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  • Author or Editor: Donna Coffindaffer-Ballard x
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Four poinsettia cultivars were planted in root media containing 0%, 25%, or 50% (by volume) of coal bottom ash or aged hardwood sawdust. Bract color development in `Supjibi' was delayed in media containing sawdust or ash by up to 8–12 days. Bract color initiation of `Jingle Bells' and `Success' occurred earliest in media containing 25% sawdust, but color development was delayed in 50% coal ash. Color development in `Dark Red Hegg' was not affected by ash or sawdust. Analysis of combined leaves from all four cultivars showed Fe levels below normal where media contained sawdust. Leaf Mo concentrations increased with increased media sawdust to above the normal range, but Mn levels were below the normal range in sawdust media. Leaf Ca levels were below normal in all media, possibly due to excessively high K levels in media and leaves. When fertilizer concentration and frequency were adjusted to media EC levels, control media (0% ash or sawdust) required 100 ppm N once a week. Media containing sawdust required 300 ppm to maintain EC levels between 1.25–2.25 dS·m–1 and coal ash media were irrigated with water following the sixth week after planting due to EC levels >2.25.

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A 0.2-ha reclaimed minesoil site near Welch, W.Va., was amended with sewage sludge, hardwood bark, and a sorghum–sudan hybrid green manure crop to demonstrate production of horticultural crops. A selection of crops, including white birch, forsythia, zinnia, tomato, yarrow, red raspberry, and strawberry, was planted and grown. Plant growth and development, including flower and fruit production, tended to be enhanced by sludge-amended soils and reduced in green manure and hardwood bark–amended soils. Sludge increased pH, Ca, P, and Mg levels above that in the other treatments. Hardwood bark increased Mn but decreased P. The green manure amendment increased soil Fe content. In 1994 `Allstar' strawberry yield and berry weights were similar for all plots, but yield was about 10% of expected and was very close to the economic break-even point. Third-year yield of 1992 planted `Heritage' raspberries was about one-half the expected yield of 5000 lbs/acre, but still considered profitable. Zinnia flower production yielded a calculated 32% return on investment. Assuming that 50% forsythia plants were saleable in 2 years, return on investment was projected to be 30%. For white birch, assuming half were saleable in 4 years, a 16% return on investment was projected.

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