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V.M. Russo

The efficacy of using potting media and fertilizers that are alternatives to conventional materials to produce vegetable transplants needs clarification. Bell pepper, onion and watermelon seed were sown in Container Mix, Lawn and Garden Soil, and Potting Soil, which can be used for organic production in greenhouse transplant production. The alternative media were amended with a 1× rate of Sea Tea liquid fertilizer. Comparisons were made to a system using a conventional potting medium, Reddi-Earth, fertilized with a half-strength (0.5×) rate of a soluble synthetic fertilizer (Peters). Watermelon, bell pepper and onion seedlings were lifted at 3, 6, and 8 weeks, respectively, and heights and dry weights determined. Watermelon were sufficiently vigorous for transplanting regardless of which medium and fertilizer was used. Bell pepper and onion at the scheduled lifting were sufficiently vigorous only if produced with conventional materials. Additional experiments were designed to determine the reason(s) for the weaker seedlings when the alternative products were used. Seedlings maintained in transplant trays, in which media amended weekly with Sea Tea were required to be held for up to an additional 34 days before being vigorous enough for transplanting. Six-week-old bell pepper, or 8-week-old onion, seedlings were transferred to Reddi-Earth in pots and supplied with Sea Tea or Peters fertilizer. Bell pepper treated with Peters were taller and heavier, but onions plants were similar in height and weight regardless of fertilizer used. Other pepper seed were planted in Reddi-Earth and fertilized weekly with Sea Tea at 0.5×, 1×, 2×, or 4× the recommended rate, or the 0.5× rate of Peters. There was a positive linear relationship between seedling height and dry weight for seedlings treated with increasing rates of Sea Tea. Other pepper seed were planted in to Potting Soil, or an organically certified potting medium (Sunshine), and fertilized with a 2× or 4× rate of Sea Tea or a 1×, 2×, or 4× rate of an organic fertilizer (Rocket Fuel), or in Reddi-Earth fertilized with a 0.5× rate of Peters. There was a positive linear relationship between the rate of Rocket Fuel and heights and dry weights of bell pepper seedlings. However, even at the highest rate seedlings were not equivalent to those produced with conventional practices. Plants treated with the 4× rate of Sea Tea were similar to those produced using conventional materials. Use of Sunshine potting medium and the 4× rate of Sea Tea will produce bell pepper seedlings equivalent in height and dry weight to those produced using conventional materials. The 4× rate of Rocket Fuel used in Sunshine potting medium will produce adequate bell pepper seedlings. The original poor showing of seedlings in the alternative potting media appears to be due to fertilization with Sea Tea at a rate that does not adequately support seedling development.

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D.S. NeSmith

Transplanting generally results in more rapid stand establishment than direct seeding for cucurbit crops. A 2-year field study was conducted to examine the pattern of rooting of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nak.] following usage of different planting methods, and to determine subsequent effects on crop yield. Root length was assessed by obtaining soil cores three times per growing season to a depth of 75 cm. Transplanted watermelons generally had greater root length density in the upper 30 cm of soil 4 to 7 weeks after planting (WAP). However, by 11 to 12 WAP root distribution was similar over the entire 75 cm soil profile for the two planting methods. Total marketable yields were comparable for direct seeded and transplanted watermelons during 1995, but transplanted watermelon yield exceeded direct seeded yield by 40% in 1996. In both years, 90% to 100% of the marketable yield of transplanted watermelons was obtained at the first harvest, compared to 0% to 55% for direct seeded watermelons. These findings suggest that rapid root proliferation of transplanted watermelons may be an important factor in their earlier establishment and increased early yields as compared to direct seeded watermelons.

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R.C. Beeson Jr.

Photinia plants produced in 11.4-liter polyethylene containers using a pine bark-based medium were transplanted into a well-drained sand and irrigated on alternate days. Polyethylene barriers were placed under half the root balls at transplanting to limit gravitational water loss. Plant water potential was measured diurnally between irrigations, and root growth was determined at 4-month intervals. Plants with barriers averaged higher cumulative daily water stress than control plants over the year, although predawn and minimum water potentials were similar. Growth index and trunk diameter were similar for the plants over barriers and controls, but the former were taller after 1 year. Plants with barriers had twice the horizontal root growth into the landscape site as control plants, resulting in twice the root mass in the landscape after 1 year.

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Donald R. Hodel, A. James Downer, and Dennis R. Pittenger

initiation zone (RIZ) ( Tomlinson, 1990 ). Because of these root system characteristics and the ability of their trunks to store water and carbohydrates ( Tomlinson, 1990 ), palms are relatively easy to transplant—even large specimens with small root balls

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Raul I. Cabrera and Diana R. Devereaux

Containerized crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L. × Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne `Tonto') plants were grown for 9 months under various nitrogen fertility regimes, and then transplanted to a sandy loam soil with minimal management to evaluate their landscape establishment and growth performance. During the nursery phase plants were irrigated, except over an overwintering period, with complete nutrient solutions differing in applied N concentration, ranging from 15 to 300 mg·L-1. By 16 weeks after transplanting (WAT) into the landscape soil, plant biomass was significantly higher in the plants that had been grown with higher N supplies and had been among the smallest at transplant. Such plant growth response was linearly and positively correlated to plant N status at transplant. Plant shoot to root ratio and tissue N, Ca, S, and Fe concentrations, which had been significantly affected by the N fertilization regime in the nursery, equalized over time after transplant, with no significant differences observed among treatments by 16 WAT. Flowering response in the landscape was delayed in plants originally grown with the higher N supplies. Plant survival and establishment per se were not affected by treatments; no plants were lost, and aside from the differences in size and flower timing, all plants were considered aesthetically similar.

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Fumiomi Takeda, D. Michael Glenn, and Gary W. Stutte

such as Carmine ( Chandler et al., 2004 ), Chandler ( Voth and Bringhurst, 1984 ), and Sweet Charlie ( Chandler et al., 1997 ) have been induced to flower in the fall without exposing transplants to cool temperatures or short-day conditions ( Takeda and

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George E. Boyhan, Reid L. Torrance, Jeff Cook, Cliff Riner, and C. Randell Hill

Market Order 955 ( Boyhan and Torrance, 2002 ). This high-value crop is produced from transplants on-farm in high-density plantings ( Boyhan and Kelley, 2007 ). Onion seeds are sown in September at a rate of 800,000 to 2,000,000 seeds/acre. These plants

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George E. Boyhan, Reid L. Torrance, Jeff Cook, Cliff Riner, and C. Randell Hill

Georgia's most important vegetable crop is the short-day sweet onion marketed as the Vidalia onion, which had a farm gate value over $125 million in 2005 ( Boatright and McKissick, 2006 ). This high value crop is produced from transplants produced

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Ajay Nair and Brandon Carpenter

Pepper is an important vegetable crop in the United States with 44,800 acres planted annually ( U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2016 ). Pepper crops are established using transplants since transplants are uniform in size, increase earliness, and

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Frederic B. Ouedraogo, B. Wade Brorsen, Jon T. Biermacher, and Charles T. Rohla

) to reduction in shoot growth and decline of the trees ( Ortega et al., 2006 ). In some cases, root malformation may lead to the death of the plant. Survival and the resilience of nursery seedlings to transplant stress depends on their ability to