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The use of shredded bark, wood chips, and other organic mulches to conserve water and moderate soil temperatures is a common practice in landscape maintenance. Four mulch materials (cottonseed hulls, cypress pulp, pine bark, and pine straw) were examined to determine effects on plant growth and soil conditions in annual flower beds during a 1-year rotation of warm season to cool season annuals. Inhibited plant growth was observed in pine bark treatments at the conclusion of the growing season for both plantings. Effects on soil conditions were insignificant over the year-long study in pine bark treatments. To further investigate potential phytotoxic effects of pine bark and other mulch used in the initial study, a seed bioassay was performed to determine the influence of mulch extracts in solution on germination and primary root elongation.

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Initial availability of NO3, NH4, and urea applied to limed or unlimed pine bark as well as the form of N available over a period of 21 days was determined. Nitrate was not present in significant amounts when N was supplied as either urea or NH4, and the extractable amounts of both urea and NH4 declined significantly over the course of the experiment. Urea was the least effective of the N forms in supplying N in an extractable form. With NO3 as the N source, addition of lime to pine bark resulted in significant reductions in extractable NO3. Applications of NH4 gave relatively equal amounts of extractable N as NH4 from limed and unlimed pine bark after 21 days. It was concluded that N interaction and N transformations with these N forms in pine bark would influence total available N as well as the form of N available for plant growth.

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to the larger particle substrate retaining less moisture and the fact that the larger particle pine bark resulted in weed seeds being flushed deep into the substrate, reducing their chances of germinating ( Keddy and Constabel, 1986 ). Additionally

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Bearing `Misty' and `Star' southern highbush blueberries were grown on pine bark beds and fertilized at three rates using granular and liquid fertilizers with a 3–1–2 (1N–0.83K–0.88P) ratio. Granular fertilizer was applied 8 times per year at 4-week intervals beginning in April and continuing through October. Liquid fertilizer was applied with low volume irrigation 16 times per year at 2-week intervals during the same period. During the growing season, irrigation was applied at 2- to 3-day intervals in the absence of rain. A 2 cultivar × 2 fertilizer type × 3 fertilizer rate factorial arrangement of treatments was replicated 8 times in a randomized complete-block design. All fruits were harvested from single-plant plots at 3- to 4-day intervals. Canopy volume was not affected by fertilizer type, but fruit yield was slightly greater for granular than for liquid fertilizer treatments. In 2003, fruit yield of 2.5-year-old `Misty' and `Star' plants increased with increasing fertilizer rates up to the highest rate tested (50 g N/plant/year). Similarly, in 2004, fruit yields increased with increasing fertilizer rates up to the highest rate (81 g N/plant/year). Root distribution was limited to the 12-cm-deep layer of pine bark with very few roots penetrating into the underlying soil. The positive growth responses of blueberry plants to high fertilizer rates in pine bark beds suggests that soluble fertilizer was leached through the pine bark layer into the soil below the root zone. More frequent, lighter applications of soluble fertilizers, use of slow-release or controlled-release fertilizers, and careful irrigation management may improve fertilizer use efficiency of blueberry plantings on pine bark beds.

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Composted pine bark is one of the most important substrates used in the seedling industry today. Previous work suggested the availability of inherent Potassium (K) in the bark. This research confirmed the availability of K and indicated that little or no K is needed for seedling production when pine bark is used as a substrate. Pre-enrichment rates ranged from 0 to 460 g.K.m-3, with a supplemental solution application of 0 to 200 mg.K.l-1. No evidence of K deficiencies or toxicities were detected. Three K sources, KCl, KNO3, and K2SO4 were used in the pre-enrichment of the bark. No differences were noted for top fresh mass, seedling height, root dry mass, root to shoot ratio and percentage moisture. Seedlings grown in treatments without and supplementary K showed tissue contents of 162.5 mg.K.kg-1. This research suggests the possibility of reducing the levels of-K applied to seedlings grown in a composted pine bark substrate.

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Abstract

Pine bark was shown to adsorb 1.5 mg of N/g of bark when NH4 solutions were leached through the bark. Increasing pH of bark increased adsorbed NH4. At pH 3.3, only NH4 was adsorbed to bark particles when a fertilizer solution containing NH4, Ca, K, and Mg was applied. However, adsorption of NH4 and other cations increased as pH was increased from 3.8 to 5.8. These data indicate that 2 types of sites exist for the adsorption of NH4 to pine bark. One site is effective at lower pH; the other is active as pH increases. Daily application of 2.5 cm of water containing 50 ppm NH4 required 20 days for equilibration to occur so as to satisfy all binding sites. Thus, incorporation of NH4 into a pine-bark medium prior to planting may be advisable to prevent low N levels from occurring in the container solution due to NH4 binding when plants are first planted and fertilized.

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Pine bark is utilized as a substrate in citrus nurseries in South Africa. The Nitrogen (N) content of pine bark is inherently low, and due to the volubility of N, must be supplied on a continual basis to ensure optimum growth rates of young citrus nursery stock. Three citrus rootstock (rough lemon, carrizo citrange and cleopatra mandarin) showed no difference in stem diameter or total dry mass (TDM) when supplied N at concentrations between 25 and 200 mg ·l-1 N in the nutrient solution over a 12 month growing period. Free leaf arginine increased when N was supplied at 400 mg·l-1 N. The form of N affected the growth of rough lemon. High NH4-N:NO3-N (75:25) ratios decreased TDM when Sulfur (S) was absent from the nutrient solution, but not if S was present. Free arginine increased in leaves at high NH4-N (No S) ratios, but not at high NH4-N (S supplied) ratios. Free leaf arginine was correlated with free leaf ammonia. These results have important implications for reducing the concentration of N in nutrient solutions used in citrus nurseries and may indicate that higher NH4-N ratios can be used when adequate S is also supplied.

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Amending soilless media with micronutrients is a routine nursery practice. The objective of this research was to determine the micronutrient status of pine bark amended with two sulfate micronutrient sources and a control (unmended). Limed pine bark was unamended, amended with Ironite (1 and 2 g/l), or Micromax (1g/l). Bark was irrigated with distilled water in amounts equivalent to 30, 60, 90, and 120 irrigations (.63 cm per irrigation). Following irrigations, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn were extracted with a modified saturated media extract method using .001M DPTA as the extractant. Irrigation amount had no effect on Cu and Mn concentrations which were greater in the Micromax treatment than the Ironite or control treatments. A micronutrient source × irrigation interaction existed for Fe and Zn concentrations requiring regression analysis. In general, slope values indicating the decrease in micronutrient values with increasing irrigations were quite low (≤ .001) for each source. Regardless of irrigation amount, Fe and Zn concentrations were similar for amended and unamended bark.

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Columns (4 × 15 cm) of a pine bark medium amended with the equivalent of 4.2 kg per cubic meter of dolomitic limestone and either 0, 2.4, 4.7, 7.1 or 9.5 mg of urea-formaldehyde (38% N) per cubic centimeter of medium were leached daily with 16 ml of deionized water (pH 5.5). Leachate total N, NO3 --N and NH4 +-N concentrations were determined on day 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 28, 49, 91, 133, 203, 273 and 343. Leachate total N ranged from 600 ppm on day 1 for the 9.5 mg treatment to 4 ppm on day 273 for the 2.4 mg treatment. Leachate NH4 +-N concentrations ranged from 38 ppm c4 day 3 for the 9.5 mg treatment to less than 1 ppm on day 7 for the 2.4 mg treatment and were less than total N concentrations at each sampling time. Leachate NO3 --N was not detectable during the experimental period. Eleven, 16, 20 and 25% of the applied N leached from the columns amended with 2.4, 4.7, 7.1 or 9.5 mg of urea-formaldehyde per cubic centimeter of pine bark, respectively, during the 371 day experiment.

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Pine bark (PB), either unamended or amended with sand (S) at 9 PB: 1 S or 5 PB:1 S (v/v), was fertilized with solutions of 100,200, or 300 mg N/liter solution and tested for N concentration using the pour-through method (PT). PB, 9 PB: 1 S, and 5 PB: 1 S had porosities of 84%, 75%, and 66%, respectively. PT NO3-N concentrations, obtained via PT, of the 5 PB:1 S substrate were 43%,28%, and 15% higher than PB NO3-N values for the 100,200, and 300 mg·liter-1 treatments, respectively. Differences in N concentration obtained with PT can be attributed to substrate physical characteristics. Based on the results, data for PT should be interpreted with regard to substrate porosity.

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