Three application rates of two new growing medium surfactants were tested under two different irrigation systems on Dianthus barbatus plants. The objectives of the study were to determine if either of the surfactants influenced plant growth and development and to determine if surfactant applications decreased irrigation frequencies. The three levels of surfactant tested were 0 mg·L–1 (control), 10 mg·L–1 applied at each watering, and 100 mg·L–1 applied once a week. Each surfactant and rate was tested on hand-watered and ebb-and-flood irrigated plants. D. barbatus plants were grown for 8 weeks in 875-ml (12.7 cm) pots. Plants were watered when at least one plant per treatment showed visible wilt. Results showed that phytotoxicity symptoms occurred with repeated applications of both surfactants tested, especially at the 10 mg·L–1 rate at each watering. Application of either surfactant at 10 mg·L–1 at each watering decreased plant heights, dry weights, and plant widths, and increased phytotoxicity symptoms over the controls and the 100 mg·L–1 weekly treatments. Fewer waterings were required in surfactant-treated containers.
The objective of this study was to determine which combination of three types of irrigation systems, three fertilization method, and four growing media produced optimum growth of flowering vinca, Catharanthus roseus. Irrigation systems used included ebb-and-fl ood, drip, and pulse; fertilization methods included slow release, prepackaged, and custom mixed; and the four growing media were peatmoss:perlite:vermiculite (1:1:1, by volume), peatmoss:rockwool (1:1, by volume), and 0.6-cm diameter shredded rubber or fabric from waste tires: vermiculite:peatmoss (1:1:2, by volume). Four replications of five plants each were used in each of the 36 treatment combinations. Plants were potted 29 and 30 May 1996 in 10-cm containers, grown for 10 weeks, and harvested 6 Aug. 1996. The drip-irrigated benches were irrigated once per day for 15 s. Pulse-irrigated benches were watered twice per day for 6 s. This resulted in the drip- and pulse-irrigated plants receiving a similar volume of water daily. Ebb-and-fl ood benches were filled once per day with drainage occurring 15 min after filling. Ending plant heights and dry weights indicated that those plants in the prepackaged fertilizer/drip or ebb-and-fl ood irrigation/shredded tire fiber growing medium were comparable to plants grown in the peatmoss:rockwool medium with the same fertilizer and irrigation methods.