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Kimberly K. Moore

Growth of `Aladdin Peach Morn' petunia (Petunia × hybrida) and `Accent White' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) was compared in substrates containing 0%, 30%, 60%, or 100% compost made from biosolids and yard trimmings and fertilized with Nutricote Total 13-13-13 (13N-5.7P-10.8K) Types 70, 100, and 140 incorporated at rates of 0.5x, 1x, 2x, or 3x (x = standard application rate for a medium-feeding crop). Petunia shoot dry weight of plants fertilized with Type 70 incorporated at 0.5x increased as the percentage of compost in the substrate increased from 0% to 60% and then decreased, while shoot dry weight of plants fertilized with Type 70 incorporated at 1x, 2x, or 3x increased as the percentage of compost increased from 0% to 30% and then decreased. Impatiens shoot dry weight of plants fertilized with Type 70 incorporated at 0.5x and 1x also increased as the percentage of compost increased from 0% to 30% and then decreased, while shoot dry weight of plants fertilized at 2x and 3x decreased as the percentage of compost increased from 0% to 100%. Both petunia and impatiens shoot dry weight of plants fertilized with Type 100 and Type 140 incorporated at 0.5x, 1x, 2x, or 3x increased as the percentage of compost increased from 0% to 60% and then decreased.

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Kimberly K. Moore

The ornamental horticulture industry uses a variety of materials as ingredients in growing substrates for many ornamental plants. There are many attributes that make growing substrates effective, including good aeration and drainage, availability at an acceptable price, and chemical attributes conducive for plant growth. In recent years there has been a trend in which more traditional organic components, such as Canadian sphagnum peat, have been partially replaced by an increasing array of waste-product compost. Plant response to increasing quantities of compost in the potting mix, and to different types of compost are variable. This paper reviews some important issues in the utilization of urban waste compost products.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly K. Moore

In two experiments, chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii), areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), fishtail palm (Caryota mitis), macarthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii), shooting star (Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum), downy jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), alexandra palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), and foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) were transplanted into 6.2-L (2-gal) containers. They were fertilized with Osmocote Plus 15N-3.9P-10K (12-to14-month formulation) (Expt. 1) or Nutricote Total 18N-2.6P-6.7K (type 360) (Expt. 2) applied by either top dressing, substrate incorporation, or layering the fertilizer just below the transplanted root ball. Shoot dry weight, plant color, root dry weights in the upper and lower halves of the root ball, and weed shoot dry weight were determined when each species reached marketable size. Optimal fertilizer placement method varied among the species tested. With the exception of areca palm, none of the species tested grew best with incorporated fertilizer. Root dry weights in the lower half of the root ball for chinese hibiscus, bamboo palm, and downy jasmine were greatest when the fertilizer was layered and root dry weights in the upper half of the root ball were greatest for top-dressed chinese hibiscus. Weed growth was lower in pots receiving layered fertilizer for four of the six palm species tested.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly K. Moore

Zonal geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum) from seed and african marigolds (Tagetes erecta), which are known to be highly susceptible to Fe toxicity problems, were grown with I, 2, 4, or 6 mm Fe from ferrous sulfate, ferric citrate, FeEDTA, FeDTPA, FeEDDHA, ferric glucoheptonate, or ferrous ammonium sulfate in the subirrigation solution. FeEDTA and FeDTPA were highly toxic to both species, even at the 1 mm rate. Ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate caused no visible toxicity symptoms on marigolds, but did reduce dry weights with increasing Fe concentrations. Both materials were slightly to moderately toxic on zonal geraniums. FeEDDHA was only mildly toxic at the 1 mm concentration on both species, but was moderately toxic at the 2 and 4 mm concentrations. Substrate pH was generally negatively correlated with geranium dry weight and visible phytotoxicity ratings, with the least toxic materials, ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate, resulting in the lowest substrate pHs and the chelates FeEDTA, FeDTPA, and FeEDDHA the highest pH. The ionic Fe sources, ferrous sulfate and ferrous ammonium sulfate, suppressed P uptake in both species, whereas the Fe chelates did not. Fe EDDHA should be considered as an effective and less toxic alternative for the widely used FeEDTA and FeDTPA in the production of these crops.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly A. Klock-Moore

Areca palms [Dypsis lutescens (H. Wendl.) Beentje & J. Dransf.], spathiphyllums (Spathiphyllum Schott. `Figaro'), ixoras (Ixora L. `Nora Grant'), tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. `Floramerica'), marigolds (Tagetes erecta L. `Inca Gold'), bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L. `Better Bell'), and pentas [Pentas lanceolata (Forssk.) Deflers. `Cranberry'] were grown in a pine bark-based potting substrate and were fertilized weekly with 0, 8, 16, 32, or 64 mg (1.0 oz = 28,350 mg) of P per pot. Shoot, and to a much lesser extent, root dry weight, increased for all species as weekly P fertilization rate was increased from 0 to 8 mg/pot. As P fertilization was increased from 8 to 64 mg/pot, neither roots nor shoots of most species showed any additional growth in response to increased P. Root to shoot ratio decreased sharply as P fertilization rate was increased from 0 to 8 mg/pot, but remained relatively constant in response to further increases in P fertilization rate.

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Kimberly A. Klock-Moore and Timothy K. Broschat

Two experiments were conducted to compare the growth of `Ultra White' petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) plants in a subirrigation system versus in a hand-watered system. In Expt. 1, petunia plants were watered with 50, 100, or 150 ppm (mg·L-1) of N of Peter's 20-10-20 (20N-4.4P-16.6K) and in Expt. 2, Nutricote 13-13-13 (13N-5.8P-10.8K) type 100, a controlled release fertilizer, was incorporated into the growing substrate, prior to transplanting, at rates of 3, 6, or 9 lb/yard3 (1.8, 3.6, or 4.5 kg·m-3). In both experiments, there was no difference in petunia shoot dry mass or final flower number between the irrigation systems at the lowest fertilization rate but differences were evident at the higher fertilization rates. In Expt. 1, shoot dry mass and flower number of subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 100 ppm of N was greater than for hand-watered plants fertilized at the same rate. However, subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 150 ppm of N were smaller with fewer flowers than hand-watered petunia plants fertilized with 150 ppm of N. Substrate electrical conductivity (EC) concentrations for petunia plants subirrigated with 150 ppm of N were 4.9 times greater than concentrations in pots hand-watered with 150 ppm of N. In Expt. 2, subirrigated petunia plants fertilized with 6 and 9 lb/yard3 were larger with more flowers than hand-watered plants fertilized at the same rates. Although substrate EC concentrations were greater in subirrigated substrates than in hand-watered substrates, substrate EC concentrations of all hand-watered plants were about 0.35 dS·m-1. Subirrigation benches similar to those used in these experiments, appear to be a viable method for growing `Ultra White' petunia plants. However, the use of Peter's 20-10-20 at concentrations greater than 100 ppm of N with subirrigation appeared to be detrimental to petunia growth probably because of high EC concentrations in the substrate. On the other hand, the use of subirrigation with Nutricote 13-13-13 type 100 incorporated at all of the rates tested did not appear to be detrimental to petunia growth.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly A. Moore

Salvia (Salvia splendens) `Red Vista' or `Purple Vista,' french marigold (Tagetes patula) `Little Hero Orange,' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) `Better Bell,' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) `Accent White,' and wax begonia (Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum) `Cocktail Vodka' were grown in 0.95-L (1-qt) containers using a 5 pine bark: 4 sedge peat: 1 sand substrate (Expts. 1 and 2) or Pro Mix BX (Expt. 2 only). They were fertilized weekly with 50 mL (1.7 fl oz) of a solution containing 100, 200, or 300 mg·L-1 (ppm) of nitrogen derived from 15N-6.5P-12.5K (1N-1P2O5-1K2O ratio) or 21N-3P-11.7K (3N-1P2O5-2K2O ratio) uncoated prills used in the manufacture of controlled-release fertilizers. Plants grown with Pro Mix BX were generally larger and produced more flowers or fruit than those grown with the pine bark mix. With few exceptions, plant color, root and shoot dry weights, and number of flowers or fruit were highly correlated with fertilization rate, but not with prill type. There appears to be little reason for using the more expensive 1-1-1 ratio prills, since they generally did not improve plant quality and may increase phosphorous runoff from bedding plant nurseries.

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Kimberly A. Klock-Moore and Timothy K. Broschat

In this study, areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), crossandra (Crossandra infundibuliformis), pentas (Pentas lanceolat), and philodendron (Philodendron) `Hope' plants were transplanted into containers filled with four growing substrates and watered daily, every 2 days, or every 3 days using subirrigation or overhead irrigation. Plants were grown in either a pine bark/sedge peat/sand substrate (BSS), Metro-mix 500 (MM), Pro-mix GSX (PM), or a 60% biosolid substrate (SYT). For both irrigation systems, final shoot dry weight of pentas, crossandra, philodendron, and areca palm plants in each substrate was greatest for plants watered every day and least for plants watered every 3 days. At all three irrigation frequencies, pentas, crossandra, and philodendron shoot dry weight in subirrigated pots filled with PM was greater than in overhead watered pots filled with PM. PM had the highest total pore space and moisture content of the four substrates examined. There was no difference in pentas, crossandra, or philodendron shoot dry weight between the irrigation systems, at all three irrigation frequencies, when plants were grown in BSS, MM, or SYT. However, for all four substrates and at all three irrigation frequencies, areca palm shoot dry weight was greater in overhead watered pots than in subirrigated pots. The final substrate electrical conductivity (EC) in all four subirrigated palm substrates was more than double the concentrations in overhead watered palm substrates. In this study, largest pentas, crossandra, and philodendron plants were grown in pots filled with PM and subirrigated daily, while largest areca palm plants were grown in pots filled with MM or SYT and watered overhead daily.

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Timothy K. Broschat and Kimberly Anne Moore

The roots of container-grown ornamental plants primarily are concentrated within the original container substrate root ball during the establishment period following transplanting into the landscape. Plants growing in container substrates containing pine bark or peatmoss have higher nitrogen (N) requirements than in most landscape soils due to microbial immobilization of N by these organic components. However, use of high-N fertilizers, such as those used in container production of ornamentals, can cause imbalances with potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg) when used on palms in sandy landscape soils. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) and chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘President’) that had been growing in containers were transplanted into a landscape soil to determine if high N fertilization during the establishment period could accelerate the rate of establishment without exacerbating K and Mg deficiencies. Although plants of both species had the darkest green color and largest size when continuously fertilized with high N fertilizer, this treatment did induce Mg deficiency in both species. Plant size and color for both species were highly correlated with cumulative N application rates, but also with initial N application rates, suggesting that high N fertilization during the first 6 months affected plant quality at 12 and 24 months after planting, even if high N fertilization was discontinued. However, continued use of a moderate N landscape palm maintenance fertilizer ultimately produced areca palm plants as good as those receiving high N during the establishment period.

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Kimberly A. Klock-Moore and Timothy K. Broschat

Growth of hand-watered and subirrigated `Ultra Red' petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort.) and `Super Elfin Violet' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook.f.) plants were compared when grown using four controlled-release fertilizer rates and four fertilizer placements in the pot. Furthermore, the amount of NO3-N leached from hand-watered plants was compared to amount captured by subirrigation system. Before planting, Osmocote (14N-6.2P-11.6K) (4 month release) was either topdressed (TD), layered in the middle of the pot (M), layered at the bottom of the pot (B), or incorporated throughout (I) the substrate at 1.25, 2.5, 5.0, or 7.5 kg·m-3 (oz/ft3). Shoot dry mass of petunia plants was similar between both irrigation systems and among the four fertilizer placements. Subirrigated petunias fertilized with 2.5 kg·m-3 had similar shoot dry mass as hand-watered petunias fertilized with 7.5 kg·m-3. Hand-watered impatiens had greater shoot dry mass than subirrigated impatiens. Hand-watered impatiens also had greater shoot dry mass in pots with fertilizer at TD, M, or I than with fertilizer at B, but no difference in growth was observed in subirrigated impatiens among the different fertilizer placements. Finally, significantly more NO3-N was leached from hand-watered plants than was captured with the subirrigation systems.