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  • Author or Editor: Nikolaos Ntoulas x
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A field study evaluated composted olive mill waste (OMC) as a soil amendment in Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass; C4) turf establishment and maintenance. The study comprised two substudies, each of which had discrete goals: 1) an evaluation of OMC effects on overall bermudagrass growth over the course of 2.5 years when established by seed and subsequently from sprouting of existing rhizomes (2002 to 2004); and 2) a re-evaluation of OMC effects on bermudagrass establishment by seed (2003). Twenty-four plots (1.44 × 1.44 m) were filled with sandy-loam soil and supplemented with one of three OMC proportions (low= 12.5%, medium = 25%, and high = 50% by volume, indicated as substrates S:OMCL, S:OMCM, and S:OMCH, respectively), and non-amended soil served as a control (S). The study evaluated: 1) the substrate's chemical and physical characteristics, including bulk density, water retention curves, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC) measurements; 2) the establishment rate of C. dactylon, either by seed or by sprouting of existing rhizomes after dormancy as determined by measurements that included vertical detachment force (VDF), root growth, and substrate moisture; and 3) the growth rate of C. dactylon as determined through measurements of visual quality, clipping dry weight, root growth, and VDF. The results show that OMC decreased substrate pH in proportion to the OMC supplementation rate and increased EC only at the end of the study and only in the plots with the highest supplementation rate (S:OMCH). Water retention was improved by OMC incorporation except from S:OMCL, which increased water retention only at low tensions. Compared with soil alone, bulk density decreased by 13.5%, 19.7%, and 32.8% as the OMC rate increased, respectively, from 12.5% to 50%. The OMC rate of 50% v/v resulted in a minor reduction in plant visual quality during the cold periods but in a slight improvement during the warm periods. The clipping dry weights were increased by OMC amendments in 2003, which was considered a disadvantage because of the insignificant visual quality differences between substrates during the 2 study years. In 2004, the clipping yields were unaffected by OMC rate. Root dry weight response to OMC varied. For the highest OMC rate, root dry weight was lower during the cold and wet periods, greater during the first stages of bermudagrass establishment by seed, and similar compared with soil without OMC during turf establishment from the sprouting of existing rhizomes after dormancy. The highest OMC rate reduced resistance to vertical detachment force at four sampling dates (of six) during the 2002–2003 study, because the reduced root dry weight and/or increased moisture of the substrate facilitated bermudagrass detachment. In contrast, OMC-supplemented substrates resulted in increased VDF at the first sampling date of establishment both by seed (2003) and by rhizome sprouting after dormancy (2004). It was concluded that, when speedy establishment is imperative (such as in sod farms) or when irrigation is limited, an OMC rate of 50% by volume should be selected. In contrast, for sustainable bermudagrass growth, a rate of 12.5% by volume is preferred, because it increases the visual quality of the grass and root growth.

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The use of turfgrasses might provide an additional solution for establishing green roofs in urban environments. The aim of the present study was to determine Manilagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr. ‘Zeon’] drought tolerance when grown under green roof conditions and under two different irrigation regimes. Treatments included: 1) two extensive green roof substrates {locally produced substrate [3 sandy loam soil:8 pumice:4 perlite:4 compost:1 zeolite (by volume)] and a commercially available substrate based on crushed tiles}; 2) two substrate depths (7.5 cm or 15 cm); and 3) two irrigation regimes (3 mm or 6 mm of irrigation every 3 days). Substrate characteristics (particle size distribution, saturated and dry bulk density, total porosity, water potential curves, in situ substrate moisture, pH, electrical conductivity, and nutrient analysis), turfgrass growth, and physiological status [green turf cover (GTC), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and leaf relative water content (RWC)] were determined. During moisture deficit periods, GTC, NDVI, and RWC were most affected by substrate depth; moderately affected by irrigation regime; and, to a lesser extent, by substrate type. Turfgrass growth and physiological status were best during moisture deficit conditions in the deeper profile (15 cm) using the higher amount of irrigation (6 mm) and the locally mixed substrate.

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Extensive green roofs are a promising technology for reintroducing lost flora in degraded urban environments, but further research is needed for their application in semiarid regions. Therefore, research was undertaken to determine the effects of substrate type and depth and the amount of irrigation during a drought period on the establishment, growth, and physiology of the native species Dianthus fruticosus sub. fruticosus. Treatments included two substrate types [a soilless substrate (Pum50:Per20:C20:Z10) or a substrate with soil (S15:Pum40:Per20:C20:Z5), in which Pum = pumice; Per = perlite; C = compost; Z = clinoptinolite zeolite; and S = sandy loam soil, mixed in a volumetric proportion indicated by their subscripts], two substrate depths (7.5 cm or 15.0 cm), and two irrigation regimens during drought [15% or 30% of pan evaporation (Epan)]. Measurements included substrate characteristics such as particle size distribution, dry and saturated bulk density, water characteristic curves, and in situ determination of substrate moisture during drought stress. Plant growth was determined based on biometric measurements such as growth index (GI) and dry weight and physiological indicators such as SPAD, chlorophylla+b, and carotenoid contents. It was found that substrate moisture during drought was increased in the soil substrate compared with the soilless substrate as a result of its better water retention capacity in low tensions. Dianthus fruticosus sub. fruticosus growth was promoted by the deep substrate (15 cm) throughout the entire study, whereas substrate type and irrigation during the drought period did not have an effect. Similarly, leaf dry weight was increased in the deeper substrates, whereas shoot and root dry weights were similar in all treatments. SPAD was found to be a more sensitive method than chlorophyll and carotenoid analysis and revealed an interesting sequence of treatment influences on D. fruticosus sub. fruticosus physiology that depended on the climatic conditions and stress imposition. More specifically, during establishment, both substrate type and depth affected growth with the soil substrate and deep profiles yielding higher SPAD measurements. Soon after the initiation of drought, the deep profiles had higher SPAD values than the shallow ones, whereas in high-irrigation regimens and, to a less extent, deeper profiles provided increased SPAD values after the middle of drought imposition. Chlorophyll and carotenoid levels reduced during the drought stress period, but very limited differences were detected between treatments. It was concluded that D. fruticosus sub. fruticosus is a very promising native plant for use on extensive green roofs in the Mediterranean region, and its growth was better in a substrate depth of 15 cm. However, its growth was sufficient even with a 7.5-cm substrate depth and irrigation of 15% Epan.

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Ten substrates were evaluated for their capacity to promote the growth of potted Lantana camara. The substrates consisted of different volumetric proportions of sandy loam soil (S), peat (P), perlite (Per), and urea formaldehyde resin foam (UFRF referred to as F), the latter in an effort to substitute peat use in horticulture. The substrates studied were: S, S60:P40, S40:P60, S60:F40, S40:F60, P60:F40, P40:F60, S40:P30:Per30, S40:F30:Per30, and P50:Per50. Measurements included: 1) substrate physical and chemical characteristics such as water characteristic curves, bulk density, total porosity, easily available water, and pH; 2) biometric measurements such as shoot length and number and number of flowers; and 3) determination of main and lateral stems, leaf, flower, and root dry weights. Results showed that substrates P60:F40 and P40:F60 retained excessive water in all tensions, whereas substrate P50:Per50 exhibited increased water retention at saturation that was quickly reduced after 10 cm of tension. The non-amended soil (S) had the least water retention capacity and proved to be a slow-draining substrate. Supplementation either with peat or peat and perlite (S60:P40, S40:P60, and S40:P30:Per30) significantly increased water retention in the soil-based substrates. Soil-based substrates supplemented with UFRF retained less water compared with peat-amended soil-based substrates. Concerning plant growth, Lantana plants growing in the UFRF-amended substrates were unable to recover from frost injury and their evaluation was interrupted after winter as a result of total plant loss. The injury was attributed to the reduction of plant growth in UFRF-supplemented substrates before the occurrence of frost stress events. Soil-based substrates (S, S60:P40, S40:P60, and S40:P30:Per30) provided greater shoot growth, which was almost twofold compared with substrate P50:Per50. Substrate S40:P30:Per30 produced the most lateral shoots and flowers over the whole study period, whereas S40:P60 produced the most flowers during the summer. Dry weights of both stem and lateral stems followed a similar pattern with the biometric measurements. However the non-amended soil (S) produced the highest leaf and root dry weights followed by substrates S60:P40 and S40:P60. It was concluded that both substrates S40:P60 and S40:P30:Per30 can successfully be used for Lantana nursery production as a result of their decreased bulk density, increased water retention capacity, adequate porosity, and promotion of shoot growth and flowering. Despite its high bulk density, substrate S could be used in the production of Lantana plants for landscape use as a result of the increased root production.

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The aim of this study was to determine the effects of different irrigation regimens on five native aromatic and medicinal species including Ballota acetabulosa (Greek horehound), Helichrysum orientale (helichrysum), Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), and Salvia fruticosa (Greek sage) when grown on adaptive green roof systems. The applied levels of irrigation were 100% (well-watered control), 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% (no irrigation) of the daily pan evaporation (Epan). Measurements included the in situ determination of substrate moisture, stomatal resistance, and soil plant analysis development (SPAD) values. It was found that Greek horehound, helichrysum, and rosemary can sustainably grow at an irrigation of 25% Epan, whereas Greek sage and lemon balm require an irrigation of at least 50% Epan for sustainable growth in shallow adaptive green roof systems.

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