Urban soils are often not ideal planting sites due to removal of native topsoil or the mixing of topsoil and subsoil at the site. Adding pine bark based soil amendments to a clay soil altered soil bulk density and soil compaction which resulted in improved plant growth. Addition of nitrogen (N) or cotton gin waste to pine bark resulted in improved plant growth compared to pine bark alone. Growth of pansies (Viola × wittrockiana) during the 1999-2000 winter growing season was enhanced by the addition of pine bark plus nitrogen at 3- and 6-inch (7.6- and 15.2-cm) application rates (PBN3 and PBN6) and pine bark plus cotton gin waste at the 6 inch rate (CGW6). Plant size and flower production of vinca (Catharanthus roseus) were reduced by pine bark amendments applied at 3- or 6-inch rates (PB3 or PB6). Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) grown in plots amended with 3 or 6 inches of pine bark plus cotton gin waste (CGW3 or CGW6) and pine bark plus nitrogen at 3- or 6-inch rates (PBN3 or PBN6) produced greater shoot growth than other amendment treatments. In some instances PB3 treatments suppressed growth. High levels of N and soluble salts derived from CGW and PBN soil amendments incorporated into the soil probably contributed to the improved plant growth observed in this experiment.
Media blends containing 25%, 40%, and 50% shredded tire rubber were compared to two commercial media, Baccto Grower's Mix and Ball Peat-Lite Mix, to evaluate its potential as a container medium amendment for container-grown greenhouse plants. Salvia splendens `Red Hot Sally' and Vinca rosea `Cooler Peppermint' grown in 25% rubber were marketable with growth similar to or superior to those grown in the commercial media. Exacum affine `Little Champ', Vinca rosea `Cooler Grape', Tagetes erecta `Discovery Yellow', and Begonia semperflorens `Vodka' grown in 25% rubber were of marginally acceptable quality. Plants grown in 40% or more rubber were shorter and chlorotic compared to those in the commercial media. Exacum affine grown in 40% or more rubber contained high levels of zinc, which may have been linked to the chlorosis and growth reduction. Rubber reduced media water-holding capacity, while cation exchange capacity and pH were not affected.