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.
Bifenthrin and fipronil are important pesticides used in the nursery industry for the control of imported fire ants. Our research measured the influence of irrigation frequency and time on the degradation of bifenthrin and fipronil in pine bark nursery medium. Pine bark media leachates were collected over a 180-d period. Levels of bifenthrin, fipronil, and metabolites of fipronil (MB 46513, MB 45950, MB 46136) were measured using gas chromatography and mass spectrophotometery. Bifenthrin leachate concentrations decreased from 60 ppb on day 1 to ≈1 ppb after 120 d. Fipronil leachate concentrations decreased from 40 ppb on day one to a low of 15 ppb after 120 d. In contrast, metabolites MB 45950 and MB 46136 gradually increased over the 180-d period. Metabolite MB 46513 was not detected during the experiment. Pine bark medium leachate concentrations of bifenthrin and fipronil were greater than previously reported levels in pure water. We theorize that organic compounds present in pine bark may have increased the solubility of these chemicals.
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.
Greenhouse-grown branched liners of ‘Helleri’ holly were fertilized with either 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 ppm P to establish a P level in the pine bark medium that resulted in maximum shoot dry weight. Pine bark P levels greater than 10 ppm did not result in increased shoot dry weight. Total mg of P in shoot tissues continued to increase with P treatments higher than 10 ppm, indicating luxury consumption of P. Total mg of P in root tissues increased to the 5 ppm P treatment. Total μg of Mn in shoot tissues increased while total pg of Mn in root tissues decreased with increasing pine bark P levels. In a subsequent experiment, dry shoot weights of ‘Helleri’ holly grown in a pine bark medium amended with either 270, 540, or 810 g/m3 of P supplied as superphosphate (9% P) or fertilized with 10 ppm P were not different, while root dry weights decreased with increasing P amendment. Water extractable P for the 810 g/m3 treatment decreased 245 ppm during the experiment and by week 5 was below 10 ppm.
Incorporation of superphosphate into a pine bark growing medium did not increase growth of ‘Hellen’ holly if the plants were subsequently fertilized with slow-release granular or a water soluble fertilizer. Tissue P levels, except for the water soluble fertilizer treatment, and medium P levels were higher as a result of superphosphate incorporation.
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.
Softwood terminal cuttings of ‘Woodard’ and ‘Tifblue’ blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) rooted best in media containing milled pine bark alone or mixed with equal parts of perlite, compared to sphagnum peatmoss alone or mixed with equal parts of perlite. Percentage rooting, root quality, and percentage marketability of softwood terminal cuttings of Vaccinium ‘Tifton 275’, a complex hybrid of V. corymbosum L. and V. ashei, was unaffected by rooting medium.
Ilex × `Nellie R. Stevens' holly, Rhododendron sp. `Hinodegeri' azalea and Pyracantha coccinea, scarlet firethorn rooted cuttings were potted in • 3.81 containers. Irrigation was applied by Dram rings daily, or every 2,4,or 6 days. Approximately 1000 ml of water were applied at each irrigation. Three container media, including pine bark, and pine bark amended with either Terra-Sorb AG synthetic moisture extender incorporated at 1.2 kg/m3 or Aqua-Gro G wetting agent incorporated at 0.9 kg/m3 plus monthly drenches of 700 ml of 2500 ppm Aqua-Gro L were compared for physical and chemical properties and plant growth responses. Decreasing irrigation decreased pH, increased nutrient leachate levels, and increased foliar tissue levels of N,P,K,Ca,and Fe in holly and azalea. Pyracantha top and root dry weight was reduced at 4 and 6 day irrigation intervals, holly top growth was reduced by 6 day and azalea had greatest shoot growth at 2 day irrigation and was reduced by other irrigation frequencies. Top growth of all 3 species and root growth of pyracantha was reduced in the pine bark treatment.
Mugwort, or false chrysanthemum (Artemisia vulgaris L) is a well-adapted invasive plant that presents increasing management challenges to agricultural producers, Green Industry professionals and homeowners across portions of the eastern U.S. The ability of mugwort to regenerate from cut rhizome sections has not been adequately quantified for substrates that are typical of landscapes and nursery fields, container nurseries, and propagation beds. Cut rhizome sections were analyzed by rhizome color, length, and the presence or absence of a leaf scale. Media substrates included pine bark, sand, and soil. Rhizomes darken with time and color did not account for differences in growth among treatments. When grown in pine bark, sand, and soil substrates during 45-d trials, 85%, 78%, and 69% of 2 cm-long rhizome sections produced both roots and shoots. These results contrast with previous research. When rhizome fragments 0.5 cm long did not include a leaf scale, slightly fewer than 31% produced both roots and shoots in soil. Fewer rhizomes survived in soil, but root and shoot fresh masses of soil-grown rhizomes were greater than rhizomes that were regenerated in pine bark and sand. When rhizome sections had a leaf scale, survival, fresh masses of roots and shoots, shoot height, leaf number and root lengths were greater, regardless of substrate type. Root initials emerged in the internode between leaf scales and also adjacent to leaf scales. Shoot emergence preceded root emergence from rhizome sections. Growers, landscape managers and homeowners should scout regularly and initiate aggressive controls when mugwort populations are found.
Newly transplanted container-grown landscape plants are reported to require very frequent irrigation. However, container nurseries in the U.S. commonly use growing substrates that are mostly bark, even though the contribution of bark-based growing substrates to water relations of transplanted root balls is unknown. Therefore, a field experiment was undertaken to determine water relations of a pine-bark substrate (container removed) within a drying mineral soil over a three week period. A range of common production container sizes—3.7 L (#1), 7.5 L (#2), 21.9 L (#7), 50.6 L (#15), and 104.5 L (#25)—was used. The fraction of substrate volume that is water [total volumetric water (TVW)] within the top and middle zones of substrate was compared to TVW at corresponding depths of adjacent mineral soil. The fraction of substrate and soil volume that is plant-available water [plant-available volumetric water (PAVW)] was calculated by subtracting the fraction of substrate or soil volume below where water is unavailable to most plants (measured with pressure plates) [plant-unavailable volumetric water (PUVW)] from each TVW measurement. The pine-bark substrate had a PUVW of 0.32 compared to a PUVW of 0.06 for soil. Top sections of substrate dried to near zero PAVW 6 days after irrigation for all containers. Larger container sizes maintained higher PAVW in middle sections than smaller container sizes, and PAVW was always higher in the adjacent soil than in the embedded substrate. Overall, very little PAVW is held by the embedded pine-bark growing substrate, suggesting the need for container substrates with greater water retention once transplanted to mineral soils.