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

Sulfur (S) is essential to the growth of higher plants; however, research on S fertilizer requirements for container-grown nursery tree species has not been established. The purpose of this study was to determine the substrate solution S concentration that maximizes the growth of container-grown pin oak (Quercus palustris Münchh) (pin oak–K2SO4 experiment) and japanese maple (Acer palmatum Thunb.) (japanese maple–K2SO4 experiment) in a pine bark (PB) substrate. Both species were fertilized with solutions supplying a range of S concentrations (0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40, or 80 mg·L–1) using K2SO4. Regression analysis revealed that dry weights of both species were near maximum at the predicted application concentration of 30 mg·L–1 S, which corresponded to about 15 and 7 mg·L–1 S in substrate solution for pin oak and japanese maple, respectively. In a Micromax, FeSO4, lime experiment, S was supplied to pin oak via a preplant micronutrient sulfate fertilizer or FeSO4 in limed or unlimed PB. When the PB pH was relatively low (4.5, unlimed), FeSO4 and the preplant micronutrient fertilizer were effective in supplying ample S. However, when the PB pH was relatively high (6.1, limed), the preplant micronutrient fertilizer with micronutrients in a sulfate form was more effective in supplying S and micronutrients than FeSO4.

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D. Thayne Montague, D. Joseph Eakes, Charles H. Gilliam, Kenneth M. Tilt and Harry G. Ponder

This study was conducted to determine the influence of production methods on the growth of container grown flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). The production practices were: full sun, 40% white shade cloth, 40% black shade cloth, and pot-in-pot. The cultivars studied were: cv. `Welch's Junior Miss', cv. `Barton's White', cv. `Weaver's White', and cv. `Welch's Bay Beauty'. The one variety used was pink. Height and caliper data was collected. Plants grown under white shade cloth had the highest overall height and caliper growth, followed by black shade cloth, full sun, and the pot-in-pot production method. The cultivar `Weaver's White' had the highest overall height and caliper growth and the variety pink had the least, regardless of treatment. The remaining cultivars had similar growth regardless of treatment.

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William D. Goff and Gary J. Keever

Container-grown pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] trees with “mouse-ear” symptoms, characterized by small, rounded, cupped, and slightly wrinkled leaflets, were repotted into two types of media amended with three rates of dolomitic limestone (0, 5.4, or 10.7 kg·m-3). In both media [4 milled pine bark: 1 sand; 1 soil: 1 peat: 1 perlite (by volume)], mouse-ear symptoms in the season following repotting were dramatically reduced at the lower lime application rates. Medium Fe, Ca, Cu, and Mn and foliar Ca, Mg, Mn, Zn, and B were affected by lime rate 10 months after repotting in one or both media. Medium pH increased quadratically as lime rate increased. Greatest plant recovery occurred when no lime was added, resulting in a pH of 3.9 in the bark-sand medium and 4.2 in the soil-peat-perlite medium.

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E.C. Boehm, T.D. Davis and J.O. Kuti

Relative water usage of four species of container-grown woody ornamental shrubs (Buxus japonica (Japenese boxwood), Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas sage), Ligustrum japonica (ligustrum) and Pittosporum tobira wheeleri (dwarf) pittosporurm)), normally used for home landscaping in south Texas, were evaluated by comparing water consumption and frequency of watering with growth rates and horticultural quality after six months growth in containers. Growth rates were determined by the difference in plant height and leaf area from the control unwatered plants and were used to characterize the suitability of ornamental shrubs for xeric landscapes. While frequency of watering had no significant effects on plant height, only ligustrum and dwarf pittosporum plants watered on weekly basis showed positive change in leaf area. There was considerable leaf regrowth in Texas sage plants after initial leaf loss. Of all the shrubs tested, dwarf pittosporum plants watered biweekly used less water to maintain their horticultural quality.

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J.H. Lieth, P.A. Kiehl, S.A. Tjosvold, G.B. Vogel and D.W. Burger

An irrigation system was developed to water container-grown ornamental plants so that soil moisture tensions could be continuously monitored and controlled. Operation of such a system has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of water which must be applied to produce high-quality potted chrysanthemums. This presentation will focus on modification of drip irrigation systems in commercial production environments to irrigate based on soil moisture tension. High-quality plants were produced in commercial trials with such systems. In all cases significant economic savings due to reduced fertilizer and water application were observed. Furthermore, the amounts of irrigation water run-off were significantly lower than in systems where irrigation was controlled manually or with timers.

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Marta Pardos, Rafael Calama, Gregorio Montero and José A. Pardos

Four concentrations of paclobutrazol (PBZ) and two application methods (foliar spray–soil drench) were tested on 3-month-old container-grown cork oak (Quercus suber L.) seedlings. Shoot height was affected by PBZ concentration and application technique. Time course of height was modelled by nonlinear mixed model analysis. Reduced shoot height was the result of shortened and fewer internodes. A 25 to 625 ppm soil drench or 625 to 15,000 ppm foliar spray controlled over vegetative growth, resulting in a reduction between 13% and 90% in plant size relative to untreated controls. Seedlings responded to soil drench at a lower PBZ concentration than for a foliar spray, but the danger of irreversible overdosing seems greater for a soil drench. Soil drench—and foliar spray to a lesser extent—also affected other shoot and root growth traits. PBZ dose decreased root volume and dry weights in a quadratic fashion with increasing dose, but decreased diameter and number of leaves linearly.

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Petra Sternberg and Daniel K. Struve

In nursery production, increased branching is desirable, especially when growing stock that will be marketed at smaller sizes. Typically, branching is increased by pruning, which reduces growth potential. As an alternative to mechanical pruning, a chemical branching agent, Cyclanilide, has been evaluated for its ability to increase branching in container-grown whip production systems. Cyclanilide sprays of 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg·L-1 were applied to elongating shoots of Acer ×freemanii `Jeffsred', Cercis canadensis, Diospyros virginiana, Eucommia ulmoides, Malus ×`Prairie Fire', Malus ×`Harvest Gold', and Quercus rubra whips. Branching was increased in all taxa except Eucommia at concentrations >100 mg·L-1, without significantly reducing plant dry weight. For Diospyros, branching was increased when combined with pruning before Cyclanilide application.

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Kathleen M. Kelley, N. Curtis Peterson and G Stanley Howell

The loss of container-grown nursery stock during winter months may be due to lack of root hardiness when exposed to cold temperatures. After Euonymus alatus `Compactus', Weigela florida `Java Red', and Hibiscus syriacus `Paeonyflora' reached midwinter hardiness, replicates of each cultivar were subjected to 12 hours of 21°C followed by 12 hours of 0°C each 24-hour period for up to 16 days. Controlled temperature freezing was conducted after each 48-hour period, with temperatures ranging from –6 to –27°C to determine the level of root hardiness. Plants were placed in a greenhouse environment to observe post-stress performance. Weigela was the most cold hardy, followed by Euonymus and Hibiscus. In general, the early accumulation of warming temperatures decreased root hardiness and delayed budbreak, with a noticeable loss of vigor. Results of this research will be presented.

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Xiaomei Zhao, William L. Kingery and Steven E. Newman

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.

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Diana L. Berchielli-Robertson, Charles H. Gilliam and Donna C. Fare

A 2-year study evaluated the effects of three weed species: eclipta [Eclipta alba (L.) Hasskarl], prostrate spurge (Euphorbia supina Raf.), and wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta L.) on growth of container-grown `Gumpo White Sport' azalea (Rhododendron eriocarpum), R. x `Fashion', and Berberis thunbergii DC. var. atropurpurea `Crimson Pigmy'. Competitiveness among weed species as ranked from greatest to least was eclipta, prostrate spurge, and wood sorrel. Greater populations of eclipta and prostrate spurge resulted in decreased shoot dry weight of `Fashion' and `Gumpo White Sport' azalea. Prostrate spurge had a similar effect on `Crimson Pigmy' barberry in both small (3.8-liter) and large (15.2-liter) containers, while eclipta reduced shoot dry weight of barberry only in large containers. Wood sorrel had little effect on shoot dry weight of `Fashion' and `Gumpo White Sport' azalea.