High levels of N are often used to produce a vigorous plant that is also aesthetically pleasing to the purchaser. Environmental concerns with the overuse of N raise the need to find the minimum N requirements necessary to produce a salable plant. Ilex opaca and Lagerstroemia indica plants growing in 1.5-gal containers were irrigated with nutrient solutions containing N concentrations of: 15, 30, 60, 120, 210, and 300 mg N/liter. After 4 months, data indicate that using solutions >60 mg N/liter for both plant species results in leachates with N concentrations higher than those in the applied solutions. Nitrogen leaching losses increased with applied N, ranging from ≈15% to 50% for the low and high treatments, respectively. Chlorophyll readings of leaf tissue were not significantly different for plants of both species receiving N solutions higher than 60 mg·liter–1. These results indicate that N levels lower than those typically used for production of these woody ornamentals will still produce salable plants while increasing N fertilizer-use efficiency.
Diana Devereaux and Raul I. Cabrera
Raul I. Cabrera and Diana Devereaux
Ilex opaca and Lagerstroemia indica plants were grown over 9 months using complete nutrient solutions differing in N concentration [(N)A: 15, 30, 60, 120, 210 and 300 mg·L–1]. Biomass production increased as (N)A were raised from 15 to 60 mg·L–1, but was depressed by higher concentrations. Increases in (N)A produced higher shoot: root ratios. Maximum leaf N concentration was observed at 60 mg·L–1, with similar values at higher (N)A. Plant survival, establishment and performance was evaluated over 15 weeks following transplant (15 WAT) to a landscape with minimum management conditions. Despite the initial significant differences in growth, shoot: root ratios and plant N status, plant establishment was not affected following transplant. Plant characteristics changed significantly over time, and by 15 WAT, all of the measured variables were statistically the same across all treatments. Flowering was, however, delayed over several weeks for Lagerstroemia indica plants grown at the higher (N)A. Analysis of these results indicate that plant production under relatively low N levels in the nursery maximizes N fertilizer use efficiency without affecting landscape establishment and performance.
Raul I. Cabrera and Diana R. Devereaux
Containerized crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L. × Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne `Tonto') plants were grown for 9 months under various nitrogen fertility regimes, and then transplanted to a sandy loam soil with minimal management to evaluate their landscape establishment and growth performance. During the nursery phase plants were irrigated, except over an overwintering period, with complete nutrient solutions differing in applied N concentration, ranging from 15 to 300 mg·L-1. By 16 weeks after transplanting (WAT) into the landscape soil, plant biomass was significantly higher in the plants that had been grown with higher N supplies and had been among the smallest at transplant. Such plant growth response was linearly and positively correlated to plant N status at transplant. Plant shoot to root ratio and tissue N, Ca, S, and Fe concentrations, which had been significantly affected by the N fertilization regime in the nursery, equalized over time after transplant, with no significant differences observed among treatments by 16 WAT. Flowering response in the landscape was delayed in plants originally grown with the higher N supplies. Plant survival and establishment per se were not affected by treatments; no plants were lost, and aside from the differences in size and flower timing, all plants were considered aesthetically similar.