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James L. Green

Since initiation of the research in 1990, diverse plants (92 genera from 47 families) have been grown in the closed, insulated pallet system (CIPS). Greater growth has occurred in various embodiments of the CIPS than in the open container system (OCS) controls. Branching of roots, and of shoots of some plants, is greater in CIPS. CIPS is a closed system; there is no circulation of irrigation solutions nor effluent discharge from CIPS. Water and fertilizer movement in CIPS is plant-driven, and use is 10% of that applied in overhead sprinkler fertigation of open containers. Tomato plants are more tolerant of saline irrigation water, and greenhouse tomato production is more profitable in CIPS than in the OCS. CIPS provides several pest management alternatives.

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Rico A. González, Daniel K. Struve, and Larry C. Brown

An irrigation control system has been developed and used to estimate evapotranspiration of contamer-grown plants by monitoring randomly selected plants within a container block and watering on an “as needed” basis. Sensor reliability and operational ease allows application of the system in a wide variety of field conditions. First-year tests, using red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings, showed a reduction of 95% or better in both total irrigation and leachate rates with the computer-controlled treatment relative to a manually controlled, drip irrigation treatment without reducing plant growth.

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Jeanne Briggs, Ted Whitwell, R. Thomas Fernandez, and Melissa B. Riley

Field research was conducted at a container nursery to investigate fungicide movement in runoff water. Fungicides were applied as either a preventative treatment to all container plants, or as a component of an integrated pest management (IPM) program in which fungicides were only applied to plants showing signs of pathogen infestation. Thiophanate-methyl and chlorothalonil were applied in July and August 1998, and metalaxyl was applied in September 1998. Runoff water was sampled on the day after application (first irrigation after pesticide application) through three pulse irrigation cycles. Total amounts of thiophanate-methyl and chlorothalonil in runoff water were 7% and 4%, respectively, of applied amount in July. In August, 2% and 4% of thiophanate-methyl and chlorothalonil were found from the preventative treatment. Of the applied metalaxyl, 25% was detected in runoff water for the first irrigation event after application from the preventative treatment. Metalaxyl is a highly water soluble pesticide and nontarget losses from the granular application contributed to the large amounts detected. Total amounts of thiophanate-methyl, chlorothalonil and metalaxyl detected in runoff from the IPM treatment were 25% of amounts from the preventative treatment. No treatment differences were found in container plant salability or in the number of culls at the end of the study.

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Thomas H. Yeager

The nursery industry in Broward County, Fla., had to choose between partaking in the resolution needed to achieve 10 ppb total phosphorus discharged to the Everglades or face regulation. The industry decided to pursue the proactive route and implement best management practices (BMPs). Teams of industry personnel were formed to develop the content of the Florida Container Nursery BMP Guide that contained the following chapters: 1) nursery layout, 2) container substrate and planting practices, 3) fertilization management, 4) container substrate nutrient monitoring, 5) irrigation water quality, 6) irrigation application, 7) irrigation uniformity, 8) erosion control and runoff water management, 9) pesticide management, and 10) waste management. Each team was to determine the content of their chapter, based on cultural practices producers were currently using, or could be using, which would minimize or reduce surface water movement of phosphorus from the nursery to adjacent water. Cultural practices, brought forth after a consensus was achieved by each team in concert with governmental agencies, associations, and allied industries, were meshed with research information, or the “best” information available from academic sources to ensure that the resolutions or BMPs that were written would contribute to resolving the confl ict (i.e., elevated total phosphorus in canal waters). Consensus development is a new challenge for most academicians but it is important because unbiased and science-based knowledge is needed to assist in BMP development. Furthermore, consensus of those directly and indirectly involved in the nursery industry helps facilitate the use of BMPs. Once the Florida Container Nursery BMP Guide is adopted by rule under the statutory authority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, nursery operators voluntarily using the BMPs and keeping appropriate records will receive a waiver of liability from cleanup costs associated with contaminated ground or surface water, and be presumed to be in compliance with state water quality standards.

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Amanda Bayer, John Ruter, and Marc W. van Iersel

Controlling the elongation of ornamental plants is commonly needed for shipping and aesthetic purposes. Drought stress can be used to limit elongation, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to plant growth regulators (PGRs). However, growers can be reluctant to expose plants to drought stress because they do not want to negatively affect overall plant quality and marketability. Knowing how and when stem elongation is affected by water availability will help to increase our understanding of how elongation can be controlled without reducing plant quality. Rooted Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex Hiern. cuttings were grown in a growth chamber set to a 12-hour photoperiod at 25 °C. Two plants of similar size were used for each replication of the study to compare growth under well-watered and drought-stressed conditions. Time lapse photography was used to determine the diurnal patterns of elongation over the course of the replications. Evapotranspiration was measured using load cells. Well-watered and drought-stressed plants had similar diurnal patterns of elongation and evapotranspiration, demonstrating that both follow circadian rhythms and are not just responding to environmental conditions. Stem elongation was greatest at night and coincided with evapotranspiration decreases, with greatest elongation shortly after the onset of darkness. Elongation was minimal between 800 and 1000 hr when evapotranspiration increases. During the drought-stress portion of the replications, elongation of drought-stressed plants was 44% less than well-watered plants. Final plant height and shoot dry weight for the drought-stressed plants were 21% and 30% less than well-watered plants, respectively. Total leaf area, number of leaves, and number of new visible internodes were greater for well-watered plants than drought-stressed plants. Average length of visible internodes and leaf size were similar for drought-stressed and well-watered plants. If growers want to use drought stress for elongation control, they should ensure that plants are drought stressed before the onset of and during the dark period, when most elongation occurs.

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S. Christopher Marble, Shawn T. Steed, Debalina Saha, and Yuvraj Khamare

Weed management in container plant production is challenging, primarily due to limited postemergence herbicide options and the consequential need for supplemental hand weeding ( Case et al., 2005 ). Currently, weed control in container nurseries is

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S. Christopher Marble, Stephen A. Prior, G. Brett Runion, H. Allen Torbert, Charles H. Gilliam, Glenn B. Fain, Jeff L. Sibley, and Patricia R. Knight

production systems regardless of the fertilization method used. Further work is needed to determine the impact of different production variables on trace gas emissions from container plant production. However, results from this study begin to provide evidence

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Paul C. Bartley III, Glenn R. Wehtje, Anna-Marie Murphy, Wheeler G. Foshee III, and Charles H. Gilliam

-Robertson et al., 1990 ; Fretz, 1972 ; Walker and Williams, 1989 ). Two common management practices for weed control in container plant production are hand weeding and herbicide applications. Hand weeding is an increasingly expensive option because of

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Federica Larcher and Valentina Scariot

Peat is widely used in the ornamental nursery industry as a major constituent of growing media for container plant production. In recent years, environmental concerns about peat extraction in wetland ecosystems have risen. Conservation of existing

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Amanda Bayer, John Ruter, and Marc W. van Iersel

More efficient irrigation management has become a focus in sustainable container plant production ( Chappell et al., 2013a ) to improve resource use and to mitigate the environmental impact of fertilizers and pesticides found in nursery effluent