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Ninety-three species, cultivars, and hybrid selections of rockrose (Cistus spp., Halimium spp., and ×Halimiocistus spp.) were evaluated for growth, flowering, and cold hardiness in a landscape trial in Aurora, OR, from 2004 to 2009. Plants were irrigated to aid establishment when planted in summer 2004, but thereafter were not watered, fertilized, or pruned throughout the trial. Cold damage was recorded following freezing events in Feb. 2006 and Dec. 2008 in which low temperatures were 20 and 17 °F, respectively. Those plants that consistently suffered the most cold damage were Halimium atriplicifolium, Cistus creticus ssp. creticus ‘Tania Compton’, Cistus ×pauranthus, and Cistus albidus forma albus. Other plants showed cold damage related to poor vigor. The length of the flowering period and foliage quality varied widely among plants in the evaluation. The plants with the longest flowering period were Halimium ×pauanum, Cistus inflatus, Cistus ×pulverulentus ‘Sunset’, and ×Halimiocistus ‘Ingwersenii’, all of which flowered for more than 55 days. Plant form and foliage quality declined drastically for some plants during the evaluation. Those that retained the best foliage quality included Cistus ×obtusifolius, Cistus ×laxus, Cistus salviifolius ‘Gold Star’, Cistus ‘Gordon Cooper’, Halimium lasianthum ‘Sandling’, Halimium ‘Susan’, and ×Halimiocistus sahucii. Based on ratings of foliage and bloom time, as well as hardiness, several Cistus are recommended as drought-tolerant groundcovers, including Cistus ×gardianus and C. ×obtusifolius. Cistus ×laxus, C. inflatus, Cistus ‘Gordon Cooper’, Cistus ‘Ruby Cluster’, and Cistus ‘Snow Fire’ are suggested as tall groundcovers or landscape specimens. Several Halimium are recommended for landscape use, including H. lasianthum ‘Sandling’, Halimium ‘Susan’, H. ×pauanum, and ×Halimiocistus ‘Ingwersenii’.

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Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) biomass is being evaluated as a potential alternative to pine bark as the primary potting component in containerized nursery crops. Substrates composed entirely of switchgrass have higher pH than what is considered desirable in container substrates. The objective of this research was to evaluate the influence of elemental S, sphagnum moss, and municipal solid waste compost (MSC) as amendments for reducing substrate pH and buffering it against large changes over time. Three experiments were conducted; the first two experiments were conducted using annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus ‘Pacifica Blush’) to quickly assess how pH was affected by the three amendments, and the final experiment was conducted with blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Duke’) to assess the long-term effects of substrate amendments. Summarizing across the three experiments, elemental S was effective in reducing substrate pH; however, rates 1 lb/yard3 or greater reduced pH below the recommended level of 5.5 and lower S rates did not maintain lowered pH over time. Sphagnum moss and MSC together at 20% and 10% (v/v), respectively, were effective at reducing substrate pH and buffering against change. Sphagnum moss and MSC provided the additional benefit of improving physical properties of the switchgrass substrates.

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Dolomitic lime (DL) is one of the most commonly used fertilizer amendments in nursery container substrates. It is used to adjust pH of pine bark substrates from their native pH, 4.1 to 5.1, up to about pH 6. However, additions of DL have been shown to be beneficial, inconsequential, or detrimental depending on the crop to which it is applied and irrigation water quality. Carbonate ions from DL cause a rate-dependent change in pH. Dolomitic lime can adjust pH of pine bark up to ≈6.5, after which there is little change regardless of how much additional DL is added. Changes in pH affect the rate of nitrification in pine bark substrates. The rate of nitrification can impact the quality of some plants that are sensitive to ammonium toxicity, as well as affect nitrogen leaching from containers. Changes in pH also affect micronutrient availability in pine bark substrates. Dolomitic lime provides an abundant source of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) for plant uptake. However, the additional Ca and Mg might also suppress potassium uptake in plants.

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Cation exchange capacity (CEC) describes the maximum quantity of cations a soil or substrate can hold while being exchangeable with the soil solution. Although CEC has been studied for peatmoss-based substrates, relatively little work has documented factors that affect CEC of pine bark substrates. The objective of this research was to determine the variability of CEC in different batches of pine bark and determine the influence of particle size, substrate pH, and peat amendment on pine bark CEC. Four batches of nursery-grade pine bark were collected from two nurseries, and a single source of sphagnum moss was obtained, separated in to several particle size classes, and measured for CEC. Pine bark was also amended with varying rates of elemental sulfur and dolomitic limestone to generate varying levels of substrate pH. The CEC varied with pine bark batch. Part of this variation is attributed to differences in particle size of the bark batches. Pine bark and peatmoss CEC increased with decreasing particle size, although the change in CEC from coarse to fine particles was greater with pine bark than peatmoss. Substrate pH from 4.02 to 6.37 had no effect on pine bark CEC. The pine bark batch with the highest CEC had similar CEC to sphagnum peat. Amending this batch of pine bark with sphagnum peat had no effect on composite CEC.

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An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that either pumice or plant roots maintain air space (AS) and porosity over time, or renders substrates more resistant to shrinkage. Treatment design was a 3 × 2 factorial with three substrate types and either presence or absence of a plant. The three substrates were composed of douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) bark alone or amended with 15% or 30% (by volume) pumice. Substrates were packed in aluminum cores to facilitate measurement of physical properties with porometers at the conclusion of the experiment. Half of the cores with each of the three substrate types were packed with a single plug of ‘Autumn Blush’ coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.) (Expt. 1) or ‘Blue Prince’ holly (Ilex ×meserveae) (Expt. 2). The remaining cores were maintained in the same production environment, but without a plant. Substrate physical properties were measured before the experiment and after 48 days for coreopsis plants and 382 days for holly. Both experiments had relatively similar responses despite using different crops and production times. Summarizing in general overall treatments, AS decreased, container capacity (CC) and total porosity (TP) increased, and bulk density remained constant over time. The presence of a plant in the core tended to exacerbate the decrease in AS and the increase in core capacity. Shrinkage was decreased by the presence of a plant, but only minimally.

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Paclobutrazol is a plant growth retardant commonly used on greenhouse crops. Residues from paclobutrazol applications can accumulate in recirculated irrigation water. Given that paclobutrazol has a long half-life and potential biological activity in parts per billion concentrations, it would be desirable to measure paclobutrazol concentration in captured irrigation supplies. However, there are no standard protocols for collecting this type of sample. The objective of this research was to determine if sample container material or storage temperature affect paclobutrazol stability over time. In two experiments, paclobutrazol was mixed in concentrations ranging from 0.04 to 0.2 mg·L−1 and stored in polyethylene, clear glass, or amber glass containers at temperatures of either 4 or 20 °C. Paclobutrazol concentration was measured at 3, 14, and 30 days after the start of each experiment. Across the two experiments, there were no consistent trends in reduction of paclobutrazol concentration with respect to container material or storage temperature. In the first experiment, there was an average of 5% reduction across all treatments from day 0 to 30, whereas in the second experiment, concentration did not decrease over the 30-day time period. These data suggest that paclobutrazol is stable in collected water samples for at least 30 days, and that either glass or polyethylene containers are suitable for collecting greenhouse water samples for analysis of paclobutrazol concentration. A minimum volume of 100 mL was determined to be the optimum to analyze water samples with diverse paclobutrazol concentrations.

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A study evaluating the effects of varying levels of chilling on foliar budbreak of linden (Tilia spp.) culivars was initiated in 1999 in Auburn, Ala. [lat. 32°36'N, long. 85°29'W, elevation 709 ft (216m), USDA Hardiness Zone 8a]. Littleleaf linden (T. cordata) `Greenspire' and `Fairview' required the most chilling to produce measurable budbreak and exhibited the lowest budbreak percentages. Silver linden (T. tomentosa) `Sterling' and american linden (T. americana) `Redmond' needed the fewest hours of chilling to produce budbreak and exhibited the highest budbreak percentages. `Sterling' was the top performer in foliar budbreak percentage and in subsequent growth. Although `Redmond' attained high budbreak numbers, its overall growth during the following growing season was inferior to that of `Sterling', `Greenspire' and `Fairview'. This information can contribute to the development of regional planting recommendations, which can aid in the selection of lindens suitable for the area in which they will be grown. Calculated r2 values indicated the models used provided a good fit to the data for all cultivars.

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Experiments were conducted in Auburn, AL, and Aurora, OR, to evaluate herbicides for pre-emergence liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) control. Granular pre-emergence herbicide efficacy varied by location and product. Summarizing across all experiments, flumioxazin and oxadiazon provided the most effective control in Alabama, whereas flumioxazin and oxyfluorfen + oryzalin provided the most effective control in Oregon. Sprayed quinoclamine provided pre-emergence liverwort control, but efficacy and duration of control were reduced compared with granular herbicides.

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Spray deposition and coverage at different application rates for nursery liners of different sizes were investigated to determine the optimal spray application rates. Experiments were conducted on 2- and 3-year-old ‘Autumn Spire’ red maple (Acer rubrum) liners. A traditional hydraulic sprayer with vertical booms between tree rows was used to apply the spray applications. Application rates were 10, 20, 30, and 40 gal/acre for the 2-year-old liners and were 20, 40, 60, and 80 gal/acre for the 3-year-old liners. Nylon screens were used to collect spray deposition of a fluorescent tracer dissolved in water, and water-sensitive papers were used to quantify spray coverage inside canopies. Spray deposition, coverage, and droplet density inside both 2- and 3-year-old liner canopies increased as the application rate increased. The minimum rates to spray 6.6-ft-tall, 2-year-old ‘Autumn Spire’ red maple liners and 8.7-ft-tall, 3-year-old liners were 20 and 40 gal/acre, respectively. An exponential equation was derived from these results to estimate the spray application rate required for different tree liner heights and to minimize excessive chemical use in rapidly growing tree liners.

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Herbicide use is an important component of weed management in field nursery crops. No single herbicide controls all weed species. Oxyfluorfen, simazine, and isoxaben are preemergence herbicides effective against broadleaf weeds. Oryzalin, pendimethalin, and prodiamine are effective in preemergence control of grasses and some small-seeded broadleaf weeds. Metolachlor is the only herbicide currently labeled for nursery crops that is effective in preemergence nutsedge (Cyperus) control. Fluazifop-butyl, sethoxydim, and clethodim are selective postemergence herbicides used for grass control. Glyphosate, paraquat, and glufosinate are nonselective postemergence herbicides used in directed spray applications for broad-spectrum weed control. Bentazon, halosulfuron, and imazaquin are effective postemergence nutsedge herbicides. These herbicides are discussed with respect to their chemical class, mode of action, labeled rates, and current research addressing their effectiveness in nursery crops.

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