Leachates were collected at 3-month intervals over 12 months to determine the influence of bark, controlled-release fertilizer, and dolomitic lime sources and dolomitic lime application rates on pH of nursery media. The randomized complete-block design was arranged as a factorial and included three bark sources (pinebark, hardwood, and pinebark + hardwood), two fertilizer sources (Nutricote 17-7-8 and SierraBlen 18-7-10), and two dolomitic lime sources (microencapsulated granular and pulverized). Dolomitic lime application rates were 0, 5, 10, and 15 pounds per cubic yard. Leachate pH was influenced over the one-year evaluation period by fertilizer source, bark source, and application rate of dolomitic lime. Dolomitic lime source was not a significant factor in adjustment of leachate pH. Pinebark medium had lower leachate pHs than hardwood medium and the medium containing hardwood and pinebark. Dolomitic lime influenced leachate pH of pinebark medium more than the other bark sources. SierraBlen was more acid-forming than Nutricote.
Dwarf Japanese euonymus (Euonymus japonica Thunb. ‘Microphylla’) and Japanese holly (Ilex crenata Thunb. ‘Compacta’), grown in fresh or aged (1 year) pine bark amended with a slow-release complete fertilizer, were supplied with NH4NO3 weekly at 0, 100, 200, or 300 ppm N. Plant growth, foliar color, leaf tissue N, and leachate soluble salts increased with increasing levels of supplemental N while tissue K, Ca, and Mg decreased. Plant growth, foliar color, and leaf tissue N, P, Ca, and Mg in fresh pine bark equaled or exceeded that in aged pine bark at all levels of supplemental N. Leachate soluble salts, pH, and leaf tissue K was higher in aged pine bark.
Four deciduous ornamental shrubs [`Coral Beauty' cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri C.K. Schneid); Tartarian dogwood (Cornus alba L.); `Lynwood' forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia Zab.); `Variegata' weigela (Weigela florida Bunge A.D.C.)] were grown in trickle-fertigated containers. There were eight media consisting of 25% or 50% sphagnum peat or composted pine bark, 25% sand, and the remainder one of two sources of spent mushroom compost; four media with 509″ peat or bark mixed with 50% spent mushroom compost; and a control medium of 10070 pine bark. Initially, higher than desirable salt levels in all compost-amended media were leached quickly (within 2 weeks of planting) and not detrimental to the species tested. Unlike cotoneaster, which showed no difference in growth (shoot dry weight) due to medium, dogwood, forsythia, and weigela grew significantly better in all compost-amended media than in the control. Growth of these three species was 20% greater in peat-based than in bark-based, compost-amended media. Dogwood and forsythia grew slightly more (+8%) with spent mushroom compost based primarily on straw-bedded horse manure than with one based on a blend of straw-bedded horse manure, wheat straw, and hay. The addition of sand (25%) to a mixture of 50% peat or bark and 25 % spent compost produced a medium with minimal compaction.
Successful greenhouse tomato businesses are able to keep production and quality high while maintaining reasonable cost controls. One way of controlling costs is to use growing media that are locally available in good supply, and therefore of low cost. In Mississippi. as in other states in the southeast, pine bark is an available byproduct resource from the forestry industry; fines (<=95mm diameter) can be used as a growing medium following composting. Rice hulls are a readily available waste product from rice mills, especially in the Mississippi Delta region; these are suitable after being crushed and composted.
In comparison to plants grown in rock wool, yield from plants in pine bark fines, rice hulls, or sand were higher, while quality was not significantly different in the l-crop/year system. In a spring crop, yield and quality were higher from plants in pine bark, rice hulls, and rock wool than from those grown in sand. On a per plant basis, cost for the rock wool system, perlite system (pre-bagged), perlite (bulk), peat moss, sand, composted rice hulls, and pine bark lines are $1.50, $1.00, $0.35, $0.60, $0.24, $0.22 and $0.17, respectively. Pine bark and rice hulls are good choices for growing media for greenhouse tomatoes in areas where they are available.
The pour-through (PT) nutrient extraction method involves collection of leachate at the container bottom that results from displacement of substrate solution by water applied to the substrate surface. The PT is a convenient and effective means of monitoring the nutritional status of the soilless container substrates used in the nursery industry, but is less convenient for large containers, particularly those used in the “pot-in-pot” system of growing trees in production containers within in-ground socket containers. We describe a simple vacuum method of extracting solution from pine bark in containers using ceramic cup samplers. When N was applied to a pine bark substrate at 56–280 mg/L, extractable N was slightly higher for the PT than for the ceramic cup method. The correlation between applied and extractable N was 0.99 for both methods. Further comparison of pine bark extract nutrient and pH levels for PT and ceramic cup methods will be presented.
Potassium concentration was highest in the upper 5 cm of medium after leaching with 10 cm H2O, lowest in the middle of the soil column (10 and 15 cm depths), and intermediate at the bottom of the column. Increasing concentrations of applied K (336, 671, and 1007 kg/ha) increased the K level in each medium tested, except 100% sand, and at each depth in the soil column. After leaching, media containing high percentages of sand (75 and 100%) had a lower K concentration at all applied K rates than media containing high percentages of bark (0 and 25% sand). Cation exchange capacity was greater in bark than sand and is probably the most important factor influencing the movement of K in pine bark and sand media.
Rooted cuttings of Ilex crenata Thunb. ‘Helleri’, Rhododendron obtusum Planch. ‘Rosebud’, and Juniperus chinensis L. ‘San Jose’ were grown in a 100% pine-bark medium amended with dolomitic limestone at 0 to 8 kg m-3 with resulting pH from 3.4 to 7.2. Except for juniper at 2 kg m-3, growth was not increased by liming, and 8 kg m-3 tended to reduce shoot and root growth. This reduced growth was attributed in part to greater NH4 adsorption by the bark, reducing the amount available for plant uptake, and a higher nitrification rate, leading to an elevated NO3 to NH4 ratio in the medium. Liming pine bark to improve growth of these woody plants may be unnecessary.
Vegetatively propagated plants (15-cm in leaf spread) of a white-flowered Phalaenopsis Taisuco Kaaladian clone were imported bare-root in late May and planted in a mix consisting of three parts of medium-grade fir bark and one part each of perlite and coarse Canadian peat (by volume) or in Chilean sphagnum moss. All plants were given 200 mg·L-1 each of N and P, 100 mg·L-1 Ca, and 50 mg·L-1 Mg. K concentrations were 0, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 mg·L-1. After 7 months, plants grown in moss produced an average of two more leaves than those in the bark mix (4 to 5 vs. 2 to 3 leaves), regardless of K rates. In any given medium, K rate did not alter the rate of leaf production. The K rate did not affect the size of the top leaves when grown in the bark mix. However, plants grown in moss had increasingly longer and wider top leaves as K rate increased. The lower leaves on plants in the bark mix receiving no K showed deficiency symptoms of purple tinting, yellowing, necrosis, and even death. Yellowing and necrosis started from the leaf tip and progressed basipetally. The K at 50 mg·L-1 reduced and 100 mg·L-1 completely alleviated the symptoms of K deficiency. Plants grown in moss and receiving no K showed limited signs of K deficiency. Flowering stems started to emerge (spiking) from plants in the bark mix up to 4 weeks earlier than those planted in sphagnum moss. For plants receiving no K, all plants in the bark mix bloomed, whereas none planted in sphagnum moss produced flowering stems. Overall, at least 200 mg·L-1 K (∼250 mg·L-1 K2O) is recommended to produce quality plants with maximum leaf growth and early spiking.
A standard 1:1 v/v pine bark and sand potting medium was characterized physically by particle size distribution, bulk density (BD), total pore space, porosity at 50 cm H2O tension and porosity at >50 cm H2O tension. A potting medium identical to the standard was constructed from component milled pine bark and sand particles. Phaseolus lunatus L. ‘Jackson Wonder’ plants grown in the 2 physically similar media, under a standard cultural program, were essentially identical. Construction of a potting medium from a prescribed screen analysis provides a means to quantify variation which exists within a medium assumed to be uniform.
Beit Alpha cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is an exciting new greenhouse crop for production in the southeastern U.S. and Florida. Beit Alpha cucumbers are short, seedless fruit with dark-green skin and an excellent sweet flavor. Beit Alpha-types are the leading cucumber types in the Middle Eastern market and have gained recent popularity in Europe. Beit Alpha cucumbers grown hydroponically under a protected structure have prolific fruit set, yielding more than 60 high-quality fruit per plant during one season. U.S. hydroponic vegetable production is generally associated with structure and irrigation investments which are costly as well as other inputs, such as the media, which must be replaced annually or with each crop. Beit Alpha cucumber `Alexander' was grown in Spring 2001 and 2002 in a passive-ventilated high-roof greenhouse in Gainesville, Fla. Three media types, coarse-grade perlite, medium-grade perlite, and pine bark, were compared for efficiency of growing cucumbers (production and potential costs). During both seasons, fruit yield was the same among media treatments [average of 6 kg (13.2 lb) per plant]. Irrigation requirements were the same for each type of media; however, leachate volume was sometimes greater from pots with pine bark compared to either grade of perlite suggesting a reduced need for irrigation volume when using pine bark. Pine bark is five times less expensive than perlite and was a suitable replacement for perlite in a hydroponic Beit Alpha cucumber production system.