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James L. Green, James A. Robbins, and Bruce A. Briggs

A closed, insulated, pallet production system (CIPPS) has been designed to meet current challenges: 1) Elimination of production related pollution. 2) Reduction and conservation of resources. 3) Improvement of working conditions. 4) Alternatives to pesticides. 5) Prevention of temperature extremes and rapid temperature fluctuations in the plant environment. Biological feasibility of CIPPS was established in research on pathogen epidemiology, water and fertilize efficiency, plant growth and development in CIPPS. Water and fertilizer ion movement-removal in the closed system was plant-driven in response to growth and transpiration; water and fertilizer use in CIPS was 10% of that applied to open containers. Growth of 28 plant species ranging from herbaceous annuals to woody perennials was greater in CIPPS than in control, individual containers. Phytophthora cinnamomi did not spread from inoculated to noninoculated plants within CIPPS. Inoculation with nonpathogenic bacteria increased plant growth (gfw) in CIPPS but not in open plant containers.

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Gary W. Knox, Fred Burkey, and Christine Kelly-Begazo

The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program (FYN) provides special educational and outreach activities directed at the community to help Floridians reduce pollution and enhance their environment by improving landscape management. The Commercial Landscape Industry Professionals program (CLIP) was developed to provide training in FYN principles to Florida's landscape professionals. CLIP was pilot-tested from 1997 to 1999 in the six-county Indian River Lagoon area of coastal east-central Florida. Teaching resources, audiovisuals, teaching outlines, and reference materials were developed to create an FYN/CLIP curriculum, which was delivered to landscape maintenance personnel through a series of training programs. In addition, the pilot program developed marketing approaches, incentives, and recognition programs for landscape professionals to encourage their participation in CLIP training programs. Evaluations of training programs and results of pre- and post-test questionnaires demonstrate the effectiveness of the FYN/CLIP program.

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W.H. Tietjen, J. Grande, P.J. Nitzsche, T. Manning, and E. Dager

Remote areas of the United States and developing nations depend on either electric grid extension or diesel power for operating crop irrigation systems. However, electric grid extension is expensive and often impractical. Diesel pumps are expensive, polluting, and require maintenance to operate. Utilizing the energy of the sun, captured by photovoltaic panels, to power irrigation systems offers a cost-effective, pollution-free, and maintenance-free alternative. Solar-powered pumping systems are capable of delivering water from rivers or wells in volumes up to 2000 gal/min. Combining solar power with drip irrigation takes advantage of the natural coincidence of peak energy from the sun and the crop's peak need for water. In 1999, cabbage was grown comparing solar and conventionally powered drip irrigation systems at the Rutgers Univ. Snyder Research and Extension Farm, Pittstown, N.J. The solar system was operated by a 1.5-horsepower motor powered by 18 solar modules.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton and Deron R. A. Peach

Land application and landfilling are the most common destination for biosolids in the United States. When properly treated and managed in accordance with the existing state and federal regulations and standards, biosolids are safe for the environment and human health. Application of biosolids in vegetable production as an organic amendment to soils can increase plant growth and produce comparable crop yields with less inorganic nutrients than a standard program of commercial synthetic fertilizers. No application rate of treated biosolids alone will produce crop yields equivalent to commercial fertilizers. Biosolids may be used in conjunction with fertilizer thus lessening the application rate required. The major obstacles to public acceptance are issues concerning water pollution, risk of human disease, and odors. Additionally, heavy metals are an issue of bias with public perception. To ensure safe use of biosolids to a vegetable production systems the agronomic rate (nutrient requirement of the vegetable crop grown) should be calculated before application for the specific crop.

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D.R. Earhart, V.A. Haby, M.L. Baker, and A.T. Leonard

Primary environmental concerns regarding application of poultry litter (PL) for crop production are nitrate leaching into ground water and increased levels of P in the soil that can erode into surface water. This study was initiated to investigate use of warm- and cool-season annual forage crops to remove excess nutrients supplied by PL in rotational-cropping systems on a Bowie fine sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Plinthic Paleudults). PL was applied at one (1×) or two (2×) times the recommended rate in the spring, fall, or spring and fall. Rates were based on N requirement of the crop and percent N in the litter. Comparisons were made to fertilizer blends (FB) and control treatments with no PL or FB. After 3 years of treatments, NO3-N increased at the 122-cm depth by 30 and 50 mg·kg–1 from the 1× and 2× rate, respectively. The greatest accumulation was from FB (72 mg·kg–1). With PL applied in spring only, spring vegetables followed by a fall cover showed a significant reduction in NO3-N leaching and accumulation. Regardless of cropping system, rate, or time of application, P concentration increased by 40 mg·kg–1 in the surface 15 cm of soil when compared to FB. If applied in an environmentally sound manner, PL will be less of a threat to pollution of ground water than similar rates of FB. Applying PL rates sufficient to meet crop needs for N results in P accumulation that can lead to nonpoint source pollution of surface waters.

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P.R. Johnstone and T.K. Hartz*

Heavy P fertilization in the Salinas Valley of California has increased soil P concentration to levels of environmental concern. To determine the correlation of various soil test procedures with P pollution potential from agricultural land in this region, soil was collected from 30 fields, most in long-term vegetable rotations. Soils were analyzed for bicarbonate-extractable P (Pbc), calcium chloride-extractable P (Pcc), bio-available P (Pba, by an anion-resin membrane technique), and %P saturation (Psat, by an enrichment technique). The soils were then exposed to a simulated irrigation event, and soluble P concentration in runoff determined. In a separate experiment the effect of cover cropping on sediment and soluble P concentration in runoff was investigated; containers of six soils were planted with oats (Horteum vulgare L.), and then compared to containers of fallow soil. Pcc, Pba and Psat were all highly correlated (r = 0.86, 0.89 and 0.90, respectively) with Pbc, which ranged from 15-177 mg·kg-1. Soluble P concentration in runoff was highly correlated with all measures of P status (r = 0.98, 0.93, 0.85 and 0.83 for Pcc, Pba, Psat and Pbc, respectively). These results suggest that while Pbc, the standard agronomic measure of soil P status, is a useful indicator of P pollution potential, Pcc (a simple laboratory procedure that could be adapted as an on-farm `quick test' technique) may be superior for that purpose. Across soils, cover cropping reduced soluble P concentration in run-off by 41%, and sediment in the runoff by 85%.

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Deborah M. Shuping and Jeffrey D. Zahner

Water conservation is making journal headlines nationwide because of drought, contamination, pollution, and over development. While the idea of xeriscaping began in the Western United States where landscapes can be truly dry, many water-saving principles apply to the Southeast, where home moisture problems and pest problems associated with moisture are a major problem. A year of drought maybe followed by three years of plentiful rainfall, and conditions are significantly different from the semi-arid regions of the country to which most of the present literature on water conservation is directed.

The purpose of this project was to provide information on water conservation to designers, landscape industry personnel, and homeowners in the Southeast. This was done by compiling recommendations based on research being conducted by professionals in building science, forestry, horticulture, entomology and landscape architecture.

An educational tool addressing the pressing national problem of water conservation with a regional emphasis, this project was designed to help readers increase landscape water efficiency by 30 to 50% while lowering maintenance costs and insuring greater survivability of landscape plants in times of water shortage. Through careful planning and design, economically attractive and aesthetically sound water conserving landscapes can be created.

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Kris L. Wilder, J. M. Hart, Arthur Poole, and David D. Myrold

Little work has been done to establish the rate and timing of nitrogen fertilizer applications to optimize return from fertilizer expenditures and minimize potential for ground and surface water pollution in Oregon cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Predicting cranberry N requirements is difficult because cranberries require little N and soil tests for N are not helpful for perennial crops, especially when grown in shallow sandy soils. We used 15N-labeled ammonium sulfate to measure both plant uptake and movement of fertilizer N in a south coastal Oregon cranberry bed. A bed planted to the Stevens variety was fertilized with 15N-labelled ammonium sulfate at two rates (18 kg/ha and 36 kg/ha) applied at five phonological stages: popcorn, hook, flowering, early bud, and late bud. Plant N uptake and translocation were measured throughout the growing season in uprights, flowers, berries, and roots, Initial results indicate that when N was applied at popcorn stage approximately 12% of the N was present in the above-ground vegetative biomass at harvest. Incorporation of fertilizer N into the duff and mineral soil was measured. An estimate of fertilizer N leaching was made by trapping inorganic N below the root zone using ion exchange resin bags.

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Dariusz Swietlik

The public is increasingly concerned with the danger of ground water pollution with fertilizer nitrogen and other chemicals. This is because slow water movement in underground aquifers assures the long lasting existence of contaminants. Citrus orchards commonly are heavily fertilized with nitrogen and other mineral nutrients. Fertigation through a low volume irrigation system is a promising new method of efficient use of fertilizer materials because it places mineral nutrients only in the wetted zones where roots are most active. Preliminary studies in Texas indicate that applying nitrogen fertilizers through a low volume irrigation system is a potentially powerful tool in minimizing N fertilizer leaching. When coupled with partial sodding in close tree proximity further reductions in NO3 leaching may be achieved presumably through uptake into the cover plants and/or indirectly by enhancing biological fixation in the soil. Other potential benefits of frequent N fertigations in citrus orchards will also be discussed based on the experimental data collected in various parts of the world.

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Winand K. Hock

One of the major misconceptions in contemporary society is the widespread belief that our food supply is unsafe. The public's perception of risk is quite different than scientific assessment of risk. While scientists see microbial contamination as the key issue (100 to 10,000X greater risk than from exposure to pesticide residues), consumers appear to be most concerned about the effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in the food they buy. Consumers equate “synthetic” with harmful or bad and “natural” with safe or good, yet they ignore the fact that 99.9% of all pesticides humans are exposed to are naturally occurring. Americans eat approximately 1.5 g. of natural pesticides per person per day, or about 10,000 times more than synthetic pesticide residues. Although few plant toxins have been tested for carcinogenicity so far, of those tested about half are rodent carcinogens. Contrary to public perception, environmental pollution accounts for only 2% of all cancers. By contrast, smoking, diet and other personal lifestyle choices account for more than 75%.