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  • Author or Editor: Jacob Shreckhise x
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The amount of phosphorus (P) conventionally recommended and applied to container nursery crops commonly exceeds plant requirements, resulting in unused P leaching from containers and potentially contributing to surface water impairment. An experiment was replicated in the Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain (MACP) and Ridge and Valley ecoregions of Virginia to compare the effect of a low-P controlled-release fertilizer (CRF, 0.9% or 1.4% P depending on species) vs. a conventional CRF formulation (control, 1.7% P) on plant shoot growth, crop quality, and substrate nutrient concentrations of four species: ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica × Lagerstroemia fauriei), ‘Roblec’ Encore azalea (Rhododendron hybrid), ‘Radrazz’ Knock Out rose (Rosa hybrid), and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae (Thuja plicata × Thuja standishii). In both ecoregions, the low-P CRF resulted in 9% to 26% lower shoot dry weight in all four species compared with those given the conventional formulation, but quality ratings for two economically important species, ‘Radrazz’ Knock Out rose and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae, were similar between treatments. When fertilized with the low-P CRF, ‘Roblec’ Encore azalea and ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle in both ecoregions, and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae in the MACP ecoregion had ∼56% to 75% lower substrate pore-water P concentrations than those that received the control CRF. Nitrate-nitrogen (N) concentrations in substrate pore water at week 5 were more than six times greater in control-fertilized plants than in those that received a low-P CRF, which may have been a result of the greater urea-N content or the heterogeneous nature of the low-P CRFs. Lower water-extractable pore-water P and N indicate less environmental risk and potentially increased crop efficiency. Our results suggest low-P CRFs can be used to produce certain economically important ornamental nursery crops successfully without sacrificing quality; however, early adopters will need to evaluate the effect of low-P CRFs on crop quality of specific species before implementing on a large scale.

Open Access

The nursery industry produces and sells plants for landscape and environmental purposes and represents a major sector within the US agricultural industry. In recent years, the nursery industry has undergone rapid growth as a result of various factors, including increased demand from housing development and pandemic-fueled interest in home horticulture. As with any industry, the nursery industry must adapt to changes in societal trends to sustain growth. In the wake of unprecedented societal and supply chain issues stemming from the global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the American Society for Horticultural Science Nursery Crops Professional Interest Group gathered experts in various disciplines to provide their opinions and insights into the future of the nursery industry, focusing specifically on the changes and challenges the nursery industry will face in the coming decade. Nursery crop specialists spanning the United States identified three primary areas that will steer the future momentum of the nursery industry: consumer trends, natural resources, and labor. Six experts were selected to represent these areas in a workshop held Jul 2022 at the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, USA. This article was developed to disseminate to the greater scientific community the discussions held and insight shared during that workshop.

Open Access