram, Charles R. Hall, and Joshua Knight

The components for two production systems for young foliage plants in 72-count propagation trays were analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA) procedures. The systems differed by greenhouse type, bench size and arrangement, rainwater capture, and irrigation/fertilization methods. System A was modeled as a gutter-connected, rounded-arch greenhouse without a ridge vent and covered with double-layer polyethylene, and the plants were fertigated through sprinklers on stationary benches. System B was modeled as a more modern gutter-connected, Dutch-style greenhouse using natural ventilation, and moveable, ebb-flood production tables. Inventories of input products, equipment use, and labor were generated from the protocols for those scenarios and a LCA was conducted to determine impacts on the respective greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and the subsequent carbon footprint (CF) of foliage plants at the farm gate. CF is expressed in global warming potential for a 100-year period (GWP) in units of kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e). The GWP of the 72-count trays were calculated as 4.225 and 2.276 kg CO2e with variable costs of $25.251 and $24.857 for trays of foliage plants grown using Systems A and B, respectively. The GWP of most inputs and processes were similar between the two systems. Generally, the more modern greenhouse in System B was more efficient in terms of space use for production, heating and cooling, fertilization, and water use. While overhead costs were not measured, these differences in efficiency would also help to offset any increases in overhead costs per square foot associated with higher-cost, more modern greenhouse facilities. Thus, growers should consider the gains in efficiency and their influences on CF, variable costs (and overhead costs) when making future decisions regarding investment in greenhouse structures.

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Dewayne L. Ingram, Charles R. Hall, and Joshua Knight

The production components of an evergreen shrub (Ilex crenata ‘Bennett’s Compacta’) grown in a no. 3 container in an east coast U.S. nursery were analyzed for their costs and contributions to carbon footprint, as well as the product impact in the landscape throughout its life cycle. A life cycle inventory was conducted of input materials, equipment use, and all cultural practices and other processes used in a model production system for this evergreen shrub. A life cycle assessment (LCA) of the model numerated the associated greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), carbon footprint, and variable cost of each component. The LCA also included the transportation and transplanting of the final product in the landscape as well as its removal after a 40-year useful life. GHG from input products and processes during the production (cutting-to-gate) of the evergreen shrub were estimated to be 2.918 kg CO2e. When considering carbon sequestration during production weighted over a 100-year assessment period, the carbon footprint for this model system at the nursery gate was 2.144 kg CO2e. Operations, combining the impact of material and equipment use, that contributed most of GHG during production included fertilization (0.707 kg CO2e), the liner and transplanting (0.461 kg CO2e), the container (0.468 kg CO2e), gravel and ground cloth installation (0.222 kg CO2e), substrate materials and preparation (0.227 kg CO2e), and weed control (0.122 kg CO2e). The major contributors to global warming potential (GWP) were also major contributors to the cutting-to-gate variable costs ($3.224) except for processes that required significant labor investments. Transporting the shrub to the landscaper, transporting it to the landscape site, and transplanting it would result in GHG of 0.376, 0.458, and 0 kg CO2e, respectively. Variable costs for postharvest activities were $6.409 and were dominated by labor costs (90%).

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Chris A. Martini, Dewayne L. Ingram, and Terril A. Nell

Growth of Magnolia grandiflora Hort. `St. Mary' (southern magnolia) trees in containers spaced 120 cm on center was studied for 2 years. During the 1st year, trees were grown in container volumes of 10, 27, or 57 liter. At the start of the second growing season, trees were transplanted according to six container shifting treatments [10-liter containers (LC) both years, 10 to 27LC, 10 to 57LC, 27LC both years, 27 to 57LC, or 57LC both years]. The mean maximum temperature at the center location was 4.8 and 6.3C lower for the 57LC than for the 27 and 10LC, respectively. Height and caliper, measured at the end of 2 years, were” greatest for magnolias grown continuously in 27 or 57LC. Caliper was greater for trees shifted from 10LC to the larger containers compared with trees grown in 10LC both years. Trees grown in 10LC both years tended to have fewer roots growing in tbe outer 4 cm of the growing medium at the eastern, southern, and western exposures. During June and August of the 2nd year, high air and growth medium temperatures may have been limiting factors to carbon assimilation. Maintenance of adequate carbon assimilation fluxes and tree growth, when container walls are exposed to solar radiation, may require increasing the container volume. This procedure may be more important when daily maximum air temperatures are lower during late spring or early fall than in midsummer, because low solar angles insolate part of the container surface.