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Gladis M. Zinati, John Dighton and Arend-Jan Both

). The goal of this study was to develop a system that could improve plant growth and reduce nutrient concentration in leachates to minimize the environmental impact from commercial production of container-grown woody ornamental ericaceous plants. The

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Bonnie L. Appleton and Susan C. French

A commercially available copper-treated disk was evaluated for its effect on weed suppression for container-grown willow oak (Quercus phellos L.). No weeds grew in containers where disks were used. All trees grown without disks or preemergent herbicide were dead within 6 months. Top dry weights were greater for trees grown with disks or preemergence herbicide, but root dry weights were not different.

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Jeffery K. Iles and Nancy H. Agnew

The capacity of plant materials to resume normal growth after exposure to low temperature is the ultimate criterion of cold hardiness. We therefore determined the low-temperature tolerance of five commercially important herbaceous perennial species. Container-grown blanket flower (Gaillardia ×grandiflora Van Houtte. `Goblin'), false dragonhead [Physoste- gia virginiana (L.) Benth. `Summer Snow'], perennial salvia (Salvia ×superba Stapf. `Stratford Blue'), painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum Willd. `Robinson's Mix'), and creeping veronica (Veronica repens Loisel.) were subjected to 0, -2, 4, -6, -8, -10, -12, -14, -16, and -18C in a programmable freezer. The percentage of survival of most species was adequate when exposed to -10C. Producers of container-grown perennials are advised to provide winter protection measures that prohibit root medium temperatures from falling below -10C.

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David R. Sandrock*, Timothy L. Righetti and Anita N. Azarenko

Accurate methods for determining the fate and recovery of nitrogen (N) fertilizer applied to container-grown nursery crops are essential to comply with regulations and develop innovative fertilizer programs. The objectives of this study were (i) to use 15N techniques to determine the fate of fertilizer N, (ii) to compare nonisotopic and isotopic methods of determining N recovery, and (iii) to determine the relative importance of fertilizer and non-fertilizer N at rates of 25, 50, 100, 200, and 300 mg·L-1 in container-grown Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb., Cornus sericea L., and Weigela florida (Bunge) A. DC. In all species, root and shoot N increased with N rate, and at each rate more N was stored in the roots than in the shoots. Estimation of N recovery determined by the total N method (Kjeldahl N/applied N) was significantly higher for all species and at each N rate than estimation of N recovery determined by the labeled fertilizer N method (labeled N/total applied N). Increasing fertilizer rates up to 100 mg·L-1 resulted in increased uptake of N derived from other sources (NDFO). NDFO at low N concentrations was a significant portion of the total N in the plant. As a result, the difference in estimation of percent N recovery between each method was larger at lower N concentrations for all species. The nonisotopic total N method produces higher fertilizer N uptake estimates, as much as three to four times the isotopic based estimates, in container-grown plants at N concentrations of 25 mg·L-1. Actual fertilizer N loss increases dramatically from 25 to 300 mg·L-1 (due to dramatic increases in N applied), despite small gains in fertilizer N recovery efficiency.

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N. E. Pellett and D. Heleba

Five species of container-grown nursery plants were overwintered under treatments of no cover, 2 layers of microfoam, 15 or 30 cm of chopped newspaper and 15 cm newspaper or 22 cm straw between two layers of white copolymer. Temperatures were measured in the air under covers and in the center of the growing medium. Chopped newspaper moderated winter temperatures equal to or better than other cover treatments. All covers prevented winter injury. Baled chopped newspaper used by dairy farmers for livestock bedding is available at a reasonable cost.

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Jayesh Samtani, Gary Kling* and David Williams

Conventional herbicide applications to container-grown landscape plants, often requires multiple spray applications of herbicides in a growing season and presents problems such as non-uniform application, leaching, run-off, environmental pollution, worker exposure and phytotoxicity to the landscape plants. The use of an organic herbicide carrier could help reduce some of the problems associated with spray applications. Landscape-leaf waste pellets were evaluated as a preemergent herbicide carrier for container-grown landscape plants. Isoxaben, prodiamine and pendimethalin were applied to Chrysanthemum × grandiflorum `Lisa', Euonymus fortunei `Coloratus' and Spiraea japonica `Neon Flash', at rates of 1.12, 2.25, and 2.25 kg·ha-1 active ingredient, respectively, with either water or landscape leaf waste pellets as a carrier. Portulaca oleracea, Senecio vulgaris, and Setaria faberi were seeded following treatment application. Visual ratings on efficacy and photoxicity to landscape plants, and shoot fresh and dry biomass were determined for both weeds and crop plants. Landscape leaf pellets served as an effective carrier for application of prodiamine and pendimethalin and combinations of these herbicides with isoxaben in controlling weeds. Leaf waste pellets as a carrier produced equivalent weed control and phytotoxicity ratings to conventional spray application of these herbicides, on both Chrysanthemum and Euonymus. The pellets did not make a consistently effective carrier for the application of isoxaben alone. Application of herbicides on leaf pellets could result in more uniform herbicide applications, minimize loss of herbicides to the environment and reduce the risk of herbicide contact with nursery workers.

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Jianjun Chen, Russell D. Caldwell, Cynthia A. Robinson and Bob Steinkamp

Silicon (Si) is the second most-abundant element in soils, and its concentration in soil solution ranges from 0.1 to 0.6 mm, which is the same concentration range as some of the major nutrient elements such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur. Increasing evidence has recently suggested that Si plays important roles in improving plant growth. However, little information is available on Si effects on container-grown ornamental plants, particularly since most are grown in soilless media where Si sources are greatly limited. The objectives of this research were to evaluate Si absorption and translocation in diverse container-grown ornamental plants and to determine whether Si absorption could improve plant growth. Liners from 39 plant species were potted in peat and pine bark-based soilless media and grown in a shaded greenhouse. Plants were fertigated with a Peter's 24–8–16 water-soluble fertilizer containing 0, 50, and 100 mg·L–1 of Si. Once marketable sizes were reached, plants were harvested and fresh and dry weights determined; Si and other nutrient elements in roots and shoots were measured. Results indicated that 32 of the 39 evaluated species were able to absorb Si, with large quantities further transported to shoots. Of the 32 Si-responsive species, 17 showed significant dry weight increases, whereas the other 15 only exhibited Si absorption and translocation with no apparent growth responses. The seven non-responsive plant species showed no significant increases in neither Si absorption and translocation, nor dry weight.

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Jeffery K. Iles

A survey was conducted to identify and characterize the effectiveness of overwintering methods used to protect container-grown herbaceous perennials in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8. Survey questionnaires were sent by first-class mail on 20 Aug. 1996 to 634 firms involved in growing and/or selling container-grown herbaceous perennials identified from the Perennial Plant Association Membership Directory. Completed questionnaires were received from 293 individuals (46.2% response rate) in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and six Canadian provinces. Survey participants reported using several overwintering methods: structureless systems (71.0%), polyhouses (52.9%), polyhouses with inflated double polyethylene covers (30.7%), and low-profile polyhuts (12.3%). Over three-fourths of the respondents (78.8%) said their winter protection methods resulted in minimal to no plant loss (0-10%). Only 53 respondents (18.1%) reported losses >10%. The most frequently cited reason for plant loss across all hardiness zones was excessive moisture inside the overwintering environment (50.2%). Equal percentages (33.4%) indicated low temperatures and damage from animals as the next most likely factors responsible for plant loss. Respondents identified, in descending order, Iris, Delphinium, Lavandula, Papaver, and Lupinus as the five genera most difficult to overwinter.

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Warren E. Copes and H. Scherm

Rhizoctonia web blight, caused by Rhizoctonia solani and binucleate Rhizoctonia spp., is an annual problem in compact cultivars of container-grown azalea (Rhododendron spp.) in the Gulf Coast states. Increasing the space between plants is commonly recommended for suppression of the disease, but experimental evidence for the effectiveness of this cultural practice in container-grown azalea is lacking. During the summers of 2002 and 2003, disease severity was measured weekly in the inoculated center plant of plots consisting of 49 potted `Gumpo White' azalea plants growing in 3.8-L containers and having a canopy diameter of about 30 cm. Plant spacing within plots was 0, 6, 12, 18, or 24 cm, and plots were arranged in three randomized complete blocks. Evaporation, leaf wetness (LW), relative humidity (RH), and temperature were monitored in each plot. Disease severity increased steadily from mid-July to late August or early September, after which it leveled off or declined. Evaporation increased and the number of hours within the temperature range favorable for disease development (25 to 30 °C) decreased significantly with plant spacing (P < 0.05), but LW and RH were not significantly different among treatments. Plant spacing also had no significant effect on disease severity. Daily overhead irrigation and compact plant form likely contributed to the lack of effect of spacing on disease development.

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Jake F. Browder, Alexander X. Niemiera, J. Roger Harris and Robert D. Wright

Substrates of container-grown plants are commonly preplant amended with sulfated micronutrients to supply micronutrients. However, the cause for the increased growth may be due to micronutrient addition or other factors such as S addition or substrate acidification. Container-grown pin oak (Quercus palustris Müench) and japanese maple (Acer palmatum Thunb.) seedlings were grown in a 100% pine bark substrate and amended (or not) with one of the following treatments: control (no amendment), Micromax, K2SO4, H2SO4, HCl, chelated micronutrients, elemental S, or CaSO4. After 11 weeks, dry weights of plants in all treatments supplying S were higher than plants receiving no S. Dry weights of plants in all experiments receiving the chelate treatment were not higher than dry weights for control plants. These data indicate that S, not micronutrient application, is a primary cause of increased growth from the addition of sulfated micronutrients. However, it was demonstrated that there are conditions such as higher substrate solution pH (4.1 vs. 5.4), where Micromax may prove advantageous over sulfur alone since it would supply micronutrients as well as S.