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  • Author or Editor: Luke Case x
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As limitations on water used by container nurseries become commonplace, nurseries will have to improve irrigation management. Several ways to conserve water and improve on the management of irrigation water applied to container plants are discussed in this review. They include 1) uniform application, 2) proper scheduling of irrigation water, 3) substrate amendments that retain water, 4) reducing heat load or evaporative loss from containers, and 5) recycling runoff water.

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An integrated approach to weed control in nursery containers is crucial if herbicide applications during the growing season are to be reduced. This experiment, conducted in 2002 and 2003 in Urbana, Ill., evaluated rice hulls, leaf-waste pellets, and pine bark as herbicide carriers for the preemergence herbicides oryzalin at 2 lb/acre a.i. and diuron at 1 lb/acre a.i. The efficacy of the treatments in controlling annual weeds and the phytotoxic effects of the treatments on the woody plant species were evaluated in separate completely randomized designs. For the efficacy experiment, no ornamental plants were present and containers were each seeded with a mixture of 1:1:1 (by volume) of annual bluegrass (Poa annua), common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), and shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) immediately after treatment applications. For the phytotoxicity experiment, ‘Goldflame’ spirea (Spiraea japonica), ‘Hetz Midget’ american arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), and ‘Snowmound’ nippon spirea (Spiraea nipponica) were evaluated. No weed seeds were sown in the phytotoxicity containers. Treatments for both experiments included spray applications of herbicides with water or with one of the organic mulches as a carrier or one of the mulches alone. Evaluations were done 45 and 120 days after treatment (DAT) in both years. The organic carriers with herbicide sprays gave efficacy visual ratings equivalent to water as a carrier for both herbicides. Phytotoxicity was not observed in the spirea species in either year. For ‘Hetz Midget’ american arborvitae in 2002, diuron with water had the highest visual phytotoxicity rating. Diuron phytotoxicity on the ‘Hetz Midget’ american arborvitae was alleviated when diuron was applied with any of the three mulches as a carrier. Pine bark treatments increased plant biomass for ‘Goldflame’ spirea in 2003, 45 DAT. At 120 DAT in 2002, pine bark gave increased plant biomass as compared with no organic mulch treatments for ‘Goldflame’ spirea. The study was conducted to ascertain whether the use of organic mulches as carriers could reduce phytotoxic effects of a herbicide on container-grown woody ornamentals, improve crop plant biomass, and act as a herbicide carrier for container-grown woody ornamentals.

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