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degradation ( Hall et al., 2010 ). Consequently, replacing plastic pots with alternative materials can reduce the environmental impact of crop production ( Garthe and Kowal, 1993 ). The available alternative containers are made from a variety of animal and

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; Helgeson et al., 2009 ) and given limited access to recycling centers enhanced interest in alternative containers ( Fulcher et al., 2013 ). Green industry stakeholders (i.e., nursery, greenhouse, and landscape professionals) have identified the use of

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emerged as alternative options to plastic containers ( Hall et al., 2010 ; Nambuthiri et al., 2015a ). As plant growth is an important factor in growers’ consideration when choosing containers, experiments have been carried out to investigate the impact

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come under scrutiny and has been identified as a target for improving sustainability. Alternative containers made from recycled materials, bioplastic, and various organic materials have all been suggested as replacements for the very successful

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al., 2009 ). Green industry stakeholders (i.e., nursery, greenhouse, and landscape professionals) have identified the use of plantable or compostable biodegradable container alternatives as a marketable way to improve the sustainability of current

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practices will not be compatible with their existing production systems ( Dennis et al., 2010 ; Laroche et al., 2001 ). This study explores the economic feasibility and social cost impact of incorporating alternative containers into a greenhouse production

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consumer and industry interest in environmentally responsible products continues, it is important for horticulture professionals to be aware of how currently available alternative containers (and the crops within them) perform in independent trials, as well

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Non-target herbicide losses pose environmental concerns for nurseries. Therefore, the objective of this research was to determine the ability of each alternative mulch to suppress weed growth when compared to traditional chemical methods. Uniform quart liners of Lagersroemia indica × faurei `Natchez' were planted in 15-gal containers 15 June 1999, on a gravel container pad using overhead irrigation. Weed pressure was uniform. Treatments include Regal 0-0 3 G (3 lb ai/a) as a broadcast or individual container application, recycled newspaper pellets (1 inch thick), Spin-out coated recycled newspaper pellets (1 inch thick) geotextile disks (Spin-out coated), kenaf mulch, waste tire crumbles, wheat straw (2 inches thick), oat straw (2 inches thick), cereal rye straw (2 inches thick), paper mill sludge (2 inches thick), a handweeded control, and a weedy control. Treatments were organized in a RCBD consisting of eight single-plant replicates. The geotextile disks, newspaper pellets treated with spin-out, and shredded rubber tire treatments all had better than 80% weed control from 30 to 180 DAT. These alternative weed control methods can provide a good alternative to conventional weed control practices in large container-grown ornamental.

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This study evaluated the effects of nine alternative substrates on herbicide efficacy in container-grown nursery crops: 1) VT (pine wood chips hammer-milled to pass a 0.4-cm screen); 2) USDA (pine wood chips hammer-milled to pass a 0.64-cm screen; 3) AUC (Pinus taeda chipped including needles); 4) AUHM (AUC hammer-milled to pass a 0.48-cm screen; 5) 1 VT: 1 commercial grade pinebark (v/v); 6) 1 USDA: 1 pinebark (v/v); 7) 1 AUC: 1 pinebark (v/v); 8) 1 AUHM: 1 pinebark (v/v); and 9) 6 pinebark: 1 sand (v/v). Each substrate was amended with 6.35 kg of 17–6–12 (17N–2.6P–10K) control-release fertilizer, 2.27 kg of lime, and 0.89 kg micromax per cubic meter. Containers (8.3 cm) were filled on 15 June and three herbicides applied the next day: Rout (oxyfluorfen + oryzalin at 2.24 + 1.12 kg·ha-1), Ronstar (oxadiazon at 4.48 kg·ha-1) and a nontreated control. The next day, containers were overseeded with 25 prostrate spurge seed. Data collected included weed counts 30 and 60 days after treatment (DAT) and weed fresh weights at 60 DAT. Spurge occurred less in the two treatments of 100% pine wood chips followed by the AUC treatment. With spurge, the least weed fresh weight occurred with the USDA and AUC treatments. For example, at 30 DAT, spurge count was reduced by 33%, 40%, and 70%, respectively, when comparing VT, USDA, and AUC to pinebark: sand. Spurge fresh weight at 60 DAT followed a similar trend. With all of the substrates except AUHM, the addition of commercially used pine bark resulted in less weed control. Rout provided superior control followed by Ronstar and the nontreated control. These data show that control of prostrate spurge with commonly used preemergent applied herbicides may actually be improved with some of the alternative substrates currently being tested.

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Peat is used extensively in the nursery industry as a primary component in commercial “soilless” potting media. The increased use of peat as an organic amendment with superior water-holding capacity is challenged by economic and environmental pressures. Developing inexpensive and nutrient-rich organic media alternatives can potentially reduce fertilization rates, irrigation rates, and ultimately, nursery costs. In addition, controversy over the effects of peat mining has inspired a national search for peat substitutes. With our burgeoning population, it is logical to screen waste products as potential alternatives to peat. Growth of Pachystachys lutea Nees. (Golden Shrimp Plant) transplants was evaluated in media containing 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% compost derived from biosolids and yard trimmings. Compost was amended with a commercial peat- or coir-based media. As compost composition in the peat or coir-based media increased from 0% to 100%, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratios decreased, and media stability, N mobilization, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC) increased. Bulk density, particle density, air-filled porosity, container capacity, and total porosity increased as more compost was added to either peat- or coir-based media. Plants grown in media with high volumes of compost (75 or 100%) had reduced leaf area and reduced shoot and root DW than the controls (no compost). Regardless of percentage of compost composition in either peat or coir-based media, all plants were considered marketable after 8 weeks.

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