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James S. Owen Jr and James E. Altland

texture directly influences the substrate matric potential; however, this force can result in increased water-holding capacity at a given container height by overcoming the gravitational potential of 0.1 kPa·cm −1 from the bottom of the container ( Milks

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William R. Argo

Acceptable physical properties are an integral part of root-media quality. However, there is no one growing medium that works best in all situations because root-media physical properties are not constant, but rather can be affected by the grower. Understanding the root environment under production conditions requires an understanding of the dynamic nature of air : water : solid ratio in the medium. The objective of this review is to consider key aspects of root-medium physical properties, which include bulk density and particle size, container capacity, media settling, water absorption, rewettability, moisture release characteristics, and water loss due to evaporation from the root-medium surface.

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Carlos Vinicius Garcia Barreto, Rhuanito Soranz Ferrarezi, Flávio Bussmeyer Arruda, and Roberto Testezlaf

Ferreira Filho. Treatments. Plants were irrigated at different water levels, allowing the substrate wetting by capillary action. We tested three treatments: T1) subirrigation with water reaching two-thirds of the container height (up to 8 cm of water from

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Jennifer Marohnic and Robert L. Geneve

Marigold seedlings were grown in four containers that differed in both volume and shape. Seedlings grown in 1.5-gal containers showed the greatest potential for shoot and root development 20 days after sowing. These seedlings had greater leaf area, shoot and root dry weight, and total root number and length compared to seedlings grown in 406 plug trays, 72-cell packs, or 6-inch containers. There was a positive correlation (r 2 = 0.81) between cell volume and seedling growth as well as a positive correlation (r 2 = 0.89) between container height with seedling growth. An attempt was made to separate the impact of container volume vs. container height on seedling growth. Containers were designed using acrylics to vary the container height while keeping the volume constant at 1500 cm3. There was a positive correlation (r 2 = 0.87) between shoot and root dry weight with container height. The data suggest that both container volume and height contribute to overall seedling growth in marigold, but when container volume is not limiting, container height has a large impact on seedling development.

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Chris A. Martin and Dewayne L. Ingram

Computer modeling was used to study the effect of container volume and shape on summer temperature patterns for black polyethylene nursery containers filled with a 4 pine bark: 1 sand (v/v) rooting medium and located in Phoenix, Ariz. (lat. 33.5°N, long. 112°W) or Lexington, Ky. (lat. 38.0°N, long. 84.4°W). For both locations, medium temperatures were highest at the east and west container walls, halfway down the container profile, regardless of container height (20 to 50 cm) or volume (10 to 70 liters). The daily maximum medium temperature (Tmax) at the center was lower and occurred later in the day as container volume was increased because of an increased distance to the container wall. For both locations, predicted temperature patterns in rooting medium adjacent to the container wall decreased as the wall tilt angle (TA) increased. Predicted temperature patterns at the center of the container profile were lowered in response to the interaction of increased container height and wall TA. As container height decreased, the container wall TA necessary to lower center Tmax to ≤ 40C increased; however, the required increase in TA was greater for Phoenix than for Lexington, principally because of higher ambient air temperatures.

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Edward F. Gilman, Gary W. Knox, Catherine A. Neal, and Uday Yadav

Lagertroemia indica L. × fauriei Koehne (`Natchez' crape myrtle) crown width increased after 13 months as irrigation frequency increased from every 3 days to every day, and the irrigated area around the fabric container increased from 20% to 100% of the circular area within 20 cm beyond the container. Restricting irrigation to within the fabric container plus 20% of the area 20 cm beyond the container edge resulted in less height and width for crape myrtle, but had no effect on root growth, compared to irrigating 100% of area 20 cm beyond the container. Restricting the pattern of irrigation to the container plus 20% of the area 20 cm beyond the container resulted in greater free-root weight (roots < 5 mm in diameter) within the container for laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia Michx.) compared to irrigating the container plus 100% of the area 20 cm beyond the container. Height, width, and caliper of oak were not different among treatments.

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Phillip C. Flanagan and W.T. Witte

Interior surfaces of tube trays were painted with white exterior acrylic latex paint and white interior latex paint containing 0, 50, or 300 gm/1 copper sulfate. Germinated Quercus acutissima seedlings were used to study chemical root pruning effects and subsequent root regeneration. After 16 weeks, only 0.73 roots per seedling continued growth after being deflected by the tubewall painted with 100gm/1 compared with 3.67 for the control. Fibrous roots were reduced when in contact with cu treated surfaces. Height and caliper were not affected at any treatment level. Three weeks after transplanting to larger untreated containers, height and caliper were still unaffected by any cu treatment. Time required for regeneration of new roots was not affected by cu treatments.

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William C. Fonteno

The determination of air and water holding capacities of horticultural substrates has been plagued by errors in measurement. The amount of air and water held at container capacity is influenced by the substrate and container height. Container capacity can be established through specific measurement. Air space, the difference between total porosity and container capacity, is usually poorly determined because of errors in total porosity measurement. Most researchers calculate total porosity (St) from the formula: St = 1-(ρbp), where ρb is the dry bulk density and ρp is the particle density. While bulk density is usually measured, particle density is not. Many times an average ρp of 2.65 Mg·m-3 for mineral soils is used. This sometimes creates large errors in calculating total porosity because the values of ρp for horticultural substrates range from 0.35 to 2.1 Mg·m-3. Total porosity can be measured with great accuracy at 0 kPa tension on a pressure plate apparatus, but is costly in equipment and time. Using a modified method of extraction and a new apparatus, using standard aluminum soil sampling cylinders, total porosity was measured with an 85% reduction in time end no decrease in accuracy.

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Roberto G. Lopez and Diane M. Camberato

Biodegradable, compostable, and traditional plastic containers were evaluated for production of ‘Eckespoint Classic Red’ poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), a long-term greenhouse crop (12–16 weeks transplant to finish, depending on cultivar). Containers were rated for appearance and durability during the 14-week production period and plant quality parameters were measured at anthesis. Plastic, rice hull, wheat starch-derived bioresin, and molded fiber containers remained unchanged in appearance and integrity and received a rating of 5 (1–5 rating scale, where 1 = container integrity compromised substantially and 5 = container was intact, no visible changes in terms of color or construction). However, straw, coconut coir, composted cow manure, and Canadian sphagnum moss and wood pulp containers had an average rating of 2.9, 2.7, 1.4, and 1.6, respectively. Both shoot and root dry weights were greatest in plants produced in molded fiber and straw containers. The root to shoot dry weight ratio and days to anthesis was not significantly different among container types. Bract area index (a measurement derived to estimate bract area) was greatest for plants produced in molded fiber containers and lowest for those produced in the wheat starch containers. When adjusted for container height, final plant height was greatest in molded fiber containers and lowest in wheat starch containers. Plants produced in molded fiber containers, on average, exhibited the greatest height, bract area index, and total root and shoot weight, with no visible changes to container integrity. Based on these results, plant quality was not negatively impacted by any of the seven containers, though marketability of finished plants can be affected by container integrity.

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George Gizas and Dimitrios Savvas

size range and distribution. Furthermore, the actual container capacity of a containerized substrate, and thus the air-filled porosity and the water-holding capacity, depend on container height ( Fonteno, 1996 ; Milks et al., 1989b ). Hence, the