Managers and employees of landscape maintenance and lawn care industry (LM/LC) applying pesticides can prevent pollution. Adequate information about application of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and nematicides is a prerequisite for proper application. A survey, prepared by an interdisciplinary research team “Ornamentals Working Group,” was implemented in 1994 to Atlanta metro area firms. The gross return rate was 25.4%. The majority of respondents had 10 or fewer years of experience in providing landscape services; had at least 13 years of schooling; and were in their thirties or forties. The categorical nature of dependent variables suggested ordered probit procedure as the statistical estimation method. Independent variables included characteristics of the respondent, firm characteristics, and information sources about the application of a specific pesticide. Extension and research personnel and commercial representatives were important information sources about insecticide and fungicide application. The use of all three sources of information by the LM/LC industry seems to depend on pesticide type, with commercial representatives, and extension and research personnel often acting as complementary information sources.
Wojciech J. Florkowski, Carol Robacker, and Paul Thomas
Yuan-ling P. Lin, E. Jay Holocomb, and Jonathan P. Lynch
Soilless growing media are used extensively in the greenhouse, especially for the potted plant production. Unlike soil having a phosphorus (P)-fixing ability, soilless media allows greater P leaching from the media. Leaching of excess P results in inefficient fertilizer utilization and effluent pollution. In hydroponic and sand-culture systems, alumina adsorbed with P (P-alumina) has been developed as a P source to maintain buffered P concentrations in nutrient solutions. This P-alumina has not been used with soilless media; however, it may have a potential of serving as a P source for plant growth and a P buffer to alleviate P leaching in soilless media. Marigolds were grown in soilless media (peat moss: vermiculite: sand=2:2:1, v/v/v) with P-alumina at various concentrations being substituted for sand. These marigolds were fertilized with a nutrient solution containing no additional P, while the control was fertilized with complete nutrient solution. In four cultivars of marigolds, me P-alumina treatments produced comparable or superior growth and floral production compared to plants provided with complete nutrient solutions or conventional fertilizer. 70% of applied P was leached in conventional treatments compared to only 2% in the P-alumina treatments.
Zhongchun Jiang, W. Michael Sullivan, Carl D. Sawyer, and Richard J. Hull
Turfgrass cultivars that have superior nitrate uptake ability are needed for the protection of ground water from pollution by excess nitrate. Information on temporal variation of nitrate absorption is also needed to enhance the environmental safety of turfgrass N fertilization programs. Our objectives were to evaluate Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars for their differences in nitrate uptake rate (NUR) and temporal variation in NUR. Six cultivars (Barzan, Blacksburg, Connie, Dawn, Eclipse, and Gnome) were propagated from individual tillers and six plants of each cultivar were generated from one mother plant. Plants were grown in silica sand, mowed weekly, and watered daily with half-strength modified Hoagland's nutrient solution containing 1 mM nitrate. When 5 months old, the plants were excavated, the roots were washed to remove sand, and the plants were transferred to 120-mL black bottles. After 24 hours in tap water, the plants were supplied with half-strength nutrient solution containing 0.5 mM nitrate, and the solutions were replaced daily for 8 days. NURs expressed as micromoles per plant per hour were calculated from solution nitrate depletion data. Significant genotypic differences in NUR were found: `Blacksburg' > `Connie' > `Dawn' > `Barzan' = `Eclipse' > `Gnome'. Significant temporal variation in NUR was also found, with NUR on the second day more than the first day after tap water. A significant interaction was noted between genotype and time. Temporal variation was greatest in `Blacksburg', while none noted in `Connie' and `Eclipse'. In `Barzan' and `Gnome', NUR on the last day was higher than the first day.
Shumin Li, Nihal C. Rajapakse, and Ryu Oi
Growth chamber experiments were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of several photoselective plastic films in controlling height of `Sweet Success' cucumber, `Mt. Pride' tomato, and `Capistrano' bell pepper transplants. Four types of treatment films; a control, two far-red light intercepting films (YXE-1 and YXE-10), and a red light intercepting film (SXE-1), with R: FR ratios of 1.0, 2.0, 1.6, and 0.8, respectively, were used as the covering materials of experimental chambers. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) was adjusted to be the same in all chambers with cheese cloth. Treatment period for cucumber and tomato was 15 days and that for bell pepper was 20 days. At the end of the treatment, significantly shorter plants were found in both YXE-1 and YXE-10 chambers for all the three tested crops. However, YXE-10 was more effective than YXE-1 in producing compact cucumber, tomato and bell pepper transplants. SXE-4 film produced taller plants than control film. Magnitude of response to filtered light varied with the crop species. Number of leaves was not significantly affected by the light transmitted through photoselective filters, indicating that the height reduction was mainly caused by the reduction in internode length. With the commercial development of photoselective greenhouse covers or shade material in the near future, nursery and greenhouse industry could potentially reduce the cost for growth regulating chemicals, reduce the health risks to their workers and consumers, and reduce environmental pollution.
The gradient concept is designed with a soluble source of N–K banded on the soil bed surface in conjunction with a continuing source of water that synchronizes the nutrient–water input with rate of removal by the root. By placing the N–K on the surface rather than conventionally in the bed, nutrient movement to the root shifts from mass flow to diffusion. Nutrients that move by mass flow are a function of water requirement and potentially a source of nutritional instability. With the shift to movement by diffusion, nutrients move independently of the water to replace those removed from the gradient by the root. The gradient with a continuing nutritional stability replaces the variable and limited stability potential of the soil. Commercial tomato yields in Florida more than doubled with the shift to the gradient-mulch procedure. A containerized version of the concept (The EarthBox™) has been most successful for the home gardener and substantiates the validity of the gradient. Most innovative procedures with the gradient as the buffer component minimize pollution, require minimal management, and use minimal water with microirrigation or an enclosed system. To better understand the gradient concept and utilize the procedure, it may be necessary to consider the procedure as a nutritional paradigm shift.
Mary Lamberts and Judy Nothdurft
Southeastern Florida is underlain by the Biscayne Aquifer, an officially designated “drinking water quality aquifer.” This is the sole source of water for the more than 3.5 million residents of metropolitan Miami-Fort Lauderdale. Due to the unique nature of the soils in southern Dade County, Fla., most agricultural wells for both irrigation and mix-load activities have been exempt from casing and capping requirements. Wells associated with U-Pic stands need to be capped if children are allowed in fields. The county's Dept. of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) began a study of mix-load wells in the late 1980s. They concluded that surface materials, including agrichemicals, could drain directly into the aquifer. This was particularly true in vegetable fields because most are on leased land. In the mid 1990s, a program to develop voluntary guidelines to retrofit these mix-load wells was begun. Several growers met with DERM, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Extension, to finalize three basic designs. Extension hosted meetings and reviewed the brochure describing the retrofit program. In 1996, one area came under close scrutiny by the U.S. EPA for potential point-source pollution. These growers were made aware of the program and have retrofitted at least 95% of the wells in the most environmentally sensitive area.
Zhiguo Ju, Yousheng Duan, and Zhiqiang Ju
In China, one of the most serious problems to fruit growers is too much vegetative growth and too many pests and diseases during the growing season. Therefore, a large number of growth regulators, pesticides, and fungicides are used each year, which increases production costs and causes environmental pollution. To reduce the usage of agrochemicals, a device was invented to confine the treated area. Instead of applying chemicals directly to leaves, which may have reduced the efficiency by washing or UV degradation, the chemicals were injected directly to the truck of trees and transported through the xylem to the target organ, the leaf. Results showed that, to reach the same level of control, using plant regulators such as paclobutrazol, gibberellins, and ascorbic acid, the amount used could be reduced by 50% to 80%. The use of fungicides such as captan and diazinon could be reduced by 35% to 60%, and the use of pesticides such as vendex could be reduced by as much as 50%. Compared with the conventional method, the injection method showed three advantages: 1) It is economical in that production costs were reduced by about 40%, 2) It is efficient in that the same level of control was achieved using less chemicals (Due to the small acreage cultivated by family growers in China, the device could be installed within days and chemicals could be applied within hours.), 3) It is environmentally friendly because chemicals were not released throughout the orchard.
Marsha Ann Bower, David H. Trinklein, and John M. Brown
Recent trends in greenhouse container production suggest using ebb and flow irrigation for water conservation and pollution control. A major problem in this system is management of soil borne pathogens. Some species of Trichoderma, a beneficial fungi, are known to control Pythium and Phytopthora in container production. This study investigates the potential of applying a Trichoderma conidial spore suspension in an ebb and flow irrigation system. Trichoderma conidia were collected from culture and placed in 101 l stock solution tanks at 10-2 and 10-4 colony forming units (CFU) per ml. Six inch container grown Dendranthema grandiflora `Delano', were irrigated as needed. To determine Trichoderma density in the root environment, soil samples were acquired from the container at 7 day intervals. Results showed that initial population densities of 10-4 CFU/ml were required to achieve adequate container populations to control disease after one irrigation. This study successfully demonstrated that Trichoderma could be dispersed through irrigation water into container plants in an ebb and flow system.
Donald J. Merhaut and Julie P. Newman
Lilies are produced throughout the year in coastal areas of California.
Cultural practices involve daily applications of water and fertilizer, using both controlled release fertilizers (CRF) and liquid fertilizers (LF). However, many production facilities are in proximity to coastal wetlands and are therefore at greater risk of causing nitrogen pollution via runoff and leaching. Due to federal and state regulations, nurseries must present a plan of best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate nutrient runoff and leaching and begin implementing these practices in the next 2 years. In the following studies, we determined the potential for nitrate leaching from four different types of substrates (coir, coir: peat, peat, and native soil). There were four replications of each treatment, with a replication consisting of one crate planted with 25 bulbs. Two cultivars were used in two separate experiments, `Star Fighter' and `Casa Blanca'. Nitrate leaching was determined by placing an ion-exchange resin bag under each crate at the beginning of the study. After plant harvest (14–16 weeks), resin bags were collected and analyzed for nitrate content. Plant tissues were dried and ground and analyzed for nitrogen content. Based on the results of these studies, it appears that the use of coir, peat, and soil may not influence plant growth significantly. Substrate type may mitigate the amount of nitrate leaching through the media. However, the cultivar type may also influence the degree of nitrate mitigation, since leaching results varied between the two cultivars.
A gradient concept was initiated and evaluated at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Bradenton, during the 1960s as the nutritional component in a full-bed mulch system of production. Commercial tomato yields in Florida more than doubled with the shift to the gradient-mulch system. Conventionally, nutrients move to the root in the water by mass flow and thus are a function of water requirement. With the soil as the buffer component, nutrient input may or may not be synchronized with root removal. Movement with the gradient is by diffusion and the nutrient/water input is synchronized with rate of removal by the root. The limited buffer potential of the soil is replaced by the gradient with an unlimited buffer potential. Production in the field or a container has a maximum potential with the gradient procedure but can become limited in the field and a failure in the container with conventional procedure. The gradient requires minimal soil (a framework for the gradient) uses minimal water, creates minimal pollution, requires minimal management and provides a nutritional stability that has an unlimited productivity potential. The N–K banded on the soil bed surface in conjunction with a continuing water supply are the basic parameters of the gradient concept.