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Timothy K. Broschat

Hong Kong orchid tree is an outstanding flowering tree for tropical and subtropical areas, but in south Florida’s nutrient-poor sand soils, it typically develops moderate to severe K and Mg deficiency symptoms during the fall, winter, and spring months. A 3-year field experiment was conducted to determine if flowering was responsible for the development of these deficiencies and to determine if these deficiencies could be prevented by fertilization with medium or high rates of a 24N–0P–9.2K turf fertilizer (24–0–11) an 8N–0P–10K–4Mg plus micronutrients palm fertilizer (8–0–12) or a 0N–0P–13.3K–6Mg plus micronutrients palm fertilizer (0–0–16). Onset of deficiency symptoms coincided with the beginning of flowering, but leaf nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, and Mg continued to decline after flowering ceased in late January, presumably because of movement of these elements from the leaves to stem tissue. Leaf nutrient concentrations were poorly or negatively correlated with all measured plant quality variables and were poor indicators of plant quality or nutritional status. Although fertilization with a high rate of 24–0–11 or either rate of 8–0–12 increased tree height, caliper, and number of flowers, no treatment significantly decreased the severity of K and Mg deficiencies.

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Timothy K. Broschat

In two experiments, pasteurized poultry litter (PPL) was evaluated as a potential substitute for controlled-release fertilizers in the production of container-grown downy jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum), chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), and areca palm (Dypsis lutescens). Downy jasmine and chinese hibiscus generally grew better when provided with PPL as a micronutrient source than with no micronutrients or with an inorganic micronutrient blend (MN). However, areca palm grew poorly with PPL as a fertilizer supplement compared with MN-fertilized areca palm. PPL provided high levels of ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium during the first few weeks, but soil solution levels of these elements dropped off rapidly in subsequent weeks. The large amount of phosphorus leached from the containers fertilized with PPL is an environmental concern.

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Timothy K. Broschat

The relative release rates of boron (B) from nine soluble and controlled-release B fertilizer sources were determined in sand leaching columns at 21 °C. Solubor was almost completely leached from the sand within 5 weeks. Boric oxide released the majority of its B within 7 weeks, whereas Dehybor provided B for up to 13 weeks. Granubor release rates were linear through ≈12 weeks. The five products containing calcium or sodium calcium borates released B much more slowly, with probertite and ulexite being the most rapid followed by B32 G, colemanite, and B38 G. B38 G released only ≈40% of its B content during the 104-week leaching study. The rapid release and high B concentrations associated with Solubor suggest a greater potential for phytotoxicity with this source than other slower-release sources.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Henry Donselman

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly K. Moore

Zonal geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum) from seed and african marigolds (Tagetes erecta), which are known to be highly susceptible to Fe toxicity problems, were grown with I, 2, 4, or 6 mm Fe from ferrous sulfate, ferric citrate, FeEDTA, FeDTPA, FeEDDHA, ferric glucoheptonate, or ferrous ammonium sulfate in the subirrigation solution. FeEDTA and FeDTPA were highly toxic to both species, even at the 1 mm rate. Ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate caused no visible toxicity symptoms on marigolds, but did reduce dry weights with increasing Fe concentrations. Both materials were slightly to moderately toxic on zonal geraniums. FeEDDHA was only mildly toxic at the 1 mm concentration on both species, but was moderately toxic at the 2 and 4 mm concentrations. Substrate pH was generally negatively correlated with geranium dry weight and visible phytotoxicity ratings, with the least toxic materials, ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate, resulting in the lowest substrate pHs and the chelates FeEDTA, FeDTPA, and FeEDDHA the highest pH. The ionic Fe sources, ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate, suppressed P uptake in both species, whereas the Fe chelates did not. Fe EDDHA should be considered as an effective and less toxic alternative for the widely used FeEDTA and FeDTPA in the production of these crops.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly K. Moore

In two experiments, chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii), areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), fishtail palm (Caryota mitis), macarthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii), shooting star (Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum), downy jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), alexandra palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), and foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) were transplanted into 6.2-L (2-gal) containers. They were fertilized with Osmocote Plus 15N-3.9P-10K (12-to14-month formulation) (Expt. 1) or Nutricote Total 18N-2.6P-6.7K (type 360) (Expt. 2) applied by either top dressing, substrate incorporation, or layering the fertilizer just below the transplanted root ball. Shoot dry weight, plant color, root dry weights in the upper and lower halves of the root ball, and weed shoot dry weight were determined when each species reached marketable size. Optimal fertilizer placement method varied among the species tested. With the exception of areca palm, none of the species tested grew best with incorporated fertilizer. Root dry weights in the lower half of the root ball for chinese hibiscus, bamboo palm, and downy jasmine were greatest when the fertilizer was layered and root dry weights in the upper half of the root ball were greatest for top-dressed chinese hibiscus. Weed growth was lower in pots receiving layered fertilizer for four of the six palm species tested.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Monica L. Elliott

Foxtail palms (Wodyetia bifurcata Irvine) were grown in 6.2-L containers using a 3 calcitic limestone gravel: 2 coir dust (by volume) substrate to induce Fe chlorosis. Plants were treated initially and 2 and 4 months later with soil applications of FeDTPA, FeEDDHA, FeEDTA+FeHEDTA on vermiculite, FeEDTA+FeDTPA on clay, ferric citrate, ferrous ammonium sulfate, ferrous sulfate, ferrous sulfate+sulfur, or iron glucoheptonate at a rate of 0.2 g Fe/container. Similar plants were treated initially and 2 and 4 months later with foliar sprays of FeDTPA, FeEDDHA, ferric citrate, ferrous sulfate, or iron glucoheptonate at a rate of 0.8 g Fe/L. After 6 months, palms receiving soil applications of FeEDDHA, FeEDTA+FeHEDTA on vermiculite, FeDTPA, or FeEDTA+FeDTPA on clay had significantly less chlorosis than plants receiving other soil-applied Fe fertilizers or untreated control plants. Palms treated with foliar Fe fertilizers had chlorosis ratings similar to untreated control plants. Palms with the most severe Fe chlorosis also had the highest levels of leaf spot disease caused by Exserohilum rostratum (Drechs.) K.J. Leonard & E.G. Suggs. Neither chlorosis severity nor leaf spot severity was correlated with total leaf Fe concentration.

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Alan W. Meerow and Timothy K. Broschat

Growth of Hibiscus rosasinensis L. `President' under daily irrigation and decreasing irrigation frequency was compared in a 5 pine bark : 4 sedge peat : 1 sand (by volume) medium amended further with 0%, 10%, 20%, or 30% (by volume) Axis, a kiln-fired diatomaceous earth granule. Half of each substrate treatment also was drenched three times with Agroroots, a kelp extract. Shoot and root dry weights were compared after 4.5 months of growth. Container media amended with Axis at 10% volume yielded hibiscus plants with higher shoot dry weights than nonamended media. Root-zone drenches with Agroroots increased shoot dry weights of plants subjected to decreasing irrigation frequency and grown without Axis, but did not significantly affect plants receiving daily irrigation. Shelf-life effects of Axis treatment revealed that all plants reached the permanent wilting point 5 days after cessation of daily irrigation. Both products may allow container plant production with less irrigation. Further tests should be conducted with a broader range of species.

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Monica L. Elliott and Timothy K. Broschat

A commercially available microbial inoculant (Plant Growth Activator Plus) that contains 50 microorganisms, primarily bacteria, was evaluated in a soilless container substrate to determine its effects on root bacterial populations and growth response of container-grown plants at three fertilizer rates. The tropical ornamental plants included hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis `Double Red'), spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum `Green Velvet') and areca palm (Dypsis lutescens). The bacterial groups enumerated were fluorescent pseudomonads, actinomycetes, heat-tolerant bacteria, and total aerobic bacteria. Analysis of the inoculant before its use determined that fluorescent pseudomonads claimed to be in the inoculant were not viable. The plant variables measured were plant color rating, shoot dry weight and root dry weight. Only hibiscus shoot dry weight and color rating increased in response to the addition of the inoculant to the substrate. Hibiscus roots also had a significant increase in the populations of fluores-cent pseudomonads and heat-tolerant bacteria. From a commercial production point of view, increasing fertilizer rates in the substrate provided a stronger response in hibiscus than did addition of the microbial inoculant. Furthermore, use of the inoculant in this substrate did not compensate for reduced fertilizer inputs.

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Kimberly A. Klock-Moore and Timothy K. Broschat

Two experiments were conducted to compare the growth of `Ultra White' petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) plants in a subirrigation system versus in a hand-watered system. In Expt. 1, petunia plants were watered with 50, 100, or 150 ppm (mg·L-1) of N of Peter's 20-10-20 (20N-4.4P-16.6K) and in Expt. 2, Nutricote 13-13-13 (13N-5.8P-10.8K) type 100, a controlled release fertilizer, was incorporated into the growing substrate, prior to transplanting, at rates of 3, 6, or 9 lb/yard3 (1.8, 3.6, or 4.5 kg·m-3). In both experiments, there was no difference in petunia shoot dry mass or final flower number between the irrigation systems at the lowest fertilization rate but differences were evident at the higher fertilization rates. In Expt. 1, shoot dry mass and flower number of subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 100 ppm of N was greater than for hand-watered plants fertilized at the same rate. However, subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 150 ppm of N were smaller with fewer flowers than hand-watered petunia plants fertilized with 150 ppm of N. Substrate electrical conductivity (EC) concentrations for petunia plants subirrigated with 150 ppm of N were 4.9 times greater than concentrations in pots hand-watered with 150 ppm of N. In Expt. 2, subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 6 and 9 lb/yard3 were larger with more flowers than hand-watered plants fertilized at the same rates. Although substrate EC concentrations were greater in subirrigated substrates than in hand-watered substrates, substrate EC concentrations of all hand-watered plants were about 0.35 dS·m-1. Subirrigation benches similar to those used in these experiments, appear to be a viable method for growing `Ultra White' petunia plants. However, the use of Peter's 20-10-20 at concentrations greater than 100 ppm of N with subirrigation appeared to be detrimental to petunia growth probably because of high EC concentrations in the substrate. On the other hand, the use of subirrigation with Nutricote 13-13-13 type 100 incorporated at all of the rates tested did not appear to be detrimental to petunia growth.