The contributions of interrelated production system components of a field-grown, 2-m-tall, 5-cm-caliper Picea pungens (colorado blue spruce) in the upper midwestern (liner) and lower midwestern (finished tree) regions of the United States to its carbon footprint were analyzed using life cycle assessment protocols. The seed-to-landscape carbon footprint was 13.558 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), including sequestration of 9.14 kg CO2e during production. The global warming potential (GWP) from equipment use was the dominant contributor to the carbon footprint of production. Seventy-six percent of the GWP investments during field production occurred at harvest. Querying the model, among other things, revealed that adding one year to the field production phase would add less than 3% to the seed-to-landscape GWP of the product. The weighted positive impact of carbon (C) sequestration during a 50-year life was 593 kg CO2e. After its useful life, takedown and disposal would result in emissions of 148 kg CO2e, resulting in a net positive, life cycle impact on atmospheric CO2 of ≈431 kg CO2e.
Dewayne L. Ingram
The University of Kentucky's Department of Horticulture, led by the extension faculty working with targeted industry associations, facilitated the creation of the Kentucky Horticulture Council to be the voice of a diverse industry. Leadership in industry strategic planning, promoting the opportunities for expansion of the horticulture industry, and educating state agriculture, legislative and university leaders provided a focus of energy and positioned the industry to access emerging resources. Leadership development has been an anticipated byproduct of this process.
Dewayne L. Ingram
This presentation focuses on driving forces and philosophies in the current Age of Accountability and explores ideas of how to respond. The increased scrutiny faced by all public agencies is requiring that Cooperative Extension approach the issue of accountability a bit differently. We must articulate our objectives and values to specific clientele groups, the general public, and government officials. Hard questions are being asked about past and anticipated return on tax dollars invested in state and federal agencies. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires “performance based budgeting” for all federal agencies, including the USDA. Each federal agency must develop an action plan with well-defined objectives and anticipated impacts to justify the allocation of federal funds. The overriding theme is not how busy we are and how many activities we can report, but what has been the impact of our efforts.
Susmitha S. Nambuthiri and Dewayne L. Ingram
The demand for groundcover plants for landscape use is increasing. Plantable containers are becoming available in sizes appropriate for groundcover plants. Landscapers are seeking ways to decrease the time required to prepare and plant groundcover beds. Studies were conducted in 2011 and 2012 to evaluate plantable containers for a variety of groundcover plants. The study has shown that ‘Bronze Beauty’ ajuga (Ajuga reptans), ‘Herman’s Pride’ lamiastrum (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), ‘Beacon Silver’ lamium (Lamium maculatum), ‘Immergrunchen sedum (Sedum hybridum), ‘Red Carpet Stonecrop’ sedum (Sedum spurium), and ‘Vera Jameson’ sedum (Sedum telephium) were grown to a marketable size from 1.5-inch plugs in 8 weeks in Lexington, KY, when transplanted in May through August. ‘Big Blue’ liriope (Liriope muscari) from bare root bibs required 12 weeks. Plant growth in a 90-mm paper container and 80-mm bioplastic container was similar to that of plants grown in standard 3-inch rigid plastic containers and required 20% less time to transplant into the landscape and grew rapidly after transplanting in the field. Peat containers in this production system yielded smaller plants and slower ground coverage after transplanting in the field than plants grown in the other containers.
Dewayne L. Ingram and Charles R. Hall
Previously published life cycle assessment (LCA) studies regarding the global warming potential (GWP) of tree production have shown that the carbon footprint during the cradle-to-grave life cycle of a tree can reduce atmospheric CO2. This study provides another unique contribution to the literature by considering other potential midpoint environmental impacts such as ozone depletion, smog, acidification, eutrophication, carcinogenic or non-carcinogenic human toxicity, respiratory effects, ecotoxicity, and fossil fuel depletion for 5-cm-caliper, field-grown, spade-dug trees. Findings from this study validate using data from various literature sources with a single-impact focus on GWP and compiled and calculated in a spreadsheet or using a LCA software package with embedded databases (SimaPro) to generate comparable GWP estimates. Therefore, it is appropriate to use SimaPro to generate midpoint environmental impact estimates in LCA studies of field-grown trees. The authors also compared the midpoint environmental impacts with other agricultural commodities [corn (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max), potato (Solanum tuberosum), and wool] and determined that trees compare favorably, with the exception that fossil fuel depletion for the trees was greater than the other products as a result of the high equipment use in harvesting and handling trees. In addition, the water footprint (WF) associated with tree production is also determined through LCA using the Hoekstra water scarcity method in SimaPro. The propagation-to-gate WF for the three tree production systems ranged from 0.09 to 0.64 m3 per tree and was highly influenced by irrigation water, which was the major contributor to WF for each production system. As expected, the propagation stage of each tree represented significantly less WF than the field production phase with larger plants and lower planting densities, even with more frequent irrigation/misting in liner production.
John M. Ruter and Dewayne L. Ingram
Seeds of Sophora secundiflora (Ort.) Lag ex. DC. (mescal bean) were scarified with hot water or concentrated sulfuric acid to determine an optimal pretreatment for successful germination. Scanning electron micrographs indicated that the acid scarification treatment removed the seed cuticle. One-year-old seeds were successfully stored and germinated ≈2 days sooner than from the current year if both were given an acid pretreatment. Germination rate increased as acid pretreatment time increased from 30 to 120 minutes. Soaking seeds in water at room temperature or in hot water (initially 93C) for 24 hours had no effect on germination.
Chris A. Martin and Dewayne L. Ingram
Root growth of southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora Hort. `St. Mary') was studied for 16 weeks after an 8-week exposure to 30, 34, 38, or 42 ± 0.8C root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments applied for 6 hours daily. Immediately after RZT treatments, total root length of trees responded negatively to increased RZT in a quadratic pattern and the shoot and root dry weight of trees was similar. However, 8 and 16 weeks after RZT treatments, total root length responded linearly in a negative pattern to increased RZT, and shoot and root dry weight responded negatively to increased RZT in a linear and quadratic pattern, respectively. Root dry weight of trees exposed to 42C RZT treatment was 29% and 48% less than 38 and 34C RZT treatments, respectively, at week 8. By week 16, root dry weight as a function of RZT had changed such that the 42C RZT was 43% and 47% less than 38 and 34C RZT, respectively. Differences in root growth patterns between weeks 8 and 16 suggest that trees were able to overcome the detrimental effects of the 38C treatment, whereas growth suppression by the 42C treatment was still evident after 16 weeks.
John M. Ruter and Dewayne L. Ingram
Ilex crenata Thunb. `Rotundifolia' split-root plants were grown for 3 weeks at root-zone temperatures of 30/30, 30/34, 30/38, 30/42, 34/34, 38/38 and 42/42. The 38 C root-zone temperature treatment was the upper threshold for a number of growth and physiological parameters. A portion of the root system grown at near optimum temperatures could compensate in terms of shoot growth for part of the root system exposed to supraoptimal root-zone temperatures up to the 38 C critical threshold. Higher root-zone temperatures did not affect photosynthetic rates or root:shoot ratios, but altered photosynthate partitioning to different stem and root sinks. Although no differences were found for total 14C partitioned to the roots, partitioning of the 14C into soluble and insoluble fractions and the magnitude of root respiration and exudation were influenced by treatment. Heating half of a root system at 38 C increased the amount of 14C respired from the heated side and increased the total CO2 respired from the non-heated (30 C) half. Exposure of both root halves to 42 C resulted in membrane damage which increased the leakage of 14C photosynthates into the medium.
Chris A. Martin and Dewayne L. Ingram
Thermal properties of pine bark: sand container media as a function of volumetric water content and effectiveness of irrigation as a tool for modulating high temperatures in container media were studied. Volumetric water and sand content interacted to affect container medium thermal diffusivity. Adding sand to a pine bark container medium decreased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was less than 10 percent and increased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was between 10 and 70 percent. Thermal diffusivity was greatest for a 3 pine bark : 2 sand container medium if volumetric water content was between 30 and 70 percent. Irrigation was used to decrease temperatures in 10-liter container media. Irrigation water at 26°C was more effective if 1) volumes equaled or exceeded 3000 ml, 2) applications were made during mid-day, and 3) sand was present in the container medium compared to pine bark alone. However, due to the volume of water required to lower container media temperatures, nursery operators should first consider reducing incoming irradiance via overhead shade or container spacing.