Release patterns of ammonium, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc were measured during an eleven month period for four types of Controlled Release Fertilizers (CRF): Apex 17-5-11, Multicote 17-5-11, Nutricote 18-6-8 and Osmocote 24-4-9. Rate of fertilizer incorporation was 2.3 kg/m3 of nitrogen. Media consisted of 50% composted forest products, 35% ¼%-3/4% pine bark and 15% washed Builder's sand. The media was also amended with 0.60 kg/m3 of dolomite. Fertilizer was incorporated into the media with a cement mixer and placed into 2.6-L black polyethylene containers. Containers were placed on benches outside. Air and media temperature were monitored throughout the 11-month period. Containers were irrigated through a ring-dripper system. Leachate was collected twice weekly. Leachate electrical conductivity, pH, and nutrient content were measured weekly. Significant differences in the nutrient release patterns were observed between fertilizer types throughout much of the experimental period. Release rates were significantly greater during the first 20 weeks of the study compared to the last 20 weeks of the study, regardless of the fertilizer type.
Donald J. Merhaut*, Joseph Albano, Eugene K. Blythe and Julie Newman
Michael A. Grusak, Brian W. Stephens and Donald J. Merhaut
Snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) are a food source that can contribute to dietary Ca requirements in humans. Factors which might enhance the concentration of Ca in snap bean pods have been investigated by measuring whole-plant net Ca influx, whole-plant Ca partitioning, and various growth parameters in two snap bean cultivars—Hystyle and Labrador—that differ in pod Ca concentration. Plants were grown hydroponically under controlled environmental conditions while being provided adequate quantities of Ca. The concentration of Ca in pods (dry weight basis) was 52% higher in `Hystyle', relative to `Labrador', but net Ca influx throughout crop development or total plant Ca content at three stages of development were similar in both cultivars, demonstrating that pod Ca concentration differences were not due to differences in total plant Ca influx. However, `Hystyle' partitioned more total plant Ca to pods, relative to `Labrador'. Calcium flux analysis also revealed that daily rates of whole-plant net Ca influx gradually declined throughout the period of pod growth in both cultivars; this decline was not related to whole-plant water influx. These results suggest that enhancements in whole-plant net Ca influx during pod growth and/or enhancements in the xylem transport of absorbed Ca to developing pods could increase the Ca concentration of snap bean pods.
Joseph P. Albano, James Altland, Donald J. Merhaut, Sandra B. Wilson and P. Chris Wilson
Liming agents (LAs) in irrigation water, typically associated with carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), contribute to water alkalinity. Repeated application of LA to container crops can cause media-solution pH to rise overtime, that uncorrected, can lead to a nutrient availability imbalance that may be suboptimal for plant-growth due to nutrient disorder(s). To correct high levels of LA in irrigation water, growers can inject acid into their irrigation system to neutralize alkalinity. Therefore, a 52-week study was conducted using irrigation water, substrate, and plants from a commercial nursery in Florida that has a history of poor water quality and plant production problems related to high alkalinity irrigation water. The objectives of the study were to assess substrate pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and nutrients, and plant nutrition and growth for thyrallis (Galphimia gracilis Bartl.) to irrigation water acidification. Treatments consisted of irrigation water acidified with sulfuric acid (H2SO4) to neutralize 0% (control), 40%, or 80% of calcium carbonates (CaCO3) yielding a CaCO3 (meq·L−1)/pH levels of 5 [High Alkalinity (H-A)]/7.37, 3 [Medium Alkalinity (M-A)]//6.37, and 1 [Low Alkalinity (L-A)]//4.79, respectively. Substrate analysis by the 1:2 dilution method at the end of the study was significant (P < 0.05) for pH 6.2, 5.2, and 4.7 for the H-A, M-A, and L-A treatments, respectively, and for nutrients Ca, Mn, and Zn. Foliar nutrient levels were statistically significant (P < 0.05) for alkalinity treatment for Fe, K, Mn, P, and Zn. Alkalinity treatment was significant (P < 0.05) for growth, leaf greenness (by SPAD), and quality (by survey) with the M-A treatment producing more biomass, having greener leaves, and the highest aesthetic quality value than the H-A or L-A treatments. A qualitative survey of root systems at harvest showed that the M-A and L-A treatment root systems were greater than the H-A treatment based on visual side-wall root development. These data demonstrate that irrigation water acidification does alter substrate pH and nutrients and plant tissue nutrient levels and growth over a long-term production cycle typical for nursery crops.
Julie P. Newman, Joseph P. Albano, Donald J. Merhaut and Eugene K. Blythe
Release characteristics of four different polymer-coated fertilizers (Multicote, Nutricote, Osmocote, and Polyon) were studied over a 47-week period in a simulated outdoor, containerized plant production system. The 2.4-L containers, filled with high-fertility, neutral-pH substrate, were placed on benches outdoors to simulate the environmental conditions often used for sun-tolerant, woody perennials grown in the southwestern United States. Container leachates were collected weekly and monitored for electrical conductivity, pH, and concentrations of NH4 +N, NO3 –N, total P, and total K. Concentrations of most nutrients in leachates were relatively high, but fluctuated frequently during the first third of the study period, and then gradually decreased and stabilized during the last 27 weeks. Osmocote often resulted in greater NH4 + and total inorganic N concentrations in leachates than other fertilizers during weeks 1 through 5, whereas Multicote produced higher NH4 + in leachates than most of the other fertilizer types during weeks 9 through 12. Overall, total P concentrations were greater with Multicote during a third of the experimental period, especially when compared with Osmocote and Polyon. Differences were also observed among treatments for leachate concentrations of K, with Polyon and Multicote fertilizers producing greater K concentrations in leachates compared with Osmocote during several weeks throughout the experimental period. Leachate concentrations of NO3 –N and P from all fertilizer types were usually high, especially from week 5 through week 30.
Joseph P. Albano, Donald J. Merhaut, Eugene K. Blythe and Julie P. Newman
Nutrient release characteristics of four different controlled-release fertilizers (Osmocote, Nutricote, Polyon, and Multicote) were monitored during an 11-month period in a simulated outdoor nursery production facility. Although no plants were used in the experiment, fertilization rates, irrigation regimes, and cultural practices simulated those typically used to produce fast-growing, high-nutrient-requiring containerized woody ornamentals. Fertilizer prill release characteristics were monitored through analyses of leachates, which were collected weekly. Concentrations of Mg, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Mo were relatively high during the first 5 to 10 weeks of the experiment, then declined and usually stabilized during the remainder of the study. However, Mn and Zn displayed erratic increases in concentrations several times throughout the study. Calcium concentrations did not increase until the fifth week, rapidly peaked to about 300 mg·L–1, and then decreased and leveled off to ≈80 to 100 mg·L–1 during the remainder of the study. Several significant differences were observed between treatments. The Osmocote treatment had significantly greater Ca and Mg concentrations in the leachate than the other fertilizer types during the last 6 weeks of the study, whereas the Nutricote treatment often had significantly greater Fe concentrations than leachates from other treatments, especially during the last 26 to 35 weeks of the study, and significantly greater Zn concentrations than the other CRFs during the last 21 weeks of the study. Based upon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, concentrations of Fe were often more than the allowable limit of 0.3 mg·L–1 with all fertilizer types, but especially with Nutricote. Concentrations of Mn and Cu also exceeded federal guidelines, particularly during the first several weeks of the study.
Donald J. Merhaut, Eugene K. Blythe, Julie P. Newman and Joseph P. Albano
Release characteristics of four types of controlled-release fertilizers (Osmocote, Nutricote, Polyon, and Multicote) were studied during a 47-week simulated plant production cycle. The 2.4-L containers containing a low-fertility, acid-based substrate were placed in an unheated greenhouse and subjected to environmental conditions often used for production of azaleas and camellias. Leachate from containers was collected weekly and monitored for pH, electrical conductivity, and concentrations of NH4 + N, NO3 –N, total P and total K. Leachate concentrations of all nutrients were relatively high during the first 10 to 20 weeks of the study, and then gradually decreased during the remaining portion of the experiment. Differences were observed among fertilizer types, with Multicote often resulting in higher concentrations of N, P, and K in leachates compared to the leachates from the other fertilizer types during the first half of the study. Concentrations of NO3 – and P from all fertilizer types were often above permissible levels as cited in the federal Clean Water Act.
Eugene K. Blythe, Donald J. Merhaut, Julie P. Newman and Joseph P. Albano
Leachate from containerized substrate containing one of four different controlled-release fertilizers (Osmocote, Nutricote, Polyon, or Multicote) were monitored for concentrations of Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Mo during a 47-week period. Environmental and cultural practices simulated an unheated greenhouse production program typically used for low-nutrient-requiring crops such as azalea and camellia. Leachate concentrations of all nutrients were relatively high during the first 10 to 20 weeks of the study, and then gradually decreased during the remaining portion of the experiment. Few differences were observed among fertilizer types. Of the elements monitored, only Fe and Mn leachate concentrations were above critical levels specified in the Clean Water Act by the U.S. EPA.
Luis A. Valdez-Aguilar, Catherine M. Grieve, Abdul Razak-Mahar, Milton E. McGiffen and Donald J. Merhaut
Landscape irrigation is the second largest user of reclaimed water in industrialized countries; however, its high concentration of soluble salts, especially Na+ and Cl–, may induce growth reduction and leaf necrosis or bronzing in ornamental species. The present study was conducted to determine the growth and quality responses and nutritional ion imbalances of selected landscape species during the container production phase when subjected to irrigation with water of increasing NaCl + CaCl2 concentrations. Plants of boxwood [Buxus microphylla var. japonica (Mull. Arg. ex Miq) Rehder & E.H. Wilson], escallonia (Escallonia ×exoniensis hort. Veich ex Bean), hawthorn [Raphiolepis indica (L.) Lind. Ex Ker Gawl. × ‘Montic’], hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.), and juniper (Juniperus chinensis L.) were grown in a greenhouse in the Spring–Summer and in the Fall–Winter in separate experiments. Saline irrigation consisted of solutions with electrical conductivities (ECiw) of 0.6, 2, 4, 6, and 8 dS·m−1 in the Spring–Summer experiment and 0.6, 4, 6, 8, and 12 dS·m−1 in the Fall–Winter. Growth of the five species decreased when irrigated with saline waters. Leaf growth was highly sensitive to salinity and the average decrease in leaf dry weight was the criterion used to rank the tolerance of the species. In the Spring–Summer experiment, the ranking was (higher tolerance to lower tolerance): juniper ∼ boxwood > escallonia > hawthorn > hibiscus, whereas in Fall–Winter, the ranking was: juniper ∼ boxwood > hibiscus > escallonia > hawthorn. The species were ranked according to their visual attractiveness in the Spring–Summer experiment. The threshold ECiw at which visual attractiveness was affected gave the following ranking (higher to lower tolerance): hibiscus > juniper > escallonia > hawthorn > boxwood. Estimating the EC of drainage water from threshold ECiw, boxwood was classified as sensitive, hawthorn as moderately sensitive, escallonia as moderately tolerant, and hibiscus and juniper as highly tolerant. Tolerance of juniper was ascribed to Na+ and Cl– retention in the roots observed in both growing seasons and to the higher root biomass that allowed a higher accumulation of salts in this organ, preventing translocation to the leaves. Although boxwood exhibited acceptable tolerance in terms of growth, visual quality severely decreased; in contrast, growth of hibiscus was the most severely reduced but was rated as the most tolerant species in terms of visual quality. This opposite response may be the result of an excellent capacity to compartmentalize salts in hibiscus, whereas in boxwood, this mechanism may be absent.
Lea Corkidi, Donald J. Merhaut, Edith B. Allen, James Downer, Jeff Bohn and Mike Evans
Our goal was to investigate the effects of mycorrhizal colonization on nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) leaching from plants grown in nursery containers. We compared the growth response and the content of nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4), and orthophosphate, in leachates collected from mycorrhizal (AM) and nonmycorrhizal (NonAM) plants of the fast-growing perennial, Encelia californica Nutt. (california sunflower), and the slow-growing woody shrub, Rhus integrifolia (Nutt.) Brewer & S. Watson (lemonade berry). Plants were grown for 8 weeks with no fertilizer or with 0.88 g (half rate) and 1.76 g (full rate) of 18N–2.6P–9.9K Osmocote (18-6-12, 6–7 month longevity at 26 °C, Osmocote® controlled-release fertilizer; Scotts Co., Marysville, OH). Mycorrhizal colonization increased the growth and nutrient uptake of E. californica and R. integrifolia but was more effective at decreasing nutrient leaching from containers with E. californica. Mycorrhizal colonization contributed to reduce the content of NO3, NH4, and orthophosphate by up to 65% in leachates from E. californica grown with half rate of Osmocote and up to 70% to 80% in those from plants grown in full rates of Osmocote. In contrast, only the leachates from AM plants of R. integrifolia grown without fertilizer had generally lower nutrient content than those from NonAM plants. Leachates collected from AM plants grown in half rates of Osmocote had less P but no less N, and there were mostly no significant differences in the leachate content of NO3, NH4, and orthophosphate from AM and NonAM plants of R. integrifolia grown in full rates of Osmocote. However, mycorrhizal colonization reduced the fertilizer requirement to achieve maximum growth in both species. AM plants of E. californica and R. integrifolia grown with half rates of Osmocote had greater dry weight than the NonAM ones grown in full rates of Osmocote. Our study shows that mycorrhizal colonization can reduce N and P leaching either by increasing nutrient uptake or by allowing the use of lower fertilizer rates.
Yan Chen, Regina P. Bracy, Allen D. Owings and Donald J. Merhaut
A nutrient recirculation system (NRS) was used to assess the ability of four ornamental and three wetland plant species to remove nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) from stormwater runoff. The NRS was filled with a nutrient solution with total N and P concentrations of 11.3 and 3.1 mg·L−1, respectively, to simulate high levels of nutrient contaminations in stormwater. Nutrient removal abilities of herbaceous perennial ornamental plants, canna (Canna ×generalis Bailey) ‘Australia’, iris (Iris pseudacorus L.) ‘Golden Fleece’, calla lily [Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) Spreng], and dwarf papyrus (Cyperus haspan L.) were compared with those of wetland plants arrow arum [Peltandra virginica (L.) Schott], pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata L.), and bulltongue arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia L.) in three experiments. ‘Australia’ canna had the greatest water consumption, total biomass production, and aboveground N and P content followed by pickerelweed. ‘Golden Fleece’ iris had higher tissue N concentrations than canna but much lower biomass production. Dwarf papyrus had similar total biomass as pickerelweed but less shoot biomass. N and P removed from the NRS units planted with canna (98.7% N and 91.8% P) were higher than those planted with iris and arrow arum (31.6% and 31.5% N, and 38.5% and 26.3% P, respectively). NRS units planted with dwarf papyrus had similar nutrient recovery rate as pickerelweed, but much less total N and P were removed as a result of less water consumption. The NRS units planted with calla lily had lower nutrient removal than canna and pickerelweed. Our results suggest that canna is a promising ornamental species for stormwater mitigation, and harvesting the aboveground biomass of canna can effectively remove N and P from the treatment system. However, more research needs to be done to evaluate factors that might affect plant performance in a floating biofiltration system.