Beit Alpha cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is an exciting new greenhouse crop for production in the southeastern U.S. and Florida. Beit Alpha cucumbers are short, seedless fruit with dark-green skin and an excellent sweet flavor. Beit Alpha-types are the leading cucumber types in the Middle Eastern market and have gained recent popularity in Europe. Beit Alpha cucumbers grown hydroponically under a protected structure have prolific fruit set, yielding more than 60 high-quality fruit per plant during one season. U.S. hydroponic vegetable production is generally associated with structure and irrigation investments which are costly as well as other inputs, such as the media, which must be replaced annually or with each crop. Beit Alpha cucumber `Alexander' was grown in Spring 2001 and 2002 in a passive-ventilated high-roof greenhouse in Gainesville, Fla. Three media types, coarse-grade perlite, medium-grade perlite, and pine bark, were compared for efficiency of growing cucumbers (production and potential costs). During both seasons, fruit yield was the same among media treatments [average of 6 kg (13.2 lb) per plant]. Irrigation requirements were the same for each type of media; however, leachate volume was sometimes greater from pots with pine bark compared to either grade of perlite suggesting a reduced need for irrigation volume when using pine bark. Pine bark is five times less expensive than perlite and was a suitable replacement for perlite in a hydroponic Beit Alpha cucumber production system.
Nicole L. Shaw, Daniel J. Cantliffe, Julio Funes, and Cecil Shine III
T. H. Yeager and R. D. Wright
Greenhouse-grown branched liners of ‘Helleri’ holly were fertilized with either 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 ppm P to establish a P level in the pine bark medium that resulted in maximum shoot dry weight. Pine bark P levels greater than 10 ppm did not result in increased shoot dry weight. Total mg of P in shoot tissues continued to increase with P treatments higher than 10 ppm, indicating luxury consumption of P. Total mg of P in root tissues increased to the 5 ppm P treatment. Total μg of Mn in shoot tissues increased while total pg of Mn in root tissues decreased with increasing pine bark P levels. In a subsequent experiment, dry shoot weights of ‘Helleri’ holly grown in a pine bark medium amended with either 270, 540, or 810 g/m3 of P supplied as superphosphate (9% P) or fertilized with 10 ppm P were not different, while root dry weights decreased with increasing P amendment. Water extractable P for the 810 g/m3 treatment decreased 245 ppm during the experiment and by week 5 was below 10 ppm.
Alexander X. Niemiera and Robert D. Wright
A 100% pine bark medium was amended with dolomitic lime at 0, 3, or 6 kg·m−3 and periodically fertilized with 210 ml of a nutrient solution containing 100 ppm N as (NH4)2S04. At the 3- and 6-kg lime treatments, medium solution NH4-N concentrations decreased rapidly while N03-N concentrations increased. At 0 kg lime, the NH4-N decrease was slower than at the 3- and 6-kg lime treatments and N03-N was not found. Similarly treated bark without plants was used to determine a N03-N accumulation rate (NAR). NAR was greatest at 6 kg of lime, except at the last 2 sampling dates, when NAR did not differ between 3 and 6 kg of lime. This lack of difference was attributed to a limiting NH4-N supply at 6 kg of lime. In a 2nd experiment, NAR of bark treated with 6 kg of lime per m3 and fertilized with 300 ppm NH4-N was 3 times greater than with bark treated with 100 ppm NH4-N, thus supporting the contention that, over time, the NH4-N supply of the 100-ppm treatment limited nitrification. These results indicate that the stimulative influence of lime on nitrification is subject to medium pH and NH4-N status that changes over time.
T. H. Yeager and R. D. Wright
Incorporation of superphosphate into a pine bark growing medium did not increase growth of ‘Hellen’ holly if the plants were subsequently fertilized with slow-release granular or a water soluble fertilizer. Tissue P levels, except for the water soluble fertilizer treatment, and medium P levels were higher as a result of superphosphate incorporation.
Jennifer Green, Derald A. Harp, and Kevin L. Ong
Phytophthora diseases are economically important, requiring the use of chemical fungicides and, more recently, biological controls. Recent research suggests that composted bark products may lessen the impact of the disease, even in the absence of these chemicals. An experiment was conducted to compare chemical and biological fungicides to untreated pine bark compost. Impatiens wallerana plugs were transplanted from 288 trays into 1801 trays. All plants were planted into Berger BM-7, 35% composted bark mix (Berger Horticulture, Quebec, Canada). Media was prepared by premixing one of the five following fungicide treatments: 1) Control, 2) Banrot at 0.6 g/L, 3) Root Shield at 1.6 g/L, 4) Actino-Fe at 5.1 g/Ll, or 5) SoilGard at 1.6 g/L. Plants received no fertilizer. Three strains of Phytophthora were grown in 25 °C on clarified V8 media. Pathogenic inoculum was made by macerating the growth media and fungi in 100 ml H2O. Mixture was pulse-blended for 1 min, and an additional 200 mL dH2O was added. Inoculation was 5 ml per plant. Flats were kept on a misting bench, and misted twice daily for 15 min. The experiment was set up using a RBD repeated six times with three plants per rep. Plants were rated weekly for 5 weeks using a damage scale of 0 to 5, with 0 indicating no sign of disease and 5 being dead. Statistical analysis was conducted using a Chi-Square. Disease incidence between the biological, chemical, and composted bark treatments did not differ, with all treatments providing complete control. At least in this study, the use of composted pine bark media provided Phytophthora control equivalent to current chemical and biological fungicides.
Anne-Marie Hanson, J. Roger Harris, Robert Wright, Alex Niemiera, and Naraine Persaud
Newly transplanted container-grown landscape plants are reported to require very frequent irrigation. However, container nurseries in the U.S. commonly use growing substrates that are mostly bark, even though the contribution of bark-based growing substrates to water relations of transplanted root balls is unknown. Therefore, a field experiment was undertaken to determine water relations of a pine-bark substrate (container removed) within a drying mineral soil over a three week period. A range of common production container sizes—3.7 L (#1), 7.5 L (#2), 21.9 L (#7), 50.6 L (#15), and 104.5 L (#25)—was used. The fraction of substrate volume that is water [total volumetric water (TVW)] within the top and middle zones of substrate was compared to TVW at corresponding depths of adjacent mineral soil. The fraction of substrate and soil volume that is plant-available water [plant-available volumetric water (PAVW)] was calculated by subtracting the fraction of substrate or soil volume below where water is unavailable to most plants (measured with pressure plates) [plant-unavailable volumetric water (PUVW)] from each TVW measurement. The pine-bark substrate had a PUVW of 0.32 compared to a PUVW of 0.06 for soil. Top sections of substrate dried to near zero PAVW 6 days after irrigation for all containers. Larger container sizes maintained higher PAVW in middle sections than smaller container sizes, and PAVW was always higher in the adjacent soil than in the embedded substrate. Overall, very little PAVW is held by the embedded pine-bark growing substrate, suggesting the need for container substrates with greater water retention once transplanted to mineral soils.
H. A. Mills and F. A. Pokorny
Nitrapyrin at 50 ppm, increased dry weights of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) and total N when pine bark comprised part of the medium and NH4 was part of the N treatment. If the medium consisted only of pine bark, nitrapyrin increased dry weights and total plant N with NO3–N and/or NH4–N treatments. The NO3–N level in the medium was higher with all N treatments when nitrapyrin was incorporated. The increase in plant growth is directly related to the higher NO3–N levels in each medium where nitrapyrin was incorporated. The higher media NO3–N with nitrapyrin are attributed to inhibition of the nitrification process and a subsequent inhibitory effect on NO3–N loss.
D. C. Zeiger and J. E. Shelton
‘Red Prince Delicious’ apples/‘M7’ rootstocks, growing in sand culture and receiving ½, 5 or 50 ppm Mn, developed internal bark necrosis (IBN), and an Fe-deficiency chlorosis in its severest expression, at the highest level of Mn supply. Fe was as high in leaves of chlorotic as in those of non-chlorotic plants, but the chlorosis was cleared up by increasing the Fe supply.
Ground twigs showed a brownish coloration which had a max reflectance at 700 mμ. Differences in coloration were correlated with the Mn supply, the severity of IBN symptoms and the Mn/Fe ratio in the leaves and bark, but not with the Mn/Fe ratio in the ground twigs.
A.M. Shirazi and G.H. Ware
The genus Ulmus contains numerous stress-tolerant species, especially those from areas of China with climates similar to various regions of the United States. Lace-bark elm, Ulmus parvifolia, the true Chinese elm, has an extensive temperature distribution range in China and offers great promise as a street tree. The high resistance of this elm to Dutch elm disease and other elm problems makes it an excellent tree for urban landscapes. Two new U. parvifolia cultivars, Athena® and Allee®, are not cold hardy for northern climates and there is a need for new cold hardy lace-bark elms. Screening thousands of seedlings for cold hardiness, upright form, beautiful bark characteristics, and larger leaves will bring the most desirable U. parvifolia cultivars into the green industry. We determined that seed dormancy and the percentage of seed germination of four selected lacebark elms after 2 and 4 weeks were >30% and >50%, respectively. There were significant differences in stem cold hardiness among new lace-bark elms from China (about –32 to –40 °C). Laboratory determination of cold hardiness can provide great advantages over years of field testing. Response to the outdoor temperature in December, January, and February on a seed cold hardiness freezing test showed significant reduction in seed germination, especially at –30 °C. Freezing test of seeds to –40 °C, resulted in lt 50 of –3 to –5 °C in December, so, it is less likely that these U. parvifoilia will become invasive in northern latitudes. Invasiveness of these U. parvifolia for higher zones, e.g., 6–8 could be greater and selection of these elms is suitable for zones 5 and lower. Planting these elms in zones 4, 3, and 2 will give us useful information regarding their winter performance.
F. A. Pokorny and M. E. Austin
Softwood terminal cuttings of ‘Woodard’ and ‘Tifblue’ blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) rooted best in media containing milled pine bark alone or mixed with equal parts of perlite, compared to sphagnum peatmoss alone or mixed with equal parts of perlite. Percentage rooting, root quality, and percentage marketability of softwood terminal cuttings of Vaccinium ‘Tifton 275’, a complex hybrid of V. corymbosum L. and V. ashei, was unaffected by rooting medium.