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Marc van Iersel

Salvia splendens `Top burgundy' was grown in pots of different sizes (5, 50, 150, and 450 mL) to assess the effect of rooting volume on the growth and development of salvia. Seeds were planted in a peat-lite growing medium and plants grown in a greenhouse during the winter and spring of 1996. Plants were spaced far enough apart to minimize mutual shading and interplant light competition. Plants were harvested at weekly intervals and shoot and root dry mass and leaf area were measured. Relative growth rate (RGR) and net assimilation rate were calculated from these data. Differences in plant size became evident at 25 days after seeding. A small pot size (5 mL) decreased root and shoot dry mass, RGR, and NAR, while increasing the root:shoot ratio. Differences between the pot sizes became more apparent during the course of the experiment. The observation that root: shoot ratio decreased with increasing pot volume suggests that the decreased plant size in smaller pots was not the direct effect of reduced root size. Growth most likely was limited by the ability of the roots to supply the shoots with sufficient water and/or nutrients. Pot volume did not only affect the growth, but also the development of the plants. Salvia flowered faster in bigger pots (about 50 days after seeding in 450-mL pots), while the plants in 5-mL cells did not flower during the 9-week period of the experiment.

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Sandra A. Balch, Dick L. Auld, and Richard E. Durham

The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of utilizing composted municipal yard waste as a component of potting media, which is predominantly composed of peatmoss, a nonrenewable and increasingly expensive medium. Green Comet broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica group) was grown in five ratios (1:0, 1:2, 1:3, and 0:1) of composted yard waste: commercial soilless potting medium. Plant heights were recorded weekly. At the end of 6 weeks, measurements were taken on plant height, fresh weight, dry weight, and root: shoot ratios. Media leachate was tested for pH and soluble salt levels. Germination tests were run using the same potting mix ratios. Percent germination and seedling survivability were recorded. Results show that yard waste compost can be used as a component of potting media, although seed germination and seedling growth are inhibited at high compost levels.

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E.A. Guertal, B.K. Behe, and J.M. Kemble

The use of composted waste materials as an alternative source of potting media has received much interest in recent years. Our objective was to incorporate composted, ground poultry litter into a standard greenhouse potting mix, and evaluate the effect of the poultry litter on vegetable transplants grown in the greenhouse and transplanted to the field. Treatments consisted of potting mixes of 100% potting media or 50/50 media/poultry litter. Collards (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala DC.), broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica Plenck.), cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) and three tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cultivars were utilized as test crops. A nutrient solution treatment of 8 oz of 8N-11P-7K fertilizer or 8 oz of water was added when transplants were set in the field. Plant weight and nitrogen content were measured weekly during the greenhouse production stage, and final crop yield was recorded at harvest. Any effect from the inclusion of poultry litter in the potting media on cole crop (collards, broccoli, cabbage) transplant dry weight had disappeared by the fourth week of sampling in the greenhouse, and final yield of cole crops was unaffected by either type of potting mix or presence or absence of starter nutrient solution. Dry weight of tomato transplants was not affected by type of potting media. Differences in tomato yield due to type of potting mix were observed, as plots with transplants grown in the 50/50 mix had greater nonmarketable yields (`Bonnie' and `Big Boy'). Yield of `Big Boy' tomato was increased by the addition of starter nutrient solution. It appears that composted, uniformly prepared waste materials are suitable for production of vegetable transplants.

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Pinghai Ding*, Minggang Cui, and Leslie H. Fuchigami

Reserve nitrogen is an important factor for plant growth and fruiting performance in tree fruit crops. The fall foliar urea application appears to be an efficient method for increasing N reserves. The effect of fall foliar urea application on N reserves and fruiting performance were studied with four year old `Gala'/M26 trees grown in 20 gallon containers in a pot-in-pot system from 2001 to 2003 at the Lewis-Brown Horticulture Farm of Oregon State Univ.. The trees were either sprayed with 0 or 2 times 3% urea after harvest in October. Shoot and spur samples were taken at the dormant season for reserve N analysis. Fruit performance was recorded in the following growing season. The fall foliar application significantly increased spur N reserve and had the trend to increase shoot N reserve but not significantly. The fall foliar application significantly increased tree fruit set and cluster fruit set. With normal fruit thinning, fall foliar urea application has the trend to increase both tree yield and average fruit size; without fruit thinning, fall foliar urea application has the trend to increase tree yield. These results indicate that fall foliar urea application an effective method to increase reserve N for maintaining tree yield.

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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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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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Brian E. Whipker and Shravan Dasoju

Plant growth retardant (PGR) foliar spray treatments (mg•liter–1) of daminozide at 1000 to 16,000; paclobutrazol from 5 to 80; and uniconazole from 2 to 32 were applied to `Pacino' pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) to compare their effectiveness at chemical height control. When the first inflorescence opened, the number of days from seeding until flowering, total plant height measured from the pot rim to the top of the inflorescence, inflorescence diameter, and plant diameter were recorded. Total plant height, plant diameter, inflorescence diameter, and days until flowering were significant for the PGR treatment interaction. Marketable-sized plants grown in the 1.2-liter pots were produced with uniconazole concentrations between 16 and 32 mg•liter–1 or with daminozide concentrations between 4000 and 8000 mg•liter–1. Paclobutrazol foliar sprays up to 80 mg•liter–1 had little effect and higher concentrations or medium drench treatments should be considered.

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D.J. Norman, J.M.F. Yuen, and R.J. Henny

One cut-flower and 14 pot anthurium cultivars were screened for resistance to anthurium blight by spraying four isolates of Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae (McCulloch and Pirone) Dye onto leaf surfaces in replicated experiments. Varying degrees of resistance were observed among the 15 cultivars tested. The pot cultivars Julia and Gemini were the most resistant, while the cut-flower cultivar Hearts Desire was the most susceptible. Each cultivar displayed different degrees of resistance to individual isolates of the pathogen. The results of this research permit the selection of clones with greater resistance for use in breeding and also create a baseline for comparing resistance of newly developed cultivars.

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R.P. Flynn, C.W. Wood, and E.A. Guertal

A glasshouse study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of composted broiler chicken (Gallus gallus) litter as a potting substrate using lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Broiler litters containing wood shavings or peanut bulls as bedding materials were composted with either shredded pine bark or peanut hulls. Composted materials were then combined with a commercially available potting substrate. Greatest fresh weight yield was obtained when peanut bull compost was mixed with commercial potting substrate at a ratio of 3:1. Fresh weight was less with pine bark compost than with peanut hull compost. However, there were no differences in lettuce dry weight among composts except for pine bark composted with wood-shaving broiler litter. The pH of this material was below the lettuce tolerance level for mixes at or above 50% compost. There was no evidence of lettuce physiological disorders resulting from excessive nutrient concentration. Most elements analyzed (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and Al) were within or slightly above sufficiency ranges for Boston-type leaf lettuce. It appears that composting broiler litter for use as a potting substrate or component would be one suitable alternative to land application in the southern United States. We recommend, however, that the pH of substrates be adjusted to suit desired crop requirements.

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Mark V. Yelanich and John A. Biernbaum

The evaporation of water is a major source of water loss from potted plants which can be eliminated by placing a barrier at the exposed surface of media in the pot. To better understand the effect of reducing surface evaporation on growth and media nutrient concentration, 15 cm subirrigated poinsettias were produced with and without a pot cover. Both treatments received the same quantity of fertilizer, 75 mg·week-1 N for a total of 13 fertilizations. Uncovered pots received 12 more irrigations than pots with covers (20 vs. 32). Sixteen weeks after planting, covered plants had significantly less leaf area (2175 vs 2628 cm2), bract area (1655 vs 2137 cm2), height (24.1 vs 27.6 cm), fresh mass (116 vs 144 g) and dry mass (17 vs 20 g) than uncovered plants. Concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg and EC (4.23 vs 2.65 mS·cm-1) were higher in the root-zone of covered plants than in uncovered plant. Covering the media surface did reduce the EC and the concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg in the top layer (eg 13.47 mS·cm-1 vs 15.74 mS·cm-1) but stratification of salts to the top layer still occurred. Fertilizer salts in the top layer were shown to be less available to the plant than those in the root zone.