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Glenn B. Fain and Charles H. Gilliam

The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential use of container substrates composed of whole pine trees. Three species [loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)] of 8–10 year old pine trees were harvested at ground level and the entire tree was chipped with a tree chipper. The chips from each tree species were then further processed with a hammer mill to pass a ½-inch screen. On 29 June 2005 these three substrates along with 100% pinebark were mixed with the addition per cubic yard of 9.49 kg·m–3 Polyon 18–6–12 (18N–2.6P–10K), 2.97 kg·m–3 dolomitic lime and 0.89 kg·m–3 Micromax. One gallon (3.8 L) containers were then filled and placed into full sun under overhead irrigation. Into these containers were planted 72 cell plugs of Catharanthus roseus`Little Blanche'. Data collected were pre-plant chemical and physical properties of substrates, as well as plant growth index (GI), plant top dry weight, root ratings, and plant tissue (leaves) nutrient analysis at 60 days after planting (DAP). The test was repeated on 27 Aug. 2005 with C. roseus Raspberry Red Cooler. Top dry weights were on average 15% greater for the 100% pinebark substrate over all others at 60 DAP. However there were non differences in plant GI for any substrate at 60 DAP. There were no differences in plant tissue macro nutrient content for any substrate. Tissue micronutrient content was similar and within ranges reported by Mills and Jones (1996, Plant Analysis Handbook II) with the exception of Manganese. Manganese was highest for slash and loblolly pine and well over reported ranges. There were no differences in root ratings. There were no differences in substrate physical properties between the three whole tree substrates. However the 100% pinebark substrate had on average 50% less air space and 25% greater water holding capacity than the other substrates. Physical properties of all substrates were within recommended ranges. Based on the results of this study substrates composed of whole pine trees have potential as an alternative sustainable source for a substrate used in producing short term nursery crops.

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Glenn B. Fain and Patricia R. Knight

On 24 Apr. 2003, 3-gallon (11.4-liter) Quercus shumardii were potted into 13.2-gallon (50-liter) containers using a standard nursery mix. Treatment design was a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial with two fertilizer placements, three irrigation methods, and two herbicide rates. Controlled-release fertilizer 17N–2.9P–9.8K was dibbled (placed 10.2 cm below the surface of the container media at potting) or top-dressed at a rate of 280 grams per container. Irrigation was applied using one of three methods: 1) a spray stake attached to a 3-gallon- (11.4-L-) per-hour pressure compensating drip emitter; 2) a surface-applied pressure-compensating drip ring delivering water at a rate of 2.3 gallons (8.9-L) per hour; and 3) the same drip ring placed 4 inches (10.2 cm) below the container substrate surface. A granular preemergent herbicide (oxyfluorfen + oryzalin) was applied at 2.0 + 1.0 lb/acre (2.24 + 1.12 kg·ha-1). At 75 days after treatment (DAT), containers with no herbicide and top-dressed fertilizer had a percent weed coverage of 46% compared to 18% for dibbled containers with no herbicide. At 180 DAT weed top dry weight was greater for top-dressed containers compared to dibbled. None of the treatments in the study had any effect on height increase. At 240 DAT, trees irrigated with drip rings at the surface had a 28% greater caliper increase among the dibbled fertilizer-treated containers. Trees irrigated with the drip ring placed below the surface and fertilizer top-dressed had the smallest caliper increase. Irrigation method had no effect on weed control in this study; however, a repeat fall application showed a significantly greater weed control with the drip ring below surface compared to the spray stake.

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Guihong Bi, Williams B. Evans and Glenn B. Fain

Pulp mill ash was evaluated as a substrate component in the production of greenhouse-grown French marigold (Tagetes patula L. ‘Janie Deep Orange’). Peat-based substrates (75:10:15 by volume blend of peatmoss, vermiculite, and perlite) amended with 0% to 50% (by volume) pulp mill ash were compared with a standard commercially available substrate. With the exception of an unfertilized control, each substrate blend contained 5.93 kg·m−3 14N–6.2P–11.6K (3- to 4-month release) and 0.89 kg·m−3 Micromax. Substrates containing higher volumes of ash had finer particles, less air space, and more waterholding capacity than the commercial substrate. Bulk density increased with increasing ash volume, and substrate containing 50% ash had 120% greater bulk density than the commercial substrate. Substrates containing ash generally had higher pH and electrical conductivity (EC) than the commercial substrate with substrate pH and EC increasing with increasing ash volume. In general, marigold plants grown in peat-based substrates with the addition of 0% to 50% ash had similar growth indices, flower dry weights, numbers of flowers, and SPAD values as plants grown in commercial substrate; however, plants grown in substrates containing 30% to 50% ash had lower shoot dry weights or root quality ratings than plants grown in commercial substrate. Plant growth index, shoot dry weight, and root quality rating decreased with increasing ash volume.

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam and Gary J. Keever

Hardy ferns are widely grown for use in the landscape. Studies were conducted to evaluate the tolerance of variegated leatherleaf fern (Arachniodes simplicor `Variegata'), tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum), autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum `Rochfordii'), and southern shield fern (Dryopteris ludoviciana), to applications of selected preemergence applied herbicides. Liquid applied herbicides were pendamethalin (LPM) at 3.36 or 6.73 kg·ha–1, prodiamine (LPD) at 1.12 or 2.24 kg·ha–1, isoxaben (LIB) at 1.12 or 2.24 kg·ha–1, and the combination of prodiamine plus isoxaben (LPI) at 1.12 plus 1.12 kg·ha–1. Granular applied herbicides were pendamethalin (GPM) at 3.36 or 6.73 kg·ha–1, prodiamine (GPD)1.12 or 2.24 kg·ha–1, oxadiazon plus prodiamine (GOP) at 1.12 + 0.22 or 2.24 + 0.44 kg·ha–1, oxyfuorfen plus oryzalin (GOO) at 2.24 + 1.12 or 4.48 + 2.24 kg·ha–1, trifluralin plus isoxaben (GTI) at 2.24 + 0.56 or 4.48 + 1.12 kg·ha–1, oxadiazon (GO) at 4.48 or 8.97 kg·ha–1, and oxadiazon plus pendamethalin (GOPD) at 2.24 + 1.4 or 4.48 + 2.8 kg·ha–1. The greatest reduction in growth of autumn fern was observed with GOPD, GO, and GOP; all three containing oxadiazon as an active ingredient. Reductions in holly fern growth were most severe when plants were treated with GTI resulting in a 42% and 54% decrease in frond length and frond number, respectively. There were also reductions in number of fronds when treated with LPM, GPM, GOP, GOO, and GOPD. There were no reductions in frond numbers on tassel fern with any herbicides tested. However, there were reductions in frond length from 6 of the 10 herbicides evaluated. The most sensitive fern to herbicides evaluated in 2004 was leatherleaf with reductions in frond length and number of fronds with 6 of the 10 herbicides tested. While all herbicides tested on southern shield fern appeared to be safe, especially in the 2004 study, tassel fern and holly fern appear to be more sensitive. GPD proved to be a safe herbicide for all species tested in both 2004 and 2005. In 2005 all plants from all treatments were considered marketable by the end of the study. However there was significant visual injury observed on the holly fern treated with LIB at 60 and 90 days after treatment which might reduce their early marketability.

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam and Gary J. Keever

Hardy ferns are widely grown for use in the landscape. The 1998 National Agricultural Statistics Services census of horticulture reported production of hardy/garden ferns at 3,107,000 containers from over 1200 nurseries. There is little research on herbicide use in hardy ferns, and herbicides that are labeled for container production are not labeled for use on hardy ferns. Studies were conducted to evaluate the tolerance of variegated east indian holly fern (Arachniodes simplicior `Variegata'), tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum), autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), rochford's japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum `Rochfordianum'), and southern wood fern (Dryopteris ludoviciana), to applications of selected preemergence applied herbicides. Herbicides evaluated included selected granular or liquid applied preemergence herbicides. Spray-applied herbicides were pendimethalin at 3.0 or 6.0 lb/acre, prodiamine at 1.0 or 2.0 lb/acre, isoxaben at 1.0 or 2.0 lb/acre, and prodiamine + isoxaben at 1.0 + 1.0 lb/acre. Granular-applied herbicides were pendimethalin at 3.0 or 6.0 lb/acre, prodiamine at 1.0 or 2.0 lb/acre, oxadiazon + prodiamine at 1.0 + 0.2 or 2.0 + 0.4 lb/acre, oxyfluorfen + oryzalin at 2.0 + 1.0 or 4.0 + 2.0 lb/acre, trifluralin + isoxaben at 2.0 + 0.5 or 4.0 + 1.0 lb/acre, oxadiazon at 4.0 or 8.0 lb/acre, and oxadiazon + pendimethalin at 2.0 + 1.25 or 4.0 + 2.5 lb/acre. The greatest reduction in growth of autumn fern was observed with the high rates of oxadiazon, oxadiazon + pendimethalin, and oxadiazon + prodiamine. Reductions in rochford's japanese holly fern growth were most severe when plants were treated with the high rate of trifluralin + isoxaben resulting in a 66% and 72% decrease in frond length and frond number, respectively. There were also reductions in frond length and number of fronds when treated with the high rate of oxadiazon + pendimethalin. There were no reductions in frond numbers on tassel fern with any herbicides tested. However, there were reductions in frond length from four of the 10 herbicides evaluated. The most sensitive fern to herbicides evaluated in 2004 was variegated east indian holly fern with reductions in frond length and number of fronds with four of the 10 herbicides tested. Southern wood fern appeared to be quite tolerant of the herbicides tested with the exception of the high rate of oxadiazon. Granular prodiamine proved to be a safe herbicide for all species tested in both 2004 and 2005. In 2005 all plants from all treatments were considered marketable by the end of the study. The durations of both studies were over 120 days giving adequate time for any visual injury to be masked by new growth. However, there was significant visual injury observed on the rochford's japanese holly fern treated with isoxaben at 60 and 90 days after treatment, which might reduce their early marketability.

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam, Jeff L. Sibley and Cheryl R. Boyer

The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for use of container substrates composed of processed whole pine trees (WholeTree). Three species [loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)] of 8- to 10-year-old pine trees were harvested at ground level and the entire tree was chipped with a tree chipper. Chips from each tree species were processed with a hammer mill to pass through a 0.374-inch screen. On 29 June 2005 1-gal containers were filled with substrates, placed into full sun under overhead irrigation, and planted with a single liner (63.4 cm3) of ‘Little Blanche’ annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus). The test was repeated on 27 Aug. 2005 with ‘Raspberry Red Cooler’ annual vinca. Pine bark substrate had about 50% less air space and 32% greater water holding capacity than the other substrates. At 54 days after potting (DAP), shoot dry weights were 15% greater for plants grown in 100% pine bark substrate compared with plants grown in the three WholeTree substrates. However, there were no differences in plant growth indices for any substrate at 54 DAP. Plant tissue macronutrient content was similar among all substrates. Tissue micronutrient content was similar and within sufficiency ranges with the exception of manganese. Manganese was highest for substrates made from slash pine and loblolly pine. Root growth was similar among all treatments. Results from the second study were similar. Based on these results, WholeTree substrates derived from loblolly pine, slash pine, or longleaf pine have potential as an alternative, sustainable source for producing short-term horticultural crops.

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam, Jeff L. Sibley, Cheryl R. Boyer and Anthony L. Witcher

A substrate component (WholeTree) made from loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) was evaluated along with starter fertilizer rate in the production of greenhouse-grown petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Vilm. ‘Dreams Purple’) and marigold (Tagetes patula L. ‘Hero Spry’). Loblolly pine from a 12-year-old plantation were harvested at ground level, chipped, and further processed through a hammer mill to pass a 0.64-cm screen. The resulting WholeTree (WT) substrate was used alone or combined with 20% (WTP2) or 50% (WTP5) (by volume) Canadian sphagnum peatmoss and compared with an industry standard peat-lite (PL) mix of 8 peatmoss : 1 vermiculite : 1 perlite (by volume). Substrates were amended with 1.78 kg·m−3 dolomitic lime, 0.59 kg·m−3 gypsum [CaSO4-2(H2O)], 0.44 kg·m−3 Micromax, 1.78 kg·m−3 16N–2.6P–9.9K (3- to 4-month release), and 1.78 kg·m−3 16N–2.6P–10.8K (5- to 6-month release). A 7N–1.3P–8.3K starter fertilizer (SF) was added to each substrate at 0.0, 1.19, 2.37, or 3.56 kg·m−3. Container capacity (CC) was greatest for PL and decreased as the percentage of peatmoss in the substrate decreased with WT having 35% less CC than PL. Conversely, air space (AS) was greatest for the WT and decreased as percentage of peatmoss increased with PL containing 33% less AS than WT. In general, petunia dry weight was greatest for any substrate containing peatmoss with a SF rate of 2.37 kg·m−3 or greater. The exception was that petunia grown in WT at 3.56 kg·m−3 SF had similar dry weight as all other treatments. Marigold dry weight was similar for all substrates where at least 2.37 kg·m−3 SF was used.

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Anthony L. Witcher, Eugene K. Blythe, Glenn B. Fain and Kenneth J. Curry

Wood-based substrates have been extensively evaluated for greenhouse and nursery crop production, yet these substrates have not been evaluated for propagation. The objective of this study was to evaluate processed whole loblolly pine trees (WPT) (Pinus taeda) as a rooting substrate for stem cutting propagation of a range of ornamental crops. Substrates included processed WPT, pine (Pinus sp.) bark (PB), and each mixed with equal parts (by volume) peatmoss (PM) (WPT:PM and PB:PM, respectively). Substrate physical (air space, container capacity, total porosity, bulk density, and particle size distribution) and chemical [pH and electrical conductivity (EC)] properties were determined for all substrates. Rooting percentage, total root length, total root volume, and total shoot length were evaluated for four species in 2008 and five species in 2009. Substrate air space was similar between PB and WPT in the 2008 experiment, and likewise between PB:PM and WPT:PM. In the 2009 experiment, PB and WPT had similar substrate air space. The addition of PM to PB and WPT resulted in reduced air space and increased container capacity in both experiments. The proportion of fine particles doubled for PB:PM and WPT:PM compared with PB and WPT, respectively. Substrate pH for all substrates ranged from 6.0 to 6.9 at 7 days after sticking (DAS) cuttings and 6.9 to 7.1 at 79 DAS. Substrate EC was below the acceptable range for all substrates except at 7 DAS. Rooting percentage was similar among substrates within each species in both experiments. The addition of PM resulted in significantly greater total root length for PB:PM and WPT:PM compared with PB and WPT, respectively, for five of the eight species. Shoot growth was most vigorous for PB:PM compared with the other substrates for all species. The study demonstrated a range of plant species can be propagated from stem cuttings in whole pine tree substrates alone or combined with PM.

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Cheryl R. Boyer, Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam, H. Allen Torbert, Thomas V. Gallagher and Jeff L. Sibley

A study was conducted at Auburn University to evaluate freshly chipped pine trees as an alternative substrate in container nursery crops. Two substrates were tested alone and in combination with aged pine bark (PB), peat (P), and composted poultry litter (PL). A 6:1 (v:v) PB: sand control treatment was also included. The two substrates were both composed of small caliper (2 to 10 cm) Pinus taeda processed in a chipper (including needles) (AUC); however, one substrate was additionally processed through a hammermill with a 0.95-cm screen (AUHM). Treatments included were 100% AUC, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:PB, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:P, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:PL, 1:1 (v/v) AUC:PB, 1:1 (v/v) AUC: P, 1:1 (v/v) AUC:PL, and the same treatments for the AUHM substrate. There were a total of 15 treatments with six replications per treatment. Each substrate was amended with 0.45 kg·m-3 gypsum, 6.35 kg·m-3 Polyon 17–6–12 (17N–2.6P–10K) and 0.68 kg·m-3 MicroMax. Trade gallon (2.8-L) containers were filled with respective substrates and planted with Lantana camera `New Gold' on 20 July 2005. AUC and AUHM treatments amended with either PL or P resulted in Lantana with growth indices similar to PB:sand (6:1). In general, plants tended to be larger when amended on a 1:1 basis with either PL or P, but were similar statistically to those amended 3:1. For example, plants grown with AUHM:P 1:1 or AUHM:PL 1:1 were 7.3% and 8.8% larger, respectively, than plants grown in the same medium at 3:1. The lowest growth indices tended to occur with AUC and AUHM alone or amended with pine bark. Lantana root growth followed a similar trend to growth indices in that greatest coverage of the rootball surface occurred with AUC or AUHM treatments amended with PL or P.

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Cheryl R. Boyer, Thomas V. Gallagher, Charles H. Gilliam, Glenn B. Fain, H. Allen Torbert and Jeff L. Sibley

Residual chipping material, also called clean chip residual (CCR), has potential use as a growth substrate in the nursery and greenhouse horticultural industries. A survey was conducted in the southeastern United States among companies conducting harvesting operations on pine (Pinus sp.) plantations for the production of pulpwood in the forest industry. Fourteen operators in four states (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida) were visited to evaluate the on-site status of residual material. Sample analysis of CCR revealed that it was composed of ≈37.7% wood (range, 14.2% to 50.5%), 36.6% bark (range, 16.1% to 68.5%), 8.8% needles (range, 0.1% to 19.2%), and 16.9% indistinguishable (fine) particles (range, 7.5% to 31%). pH ranged from 4.3 to 5.5 for all locations and electrical conductivity (EC) averaged 0.24 mmho/cm. Most nutrients were in acceptable ranges for plant growth with the exception of three sites above recommended levels for iron and four sites for manganese. Survey participants estimated that ≈27.5% of the harvest site biomass was composed of CCR. Some harvesters were able to sell CCR as fuelwood to pulp mills, while others did not recover the residual material and left it on the forest floor (44.3% total site biomass). Operations in this survey included typical pine plantation chipping and grinding operations (harvesters), woodyards (lumber, fuelwood, etc.), and operations processing mixed material (salvage from trees damaged in hurricanes or mixed tree species cleared from a site that was not under management as a plantation). Residual material varied depending on the plantation age, species composition, site quality, and natural actions such as fire. Average tree age was 11.5 years (range, 8 to 15 years), while average tree stand height was 37.0 ft (range, 25 to 50 ft) and average diameter at breast height (DBH) was 5.9 inches (range, 4 to 7 inches). Residual material on site was either sold immediately (28.6%), left on site for 1 to 3 months (28.6%), left on site for up to 2 years (7.1%), or not collected/sold (35.7%). Several loggers were interested in making CCR available to horticultural industries. Adequate resources are available to horticultural industries, rendering the use of CCR in ornamental plant production a viable option.