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Shelly D. Dueitt and Steven E. Newman

Rice hulls, a by-product of rice milling, were used at various rates in greenhouse media. The objective of this study was to determine if rice hulls can replace peat moss. Hulls, aged and fresh, were blended with vermiculite and peat moss from 0 to 50%, by volume replacing peat moss. Physical and chemical properties including bulk density, total pore space, water retention, pH and soluble salt concentrations were determined in the media blends. Marigolds and salvia were transplanted into 13 cm azalea pots containing each media. The bulk density increased with increasing levels of hulls. Total pore space of the media before planting was decreased with increasing levels of aged hulls, but no differences were detected at the termination of the study. Water retention of both fresh and aged hulls at all levels of media were equivalent to the control media. Before planting, the total soluble salts for media containing fresh hulls was greater than with aged hulls. The pH of the media increased with increasing levels of hulls, fresh and aged. The greatest dry weight and plant height was observed when the media contained 10 to 20% aged hulls.

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Steven E. Newman* and Robert O. Miller

Greenhouse and nursery managers rely on testing laboratories with the expectations of accuracy and consistency. The Greenhouse and Nursery Media Analysis Proficiency (GNMAP) Testing program was initiated to provide laboratories servicing greenhouses and nurseries with inter-laboratory quality control. The GNMAP program operational guidelines are based on those outlined under ISO 9000, ISO/IEC Guide 43 and Draft ISO/IEC Guide 24, which describe the requirements for proficiency testing. Nine laboratories enrolled in the program in 2003 and submitted results for root zone media and fertilizer solutions. Data analysis provided the minimum, maximum and median values; median absolute deviation (MAD); overall reproducibility (Rd); individual reported lab values; repeatability (Rp) of lab value (CV for the individual lab); and mean lab value reported. The Rd was calculated from the median of all lab Rp values and is a measure of intra-lab variance. A measure of inter-lab variance was determined by calculating the relative median deviations (RMD = MAD/Median × 100). For one of the media distributed, results for the saturated media extract included median pH values from 4.3 to 6.9 with MAD values averaging 0.1 across the three samples. The electrical conductivity (EC) median values ranged from 0.36 to 4.57 dS/m with RMD averaging 31% of the median. The main variability between laboratories for the majority of the macro cations was closely aligned with measured EC. Cations (K, CA and Mg) concentrations ranged from 17 to 502 mg/L with Ca typically in the greatest concentration. Cation inter-lab precision, based on the RMD ranged from 9-32% across the three substrate samples. The greatest RMD was 31.8% for Ca and 9.2% for K. The Rd values for the cations averaged 5%.

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Allen D. Owings and Steven E. Newman

Four rates of seven plant growth regulators were foliar-applied to 11.4 liter containers of Photinia × fraseri after initial root establishment. Growth regulators studied were uniconazole, paclobutrazol, dikegulac-sodium, ancymidol, 6-BA, GA4+7 and, 6-BA + GA4+7. Six months after application, plant height, plant width, growth index, and number of lateral and terminal branches were recorded.

Applications of uniconazole (30 mg a.i./liter), 6-BA alone or in combination with GA4+7, and dikegulacsodium stimulated lateral branching. The number of lateral branches increased linearly as paclobutrazol rates increased from 60 to 180 mg a.i./liter. Growth index decreased with increasing application rates of uniconazole and paclobutrazol, while the growth index of photinia treated with other growth regulators wasn't affected by application rate. Plant height was increased in GA4+7 treated plants.

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Steven E. Newman and Jesse R. Quarrels

The objective of this study was to determine the influences of 8 commercial media, 4 peat-based and 4 pine bark-based, on the effects of uniconazole applied as a media drench to `Gutbier V-14 Glory' poinsettias. The peat-based media were Baccto Grower's Mix, Baccto High Porosity Professional, Baccto High Porosity Professional with Bacctite, and Baccto Rockwool Mix. The pine bark-based media were Metro 300, 360, 500, and 700. Uniconazole was applied to plants grown in each media at 5 rates (0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 mg · 15 cm por1).

Uniconazole effectively reduced plant height and width, bract dry weight, and bract number in all media. Plants grown in the Metro products, however, tended to be larger than those grown in the Baccto products. Bract size and number, plant weight, width and height were greatest in Metro 360. The rockwool mix produced the smallest plants. Plants grown in the peat-based media were more sensitive to uniconazole drenches. Plants grown in Metro 360 were the least sensitive to uniconazole drenches.

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Jesse R Quarrels and Steven E. Newman

A study was conducted to determine the effects of pine bark grind size and pine bark levels on the activity of two growth regulators on poinsettia Two bark grinds (≤ 6 mm and >10 mm) were used with four media combinations within each grind: vermiculite:bark:peat moss at 2:0:3, 2:1:2, 2:2:1, and 2:3:0 (by volume). Two growth regulators, paclobutrazol and uniconazole, were applied at 0, 0.125, and 0.250 mg/15 cm container in 250 ml water. Two poinsettia cultivars, `Freedom' and `Gutbier V-14 Glory', were planted September 2, 1993, pinched September 16, and growth regulators applied September 30. There were five single plant replications for each treatment. Stem length and bract area were effected by bark grind, bark level, growth regulator, and growth regulator rate. Plants treated with uniconazole had the shortest stems and the least bract area. Plants grown in the smaller grind and at higher bark levels were less effected. Plants treated with paclobutrazol had longer stems than those treated with uniconazole.

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D. Yvette Henson, Steven E. Newman, and David E. Hartley

This study was conducted to evaluate the growth, visual quality, and stress response of 17 species of bedding plants and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) grown outdoors for 10 weeks during the summer of 2003 at three locations in Colorado. Plants were irrigated at 100% of the reference evapotranspiration (ET0) (amount required to maintain Kentucky bluegrass in an optimum condition) for 2 weeks followed by 8 weeks at five irrigation levels: 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% ET0. Begonia carrieri Hort. `Vodka', Lobelia erinus L. `Cobalt Blue', and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Crown Gold' grew well with a minimum of 50% or more ET0 based on Kentucky bluegrass. Impatiens walleriana Hook. fil. `Tempo White' grew well only with 100% ET0. Antirrhinum majus L. `Sonnet Yellow', Dianthus L. `First Love', Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv. `Carpet White', and Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey performed well with 25% to 50% ET0. The species Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don `Peppermint Cooler', Rudbeckia hirta L. `Indian Summer', Senecio cineraria D.C. `Silver Dust', Tagetes erecta L. `Inca Yellow' and T. patula L. `Bonanza Gold', Zinnia angustifolia Kunth., and Salvia farinacea Benth. `Rhea Blue', which are adapted to midsummer heat and low water, performed well with 0% to 25% ET0. Species considered to be heat or drought tolerant—Petunia ×hybrida hort. ex. E. Vilm. `Merlin White' and Glandularia J.F. Gmel. `Imagination'—required little or no irrigation. The bedding plant species evaluated in this study that required 25% or less ET0 are well adapted for low-water landscape installations.

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Melanie L. Welles, David E. Hartley, and Steven E. Newman

The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of various root-zone temperatures and pH on Impatiens ×hybrida, New Guinea impatiens `Celebration Orange.' Greenhouse growers need to be cognizant of the root-zone medium pH, as New Guinea impatiens are sensitive to nutrient toxicities at low pH. It is thought that limestone at low root-zone medium temperatures is not quickly activated, leading to toxicities. The objectives of this project were to determine: the effect of root-zone medium pH on foliar symptoms of iron and manganese toxicity; and the effective rates and grind size of limestone on root-zone medium pH. Various rates of limestone and different grind sizes were incorporated into a sphagnum peat moss-based medium at a range of temperatures. This experiment used a two-way thermogradient plate to maintain varying, but stable root-zone medium temperatures, ranging from 12 to 42 °C. Plant growth as well as root-zone medium pH was monitored. Changes in root-zone medium pH were monitored over time. Results indicated that the addition of moderate or high rates of limestone, 6 or 3 kg·m-3, provided stable root-zone media pH over the course of time. Both limestone grind sizes at 325 and 100–200 mesh provided satisfactory starting and ending pH values for healthy New Guinea impatiens growth, especially between the root-zone temperatures of 30 and 18 °C. Higher and lower temperature extremes inhibited root growth, resulting in lower quality plants.

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D. Sean Moody, Steven E. Newman, and Douglas A. Hopper

Three irrigation strategies [10% leaching, 0% leaching (pulse), and ebb-and-flood] and two constant liquid feed fertilizer treatments, 150 and 300 ppm N, were applied to poinsettias, `Freedom Red' and `V-17 Angelika Red', with a harvest date of November 25, 1995. There were no differences in plant dry weights among the three irrigation strategies at the 150 ppm N treatment. At 300 ppm N, 10% leaching irrigation grew plants with the greatest dry weights, followed by the ebb-and-flood treatment and the pulse treatment, respectively. The 10% leaching and ebb-and-flood plants had the greatest growth index, while the pulse treatment growth index was lower. Growth index was greatest for the 10% leaching strategy for `Freedom Red', while ebb-and-flood had the lowest index. The growth index was greater at 150 ppm N for `Freedom Red' compared to 300 ppm N. `V-17 Angelika Red' was not influenced by fertility level. Pulse irrigation grew marketable poinsettia plants at lower fertility levels.

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Karen L. Panter, Steven E. Newman, and Michael J. Roll

Catharanthus roseus plants were grown in three media, each containing one of two by-products of shredded waste tires. The media were no. 1) 1 rubber*: 1 peat moss, no. 2) 1 rubber*: 1 vermiculite: 2 peat moss, and no. 3) 2 rubber*: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat moss (by volume) where rubber* indicates either 0.6 cm shredded rubber or a fibrous by-product. Control plants were grown in 1 peatmoss: 1 rockwool and 1 vermiculite: 1 peatmoss (by volume). Catharanthus roseus cv. Peppermint Cooler plants were grown for 7 weeks in 10-cm containers at a commercial Denver-area greenhouse. Data taken included plant heights, plant widths, flowers per stem, and dry weights. Visually, plants grown in the no. 2 mix, with either fiber or 0.6-cm rubber, were similar to the controls and superior to the other two mixes. Ending plant heights were similar among the two controls and no. 2 with fiber and were taller than all other combinations. Flower numbers were greater in the 1 rockwool: 1 peat moss control and no. 2 mix with fiber than any other treatment. The same was true for stem number and dry weight. Results indicate that the no. 2 mix of 1 fiber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peatmoss has potential for container crop production.

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Steven E. Newman, Michael J. Roll, and Ronald J. Harkrader

There are many naturally occurring substances that have the potential to be adapted to modern pest control chemistry. Azadirachtin, an insect growth regulator, is one such naturally occurring compound that has been widely accepted in insect pest management. Quartenary benzophenanthridine alkaloids (QBAs) are known to be effective in the control of crop damaging fungal diseases. QBAs can be isolated from plants in the Papaveraceae. Extracts of Macleaya cordata, a species rich in QBAs, were formulated at 150 mg·L–1 QBA for spray application to greenhouse roses infected with Sphaerotheca pannosa var. rosae (powdery mildew). The QBA formulation was applied at 10-day intervals. Copper sulfate pentahydrate (Phyton27), piperalin (Pipron), and fenarimol (Rubigan) were also applied to mildew infected plants within the same greenhouse at their respective label rates for comparison. One day after treatment, the mildew infection was reduced 50% by QBA, whereas fenarimol, copper sulfate pentahydrate, and piperalin reduced the infection 50%, 75%, and 80%, respectively. Nine days after application, the mildew infection of QBA treated plants was less than 5% of the leaflet surface area. QBAs have the potential to be developed as a biorational fungicide for greenhouse use with both fungicidal and fungistatic activity.