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Lawrence R. Parsons, T. Adair Wheaton, and William S. Castle

Conversion of wastewater to reclaimed water for crop irrigation conserves water and is an effective way to handle a growing urban problem: the disposal of wastewater. Water Conserv II is a large reclaimed water project developed by Orlando and Orange County, Fla., that presently irrigates ≈1900 ha of citrus. The project includes a research component to evaluate the response of citrus to irrigation using reclaimed water. Citrus trees in an experimental planting responded well to very high application rates of reclaimed water. Irrigation treatments included annual applications of 400 mm of well water, and 400, 1250, and 2500 mm of reclaimed water. The 2500-mm rate is excessive, and since disposal was of interest, this rate was used to determine if citrus could tolerate such high rates of irrigation. The effects of these treatments were compared on `Hamlin' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] and `Orlando' tangelo (C. paradisi Macf. × C. reticulata Blanco) combined with four rootstocks: Carrizo citrange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], Cleopatra mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco), sour orange (C. aurantium L.), and Swingle citrumelo (C. paradisi × P. trifoliata). Growth and fruit production were greatest at the highest irrigation rate. Concentration of soluble solids in the juice was usually lowered by the highest irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare were 15.5% higher compared to the 400-mm rate, due to the greater fruit production. While fruit soluble solids were usually lowered by higher irrigation, the reduction in fruit soluble solids observed on three of the rootstocks did not occur in trees on Carrizo citrange. Fruit peel color score was lower but juice color score was higher at the highest irrigation rate. Crop efficiency (fruit production per unit of canopy volume) was usually lower at the 2500-mm rate and declined as trees grew older. Weed cover increased with increasing irrigation rate, but was controllable. Irrigation with high rates of reclaimed water provided a satisfactory disposal method for treated effluent, benefited growth and production of citrus, and eliminated the need for other sources of irrigation water. Reclaimed water, once believed to be a disposal problem in Florida, is now considered to be one way to meet irrigation demands.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton

A rapid increase in municipal solid waste (MSW) production (2 kg/person per day), combined with a decreasing number of operating landfills, has increased waste disposal costs. Composting MSW can be an alternative method of waste disposal to traditional landfilling or incineration. Weed control methods using waste materials such as bark, straw, and sawdust were used in commercial crop production for many years before the advent of chemical weed control. Weed growth suppression by mulching can often be almost as effective as conventional herbicides. A 10 to 15 cm-deep mulch layer is needed to completely discourage weed growth in these systems, and best results are obtained with composted materials. In recent years, composts made from a large variety of waste materials have become available on a commercial scale. Preliminary investigations into the use of MSW compost as a weed control agent have shown that compost, especially in an immature state, applied to row crop middles reduced weed growth due to its high concentration of acetic, propionic, and butyric acids. Subsequently, compost can be incorporated into the soil for the following growing season to potentially improve soil physical and chemical properties. Integrated pest management programs that incorporate biological control should be adopted wherever possible because some weed species with persistent seeds can escape chemical control.

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S. D. Verkade and G. E. Fitzpatrick

The availability of organic components of potting media is limited due to supply and shipping costs. Disposal of solid waste has also become a serious problem for many municipalities. The utilization of solid waste compost in agricultural production promises to be a solution for both concerns. The objective of this experiment was to determine the efficacy of sol id waste compost from Miami, Dade County, Florida as a propagation medium for vegetative reproduction of ornamental and landscape plants.

Cuttings of Podocarpus macrophylla, Chrysobalanus icaro, and Impatiens spp. 1-13 cm long, treated with .2% NAA ppm IBA were rooted in media composed of sphagnum peatmoss: perlite (1:1) or Agrisoil (TM) solid waste compost: perlite (1:). Cutting rooted well in both media. Data included number of roots and root weight.

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Matt Welch and D.L. Creech

The poultry industry is a $1 billion industry in Texas, with most production centered in eastern Texas. The nursery industry is a $600 million industry, with 25% of the producers located in eastern Texas. With hundreds of millions of birds produced each year, and each bird producing ≈2 lb of manure, waste disposal is a growing problem. Composted poultry litter was mixed with composted pine bark to create five media with varying percentages of poultry litter as a component: 0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, and 40%. A randomized complete-block design was used with poultry litter rates as main plots and plant species tested as subplots. Five species included: tomato, marigold, Cortaderia selloana, Asian jasmine, and Salvia leucantha. Prior to planting, all 1-gal containers were leached with 1000 ml of water, the leachate collected, and tested for conductivity. Plant growth measurements to be presented include plant height and dry weight. The results of media and leaf tissue nutrient analysis will be presented.

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B.K. Behe, L.V. Purvis, C.H. Gilliam, and J.O. Donald

Increased consumer demand for poultry products has created a poultry waste disposal problem. Previous research demonstrated that a growing medium containing 50% composted broiler litter sustained plant growth as well as commercially available alternatives with no objectionable odor. The objective of this research was to determine consumer perceptions to develop a marketing strategy for this product. One-hundred eighty consumers participated in an intercept-survey. Consumers rated fertility of the growing medium as the most important attribute (4.0 on 5.0 scale), followed by mix price (3.8), and color (3.4). “Organic gardening” was important to 82% while the addition of organic material to a growing medium was important to only 56% of the sample. Adding cow manure to a growing medium was desirable to more consumers (65%) than adding horse (39%) or poultry manure (40%). A marketing strategy should include “organic” terminology rather than a specific manure incorporated to deemphasize the negative perception of composted broiler litter.

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B. Rosie Lerner

The general public is in need of education regarding the responsible use of pesticides in home gardens. A 1990 California survey indicated that many individuals never read product labels and do not follow safety precautions when applying pesticides. A 1991 EPA study found that the most frequently detected pesticide in well water was a breakdown product of DCPA, a commonly used herbicide on home lawns. A 1988-89 National Gardening Survey found that 39% of US households purchased pesticide products. Excerpts of a video tape titled “Read the Label”, which specifically targets the home gardening audience, will be presented. Because the subject of pesticide safety may be of little intrinsic interest to gardeners, actors were hired to lend a bit of light humor. Highlights feature Gordon Guardian, the Gardening Angel, who comes to Earth to guide Beth Homeowner through the proper selection, use. hazards, storage, and disposal of pesticides. Production methods, funding and budgeting of the video will also be discussed.

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S. D. Verkade and G. E. Fitzpatrick

The availability of organic components of potting media is limited due to supply and shipping costs. Disposal of solid waste has also become a serious problem for many municipalities. The utilization of solid waste compost in agricultural production promises to be a solution for both concerns. The objective of this experiment was to determine the efficacy of sol id waste compost from Miami, Dade County, Florida as a propagation medium for vegetative reproduction of ornamental and landscape plants.

Cuttings of Podocarpus macrophylla, Chrysobalanus icaro, and Impatiens spp. 1-13 cm long, treated with .2% NAA ppm IBA were rooted in media composed of sphagnum peatmoss: perlite (1:1) or Agrisoil (TM) solid waste compost: perlite (1:). Cutting rooted well in both media. Data included number of roots and root weight.

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Jean-Yves Daigle

The general population is constantly reminded of the need to adopt a more environmental-friendly approach to waste disposal on all scales. Commercial fishing generates large proportions of waste, ranging from 40% to more than 80% of the catch! The objective of conserving the nutrients and other organic values contained in this type of waste is unlikely to be fully met by bulking for aerobic composting with materials of low buffering capacity, such as straw or wood wastes. However, the capacity of peat for deodorizing of decomposing organic wastes as well as its high buffering capacity has been well demonstrated. This presentation shows how the incorporation of sphagnum peatmoss in a composting process contributes significantly to the production of a valuable organic soil amendment.

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L.P. Brandenberger and R.P. Wiedenfeld

Bare soil, 13 different polyethylene mulching films, and K-Mulch kenaf paper film were compared to one another for use in early spring production of cantaloupe melons. The mulching treatments were applied to the top of raised beds spaced 200 cm apart in late January and seed of the cantaloupe variety Cruiser were planted in early February. Treatments were replicated five times in a complete randomized block design. Plots were irrigated throughout the season utilizing a drip irrigation system. Crop responses to mulches throughout the growing season were determined by measuring vine growth, fruit yield, Fruit quality and earliness. Mulch tensile strength was determined throughout the season, and ease of cleanup and disposal were evaluated after the growing season. Differences were recorded for treatments particularly regarding ease of cleanup.

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M. Laganière, P. Lecomte, and Y. Desjardins

In Quebec, commercial sod is produced on >3000 ha. Generally, ≈20 months are required to produce market-ready sod. When conditions are suitable, harvest of marketable sod is possible within a year. However, intensive management may result in soil compaction and a reduction of the organic matter content. Considering the increasing amount of amendment available, sod production fields could be interesting for their disposal. In this study, visual quality and sod root growth was examined following an application of an organic amendment at 50, 100, and 150 t·ha–1, incorporated to depth of 6 or 20 cm. Plots established on a sandy soil receiving organic amendments had higher visual quality ratings. Bulk density was significantly reduced following compost or paper sludge application to a heavy soil. The shearing strength required to tear sod amended with compost was significantly higher in comparison with control and paper sludge treatments.