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Y.L. Qian, A.J. Koski, and R. Welton

Understanding the possible influence of inorganic soil amendments on salt leaching and deposition is helpful in selecting soil amendments when salinity is a problem. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to: 1) evaluate the effects of isolite and zeolite on turf quality of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) under three salinity levels; and 2) determine if soil amendments affected leachate composition, salt deposition, and soil sodium absorption ratio (SAR). `Challenger' Kentucky bluegrass was grown in columns filled with 100% sand, 50 sand: 50 isolite, and 50 sand: 50 zeolite (v/v). Irrigation waters with three levels of salinity [0.25 (control), 3.5, or 6.5 dS·m-1] were applied daily for 3 months in Study I and for 6 months in Study II. Saline water reduced turf quality compared with control. Amendment of sand with isolite increased turf quality only during the third month of treatment with the most saline water in Study I. However, zeolite increased turf quality during both the second and third months at both salinity levels in both studies. The beneficial effects of zeolite on turf quality diminished 5 and 6 months after salinity treatments. Amending sand with zeolite reduced leaching of Na+ and K+, but increased the leaching of Ca2+ and Mg2+. Amending sand with zeolite increased SAR values by 0.9, 1.6, and 6.3 units in Study I and 0.9, 3.6, and 10.9 units in Study II, under control, 3.5, and 6.5 dS·m-1 salinity treatments, respectively. Isolite increased SAR by 1.1-1.6 units with 3.5 dS·m-1 and by 2.5-3.5 units with 6.5 dS·m-1 salinity treatments. Results indicate that amending with zeolite may buffer soil solution Na+ concentration in the short-term. In the long-term, however, a substantial amount of Na+ may be retained concurrent with Ca2+ and Mg2+ exchange, thereby increasing sodicity and salinity problems.

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Ian R. Rodriguez, Grady L. Miller, and L.B. McCarty

For drainage, turfgrass is often established on sand-based soils, which are typically nutrient-deficient and require supplemental fertilization. The objective of this study was to determine the optimum N-P-K fertilizer ratio for establishing bermudagrass from sprigs in sand. `FloraDwarf' and `Tifdwarf' bermudagrasses [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burt-Davy] were sprigged on a United States Golf Association (USGA) green [85 sand: 15 peat (v/v)] in Aug. 1996 at the Univ. of Florida's Envirogreen in Gainesville, Fla. `TifEagle' bermudagrass was sprigged on a USGA green [85 sand: 15 peat (v/v)] and `Tifway' bermudagrass [C. dactylon (L.) Pers.] was sprigged on native soil at Clemson Univ. in Clemson, S.C. in May 1999. Treatments consisted of fertilizer ratios of 1N-0P-0.8K, 1N-0P-1.7K, 1N-0.4P-0.8K, 1N-0.9P-0.8K, and 1N-1.3P-0.8K applied based on a N rate of 49 kg·ha-1/week for 7 weeks. Growth differences were apparent among cultivars. A 1N-0P-0.8K or 1N-0P-1.7K ratio is insufficient for optimum growth of bermudagrass during establishment, even when planted on a soil high in P. Increased coverage rate with additional P was optimized at a ratio of 1N-0.4P at all four sites. Increased coverage with P was greatest on the sand-based greens, probably due to the very low initial P levels of the soils. On two of the sand-based greens, P in excess of a 1N-0.4P ratio decreased coverage rate.

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Matthew Cousins, Charles A. Gresham, Melissa B. Riley, and Ted Whitwell

Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia Lf.) was introduced to coastal Carolina areas in the 1980s. Since its introduction, it has become a major invasive plant problem. Beach Vitex rapidly dominates the vegetation and eliminates many native plant species on primary and secondary coastal dunes. It grows rapidly and reproduces vegetatively by rooting at the nodes. Thousands of fruits, containing one to four seeds each, are produced annually and assist in the plant's spread. Beach sand in areas dominated by Beach Vitex was found to possess hydrophobic qualities, while sand collected from areas not populated by Beach Vitex readily allowed water infiltration. GC-MS analysis of hydrophobic sand extracts showed four peaks that were absent from extracts of non-hydrophobic sand. These peaks were also present in chromatograms of water extracts of Beach Vitex fruits and leaves. Comparison of GC-MS spectra with compounds previously identified in Beach Vitex indicated that one compound was a diterpene (likely ferruginol or abietatrien-3ß-ol). The second compound is likely a flavonoid (possibly casticin, artemetin, or vitexicarpin). Two additional compounds are present at low levels and are possibly phenylnaphthalene compounds. These four compounds appear to be synthesized and incorporated into surface tissues of Beach Vitex leaves and fruits and are transferred to sand during rain events and decomposition. Further studies of Beach Vitex plant parts and beach sands are being conducted to further elucidate the possibility that these chemicals are involved in the intriguing property of sand hydrophobicity. This property may aide Beach Vitex in its competition with plants possessing less expansive root systems.

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J.P. Syvertsen and J.M. Dunlop

We tested the hypothesis that amendments of two hydrophilic gels to a sand soil would reduce N leaching losses and increase growth of citrus seedlings. Three-month-old seedlings of `Swingle' citrumelo [Citrus paradisi Macf. × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] were transplanted into containers of steam-sterilized Candler sand, amended with a linear acrylamide/acrylate copolymer (PAM), and/or a cross-linked copolymer agronomic gel (AGRO). Two rates of each amendment were applied either alone or together and were either mixed into dry sand prior to seedling transplant, used as a root-dip slurry at transplant or applied to the soil surface in a solution after transplant. Seedlings were grown in the greenhouse for 5 months and irrigated to container capacity with a dilute nutrient solution without leaching. Pots were leached every 2 weeks and total N losses from the soil were measured in the leachate. PAM amendments increased N retention in soil slightly but PAM had no effect on plant growth, water use, N uptake, or N leaching relative to unamended control plants. The AGRO amendments increased seedling growth, plant water use and uptake of N from 11% to 45% above that of the unamended control plants depending on application method. AGRO decreased N concentrations in the leachate to as low as 1 to 6 mg·L-1. Only 6% of the total applied N was leached from the AGRO treatments, which was about half that from the untreated control plants. There was no additional benefit of using both amendments together or of an additional AGRO root dip treatment. The largest plants used the most water, required the most N and had the greatest N uptake efficiency. AGRO amendments clearly enhanced seedling growth, increased their N uptake efficiency, and reduced N losses from this sand soil.

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Ted E. Bilderback, Stuart L. Warren, James S. Owen Jr., and Joseph P. Albano

Many research studies have evaluated potential organic and mineral container substrate components for use in commercial potting substrates. Most studies report results of plant growth over a single production season and only a few include physical properties of the substrates tested. Furthermore, substrates containing predominantly organic components decompose during crop production cycles producing changes in air and water ratios. In the commercial nursery industry, crops frequently remain in containers for longer periods than one growing season (18 to 24 months). Changes in air and water retention characteristics over extended periods can have significant effect on the health and vigor of crops held in containers for 1 year or more. Decomposition of organic components can create an overabundance of small particles that hold excessive amounts of water, thus creating limited air porosity. Mineral aggregates such as perlite, pumice, coarse sand, and calcined clays do not decompose, or breakdown slowly, when used in potting substrates. Blending aggregates with organic components can decrease changes in physical properties over time by dilution of organic components and preserving large pore spaces, thus helping to maintain structural integrity. Research is needed to evaluate changes in container substrates from initial physical properties to changes in air and water characteristics after a production cycle.

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Alan W. McKeown, John W. Potter, Mary Gartshore, and Peter Carson

Root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans Cobb) are well-adapted to sandy soils and have a host range including most agronomic, horticultural, and wild species grown in Ontario. As native climax sand-prairie species have coexisted with the nematode for millennia, resistance or tolerance may have developed. We have screened using the Baermann pan technique, soil samples taken from a private collection of sand-prairie species collected from local prairie remnants. Several species [Liatris cylindracea Michx., Monarda punctata L., Pycnanthemum virginianum L., Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench] proved to be excellent hosts (>500/kg of soil) of root lesion nematode, confirming the presence of this nematode in the soil. Over two seasons, we determined that 10 plant species belonging to the families Asclepiadaceae, Compositae, Graminae, and Leguminosae to support very low numbers of P. penetrans. Brown-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.) had no root lesion nematodes throughout both seasons, Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.) very low counts, while Switch grass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Indian grass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash] had detectable root lesion nematodes on only one sampling date each year. Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), Little Bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx) Nash], Sand Dropseed [Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray], Side-oats Grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.)) Torr], Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus L.), Bush clover [Lespedeza capitata (Michx] also are poor hosts. These species have potential as cover or rotation crops useful for nematode management.

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William E. Klingeman*, Darren K. Robinson, and Gary L. McDaniel

Mugwort, or false chrysanthemum (Artemisia vulgaris L) is a well-adapted invasive plant that presents increasing management challenges to agricultural producers, Green Industry professionals and homeowners across portions of the eastern U.S. The ability of mugwort to regenerate from cut rhizome sections has not been adequately quantified for substrates that are typical of landscapes and nursery fields, container nurseries, and propagation beds. Cut rhizome sections were analyzed by rhizome color, length, and the presence or absence of a leaf scale. Media substrates included pine bark, sand, and soil. Rhizomes darken with time and color did not account for differences in growth among treatments. When grown in pine bark, sand, and soil substrates during 45-d trials, 85%, 78%, and 69% of 2 cm-long rhizome sections produced both roots and shoots. These results contrast with previous research. When rhizome fragments 0.5 cm long did not include a leaf scale, slightly fewer than 31% produced both roots and shoots in soil. Fewer rhizomes survived in soil, but root and shoot fresh masses of soil-grown rhizomes were greater than rhizomes that were regenerated in pine bark and sand. When rhizome sections had a leaf scale, survival, fresh masses of roots and shoots, shoot height, leaf number and root lengths were greater, regardless of substrate type. Root initials emerged in the internode between leaf scales and also adjacent to leaf scales. Shoot emergence preceded root emergence from rhizome sections. Growers, landscape managers and homeowners should scout regularly and initiate aggressive controls when mugwort populations are found.

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Ramsey Sealy, Michael R. Evans, and Craig Rothrock

Growth of Pythium aphanidermatum, Pythium ultimum, Pythium irregulare, Phytophthora nicoctianae, Phytophthora cinnomomi, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani and Thielaviopsis basicoli was inhibited in vitro when grown in a clarified V-8 nutrient solution containing 10% garlic extract. After exposure to 10% garlic extract for 3 days, all fungi and fungal-like organisms failed to grow after being washed and transferred to fresh cornmeal agar nutrient medium without garlic extract. When Sphagnum peat was inoculated with P. aphanidermatum and drenched with solutions containing varying concentrations of garlic extract, a single drench of 35% garlic extract or two drenches of 15% garlic extract were required to rid the substrate of viable P. aphanidermatum. In sand, a single application of 25% garlic extract or two applications of 10% garlic extract were required to rid the sand of viable P. aphanidermatum Thus, Sphagnum peat appeared to partially inactivate the components in garlic and did so to a greater extent than sand. Therefore, efficacy of garlic extract as a soil drench fungicide will be affected by the type of substrate or soil to which the garlic extract is applied.

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John J. Sloan and M.C. Engelke

Irrigation of sand-based golf greens with ozonated water may affect grass growth and chemical processes in the root zone. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of ozonated and aerated water on bentgrass growth and root zone chemistry in sand-based greens over a 12-month period. Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) cores [10 cm diameter × 12 cm depth (3.9 × 4.7 inches)] were collected from a sand-based bentgrass nursery and placed in columns designed to collect leachate water. Cores were placed in a greenhouse and irrigated with 1) municipal tap water [6 to 8 mg·L-1 (ppm) dissolved oxygen (DO)], 2) aerated tap water (12 mg·L-1 DO), or 3) ozonated tap water (aerated plus 0.8 mg·L-1 ozone). Leachate was periodically collected and analyzed for pH, electrolytic conductivity (EC), and nutrients. Grass clippings were weighed and analyzed for total nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Roots were periodically collected from selected cores to determine root distribution. At 40 and 90 days after initiating water treatments, bentgrass irrigated with ozonated water had a higher chlorophyll index than bentgrass irrigated with tap water. After 128 and 157 days, bentgrass clipping weights were significantly greater for the cores irrigated with ozonated water and, to a lesser extent, aerated water. At 61 and 149 days, nitrate (NO3-N) and EC levels were elevated in leachate from aerated and ozonated samples, suggesting increased mineralization of organic matter in those bentgrass cores. Ozonated water increased bentgrass crown weights, but had no effect on root mass. Ozonated water did not affect bentgrass tissue N and P concentrations. Statistically significant effects from ozonated water occurred within the first few months, but sustained benefits were negligible.

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William R. Graves

Root hydraulic conductance is often expressed on the basis of dry weight or surface area of leaves or roots of plants produced in solution or aggregate culture. In this study, biomass partitioning and its influence on the interpretation of root hydraulic conductance data were compared in 21- to 63-day-old Gleditsia triacanthos inermis Willd. (honey locust) seedlings grown in solution and sand cultures. The ratio of lamina to root dry weight decreased as seedlings aged but was always greater for solution-grown plants than for sand-grown plants. Expressed on the basis of root dry weight, steady-state water fluxes at applied pressures ≥ 0.28 MPa and hydraulic conductivity coefficients declined with root system age, with a sharp decrease among solution-grown plants between ages 21 and 35 days. Such a difference was not detected using data expressed on lamina surface area or dry weight, illustrating that caution must be exercised when reporting and comparing the conductance of roots cultured in different media.