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John M. Ruter

A study was conducted with Magnolia grandiflora `St. Mary' to evaluate the effects of a pot-in-pot production system compared to a conventional aboveground production system and containers treated with or without copper hydroxide (Spin Out™). At 4 and 12 months after beginning the study, plants grown pot-in-pot were taller than plants in the conventional system. Stem diameters of plants grown pot-in-pot were also larger at 12 months. Production system influenced root dry weight in the outer 50% of the container, total root dry weight, percent root dry weight in the inner 50% of the container, percent root dry weight in the outer 50% of the container, and total biomass. Production system had no effect on shoot dry weight. Treatment with copper hydroxide had no effect on root or shoot growth. Production system and copper treatment influenced degree of root coverage. Plants grown pot-in-pot had higher rates of Ps and gs with increased Ci levels compared to plants above-ground. Production system had no effect on calculated transpiration rates.

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John M. Ruter

Temperatures producing heat damage in leaves of Ilex ×meserveae S.Y. Hu `Blue Prince' and Ilex rugosa × cornuta Lindl. & Paxt. `Mesdob' (China Boy) were evaluated using electrolyte leakage and chlorophyll fluorescence techniques. Whole leaves were exposed to temperatures from 30 to 65C for 30 minutes to determine critical midpoint heat-killing temperatures (TJ using electrolyte leakage techniques. The Tm for `Blue Prince' and `Mesdob' was 52.4 ± 0.lC and 53.8 ± 0.lC, respectively. Dark-adapted leaves were heated for 30 minutes in darkness at temperatures between 30 and 57C before chlorophyll fluorescence was measured. Initial (F0) and peak fluorescence measurements were higher at 54 and 55C for `Mesdob' than for `Blue Prince'. Cultivar had no effect on variable fluorescence (F,). Based on the Fv: Fo ratio, `Mesdob' was estimated to have a higher optimal plant growth temperature than `Blue Prince'. The physiologic data support the hypothesis that I. cornuta as a parent conferred heat tolerance to the interspecific hybrid in this study.

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John M. Ruter

Membrane thermostability of `Needlepoint' Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta Lindl. & Paxt.), `Albo-marginata' English holly (Ilex aquifolium L.), and `Nellie R. Stevens', an Ilex aquifolium × Ilex cornuta hybrid, was determined by measuring electrolyte leakage in excised leaves and roots. The critical midpoint heat-killing temperature (T,) after a 30-min exposure was 54.4 ± 0.4C for `Nellie R. Stevens' leaves and was ≈ lC higher than that for Chinese (52.9 ± 0.3C) or English holly (52.9 ± 0.4C). The Tm for English holly roots (53.9 ±_ 1.5C) was higher than that for either `Nellie R. Stevens' (51.7 ± 0.3C) or Chinese holly (50.1 ± 0.3C). The results of this study suggest that English holly and `Nellie R. Stevens' leaves and roots can withstand direct heat injury equal to or greater than that of Chinese holly.

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John M. Ruter

A study was conducted with Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei `Acom a' to evaluate methods for reducing rooting-out problems in a PIP production system. The products tested were Biobarrier™, a geotextile fabric impregnated with trifluralin; Root Control'” fabric bag material; and Spin Out™, a commercial formulation of copper hydroxide (7.1%) in latex paint. Biobarrier™ reduced plant height, shoot dry weight, percent root dry weight outside of the planted container and total biomass compared to the non-treated control. For the control, 7.1% of the total root dry weight was found between the holder pot and planted container compared to 0.2% for the Biobarrier™ treatment. When the holder pot and planted container or the planted container and Root Control™ fabric were both treated with Spin Out™, plant height and shoot dry weight were reduced. Spin Out™ reduced root circling on the sidewalls of the planted containers but not on the bottom of the containers. All treatments except the control reduced rooting-out to a degree that allowed for the manual harvesting of the planted container from the holder pot after seven months in the field.

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John M. Ruter

A study was conducted with Prunus × incamp `Okame' to evaluate the effects of a pot-in-pot production system compared to a conventional above-ground system and cyclic irrigation on plant growth and water loss. Plants were grown in #7 (26-L) containers with a 8:1 pinebark:sand (v/v) substrate. Cyclic irrigation provided the same total volume of water, but was applied one, three, or four times per day. Final plant height and stem diameter, shoot and root dry weight, total biomass, and root:shoot ratio were all increased for plants grown pot-in-pot compared to above-ground. Multiple irrigation cycles increased stem diameter, shoot dry weight, and total biomass, compared to a single irrigation application. Multiple irrigation cycles decreased the root:shoot ratio. Evapotranspiration was influenced by production system, irrigation, and date. Amount of water lost as leachate was influenced by irrigation and date. Cyclic irrigation resulted in a two-fold decrease in leachate volume. Soluble salts and nitrate-nitrogen in the leachate were influenced by an interaction between production system, irrigation, and date.

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John M. Ruter

A study was conducted with Dendranthemum ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura garden chrysanthemum (`Grenadine', `Nicole', and `Tolima') to evaluate the growth and flowering of these plants grown in 2.6-L (no. 1) black plastic containers compared to plants grown in fiber containers with Cu(OH)2 impregnated into the container walls. For all three cultivars, growth indices, shoot and root dry weights, and total biomass increased for plants grown in fiber containers. Total number of flower buds per plant increased 30% to 32% for `Grenadine' and `Nicole' and 53% for `Tolima' grown in fiber containers. Plants grown in Cu(OH)2-impregnated fiber containers had less root coverage at the container:growing medium interface and no observable root circling in contrast to visible root circling on plants grown in black plastic containers. Foliar nutrient analysis on `Grenadine' showed that K decreased and Fe and Cu increased when grown in Cu(OH)2-impregnated fiber containers. No visible nutrient abnormalities were seen in this study.

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John M. Ruter

The long-term effects of paclobutrazol applied to container-grown `Mojave' pyracantha (Pyracantha ×) and `San Jose' juniper (Juniperus chinensis L.) were investigated. Paclobutrazol was applied as a drench to container-grown (2.8 liter) plants at the rates of 0, 5, 10, 20, and 40 mg a.i./pot in June 1991, and plants were transplanted to the field in Feb. 1992. Pyracantha plant height, shoot and root dry weight, and total biomass (shoot dry weight + root dry weight) decreased quadratically as rate of paclobutrazol increased during nursery production. Paclobutrazol had no effect on plant height or shoot dry weight of Juniperus, although width indices were reduced. Ratings for root quality for Juniperus in containers increased as rate of paclobutrazol increased. After 9 months in the landscape, paclobutrazol still influenced plant height, width, and shoot dry weight for Pyracantha but had no effect on Juniperus. As rate of application increased, fruit retention on Pyracantha increased. Paclobutrazol applied as a container medium drench at 5 mg a.i./pot was excessive during nursery production of Pyracantha and Juniperus. Chemical name used: [(2RS, 3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-yl)penten-3-ol] (paclobutrazol).

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John M. Ruter

A study was conducted to compare four different controlled-release fertilizers when used in conjunction with Tex-R Geodiscs on the growth of Ilex crenata Thunb. ex J.A. Murray `Compacta' in 3.8 L (#1) containers. The fertilizers used were Osmocote Plus Southern Formula (18N-3.9P-10K), Osmocote Plus Northern Formula (18N-3.9P-10K), Wilbro (15N-1.7P-7.5K), and Nutricote T-360 (17N-2.6P-6.6K) all applied at the rate of 1.8 kg N/m3. Geodisc treatments were: 1) no disc, 2) fertilizer placed on top of the disc, and 3) fertilizer placed beneath the disc. At 2 and 4 months after the initiation of the study, the growth indices for plants grown with both Osmocote Plus fertilizers were larger than for either of the other two fertilizers. After 7 months, final growth indices were greater for the Osmocote Plus and Wilbro treatments compared to Nutricote. Final leaf, stem, and root dry masses were all greater for the Osmocote Plus fertilizers compared to the other two, as was final plant quality. Plants with fertilizer placed on top of the disc were smaller compared to the no disc or beneath the disc treatments. Geodisc treatment had no influence on shoot dry mass or final plant quality. Data for leachate nutrient analysis and evapotranspiration will also be presented.

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John M. Ruter

Loropetalum chinensevar.rubrum, Chinese fringe-flower, was introduced into the United States in 1989 and quickly became on of the most popular plants in the nursery trade. Growth abnormalities (little-leaf disorder) became a problem on container-grown plants in pine bark substrates during the late 1990s. Symptoms are as follows: darkening of older growth, shortening of internodes, upward cupping of leaves, crinkling of new growth, particularly the distal part of the leaf, decrease in leaf size. In severe cases leaf necrosis occurs along with stem elongation, thus branches appear to be elongating without new leaves. Petioles become very short. Branchlets may also be reflexed or drooping. In Florida, an eriophyid mite has been touted as the causal agent for the disorder. On plants sampled from Georgia nurseries, eriophyid mites have never been detected. `Ruby' consistently has the problem, while it has also been noted on `Sizzling Pink' and `Suzanne'. Plants in the ground do not express the problem. There may be an element present in native soil that is not supplied in sufficient quantity in organic substrates. Foliage from a commercial nursery was sampled for micronutrients concentrations. Initial data indicated that copper, zinc, and nickel were low and could be causing the problem. In May 2005, a study was initiated at a commercial nursery in Grady County, Ga. Copper and zinc sulfate, along with nickel lignonsulfonate, was applied as foliar sprays to symptomatic plants of `Suzanne' growing in #5 containers. Within two weeks after treatment, plants sprayed with copper sulfate resumed normal growth. Control plants, or plants treated with zinc or nickel did not resume normal growth. A second study was initiated in June to evaluate different rates of copper sulfate and Kocide, a copper fungicide. Medium to high rates of copper sulfate and the high label rate of Kocide were effective. The plants in this study had severe symptoms and required repeat applications of copper. Further research is needed on appropriate formulations of copper, rates of application, and rates of incorporation into pine bark substrates to eliminate the problem.