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  • Author or Editor: E.K. Blythe x
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`Formosa' azalea (Rhododendron indicum) was grown for 4 months in 7.6-L (2 gal) containers in four substrate blends: 100% pine bark (PB) (by volume), 1 PB: 1 cotton gin compost (CGC), 3 PB: 1 CGC, and 3 PB: 1 peat (PT) at three irrigation levels [600, 1200, and 1800 mL·d-1 (20.3, 40.6, and 60.9 floz/d)] in a polyethylene-covered greenhouse. Plants were evaluated for growth on a biweekly basis using a growth index. Roots were evaluated visually at the end of the study using a 0 (no root growth) to 5 (root bound) scale. Initial physical properties were determined and leachates were collected every 30 days. There was no difference in percent increase in growth across irrigation and substrate treatments. Visual root rating was greatest (4.5) for azaleas grown in 3 PB: 1 PT and least (3.5) in 1 PB: 1 CGC. The two PB/CGC blends improved water-holding capacity (WHC) in comparison to 100% PB, with 1 PB: 1 CGC exhibiting the greatest WHC among all four substrates. Bulk density was greatest with the CGC-amended substrates. Leachate pH tended to increase and electrical conductivity (EC) tended to decrease with increasing irrigation volume. Leachates from the CGC-amended substrates were less acidic and EC tended to be similar or greater than leachates from the 100% PB and 3 PB: 1 PT substrates.

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