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Daniel G. Krueger Jr. and Bert T. Swanson

To increase root fibrosity, acorns of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) were germinated and subjected to several radicle clipping (+/-) and K-IBA concentration treatments combintations prior to planting. Taproots and laterals ≥ 1 mm in diameter at the point of origin were counted. Low concentrations of K-IBA (0-4000 ppm) resulted in four root morphologies: 1) a single taproot and 3-6 laterals (no clipping/no K-IBA), 2) 4-5 taproots and 1-3 laterals (clipped only), 3) a single taproot and 5-12 laterals (not clipped/K-IBA) and 4) 6-12 taproots and 1-2 laterals. High concentrations of K-IBA (4000-10,000 ppm) `clipped' unclipped radicles resulting in root systems similiar to those clipped by hand. Stem height was unaffected by treatment. Radicle-clipping may increase stem caliper. K-IBA treatments may decrease root dry weight.

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Bert T. Swanson and James B. Calkins

Fourteen herbicides or herbicide combinations, a wood chip mulch, a chipped rubber tire mulch, and a newspaper mulch were evaluated for weed control efficacy and potential phytotoxicity using 12 species of herbaceous perennials under field-growing conditions. Nineteen herbicides or herbicide combinations were similarly evaluated under container-growing conditions using 11 species of herbaceous perennials. The effect of herbicide application time also was monitored through application of herbicides to dormant and actively growing plants. Herbicides and mulch treatments were compared to weeded and nonweeded controls. Herbicide phytotoxicity effects were dependent on the age and species of the herbaceous perennial and herbicide application timing. Herbicide injury was generally greater for newly established plants compared to established plants. Although injury was usually reduced when herbicides were applied to dormant plants, injury was sometimes greater when herbicides were applied in early spring compared to applications made in late spring after complete herbaceous perennial emergence. This effect resulted in injury to young shoots that had emerged before the earliest possible time that herbicides could be applied in early spring. A wood chip mulch provided the most effective weed control and highest quality plants under field growing conditions. Several of the herbicides evaluated demonstrated potential for weed control in both field and container herbaceous perennial production systems and landscape plantings.

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James B. Calkins and Bert T. Swanson

Media fertility, nutrient availability, and subsequently plant nutrition are critical factors that can be modified by growers to produce quality container-grown plants. The trend in container fertility has been toward incorporation of slow-release fertilizers; however, fertility release curves are variable and fertilizer longevity for many fertilizers is limited. Seventeen slow-release fertilizers were compared for longevity and plant performance over a 2-year production cycle using deciduous and evergreen plant materials. Plant growth was quantified based on height, volume, branching, dry weight, and quality. Soil fertility levels based on leachates were followed. Nutrient release for the incorporated fertilizers evaluated was variable. Fertility treatment effects were species-dependent. Several incorporated, slow-release fertilizers, especially those high in nitrogen and having extended release curves, including Nutricote 20–7–10, Scotts Experimental 24–6–10 and 26–6–11, Scotts Prokote Plus 20–3–10, Sierra 17–6–10, Sierra High N 24–4–6, Sierra Experimental 24–4–8, Woodace 21–4–10, Woodace 23–7–12, and Woodace Briquettes 23–2–0, show promise for use in 2-year container production systems.

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Bert T. Swanson and James B. Calkins

Five composted Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (garbage) products and a composted manure were evaluated as container growing media components on eight woody and herbaceous plants. Plant growth response to the different composts and to the quality of compost used was species-specific. Media UM Manure 100 provided the greatest increase in plant height across all species during the first year. However, only one species, V. lentaga, actually ranked number one in UM Manure 100. J.h. `Blue Chip' and A. tuberosa both grew the tallest in Control I. The remaining five species grew tallest in five different media. Therefore, several amended media can provide increased plant height for specific species; however, the top three media for plant height across all species were: #1 UM Manure 100, #2 Prairieland 50, and #3 Pennington 50. Plant height was the lowest in Recomp 100 media. Pennington 50 provided the greatest increase in plant volume. Media producing the highest plant dry weights across all species were: #1 Prairieland 50, #2 Pennington 50 and #3 UM Manure 50. Plants grown in Recomp 100 had the lowest plant dry weight. Media physical properties such as media drainage and aeration were affected by amendment quality and quantity.

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Bert T. Swanson, James B. Calkins, and Debra L. Newman

A manual for certified nursery and landscape professionals has been developed by the University of Minnesota Extension Service in conjunction with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA). The purpose of the certification manual is to facilitate the improvement of basic skills and knowledge of nursery and landscape professionals, to further the education and training of competent nursery and landscape professionals, and to serve as a training and reference manual for most levels of nursery and landscape culture and management. The manual consists of thirty-four chapters covering all aspects of woody plant biology and culture: abiotic and biotic plant stress; landscape design; installation and maintenance; plant marketing, merchandising and sales; and laws, regulations and safety concerns for nursery, landscape and garden center personnel. A concise glossary, the American Standard For Nursery Stock, and an illustrated nursery catalog are also included in the manual. The manual is an important part of the MNLA Certification Program whose purpose is to improve the skills, knowledge and, expertise of nursery and landscape professionals. The Certification Program also strives for faster recognition and promotion of professionalism within the industry and to the general public.

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Robert L. Geneve, Wesley P. Hackett, and Bert T. Swanson

Several inhibitors of ethylene biosynthesis and action, as well as an atmospheric ethylene scrubber, were used to investigate the role of ethylene in adventitious root initiation in de-bladed petioles from the juvenile and mature phase of English ivy (Hedera helix L.). Induction of root primordia required NAA regardless of the inhibitor treatment. Difficult-to-root mature petioles have been shown to produce higher amounts of ethylene than easy-to-root juvenile petioles. However, mature petioles failed to root under any combination of NAA and inhibitor treatment, indicating that the continued evolution of ethylene in NAA-treated mature petioles was not responsible for the absence of a rooting response. Root initiation in juvenile petioles was not affected by treatment with the ethylene action inhibitors STS and NDE, nor by removal of atmospheric ethylene with KMnO. Inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis using AVG or AOA reduced root initiation in juvenile petioles, but this response was not well-correlated to the observed reduction in ethylene evolution. The inhibitory action of AVG could not be reversed by the addition of ethylene gas or ACC, which indicated that AVG could be acting through a mechanism other than the inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis. Chemical names used: 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA); l-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylic acid (ACC); silver thiosulfate (STS); 2,5-norbornadiene (NDE); aminoethyoxyvinyl-glycine (AVG); aminooxyacetic acid (AOA).

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Robert L. Geneve, Wesley P. Hackett, and Bert T. Swanson

Exogenous ethylene could not substitute for NAA to induce adventitious root initiation in juvenile petiole explants of English ivy (Hedera helix L.), indicating that the action of auxin-stimulated root initiation was not directly mediated through ethylene production. Mature petioles did not initiate roots under any auxin or ethylene treatment combination. Ethephon or ACC supplied at 50 or 100 μm was inhibitory to NAA-induced root initiation in juvenile petioles. The pattern of ethylene production stimulated by NAA application was significantly different in juvenile and mature petioles. Ethylene evolution by juvenile petioles declined to near control levels during from 6 to 12 days after NAA application. Reduction in ethylene production was due to reduced availability of ACC in juvenile petioles. Mature petioles continued to produce ethylene at elevated levels throughout the course of the experiment. Ethylene does not appear to play a significant role in the differential root initiation response of juvenile and mature petioles treated with NAA. However, ethylene appeared to have an inhibitory effect during root elongation stages of adventitious root development in juvenile petioles. Chemical names used: 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC); 1-napthaleneacetic acid (NAA); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Carl J. Rosen, Thomas R. Halbach, and Bert T. Swanson

Composting of municipal solid waste (MSW) has received renewed attention as a result of increasing waste disposal costs and the environmental concerns associated with using landfills. Sixteen MSW composting facilities are currently operating in the United States, with many more in the advanced stages of planning. A targeted end use of the compost is for horticultural crop production. At the present time, quality standards for MSW composts are lacking and need to be established. Elevated heavy metal concentrations in MSW compost have been reported; however, through proper sorting and recycling prior to composting, contamination by heavy metals can be reduced. Guidelines for safe metal concentrations and fecal pathogens in compost, based on sewage sludge research, are presented. The compost has been shown to be useful in horticultural crop production by improving soil physical properties, such as lowering bulk density and increasing water-holding capacity. The compost can supply essential nutrients to a limited extent; however, supplemental fertilizer, particularly N, is usually required. The compost has been used successfully as a sphagnum peat substitute for container media and as a seedbed for turf production. High soluble salts and B, often leading to phytotoxicity, are problems associated with the use of MSW compost. The primary limiting factor for the general use of MSW compost in horticultural crop production at present is the lack of consistent, high-quality compost.

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James B. Calkins, Bert T. Swanson, Daniel G. Krueger, and Karin R. Lundquist

A study was designed to ascertain the efficacy, water use efficiency, runoff potential, and cost effectiveness of four container irrigation systems: overhead sprinkler irrigation, in-line trickle irrigation, capillary mat with leaky hose, and sub-irrigation. Results were species dependent. Plant growth was best under capillary mat and trickle irrigation treatments, however, differences in plant growth and performance between irrigation treatments were minimal. Differences in water use, however, were quite significant. Overhead irrigation was inefficient regarding water use while capillary mat and trickle systems used much lower volumes of water. Conservative irrigation systems which maintain acceptable plant growth using less water and reduce runoff from container production areas can clearly benefit growers by reducing production and environmental costs.

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Laurie Robinson-Hipple, Faye Propsam, James B. Calkins, and Bert T. Swanson

Media fertility, plant nutrient availability, and subsequent plant nutrition are critical factors in the production of quality landscape plant materials. The method of mixing slow-release fertilizers into the media prior to planting is becoming more widespread. This study evaluates different controlled-release fertilizers, their rates of release, and three methods of irrigation regarding water-use efficiency and effects on plant growth performance. The combined effects of fertility and irrigation practices on nutrient loss to the environment are also being monitored. Although the ranking of fertility treatments, based on plant quality, varied among species, Woodace 21–4–10, Sierra 17–6–10, Sierra High N (24–4–6, Scotts 20–7–10, (270–26.67 lb/yd3), Woodace 20–5–10, Polyon 25–4–12, Nutricote 18–6–8 (270–30 lb/yd3), and Nutricote 18–6–8 (270–20 lb/yd3) produced high-quality plants for most of the species evaluated. The control and Nutri-Pak 18–6–12 treatments resulted in relatively poor-quality plants across the board. The effects of irrigation techniques on leachate analysis are being completed.