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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

Low volume drip (2 l/h) was compared with 2 subirrigation ('trough' and `ebb and flo') systems for production of poinsettias and chrysanthemums in 15 cm diameter (1.6 l) `azalea' pots. Irrigation frequency as well as fertilizer rates were the same for all systems. The drip system received 280 ml per watering.

Two plantings of poinsettias (fall) as well as two plantings of chrysanthemums (spring and summer) showed no differences in plant growth between the drip and the subirrigation systems. Water uptake by the medium was similar for all irrigation systems, but water and fertilizer application was 70% higher for the drip system. Nutrients, measured at 4 depths within the pot at monthly intervals, increased with time and was markedly more concentrated in the top layer, regardless of the irrigation system.

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James H. May, Thomas W. Simpson, and Diane Relf

Registered nursery operators on Virginia were surveyed to determine the potential utilization of yardwaste compost (YWC) from a proposed statewide yardwaste composting system. Respondents reported using 94,000 yd3 of potting medium, 36,000 yd3 of peat in containers, and 9000 yd3 of peat for field soil amendment, and retailing 144,000 yd3 of organic materials per year. Many of the respondents indicated that YWC could be used as a substitute for peat or other organic materials in potting mixes (56%), field-grown nursery crops (54%), and lawn establishment (21%), and more than 30% were interested in selling retail. Nursery operators (30%) expressed interest in contracting with municipalities to do the composting and using or marketing it directly.

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Arlette S. Cuomo, Steven E. Newman, Hassan H. Nassar, 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 for drench application to Cucumis sativa `White Wonder' seedlings. The seedlings were grown in a peat-lite medium using 10-cm plastic pots and inoculated with Rhizoctonia solani. Test formulations were prepared with and without QBAs and applied at 75, 150, and 300 ppm QBAs as a 100 ml/pot drench. The QBA formulations that provided effective control of Rhizoctonia solani lost 20% or fewer seedlings compared to the formulation without QBA, which lost more than 60% of the seedlings. Treated plants were evaluated confirming Rhizoctonia solani infection.

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C. Frederick Deneke and Gary J. Keever

`Kees Nelis' tulips were potted five bulbs per 0.8-1 container using a commercial peat moss and perlite growing medium. Bulbs were exposed to 9C for 4 weeks, followed by 5C until the emerging shoots were 4 to 5 cm long. One day after plants were moved from the cooler to a greenhouse (14C minimum), the following treatments were applied: drench or spike (International Spike, Inc.) of 0.062, 0.25, or 1.00 mg paclobutrazol per pot; or drench of 0.25 mg ancymidol per pot. Flowering height was reduced linearly as concentration of paclobutrazol increased for both application methods; flowering height was 24.0 cm with the highest rate of paclobutrazol, 23.8 cm with ancymidol, and 27.7 cm with untreated plants. Treatments had no effect on flower diameter or time to flowering.

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J.C. Rodriguez, D.J. Cantliffe, N.L. Shaw, and Z. Karchi

In the spring of 2001 and 2002, different combinations of media (coarse perlite, medium perlite, and pine bark) and containers (polyethylene bags and plastic pots) were used for hydroponic production of `Galia' muskmelons (Cucumis melo L.) to determine their effect on fruit yield and quality, and their influence on costs of production. Marketable yields obtained for `Gal-152' in the spring 2001 and 2002 were 25.5 kg·m–2 and 39.0 kg·m–2 respectively. When data were combined for 2001 and 2002, fruit yield and fruit quality were unaffected by any combination of media and container. Average soluble solids content was generally greater than 10° Brix. It was determined that the use of pine bark media and plastic pots instead of perlite and bags would save $18,200 per year (two crops)—a feasible option for reducing costs of producing `Galia' muskmelons in greenhouses using soilless culture without loss of yield and fruit quality.

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William R. Argo and John A. Biernbaum

Using incubation and container culture with subirrigation for up to 28 days, three experiments were conducted with six liming materials of different particle sizes and six blended preplant nutrient charge (PNC) fertilizers. Liming material, particle size, and incorporation rate had an effect on the initial pH (3.5 to 6.1) and the final stable pH (4.8 to 7.8) with one type of Canadian sphagnum peat that did not contain an incorporated PNC. Saturated media extract (SME) Ca and Mg concentrations were <25 and 15 mg·liter-1, respectively, for both pulverized and superfine dolomitic lime at incorporation rates up to 7.2 kg·m-3. For the blended PNC fertilizers in media containing lime, initial electrical conductivity (EC) and SME nutrient concentrations ranged from (EC) 1.0 to 2.9 dS·m-1, (mg·liter-1) 60 to 300 N, 4 to 105 PO4-P, 85 to 250 K, 120 to 400 Ca, and 60 to 220 Mg. However, within two days, the rapid stratification of fertilizer salts within the pot caused macronutrient concentrations to increase in the top 3 cm of root medium (top layer) by an average of 180% and decrease in the remaining root medium in the pot (root zone) by an average of 57% compared to that measured in the medium at planting. Nutrient concentrations in the top layer continued to increase even when those in the root zone fell below acceptable levels recommended for an SME. The importance of fertilizer salt stratification within a pot lies in the reduced availability of nutrients to the plant and illustrates the limited persistence of the PNC fertilizers. Testing nutrients in container media several days after planting rather than in freshly mixed media may be more representative of the starting point for a nutritional management program.

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Patricia R. Knight, D. Joseph Eakes, Charles H. Gilliam, and Harry G. Ponder

Seed geraniums (Pelargonium × hortorum Bailey `Scarlet Elite') were grown in 10-cm pots in a 1 pine bark : 3 peat moss : 1 perlite medium from 18 March until 5 May 1993. Plants received Osmocote 14N-6.1P-12.5K and either conventional overhead (CO), drip (DI), or subirrigation (SI). Subirrigation produced greater shoot and root dry weights than CO or DI. Plants grown using DI produced fewer branches than plants grown using CO or SI. Plants receiving SI reached anthesis before plants receiving CO or DI. Method of irrigation had no influence on total root, soil, or leachate N, but SI did increase total shoot N.

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Chamchuree Sotthikul and Pimchai Apavatjrut

Propagation of Curcuma roscoeana in vitro was done successfully by culturing 0.5 × 1.0 mm shoot tips from young buds onto modified MS (1962) + 0.25 mg·L–1 kinetin. The bud-derived new plantlets could be multiplied on a new medium. Stem explants 10 mm in size, measured from base of the plantlets longitudinally cut in half, were the most suitable culture explants providing 2.8 new healthy plantlets/cultured explant. Explants from 4, 6, and 8 weeks old plantlets were more suitable than those of 2 weeks old when grown on agar or in liquid medium. From a histological study, it was found that new buds developed from preexisting meristems. The buds, like root initiation, could also occur directly from initial culture explants, not through callus. The plantlets obtained could successfully be transferred into growing pots, having a 95% survival rate.

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Joseph Eakes and John W. Olive

Five 12- to 14- month slow release fertilizers (Osmocote 17-7-12, Sierra 16-6-10, High-N 24-4-7, Sierrablend 17-7-10, and Nutricote 16-10-10 Type 360) were incorporated into a 3:1 pine bark: peat moss potting medium at one of 4 rates (0.9, 1.2, 1.5, and 1.8 kg N/m3). Plant growth of 3 azale a species, `Coral Bells' (Kurume), `Formosa' (Southern Indica), and `Pink Gumpo' (Satsuki), and monthly medium solution electrical conductivity (EC) were determined. Growth indices 180 days after applying fertilizer were greatest for plants receiving the Sierrablend and Osmocote fertilizers regardless of azalea species. Plant growth indices increased as N rate increased for the 3 azaleas, regardless of the fertilizer product. The highest media solution EC readings occurred during the first 90 days after fertilizer application for all fertilizer treatments and declined thereafter.

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Karim H. Al-Juboory

Shoot proliferation of Gardenia jasminoides was achieved from cultured shoot tips on Nitsch and Nitsch medium supplemented with different levels (0.0–0.6 mg·L–1) of zeatin, BAP, BA, TDZ, and kinetin. Zeatin proved to be the most effective cytokinin for stimulating shoot proliferation. Shoot length obtained with zeatin was shorter than with other cytokinins and shoot leaves were narrower. Shoot tips were cultured on Nitsch and Nitsch medium supplemented with BA at 4.0 mg·L–1 combined with IAA at 0.0–0.2 mg·L–1. The results indicated that BA at 4.0 mg·L–1 with 0.1 IAA produced greater shoot proliferation. Plantlets regenerated in vitro were then transferred to a mixture of 1 peat: 1 perlite: 1 soil and acclimatized for potting. Our results show that micropropagation of Gardenia has high potential for use in commercial industry.