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  • Author or Editor: Kimberly Moore x
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The objective of this experiment was to compare the growth of impatiens `Accent Orange' in substrates containing compost made from biosolids and yard trimmings with four slow-release fertilizer application rates. Plugs of impatiens were transplanted into 400-ml pots filled with 100% compost as a stand-alone substrate or with 60%, 30%, or 0% compost combined with control substrate components. Six days after transplanting, all plants were top-dressed with 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 g of Nutricote 13N-5.7P-10.8K (type 180) per pot. Shoot dry mass increased as the percentage of compost in the substrate increased from 0% to 100%. Shoot dry mass also increased as the fertilizer application rate increased from 0.5 to 4 g per pot. Plants grown in 30% and 60% compost with 0.5 g of fertilizer were similar in size to plants grown in 0% compost with 4 g of fertilizer per pot. Plants grown in 100% compost at all of the fertilizer rates were larger than all other plants in this study.

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The Academic Program at Fort Lauderdale (APF), founded in 1984, and the Academic Program at Homestead (APH), founded in 2000, were established to enable place bound students to earn the Univ. of Fla. B.S. degree in horticulture. Although both programs are located within 60 miles of each other in the same general geographical area in southeastern Florida, there are significant demographic contrasts, as well as some similarities, between them. According to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau, the area defined by a 10-mile radius around the site of the APH has a population of ≈83,500, while the same area at the site of the APF has a population of more than 1,100,000, a 13-fold difference. The student profile at the two programs indicates a higher enrollment at APF, a higher average student age at APH, and a higher distance traveled to attend class at APF. Similarities include a student body comprised of people working in the horticultural industry who are working to earn a B.S. degree for career advancement, as well as an increasing number of students who are not currently working in horticulture but who are planning a career change.

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Growth of `Oasis Scarlet' begonia (Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum Hort.) and `Super Elfin Violet' impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f.) was compared in substrates containing compost made from used greenhouse substrates and yard trimmings (GHC) and in compost made from biosolids and yard trimmings (SYT). Treatments consisted of 100% compost (GHC or SYT) or compost combined with control substrate components at 60%, 30%, or 0%. Substrates containing SYT compost produced significantly larger begonia and impatiens plants than substrates containing GHC compost. Higher initial substrate nutrient concentrations in substrates containing SYT probably prompted increased begonia and impatiens growth because substrates containing SYT compost had significantly higher initial soluble salt, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) concentrations than substrates containing GHC compost. Begonia and impatiens shoot dry mass and size linearly increased as the percentage of SYT compost in the substrate increased from 0% to 100%. However, no difference in begonia or impatiens growth was observed among the different percentages of GHC compost. Initial soluble salt, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg concentrations also linearly increased as the percentage of SYT increased while only initial P, K, and Ca concentrations linearly increased as the percentage of GHC increased.

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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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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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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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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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The objective of this study was to evaluate greenhouse techniques for the production of jatropha (Jatropha curcas). Jatropha seedlings were transplanted into 1-gal containers filled with bark mix, coir, or peat-based substrate and fertilized with 0, 4.1, 5.9, or 8.3 oz/ft3 of a 15N–4.05P–9.96K controlled-release fertilizer (CRF). Plants were watered every 2, 3, or 4 days for 80 days in the greenhouse. Jatropha plants grown in peat-based substrate had greater stem diameter and shoot dry weight (SDW) than plants grown in bark mix. For each growing substrate, plants fertilized with 8.3 and 5.9 oz/ft3 of CRF had greater SDW than plants fertilized with 4.1 and 0 oz/ft3 of CRF. Similarly, for all three substrates, plants irrigated every 2 or 3 days had greater SDW than plants irrigated every 4 days. Although jatropha has been classified as a low–nutrient and water requiring plant, the results of this study suggest that increased inputs of fertilizer and water produce larger plants. Further research needs to be conducted on the benefit of larger plants from the greenhouse on subsequent oil production in the field.

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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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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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