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Scaling from dissolved and suspended solids in irrigation water reduces the efficiency of greenhouse irrigation systems. Water deposits inside pipes reduce water flow and deposits may reduce the flow through irrigation emitters, often clogging them. If not properly maintained, the clogging of emitters requires constant maintenance. This results in considerable labor expense and/or emitter replacement. Scaling inside irrigation system pipes also has the potential to harbor plant pathogens from the resulting biofilms. Oxcide, a novel hypochlorous acid (HOCl) compound, is produced electrochemically by removing sodium and hydroxide from sodium hypochlorite. The elimination of sodium hydroxide from the product creates a nontoxic oxidizer. A system to inject Oxcide into irrigation water at a commercial Colorado greenhouse was installed to maintain irrigation efficiency of emitters and irrigation lines during Winter 2003. The oxidation reduction potential (ORP) was monitored and visual evaluations of irrigation equipment in the Oxcide treated zones compared to those zones not treated with Oxcide was conducted. During January through March, geranium stock plants were irrigated with water that maintained ORP levels at around 600 mV. Visual ratings of the irrigation emitters revealed that the injection of Oxcide in the irrigation water did reduce the level of deposition. Deposition on the main feed lines was so thick that they hindered the complete closure of existing valves. Treatment of the irrigation water Oxcide injection for six months successfully removed of the scale and deposits from the water line.

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Greenhouse and nursery managers rely on testing laboratories with the expectations of accuracy and consistency. The Greenhouse and Nursery Media Analysis Proficiency (GNMAP) Testing program was initiated to provide laboratories servicing greenhouses and nurseries with inter-laboratory quality control. The GNMAP program operational guidelines are based on those outlined under ISO 9000, ISO/IEC Guide 43 and Draft ISO/IEC Guide 24, which describe the requirements for proficiency testing. Nine laboratories enrolled in the program in 2003 and submitted results for root zone media and fertilizer solutions. Data analysis provided the minimum, maximum and median values; median absolute deviation (MAD); overall reproducibility (Rd); individual reported lab values; repeatability (Rp) of lab value (CV for the individual lab); and mean lab value reported. The Rd was calculated from the median of all lab Rp values and is a measure of intra-lab variance. A measure of inter-lab variance was determined by calculating the relative median deviations (RMD = MAD/Median × 100). For one of the media distributed, results for the saturated media extract included median pH values from 4.3 to 6.9 with MAD values averaging 0.1 across the three samples. The electrical conductivity (EC) median values ranged from 0.36 to 4.57 dS/m with RMD averaging 31% of the median. The main variability between laboratories for the majority of the macro cations was closely aligned with measured EC. Cations (K, CA and Mg) concentrations ranged from 17 to 502 mg/L with Ca typically in the greatest concentration. Cation inter-lab precision, based on the RMD ranged from 9-32% across the three substrate samples. The greatest RMD was 31.8% for Ca and 9.2% for K. The Rd values for the cations averaged 5%.

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The cut-flower industry is continually searching for unique products to introduce to the floral industry. Our objective was to select potential species for trial as new greenhouse-grown alternative cut flowers. Hardy perennials from the Rock/Alpine Garden at the Denver Botanical Garden served as the selection pool. Plants in this collection were fitting due to their durability in Colorado conditions and their rugged unique beauty. Several trial cuts of potential species were taken, and the flowers were evaluated for flower size, stem length, stem strength, foliage, vase life, usefulness, and general aesthetic quality. Next, an informal survey of growers, retailers, researchers, and consumers was taken to determine which flowers had already been seen on the market and which flowers would be potentially successful in the trade. After assimilating the information, the following six species were selected for trial future greenhouse production: Anthyllis vulneraria, Dianthus giganteus, Diascia integerrima, Echium lusitanium, Heuchera sanguinea `Bressingham Hybrids', and Trollius yunnanensis.

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The Leaf Wetness Data Logger (LWL) and accompanying Logbook software were designed by Spectrum Technologies Inc. as a low-maintenance tool to aid in disease prediction and spray scheduling for outdoor field-grown crops. The LWL mimics leaf surface moisture represented as a value between 0 (dry) and 15 (wet). We explored an expanded use of the LWL to large-scale commercial greenhouses for the purpose of humidity control and disease prevention. Data were collected over 15 days in a commercial hydroponic tomato production greenhouse and repeated. Results indicated that leaf wetness, as determined by the LWL, increased during irrigation periods, with cumulative effects dependent on daily irrigation requirements and climate. Irrigation was controlled by the climate control computer in response to cumulative radiation intensity. By analyzing leaf wetness in correlation with climatic conditions, more adequate irrigation scheduling may be implemented, reducing the risk of disease spread and infection.

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Rice hulls, a by-product of rice milling, were used at various rates in greenhouse media. The objective of this study was to determine if rice hulls can replace peat moss. Hulls, aged and fresh, were blended with vermiculite and peat moss from 0 to 50%, by volume replacing peat moss. Physical and chemical properties including bulk density, total pore space, water retention, pH and soluble salt concentrations were determined in the media blends. Marigolds and salvia were transplanted into 13 cm azalea pots containing each media. The bulk density increased with increasing levels of hulls. Total pore space of the media before planting was decreased with increasing levels of aged hulls, but no differences were detected at the termination of the study. Water retention of both fresh and aged hulls at all levels of media were equivalent to the control media. Before planting, the total soluble salts for media containing fresh hulls was greater than with aged hulls. The pH of the media increased with increasing levels of hulls, fresh and aged. The greatest dry weight and plant height was observed when the media contained 10 to 20% aged hulls.

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A study was conducted to determine the effects of pine bark grind size and pine bark levels on the activity of two growth regulators on poinsettia Two bark grinds (≤ 6 mm and >10 mm) were used with four media combinations within each grind: vermiculite:bark:peat moss at 2:0:3, 2:1:2, 2:2:1, and 2:3:0 (by volume). Two growth regulators, paclobutrazol and uniconazole, were applied at 0, 0.125, and 0.250 mg/15 cm container in 250 ml water. Two poinsettia cultivars, `Freedom' and `Gutbier V-14 Glory', were planted September 2, 1993, pinched September 16, and growth regulators applied September 30. There were five single plant replications for each treatment. Stem length and bract area were effected by bark grind, bark level, growth regulator, and growth regulator rate. Plants treated with uniconazole had the shortest stems and the least bract area. Plants grown in the smaller grind and at higher bark levels were less effected. Plants treated with paclobutrazol had longer stems than those treated with uniconazole.

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Growth chamber studies using elevated root-zone temperatures and greenhouse studies using two root-zone and two night air temperatures were conducted to determine the effects on growth and flowering of two response groups [`Rainier White' (Group II) and `Tampico' (Group III)] of cut-flower snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus L.). Chamber-grown snapdragons with the root zone at 30C had shorter stems and a lower dry weight than those at 20C. Holding the root zone above 26C increased time to flower. Greenhouse-grown `Tampico' and `Rainier White' snapdragon stems were longer with increased root-zone temperature regardless of night air temperature. Time to flower was reduced an average of 6 days with increased root-zone temperature and 12 days when the night air was maintained at 20C. This study demonstrated that the effects of relatively low greenhouse temperatures may be offset by root-zone heat.

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Greenhouse studies of cut flower snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus L.) using two night air and two root-zone temperatures were conducted to determine the effects on growth and quality of four cultivars in two response groups [`Cheyenne' and `Rainier White' (group II) and `Tampico' and `Potomac' (group III)]. The group II cultivars were the earliest to harvest, but at the expense of quality. Grades of first, extra, and fancy only were harvested. Group III cultivars were harvested with all grades; first, extra, fancy and special. Group II cultivars generally had weaker stems and were of lower dry weight. Night air temperature had the greatest effect on days to harvest. Harvest date was reduced more than 14 days, but at the expense of quality and dry weight. Root-zone heating decreased quality of the group II cultivars at either night air temperature. but reduced quality of the group Ill cultivars only at high night temperatures. Root-zone heat and high night air temperature reduced the number of days to harvest, also at the expense of quality. The majority of high quality stems were from group Ill cultivars harvested from rooms with low night temperatures without root-zone heat.

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The objective of this study was to determine the influence of uniconazole and calcium applied as a drench or foliar spray to `Gutbier V-14 Glory' poinsettias'. Uniconazole was drenched into half of the plants at 6 mg/pot. Calcium was applied weekly as either a spray, drench, or a combination of both at 350 ppm Ca. Uniconazole reduced plant height, bract dry weight, and plant dry weight. Bract dry weight from plants not treated with uniconazole and received calcium as a spray was less than from those plants that received either no supplemental calcium or calcium as a drench. Calcium improved the appearance of plants treated with uniconazole.

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An experiment was conducted to determine the influence of eight commercial root-zone media (four peat based and four pine bark based) on the effects of paclobutrazol applied to Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. `Eckespoint Celebrate 2' as an impregnated spike or a drench. Paclobutrazol treatments had the least influence on stem elongation of poinsettias grown in the peat-based medium containing Bacctite, a compressed peat product designed to increase aeration and cation exchange capacity, or composted pine bark ground to a particle size that could pass through an opening 1 cm or smaller. Spikes were more effective at reducing shoot elongation than drenches. Spike treatments also resulted in lower bract dry-matter accumulation than drenches. Paclobutrazol applied as a spike to poinsettias at pinch could combine pinching and chemical growth regulator application into one simultaneous operation. Chemical name used: (±)-(R*,R*)-beta-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-alpha-(1, 1,-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4,-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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