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Hannah M. Mathers

Container nurseries are generally more productive than field nurseries because plants can be produced faster and at higher densities. Increasingly, nursery stock is being propagated, grown, and marketed in containers. The prime biological advantage of container stock over bareroot and field-grown balled and burlapped (B&B) stock is that the root system is packaged and protected from transplant or mechanical stress; however, temperature stress limits container production. Plants overwintered in containers suffer greater winter injury than those in the ground because the roots are surrounded by cold, circulating air rather than the insulating environment of the soil. There are several methods for providing protection from cold winter temperatures that are used in the nursery industry; however, all are labor intensive, expensive and vary in effectiveness. Container stock also suffers from elevated summer root zone temperatures. Cultivar differences in the degree of summer injury have been reported. With increasing human population pressures and decreasing availability of fresh water supplies, the need for more water-efficient nursery cultural practices becomes increasingly important. Water and nutrient use efficiency are predominant factors restricting nursery container production. Cultural factors that improve root function and reduce root injury and container heat load are considered key to improving these efficiencies. This paper examines temperature stress issues and the effects of different nursery cultural environments such as conventional overwintering systems, conventional gravel production surfaces, pot-in-pot production, and retractable roof greenhouses.

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Hannah M. Mathers

Nursery growers estimate that they spend $500 to $4000/acre ($1235 to $9880/ha) of containers for manual removal of weeds, depending upon weed species being removed. Economic losses due to weed infestations have been estimated at about $7000/acre ($17,290/ha). Herbicide treated bark nuggets were found extremely effective for weed control in studies during 1998, regardless of whether oxyfluorfen, oryzalin, or isoxaben were applied to the bark. A study conducted in 2000 compared 24 treatments of novel nonchemical alternatives, conventional chemical practices and herbicide treated barks. Four of the best treatments were herbicide treated douglas fir bark, specifically, small [<1 inch (2.5 cm) length] douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 1× rate, large (>1 inch length) douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 0.5× rate, small douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 0.5× rate and large douglas fir nuggets treated with flumioxazin at the 1× rate. The four bark treatments indicated above provided equivalent efficacy and phytotoxicity to Geodiscs. Penn Mulch and Wulpack provided poor weed control. Mori Weed Bag, a black polyethylene sleeve, and Enviro LIDs, a plastic lid provided less control than herbicide treated bark. Compared to the bark alone, herbicide treated bark provides a 1.8-fold increase in efficacy and a 2.8-fold extension in duration of efficacy. Compared to the herbicide alone, herbicide treated bark provides a 1.5-fold increase in efficacy and a 2.2-fold reduction in phytotoxicity. Of the innovative weed control products tested herbicide treated bark provided the most promising results. The data support that the bark nuggets are possibly acting as slow release carriers for the herbicides or reducing the leaching potential of the herbicides. Recent studies have indicated that the controlled release of herbicides using lignin as the matrix offers a promising alternative technology for weed control.

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Michele Bigger and Hannah M. Mathers

A limiting factor in container production is cold temperature. Young roots have been found to be less hardy than mature roots (Steponkus, 1976; Studer et al., 1978). Proper overwintering procedures are essential to assure a viable crop in the spring. A common overwintering practice is the application of a preemergent dinitroanaline (DNA) herbicide prior to covering. The objectives of this research were to: 1) determine young and mature root hardiness values for containerized plants that did and did receive DNA herbicides prior to overwintering; 2) investigate differences in regrowth potential between untreated and DNA herbicide treated containers 30, 60, and 180 days after freezing (DAF). Research began in June 2003 and concluded Mar. 2004. In Aug. and Oct. 2003, herbicide treatments of 1× oryzalin (2.0 lb/acre a.i.), prodiamine (2.0 lb/acre a.i.), pendimethalin (3.0 lb/acre a.i.), trifluralin (2.0 lb/acre a.i.), or no treatment (control) was applied to the plants. In Jan. or Mar. 2004, plants were frozen to temperature treatments of, 0, –5, –10, –15, or –20 °C. After freezing, they were placed in a heated greenhouse and evaluated for regrowth. Regrowth and hardiness were evaluated two ways: by a visual rating score (0-10), where 0 = dead and 10 = healthy; and plant live height. Results pooled over all species, temperatures, sampling dates at 30 DAF show prodiamine significantly increased hardiness (23.7%) compared to the control. Results pooled over all species, temperatures, sampling dates, and all DAF show prodiamine significantly increased regrowth potential (24.5%) compared to the control. Both sampling date and DAF were significant when pooling over all species, temperatures, and herbicide treatments, indicating root injury had occurred.

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Hannah M. Mathers and Michele M. Bigger

Many nurseries within Ohio and northeastern, southeastern, and western United States, and Canada have reported severe bark splitting and scald-type problems in 2005. The amount and severity of damage seen in 2005 has been unlike anything seen before. At Ohio State University, samples from across the state started appearing in 2003–04 and increased in incidence in 2005. Growers' reports of exceeding losses of 5% of their inventory or 3000 to 4000 trees per nursery are not uncommon. At an average cost of $125 per tree and with the number of nurseries reporting problems, the stock losses in Ohio have been staggering, in excess of several million dollars. The trees that we have seen problems on in 2005 have been callery pears, yoshino cherry, kwanzan cherry, crab apples, sycamore, serviceberry, hawthorn, mountain ash, black gum, paper bark maple, japanese maples, norway maple `Emerald Queen', red maples, kousa dogwood, magnolia `Elizabeth' and the yellow magnolias such as `Butterflies', `Sawada's Cream', `Yellow Bird', and `Yellow Lantern'. It has long been observed that the actual cause of a bark crack was “preset” by a wound such as the improper removal of a basal sprout, herbicide, leaving of a branch stub, or lack of cold hardiness. Cold and frost may be contributing to the increase in bark splitting across the United States; however, new research results at Ohio State University regarding the effects of DNA preemergent herbicides in the reduction of root hardiness and regrowth potential, sprout removal and other mechanical injuries, and postemergent herbicide application will reveal these are more the causal agents.

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Hannah M. Mathers and Jennifer A. Pope*

Specialty crops generate $40 billion in annual sales comprising a significant portion (40%) of total agricultural sales. The diversity of plant material is a limiting factor for new herbicide registration. The IR-4 program facilitates the labeling of new or experimental pesticides for minor use crops. The objective of this experiment was to determine the ornamental phytotoxicity and efficacy of Pendemethalin for selected 1-gallon perennials. Phytotoxicity was evaluated on Armeria maritime, Boltonia, Buddleaia davidii, Cercis Canadensis, Delphinium, Fragaria, Oenothera, Panicum virgatum, Papaver orientale, Phlox subulata, Rudebeckia fulgida, Scabiosa columbara, Schizachyrium scoparium and Sedum spectabile. Herbicide was applied at 1X, 2X, and 4X rates according to IR-4 protocols with a weedy check included. Pendemethalin was applied twice throughout the study, the second spray occurring two months after the first. Visual ratings were taken of efficacy (scale, 0-10) and phytotoxicity (scale, 1-10, 10 = complete kill) at 15 and 45 days after treatment (DAT). Buddleaia displayed symptoms of phytotoxicity at the 4x rate but grew out of the initial effects of the herbicide. By trials end, Oenothera at 1×, 2×, 4× rates, Fragaria and Phlox at 2× and 4× and Canadensis at 4× had significantly reduced plant quality. All remaining species had acceptable plant quality. Efficacy was evaluated following the same protocol as above with a weedy seed check using a 1/8th tsp.mixture of Digitaria sanguinalis, Poa annua, and Senecio vulgaris per 1-gallon pot. Overall no treatment provided an acceptable level of weed control. The herbicide provided little control of Groundsel, was moderately effective in controlling the Bluegrass, and provided 100% control of the Crabgrass.

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Hannah M. Mathers and Luke T. Case

Two experiments were conducted at the The Ohio State University Waterman Farm, Columbus, on efficacy and phytotoxicity with evalautions at 30, 60, 90, and 120 DAT using dry weights and visual ratings 0–10 with >7 being commercially acceptable for efficacy, and 1–10 with <3 being commercially acceptable for phytotoxicity. The herbicide-treated mulches and herbicide–mulch application methods were compared to sprays of the five chemicals applied directly to the surfaces of the plots [oryzalin (oryzalin), (AS) Surflan (aqueous solution) 2 lb/acre (a.i.), flumioxazin (SureGuard WDG), 0.34 lb/acre (a.i.), acetochlor 76% (Harness 2.5 lb/acre (a.i.), dichlobenil (Casoron CS) 4 lb/acre (a.i.) and a combination of oryzalin and flumioxazin], two untreated mulches (pine and hardwood) and a weedy. Mulches were applied untreated, over the top of soil surfaces sprayed with the different herbicides. Mulches were also applied untreated to untreated soil surfaces and then sprayed with the different herbicides. Pretreated bark mulches were also evaluated and prepared by placing the mulches on a sheet of plastic, as a single layer thick and sprayed and allowed to dry for 48 hours. Twenty of 38 treatments gave efficacy rating of >7, pooled over all evaluation dates. One was a direct spray, Surflan + SureGuard (7.6). Three were pretreated mulches, Surflan + SureGuard (8.2), Harness (7.8) and Surflan (7.4) treated pine. None of the pretreated hardwood barks provided ratings of >7. Nine were treatments with the herbicides applied under the bark. Seven of the nine provided ratings of >8 and only one involved hardwood bark, Surflan + SureGuard under pine (9.1), Casoron under pine (8.9), Surflan under pine (8.7), Harness under pine (8.3), Harness under pine (8.0) and SureGuard under hardwood (8.0).

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Luke T. Case and Hannah M. Mathers

Herbicide-treated mulches can increase duration of efficacy; however, it is not known if the herbicide-treated mulches can reduce the amount of herbicide getting into the root zone or leachate water. The objective of this study is to examine herbicide movement and leaching potential using a bioassay between pine nuggets sprayed with oryzalin vs. a direct spray of oryzalin. Oryzalin-treated mulch and direct sprays were applied to 1-gallon pots at 2.0 lbs/acre a.i. (2.2 kg·ha-1 a.i.). The study was repeated in time, with trial 1 starting in Jan. 2004, and trial 2 starting in Nov. 2004. Both were conducted in a glass greenhouse in Columbus, Ohio. There were six dates of evaluation in each study: 0, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 DAT. An oat (Avenasativa) bioassay was conducted on three pot levels (0–2, 2–8, and 8–15 cm) and leachate to determine herbicide presence on each evaluation date. In trial 1, pots with direct sprays showed more herbicide presence in the top 2 cm than the oryzalin-treated mulch pots on each of the evaluation dates. In trial 2, results were much the same except for 32 DAT, where the oryzalin-treated mulch showed slightly more presence than the spray treatment at the 0-2 cm level. In both trials, there was a significant increase in herbicide presence in the oryzalin-treated pine nugget pots at the 0–2 cm level from 0 to 4 DAT, suggesting that the mulch does retain the herbicide. Also, results indicated more herbicide leaching into the 2–8 cm zone with the direct sprays compared to the pots containing oryzalin-treated pine nuggets. In trial 2, there was indication of the herbicide getting into the 8–15 cm zone from the direct spray treatment up to 8 DAT. There were no signs of herbicide presence in the leachates from any of the treatments.

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Hannah M. Mathers, Luke T. Case* and Jennifer A. Pope

DNA herbicides are the most commonly used preemergents in container nursery crops. The objectives of this study were: 1) to investigate differences between DNA herbicide applied as granulars, directed sprays, or in combination with mulch (pine nuggets and cypress) on Taxus, Azalea and and Ilex root development; and, 2) to compare efficacy of the above treatments on common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis), and annual bluegrass (Poa annua). The granular formulations tested were Barricade 65 WG (prodiamine) at 2.0 lbs active ingredient per acre (a.i./ac) and Treflan TR10 (trifluralin) at 2.0 lbs a.i./ac. The liquid formulations that were used as direct sprays and to treat the mulches were Surflan 4 AS (oryzalin) at 2.0 lbs ai/ac and Pendulum 3.8 CS (pendimethalin) at 3.0 lbs a.i./ac. Evaluations of phytotoxicity and efficacy were taken as rated scores, dry weights, and leaf area measures. Evaluations were taken at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after treatment (DAT). Efficacy ratings were based on a 0-10 scale with zero being no control, 10 perfect control and 7 commercially acceptable. By 120 DAT, none of the treatments were commercially acceptable. Root (1.52 g) and shoot (3.75 g) weights indicate that Ilex was stunted the most vs. the control (2.42 g roots and 4.87 g shoots) by the direct spray of Pendulum 2X. The Azalea was most effected by the granular application of Barricade at the 2X rate (1.72 g for roots, 4.44 g for shoots) vs. the control (2.23 g for roots, 5.83 g for shoots). Taxus roots were most stunted by Treflan 1X (0.81 g) vs. control (1.01 g). Shoot weights were the lowest with Cypress+1X Pendulum (0.90 g), vs. the control (0.96 g); however, the Treflan 1X treatment gave the second lowest shoot weight for Taxus (0.91 g).

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Alison A. Stoven*, Hannah M. Mathers and Daniel K. Struve

A study was conducted to determine if similar quality shade tree liners could be produced using a retractable-roof greenhouse structure versus an outdoor environment. All plants were started in a heated greenhouse on campus in 250 XL-sized containers. The species included Eastern redbud, red oak (both grown from seed) and Autumn Blaze maple and Prairifire crabapple (both grown from rooted cuttings). On 15 Mar. 2003, half the plants remained in the heated greenhouse and the other half were moved to a Cravo retractable-roof structure and placed on heating mats set at 22 °C. In May, all of the plants (retractable and greenhouse) were upshifted into 3-gallon Spin-out® treated containers. Trees in each environment were fertilized with either Osmocote® (20 N, 2.2 P, 6.6 K), nine month release, applied broadcast at 45 g/pot, or with a 100 ppm-N water-soluable fertilizer (21 N, 3.1P, 5.9 K), applied at 0.1 g N/day. All trees received the same irrigation volume (1 L/day). All trees were grown according to nursery standards including bamboo staking, taping and regular pruning. Plants were arranged in a completely randomized design in each environment. The Cravo structure provided a more uniform environment with reduced air and soil temperature fluctuations versus the outdoor environment. Liners produced in the Cravo structure were taller, had greater caliper and root and shoot mass. Slow release fertilizer produced larger plants. Root dry weight for trees inside the Cravo environment increased nearly five times over the harvest dates of July to October with the maples having the largest root weight.

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Hannah M. Mathers, Luke T. Case and Thomas H. Yeager

As limitations on water used by container nurseries become commonplace, nurseries will have to improve irrigation management. Several ways to conserve water and improve on the management of irrigation water applied to container plants are discussed in this review. They include 1) uniform application, 2) proper scheduling of irrigation water, 3) substrate amendments that retain water, 4) reducing heat load or evaporative loss from containers, and 5) recycling runoff water.