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Gerald Klingaman and G.L. Wheeler

Eight species of woody nursery stock were grown in 4 liter containers and fertilized with a conventional resin-coated slow release material (at 3.5 g N per container) or composted poultry manure applied as a top dressed or incorporated with nitrogen rates ranging from 1.0 to 11.2 g N per container. In all cases the conventional resin-coated product outperformed composted poultry manure by factors of 2 to 3 times (for height, dry weight and quality score). Although a rate response was observed with the composted, even the highest rate of nitrogen application produced plants with dry weights of 1/2 that of the control. When comparing the sources of composted poultry manure alone, the 4-4-4 product outperformed the 2-2-2 compost, even with equivalent rates of nitrogen, for 3 of the 8 species studied. Incorporation proved superior to topdressing for the 4-4-4 source but topdressing was superior for the 2-2-2 material. These studies are part of a nutrient partitioning experiment being conducted to determine the fate of nitrogen released from composted poultry manure.

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Gerald Klingaman and G.L. Wheeler

In 1993, the Arkansas poultry industry produced 1.048 billion broilers with a total live weight of 2.54 million metric tons. Depending on the type of processing used, from 30% to 50% of live weight can end up in the waste stream. Three primary waste-stream products are generated by the poultry industry: feather meal, poultry meal, and bone meal. Feather meal contains ≈14% N, poultry meal 11% N, and bone meal 8% N. Byproduct additions were made to tomato, marigold, and impatiens transplants at the rate of 6, 12, 24 and 48 g/10-cm pot. The two highest rates killed plants outright, while the lower rates resulted in some growth reduction when compared to the control. Studies are under way to further evaluate the use of these byproducts in an organic production system for tomatoes and bedding plants.

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Gerald L. Klingaman and G. Laurin Wheeler

Twelve to 15 year old silver maple and wild cherry trees were top pruned severely to a height of 5m and then trunk injected with Prunit 20g/l at 0, 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 g/inch of trunk diameter or were treated with a trunk pour of Prunit 50W at the rate of 0, 0.5 or 1.0 g/inch of trunk diameter. Treatment effects were not obvious on any trees until 12 months after treatment. After 36 months maples receiving the two highest rates had made less than 50 cm of growth above the pruned top of the tree whereas the untreated control had produced 3 m of new shoot growth. The 0.1 g rate produced less aesthetic disruption to the appearance of the tree and reduced growth to 1.2 m. Wild cherry trees responded similarly but the amount of regrowth following pruning was less. Maple trees receiving the trunk pour treatment exhibited a 50% reduction in new shoot growth 36 months after treatment.

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J. Phillip McKnight and G. L. Klingaman

Eighteen New Guinea impatiens cultivars were evaluated for performance as bedding plants and for suitability as hanging basket plants. The cultivars were treated with three growth retarding chemicals (B-9, Sumagic and Cutless) to determine their effect on plant growth, branching and overall flower development. Two applications of 2500 ppm B-9 produced the most commercially acceptable plants. Height and spread were reduced by approximately 30 percent with no reduction in the number of flowers produced or the number of days to bloom. Cutless and Sumagic applications reduced growth approximately 50 percent and delayed blooming as much as 2 weeks when compared to the untreated control. Growth regulator treatment had no effect on the number of branches produced except with Sumagic which resulted in an overall reduction in branching.

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Gerald L. Klingaman and G. Laurin Wheeler

Twelve to 15 year old silver maple and wild cherry trees were top pruned severely to a height of 5m and then trunk injected with Prunit 20g/l at 0, 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 g/inch of trunk diameter or were treated with a trunk pour of Prunit 50W at the rate of 0, 0.5 or 1.0 g/inch of trunk diameter. Treatment effects were not obvious on any trees until 12 months after treatment. After 36 months maples receiving the two highest rates had made less than 50 cm of growth above the pruned top of the tree whereas the untreated control had produced 3 m of new shoot growth. The 0.1 g rate produced less aesthetic disruption to the appearance of the tree and reduced growth to 1.2 m. Wild cherry trees responded similarly but the amount of regrowth following pruning was less. Maple trees receiving the trunk pour treatment exhibited a 50% reduction in new shoot growth 36 months after treatment.

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R.M. Mirabello, A.E. Einert, and G.L. Klingaman

The objective of this study was to examine the influence of mulch material and fertilizer application method on nutrient availability in a landscape situation. Beds containing four mulch materials (pine bark, cypress pulp, pine straw, and cottonseed hulls) and three fertilizer application methods (granule, liquid, and time release) were established. Fertilizer placement included application either above or below the mulch horizon. Beds with and without mulch cover and no fertilization were established as controls. Marigolds, Tagetes erecta `Hybrid Gold', were planted within the beds. Plants in unmulched or fertilized control beds had greater dry weights than plants in beds with mulch alone. Only plants grown in the cottonseed hull control demonstrated a slight improvement and cottonseed hulls demonstrated the best plant performance overall. The greater nitrogen content of cottonseed hulls may influence less immobilization of nitrogen in the soil solution during decomposition and reduce competition for nutrients between microorganisms and plants. Fertilization improved plant growth in all treatments except pine bark. Beds using pine bark showed significant reduction in plant dry matter accumulation. Potential toxicity or changes in soil chemistry by pine bark may have influenced these results and will be examined in further experiments. Fertilizer placement had no effect on plant growth.

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R.A. Mirabello, A.E. Einert, and G.L. Klingaman

The effects of a mulch material on nutrient availability remain questionable. As organic materials decompose, the increased activity of microorganisms immobilizes nutrients (particularly nitrogen) to preform this process. The decomposition of mulch material and the activity of microorganisms may then compete for nutrients applied to ornamental species in the landscape. To examine this question, four widely available mulch materials (pine bark, cypress pulp, pine straw, and cottonseed hulls) and three fertilizer application methods (granule, liquid, and time release), which were applied either above or below the mulch, were established. Beds with and without mulch cover and no fertilization were established as controls. Marigolds, Tagetes erecta `Hybrid Gold', were planted within the beds. Growth response was found to be greatest in beds with cottonseed hulls. Cottonseed hulls are reported to have a high nitrogen content of their own that may influence less immobilization of nitrogen for decomposition. Beds using pinebark showed significant reduction in plant growth. Fertilization application method also demonstrated significant differences in plant response. The use of a granule fertilizer produced the greatest growth response although initial plant loss was observed in beds using this method. The fast release nature of granule fertilizer and potential toxicity were the suspected reason for this observation. Growth data indicated plant performance was unaffected by fertilizer placement.

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R.A. Mirabello, A.E. Einert, and G.L. Klingaman

The use of shredded bark, wood chips, and other organic mulches to conserve water and moderate soil temperatures is a common practice in landscape maintenance. Four mulch materials (cottonseed hulls, cypress pulp, pine bark, and pine straw) were examined to determine effects on plant growth and soil conditions in annual flower beds during a 1-year rotation of warm season to cool season annuals. Inhibited plant growth was observed in pine bark treatments at the conclusion of the growing season for both plantings. Effects on soil conditions were insignificant over the year-long study in pine bark treatments. To further investigate potential phytotoxic effects of pine bark and other mulch used in the initial study, a seed bioassay was performed to determine the influence of mulch extracts in solution on germination and primary root elongation.

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R.A. Sink, A.E. Einert, G.L. Klingaman, and R.W. McNew

Use of groundcovers in the landscape is often limited due to their slow establishment rate compared to that of turf. Hedera helix L., (English ivy), Euonymus fortunei `Coloratus' (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz. (purpleleaf wintercreeper euonymus), and Liriope spicata Lour. (creeping lily-turf) were evaluated in a full sun and 50% shade environment to determine the effects of fertilizer applications on their establishment and growth. Fertilizer treatments, of 13N-13P-13K at a rate of.45 kg/93 m2, used were: 1) at planting only; 2) at planting and once during the summer; 3) at planting, in summer, and once in the fall; or 4) at planting, in summer, in fall, and once the following spring. Data collected included fresh and dry weight comparisons of pruned material, percentage canopy cover, plant quality and vigor by visual assessment and photographs, and time required for maintenance of each plot. Results show limited fertilizer effects and interaction according to species during the first several months of growth. Establishment and survivability of Hedera was influenced mainly by light exposure rather than fertilizer applications. There was no difference in establishment rates between Liriope and Euonymus, however, under shade, Euonymus did not develop its characteristic fall color. Hedera was established in one season under 50% shade and can be considered very competitive with turf under the same conditions.

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R.A. Mirabello, A.E. Einert, G.L. Klingaman, and R.W. McNew

To examine the effects of mulching and fertilization on nutrient availability and plant growth in landscape beds, plots were established using four mulches (cottonseed hulls, cypress wood, pine bark, pine straw) and three fertilizer application methods (granular, liquid, time-release). Fertilizer was applied either below the mulch on the soil surface or over the mulch surface. Marigolds, Tagetes erecta L., were planted during the summer, followed by pansies, Viola×wittrockiana Gams, during the winter. Applied fertilizers, existing soil nutrients, and water-soluble nutrients from the new mulch provided an adequate supply of nutrients for marigold growth. Placement of fertilizer above or below the mulch did not affect marigold growth. Pansy growth was limited by depletion of soil N during the marigold season and by leaching of applied nutrients in the winter while plants were not actively growing. Mulch lowered soil temperatures and slowed pansy recovery in the spring. Pine straw allowed soil temperatures to rise earlier in the spring and improved pansy growth.