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M.E. Stanghellini and Z.A. El-Hamalawi

Shore flies (Scatella stagnalis) have been implicated as an aerial vector of several soilborne plant pathogens of greenhouse crops. A strain of Beauveria bassiana (Bb), isolated from a shore fly cadaver, was evaluated as a biopesticide for the control of shore flies. Bb was grown on autoclaved millet seed for 2 weeks, air-dried at 24°C for 7 days and stored in paper bags. Dried Bb-colonized millet seeds were broadcast on the surface of pots containing potting medium naturally-infested with larvae and pupae or pots infested only with adult flies. Controls consisted of insect-infested pots amended with autoclaved millet seeds. Pots of the same treatment were placed in insect-proof screen cages. At daily intervals for 15 days, adult fly populations were recorded in each cage. In cages initially containing only larvae and pupae, adult fly populations in the control (no Bb) treatment reached a final population of 70 adults on day 15. In contrast only two adult flies were observed in the Bb-treatment. In cages containing only adult shore flies, the entire population was dead within 10 to 12 days in the Bb-treatment. In the absence of Bb, 65% of the initial population of adults was still alive on day 12.

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Shravan K. Dasoju and Brian E. Whipker

Pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus cv. `Pacino') were fertigated on ebband-fl ow benches with 100 or 200 mg·liter–1 of N to determine the influence of fertility level on plant growth and postharvest quality in interior conditions. The fertilization rates were held constant from potting until day 45, then the fertilization rates were continued, decreased, or ceased on day 45 and day 55, giving a combination of nine fertilization subtreatments. At bloom, the number of days from potting to flowering, plant height, plant diameter, flower diameter were recorded, and the root medium of five replicates per treatment were analyzed to determine the nutrient status. Five replicates of each treatments also were moved into interior conditions with artificial lighting and were graded 5, 10, and 15 days after moving to evaluate the postharvest quality. There was no significant difference among fertilizer treatments for the number of days to flower, plant height, or flower diameter. Plants fertilized with 100 mg·liter–1 N from potting until day 45, in combination with a ceasing of fertilization on day 55, had significantly better plant grades when compared to plants grown with 200 mg·liter–1 N. Plants fertigated with 100 mg·liter–1 N also had a longer postharvest life and the number of days before the flowers wilted were significantly longer. Good-quality plants with longer postharvest life were produced with 100 mg·liter–1 N and by terminating fertilization 55 days after potting.

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Thomas H. Boyle, Lyle E. Craker, and James E. Simon

Plants of rosemary [Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)] were grown in pots containing a soilless (1 sphagnum peat:1 perlite) or soil-based (1 sphagnum peat: 1 perlite:1 field soil) growing medium and fertilized with either 12N-5.2P-12.5K controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) at 9.0 g/pot; constant liquid fertilization (LF) with 20N4.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter; constant LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot; weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter; or weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot. Constant LF plus CRF generally reduced plant height and depressed shoot fresh weight relative to other fertilizer regimes. Essential oil content was highest in plants receiving weekly LF. Plants grown in the soil-based mix were shorter, shoot fresh and dry weight tended to be lower, and essential oil yield was higher when compared to plants grown in the soilless mix. Satisfactory growth was obtained in both media when rosemary plants were fertilized with 12N-5.2P-12.5K CRF at 9.0 g/pot or weekly LF with 20N<.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter.

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James H. Aldrich and Jeffrey G. Norcini

The response of the root system of `Barbara Karst' bougainvillea [Bougainvillea buttiana (Bougainvillea glabra Choicy × Bougainvillea peruviana Humb. & Bonpl.) `Barbara Karst'] cuttings to 100 g Cu(OH)2·liter-1 in a white latex paint applied to the interior surface of square 66 ml, 120 ml, or 280 ml plastic pots was determined. Cuttings (10 cm long; 3-5 nodes; 2 leaves) were scored on opposite sides and dipped in 6000 mg·liter-1 KIBA for 3 sec. The cuttings were placed in treated or untreated pots that contained a medium of 1 Canadian sphagnum peat: 1 coarse perlite (v/v). The pots were completely randomized in a 3×2 factorial design. The cuttings were rooted under intermittent mist 9 sec·min-1 for 12 hr·day-1 in a greenhouse (20% shade). The number of primary roots, fresh and dry weights, and root quality were determined 15 June. The Cu(OH)2-treated pots resulted in a more compact, well-branched root system and eliminated root circling. However, root fresh weight was reduced by Cu(OH)2 treatment. Pot size influenced the number of primary roots and fresh and dry weights.

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Harvey J. Lang

Analysts of potting media for pH and electrical conductivity (EC) can be a useful tool for monitoring the nutritional status of greenhouse grown plants. This research examined the variability associated with procedures involved in the determination of pH and EC in greenhouse potting media. Three commonly used methods, the 1:5 dilution, the 1:2 dilution and the saturated media extract, were examined on several different commercial potting media. Because of the different dilution volumes used, there were significant differences in pH and EC between the three methods for all media tested. Within each method, results varied baaed on whether readings were taken in the slurry, solution phase, or extract, with extracts resulting in consistently higher pH, but lower EC values. There was a significant effect of medium-solution equilibration time on both pH and EC, with variability decreasing after 30 minutes of equilibration. Samples taken from the upper half of pots had higher EC readings than those collected from the bottom half of pots only on plants fertilized with N concentrations greater than 200 ppm. There was also slight variability between the different calibrated instruments used in determining pH and EC. Details of each study along with grower recommendations will be discussed.

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V.M. Russo

The efficacy of using potting media and fertilizers that are alternatives to conventional materials to produce vegetable transplants needs clarification. Bell pepper, onion and watermelon seed were sown in Container Mix, Lawn and Garden Soil, and Potting Soil, which can be used for organic production in greenhouse transplant production. The alternative media were amended with a 1× rate of Sea Tea liquid fertilizer. Comparisons were made to a system using a conventional potting medium, Reddi-Earth, fertilized with a half-strength (0.5×) rate of a soluble synthetic fertilizer (Peters). Watermelon, bell pepper and onion seedlings were lifted at 3, 6, and 8 weeks, respectively, and heights and dry weights determined. Watermelon were sufficiently vigorous for transplanting regardless of which medium and fertilizer was used. Bell pepper and onion at the scheduled lifting were sufficiently vigorous only if produced with conventional materials. Additional experiments were designed to determine the reason(s) for the weaker seedlings when the alternative products were used. Seedlings maintained in transplant trays, in which media amended weekly with Sea Tea were required to be held for up to an additional 34 days before being vigorous enough for transplanting. Six-week-old bell pepper, or 8-week-old onion, seedlings were transferred to Reddi-Earth in pots and supplied with Sea Tea or Peters fertilizer. Bell pepper treated with Peters were taller and heavier, but onions plants were similar in height and weight regardless of fertilizer used. Other pepper seed were planted in Reddi-Earth and fertilized weekly with Sea Tea at 0.5×, 1×, 2×, or 4× the recommended rate, or the 0.5× rate of Peters. There was a positive linear relationship between seedling height and dry weight for seedlings treated with increasing rates of Sea Tea. Other pepper seed were planted in to Potting Soil, or an organically certified potting medium (Sunshine), and fertilized with a 2× or 4× rate of Sea Tea or a 1×, 2×, or 4× rate of an organic fertilizer (Rocket Fuel), or in Reddi-Earth fertilized with a 0.5× rate of Peters. There was a positive linear relationship between the rate of Rocket Fuel and heights and dry weights of bell pepper seedlings. However, even at the highest rate seedlings were not equivalent to those produced with conventional practices. Plants treated with the 4× rate of Sea Tea were similar to those produced using conventional materials. Use of Sunshine potting medium and the 4× rate of Sea Tea will produce bell pepper seedlings equivalent in height and dry weight to those produced using conventional materials. The 4× rate of Rocket Fuel used in Sunshine potting medium will produce adequate bell pepper seedlings. The original poor showing of seedlings in the alternative potting media appears to be due to fertilization with Sea Tea at a rate that does not adequately support seedling development.

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E.R.M. Wickremesinhe, W.J. Blackmon, and B.D. Reynolds

Shoots were regenerated from callus of Apios americana Medikus (apios, groundnut) using internodal explants from in vitro-germinated seedlings and from sprouted tubers on a modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium. Shoot regeneration was observed over a range of 2iP and IBA combinations. GA3 increased the number of shoots regenerated per epicotyl explant. The most efficient regeneration (≈90%) was with internodal epicotyl explants on 100 μm 2iP, 0.5 μm IBA, and 1.5 μm GA3. Regenerated shoots were rooted on liquid and solid MS medium with 0.5 μm IBA; however, rooting was more successful on the liquid medium. About 60% of rooted plants were successfully established in pots. Chemical names used: N-(3-methyl2-butenyl)-1 H-purin-6-amine (2iP), 1 H-indole-3-butanoic acid (IBA), gibberellic acid (G A3).

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Jung Eek Son, Sung Kyu Kim, Sung Bong Oh, and Yin Ji Lu

The uptake of water and nutrient in potted plants is greatly affected by irrigation conditions, and it influences the plant growth. This study aimed to examine the correlations between basic environmental parameters and plant growth in potted plants (kalanchoe) and to develop the models for adequate irrigation control. Growth chambers were developed for the experiments, and four levels of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) were treated by using different numbers of shading films and lamps. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana cv. New Alter, grown in the nutrient-flow wick culture (NFW) system, was used. The 7-cm pots were filled with a 7:3 mixture of peat moss and perlite medium (v/v). The initial water content was set at about 26%. A total of 150 pots and plants with different growth stage were prepared for 4 weeks. A wick [12 × 1 cm (L × W)] was used in each pot. Leaf areas of plants and surface areas of the medium were analyzed by a plant image analysis system. For measuring the water losses of plants and pots during the growth stage, the initial water content of the substrates was maintained at about 55%. Water losses were measured at 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17 hours for all experiment periods by using an electron balance. Two models were developed for estimating water losses by evapotranspiration and water intake by water absorption. Finally, a model for estimating water content in the medium was tried. Growth and environment parameters showed high correlations with transpiration and evaporation, respectively. There was an interactive effect of VPD and PPF on the change of evapotranspiration. The amount of absorption was increased by time and decreased with increase of initial water content.

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Wenhao Dai and Cielo Castillo

, Buddleia davidii ‘Potters Purple’ and Buddleia ‘Lochinch’, were used in this study. In vitro cultures were provided by Peter Podaras at Cornell University and subcultured every 4 weeks in Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium ( Murashige and Skoog, 1962

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Jianjun Chen, Yingfeng Huang, Zhen Yang, Russell D. Caldwell, and Cynthia A. Robinson

Containerized ornamental plant production represents extremely intensive agricultural production. An average of 200,000 containers may occupy 1 acre of surface area, to which a large amount of chemical fertilizers will be applied. Because of the use of high-drainage soilless potting mixes coupled with excessive fertigation, a great amount of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, are leached, which increases the potential for ground and surface water contamination. Over the past 2 decades, research has been centered on developing fertigation delivery systems such as nutrient film techniques, ebb-and-flow and capillary mat systems, for reducing leaching. Relatively limited research has been conducted on improving potting medium substrates to minimize nutrient leaching. The objectives of this study were to determine the adsorption isotherm of six different zeolites to ammonium, nitrate and phosphorus, identify and incorporate desired zeolites in a peat/bark-based medium for reducing nutrient leaching in ornamental plant production. Results indicated that the zeolites possess great holding capacities for ammonium, nitrate, and phosphorus. Compared to control, ammonium leaching was reduced 70% to 90%, phosphorus 30% to 80% and nitrate 0% to 60% depending on zeolite species and quantity used per pot. Zeolite amended media caused no adverse effects on plant growth. Conversely, biomass increased significantly when compared to that of the control.