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late 1980s, sphagnum moss has been used as the sole substrate for producing Phalaenopsis in Taiwan. Previous research showed that the pH of the moss in Phalaenopsis containers declines over time ( Chen, 2006 ; Lei, 2007 ; Peng, 2008 ; Yao, 2007

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bark-based soilless media in laboratories and in nurseries. However, medium testing is rarely performed by Phalaenopsis growers in Japan and Taiwan possibly as a result of the unique chemical and physical characteristics of the substrate—sphagnum moss

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appropriate for blueberry ( Altland and Buamscha, 2008 ). The purpose of the present study was to investigate the suitability of different combinations of sphagnum moss, coconut coir, and douglas fir bark for container production of highbush blueberry. These

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Vegetatively propagated plants (15-cm in leaf spread) of a white-flowered Phalaenopsis Taisuco Kaaladian clone were imported bare-root in late May and planted in a mix consisting of three parts of medium-grade fir bark and one part each of perlite and coarse Canadian peat (by volume) or in Chilean sphagnum moss. All plants were given 200 mg·L-1 each of N and P, 100 mg·L-1 Ca, and 50 mg·L-1 Mg. K concentrations were 0, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 mg·L-1. After 7 months, plants grown in moss produced an average of two more leaves than those in the bark mix (4 to 5 vs. 2 to 3 leaves), regardless of K rates. In any given medium, K rate did not alter the rate of leaf production. The K rate did not affect the size of the top leaves when grown in the bark mix. However, plants grown in moss had increasingly longer and wider top leaves as K rate increased. The lower leaves on plants in the bark mix receiving no K showed deficiency symptoms of purple tinting, yellowing, necrosis, and even death. Yellowing and necrosis started from the leaf tip and progressed basipetally. The K at 50 mg·L-1 reduced and 100 mg·L-1 completely alleviated the symptoms of K deficiency. Plants grown in moss and receiving no K showed limited signs of K deficiency. Flowering stems started to emerge (spiking) from plants in the bark mix up to 4 weeks earlier than those planted in sphagnum moss. For plants receiving no K, all plants in the bark mix bloomed, whereas none planted in sphagnum moss produced flowering stems. Overall, at least 200 mg·L-1 K (∼250 mg·L-1 K2O) is recommended to produce quality plants with maximum leaf growth and early spiking.

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Using several different ericaceous ornamental species, we compared the growth, mineral nutrition, and composition of plants in response to growing media amended with varying proportions of sphagnum moss peat (peat) or coir dust (coir). Plants were grown for 16 weeks in media consisting of 80% composted Douglas fir bark with 20% peat, 20% coir, or 10% peat and 10% coir. Sixteen weeks after planting, decreases in extractable P were larger in peat-amended medium than the coir-amended medium, while decreases in extractable NH4-N and NO3-N were larger in the coir-amended medium. In general, leaf and stem dry weight, the number of leaves and stems, and total stem length increased with increasing proportion of coir in the medium while root dry weight either increased (Kalmia latifolia), decreased (Rhododendron, Gaultheria), or was not influenced by increasing the proportion of coir in the medium. The composition of the growing medium also influenced aspects of plant marketability and quality including: leaf greenness (SPAD), plant form (e.g., number of leaves per length of stem), and partitioning of biomass (e.g., root to shoot ratio). Nutrient uptake and fertilizer use was significantly different between the media types. Depending on the cultivar, we found that the coir-amended medium resulted in higher uptake or availability of several nutrients than peat-amended medium. Up take or availability of N, P, K, Ca, and S was enhanced for several cultivars, while uptake or availability of Mg, Fe, and B was similar between media types. Most cultivars/species growing in the coir-amended medium had higher production or accumulation of proteins and amino acids in stems than plants growing in peat-amended medium, while the production of proteins and amino acids in roots was lower in plants growing in coir-amended than in peat-amended medium. For the cultivars/species we tested, coir is a suitable media amendment for growing ericaceous plants and may have beneficial effects on plant quality.

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Intensive peat mining in Chile and worldwide produces a significant increase in production costs and less market availability. Alternative systems to promote peat mining sustainability are an immediate necessity. A viable alternative for replacing peat in tomato transplant production is to use worm castings or vermicompost. Vermicomposting is a biological process that relies on the action of earthworms (Eisenia sp.) to stabilize waste organic materials. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of Ecobol-S® worm castings as a replacement for peat in tomato transplant production. Three experiments were designed using a randomized complete-block design containing two factors (planting date and worm casting rate). Tomatoes were seeded in a growth chamber using five growth media made up of the different ratios of worm castings, peat, and rice hulls [0:70:30 (control) 18:52:30; 35:35:30; 52:18:30; and 70:0:30], respectively. It was determined that Ecobol-S® worm castings have an adequate C:N and particle size for tomato transplant production. However, limitations were observed due to its high EC and low C content. During early fall, with high temperature in the growth chamber, it is not recommended to use worm castings in transplant production due to nutrient leaching caused by frequent irrigation. In mid-fall, it is recommended to use a rate of 35% worm castings, while in early winter it is recommended to use a rate of 52% to obtain strong and healthy transplants. Therefore, worm castings can be used as a viable alternative in the tomato transplant industry in Chile and possibly worldwide.

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horticultural substrates: reed sedge ( Carex sparganioides Muhl ex Willd), Hypnum species, and Sphagnum moss peats ( Argo and Biernbaum, 1997 ; Bunt, 1988 ; Nelson, 2002 ; Puustjarvi and Robertson, 1975 ). Of these three types of peat, Sphagnum has

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.5, higher than what is typically recommended for nursery crop production (4.5 to 6.5) ( Yeager et al., 2007 ). Substrate pH could be lowered in switchgrass substrates by amending with other physical components that have lower pH (e.g., sphagnum moss). It is

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suppliers grow this crop in straight sphagnum moss (moss), most growers in the United States produce this orchid in media largely made of ground douglas fir [ Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] bark. Because it is obvious that these two materials have

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northeastern United States, most nursery substrates are comprised primarily of pine bark (60% to 80% by volume) and sphagnum moss (10% to 30% by volume), with minor additions of other components such as compost, sand, gravel, and humus (personal observation

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