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Ursula K. Schuch

Several large cities in the southwestern United States have set a target to increase their tree canopy cover up to 25%, which often requires more than doubling the current canopy cover. A major goal is to alleviate high temperatures and support public health in addition to gaining all the other benefits conferred by urban forests. Rising temperatures, the arid climate, continued drought, increasing population numbers, and the growing urban forest in the southwestern United States fuel the demand for more water. Using water wisely to garner the benefits of trees requires the application of sufficient irrigation based on the water needs of different species. Current irrigation recommendations for trees are often based on expert consensus. Research-based results of tree irrigation studies from the southwestern United States are presented to give specific examples of how trees respond when they are exposed to different irrigation regimes.

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Ursula K. Schuch

A two-part exercise was developed as part of the horticulture curriculum at Iowa State University to familiarize students with the American Standard for Nursery Stock (ASNS), and to allow them to practice and apply the ASNS with a variety of categories and types of ornamental plants. The first part of the exercise requires students to determine, according to ASNS standards, appropriate root ball/container size for plants to be moved from an existing immature landscape. During the second part, students evaluate whether root ball or container size of plants in a nursery is appropriate for the plant shoot dimensions. The exercise was designed for students to work in informal groups in a cooperative learning environment.

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Ursula K. Schuch

Eight-week-old potted chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev. c. Ovaro) plants were treated with a soil drench of 0 or 2.5 mg uniconazole per liter and irrigated daily with 350 or 250 ml of nutrient solution. Plants were frequently water-stressed during their development. At the beginning of anthesis treatments were split and transferred to chambers with 20C/24 hr photoperiod or 25C/dark conditions. Anthesis progressed at the same rate in the two postharvest storage conditions, regardless of previous treatments. Plants were not watered until wilting, which was observed first in control plants under continuous photoperiod (8 days) and last in uniconazole-treated plants in dark storage (12 days). During the first 6 days in storage, evapotranspiration (ET) was lower for plants grown with 250 ml daily irrigation. From day 8 to day 12, when most plants were irrigated after they had wilted, ET was affected by uniconazole and an interaction of uniconazole and storage conditions.

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Ursula K. Schuch and Barbara Biernacka

Four azalea cultivars [Rhododendron × `White Lace' (WT), `Southern Charm' (SC), `Formosa' (F), and `George Tabor' (GT)] with different growth and flowering habits were treated with a foliar spray of uniconazole (U) at 0, 10, or 15 mg·liter–1 with or without a surfactant. GA was applied at 0 or 15 mg·liter–1 as a foliar spray to half of the plants on 23 Sept. 1993, 53 days after the uniconazole application. U reduced number, length, and dry weight of bypass shoots, and increased number of flower buds for all cultivars by Dec. 1993. Application of GA after U further increased the number of flower buds on SC and GT, which otherwise had few flowers. At the final evaluation in Mar. 1994, time to anthesis for cultivars F and GT was not affected by any treatment. Anthesis of SC and WL treated with 15 mg U and GA/liter started 6 days earlier than those treated with 15 mg U/liter. Number of flowers at anthesis and number of flower buds was increased two to four times on U-treated vs. nontreated plants. U decreased plant height, size, leaf area, and shoot dry weight of all cultivars. Shoot elongation of F and GT was further reduced with the 15 vs. 10 mg U/liter treatment. Application of GA increased the retarding effects of U on plant height for WL, SC, and GT, and on leaf area and shoot dry weight for WL.

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Ursula K. Schuch and David W. Burger

Twelve species of woody ornamentals were grown in containers in Riverside and Davis, Calif., to determine plant water use and compare crop coefficients (Kc) calculated with reference evapotranspiration (ET) from local weather stations (ETcim) or atmometers (ETatm). Water use, Kcatm, and Kccim differed by species, location, and month of the year. Raphiolepis indica (L.) Lindl., Pittosporum tobira (Thunb.) Ait., Juniperus sabina L., and Photinia ×fraseri Dress. were the highest water users in Riverside and Arctostaphylos densiflora M.S. Bak., Juniperus, Cercis occidentalis Torr., and Pittosporum used the highest amount of water in Davis, when averaged over the 20-month study period. Rhamnus californica Eschsch., Prunus ilicifolia (Nutt.) Walp., and Cercocarpus minutiflorus Abrams. were among the lowest water users in both locations. Although plant water use fluctuated considerably between individual sampling dates, the relative ranking of species water use in each location changed very little over the study period. During periods of high winds, ETcim may not provide an accurate reference for container crops. Kc values fluctuated seasonally from as much as 1 to 4.7 for high water users, while values were stable for low water users and also for Buxus microphylla japonica Rehd. & E.H. Wils., an intermediate water user. During periods of low ET, especially in fall and winter, Kc values were artificially high and failed to correspond to the plants' low water use. Kc values for low water users seem to be useful to estimate water requirements over an extended period of time, whereas general Kc values seem to have limited value for plants with high water demand and need to be modified for different growth stages and growing locations.

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Kathryn S. Hahne and Ursula K. Schuch

Velvet mesquite [Prosopis velutina Woot., Syn.: P. juliflora (Swartz) DC. var. velutina (Woot.) Sarg.] has become more popular in arid landscapes of the southwestern U.S., but little information on N requirements during the seedling stage is available. In addition to optimize growth of seedlings, minimizing N in runoff during production is an important consideration. Experiments were conducted to determine how biomass production and N leaching were affected first by different ratios of ammonium and nitrate N in sand culture and second by different N concentrations when seedlings were grown in two substrates. Mesquite seedlings produced the greatest biomass after 120 days when fertigated with a solution of 33 NO3 : 67 NH4 +. Loss of N through leachate was 40% greater when NH + 4 comprised two thirds or more compared to one third or none in the fertigation solution. Nitrogen in leachate was highest after 16 weeks of treatment, coinciding with the reduced growth rate of seedlings. The second experiment utilized either sand or commercial growing media and a fertigation solution of 33 NO3 : 67 NH4 +. Fertigation with 200 mg·L–1 N after 60 days in either substrate produced greatest biomass, while rates of 25, 50, or 100 mg·L–1 N produced about half of that biomass. With few exceptions, less N in either form was found in leachate when seedlings were grown in media and were fertigated with the two higher N rates compared to seedlings grown in sand at the two higher N rates. Plant morphology, biomass accumulation, photosynthate allocation, and the fate of N in the growing substrate and in leachate were strongly affected by the choice of growing substrate.

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Kathryn S. Hahne and Ursula K. Schuch*

The objective of this study was to determine whether mesquite (Prosopis velutina) seedlings have a preference for the ammonia or nitrate form of nitrogen (N), and to determine the optimum rate of N to maximize growth and minimize N leaching when seedlings are grown in different substrates. Mesquite seedlings were fertigated with different ratios of NH4 +: NO3 - to determine effects on shoot and root growth and N-uptake efficiency. Nutrient solution containing 67% NH4 + : 33% NO3 - resulted in greatest biomass after 120 days of fertigation. N leachate remained stable until 12 weeks after the onset of treatment, but increased significantly by week 16. Subsequently, mesquite seedlings were grown in sand or soilless media and were fertigated with a solution of 67 % NH4 +: 33% NO3 - at a rate of 25, 50, 100, or 200 mg·L-1 of N. After 60 days, plants in media produced 41% more leaves and total biomass compared to those in sand. Leaf number was greatest for plants grown at 200 mg·L-1 of N in both substrates. Root biomass of plants in media showed no response to increasing N concentrations while root biomass of seedlings in sand were similar for the three lower N concentrations and nearly doubled for the highest one. Shoot biomass of seedlings receiving 25, 50, or 100 mg·L-1 of N was similar, but more than doubled for plants fertigated with 200 mg·L-1 of N. N leachate losses were highest from seedlings growing in sand and receiving the two higher N fertigations, those in media had greatest N leachate loss when fertigated at 200 mg·L-1 of N. For balanced mesquite seedling growth and minimum N leaching losses, concentrations between 50 to 100 mg·L-1 of N are recommended. Implications of using a sand culture system vs. soilless growing substrate for nutrition studies will be discussed.

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Darren L. Haver and Ursula K. Schuch

Salt-sensitive (`Illusion') and salt-tolerant (`Blazon') New Guinea impatiens cultivars were grown for 70 days with a controlled-release fertilizer at 3.3, 6.6, or 9.9 g/pot under constant media moisture of 1–3 kPa or 4–6 kPa. Optimum growth for both cultivars occurred using 6.6 g/pot and a media moisture level of 1–3 kPa. The leaf area (LA), leaf number (LN), leaf dry weight (LDW), stem dry weight (SDW), and root dry weight (RDW) were significantly reduced at 9.9 g/pot in `Illusion', with values similar to those at 3.3 g/pot. LDW, SDW, RDW, LA, and LN were similar for 6.6 g/pot and 9.9 g/pot in `Blazon'. At 4–6 kPa LDW, SDW, RDW, LA, and LN decreased from low to high in `Illusion'. LA in `Blazon' also decreased from low to high, but LDW, SDW, RDW, and LN were unaffected. Media EC levels were greater in the upper half of the media regardless of moisture level. EC values as high as 7.3 dS·m–1 in the upper half of the media and as high as 5.2 dS·m–1 in the lower half of the media were measured without causing plant mortality.

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Ursula K. Schuch and Dennis R. Pittenger

This study was designed to determine whether trees growing in tall, narrow containers versus regular containers of equal volume, or trees growing in containers coated with cupric hydroxide versus no coating would have a better quality root system, less circling roots, and more biomass production. Ficus (Ficur retusa L. `nitida') and pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi.) liners were grown for 6 months in the greenhouse in one-gal. containers. Cupric hydroxide coating prevented matting of roots on the side of the root ball in both species and root circling at the bottom of containers in ficus. Pepper trees growing in regular-shaped containers had a higher biomass production versus trees growing in tall containers. Subsequently, trees were transplanted to 3 or 5 gal. containers with shape or coating as described above. For pepper, cupric hydroxide coating versus no coating reduced circling and matting of roots, trees in regular versus tall containers had increased above ground biomass, and trees in 5-gal. versus 3-gal. containers grew more medium and small-sized roots and produced more total biomass.

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Darren L. Haver and Ursula K. Schuch

The objectives of this study were to determine 1) the minimum controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) rate and the lowest constant medium moisture required to produce the highest quality plants and 2) if this production system affected quality of these plants under two postproduction light levels. Two New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens sp. hybrids) `Illusion' and `Blazon' (Lasting Impressions Series) differing in salt tolerance were grown for 42 days with a CRF at three rates (3.3, 6.6, or 9.9 g/pot) and two medium moisture levels (low or high) without leaching. The high moisture level (tension setpoints of 1 to 3 kPa) and 6.6 g of CRF/pot produced optimum biomass. Low medium moisture (tension setpoints of 4 to 6 kPa) reduced leaf area, leaf number, leaf N content, root, stem, and leaf dry masses as CRF rate increased from low to high for `Illusion'. Similar results in `Blazon' were observed as CRF rates increased from 3.3 to 6.6 g. Biomass decreased no further at the high rate of 9.9 g/pot. Biomass increased in both cultivars under high medium moisture when CRF rates increased from 3.3 to 6.6 g. Biomass of `Illusion' decreased at 9.9 g/pot, although no symptoms of salt sensitivity were observed (i.e., leaf tip burn). `Blazon' maintained a similar biomass when amended with 9.9 or 6.6 g CRF/pot, although electrical conductivity (EC) in the medium was 5.9 dS·m-1 in the upper half and 4.1 dS·m-1 in the lower half of the medium at the end of production. Growth of `Illusion' responded more favorably to postproduction light levels that were similar to those of production regardless of treatment imposed during production. Similar biomass responses occurred for `Blazon' regardless of the postproduction light level.