Volume 64 - Proceedings samples for non-member viewing

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Container Nursery Irrigation Basics

Author: Robert L. Geneve

Container nursery production is reliant on frequent irrigation to maintain appropriate substrate moisture and sustain quality plant growth. Irrigation water management is a key production consideration and critical for reducing the impact of fertilizer and pesticide runoff from nursery production (Beeson et al., 2004). The objective of this paper is to provide some basic information regarding choices for container irrigation leading to more sustainable choices in the nursery. The paper will be organized into sections on: (a) Types of irrigation systems, (b) Irrigation efficiency, and (c) Irrigation scheduling.
Breeding for Sterility in Invasive Ornamental Plants

Author: Rosanna Freyre

PP: 15

Invasive plants are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal (USDA-NISIC, 2014). They naturalize over large areas, displace native plants, and disrupt natural ecosystems (Ranney, 2004). In Florida, over 1.5 million acres (approximately 600,000 ha) of public conservation lands have been invaded by introduced plant species (Fig. 1), and approximately USA$7 million was spent on management and control of invasive upland plants in 2011 (FFWCC, 2011). In the USA, control costs and production losses due to weeds was estimated at US $30.6 billion per year (Cusack et al., 2009). For example, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), was introduced from Europe to USA in the early 1800s. Purple loosestrife is now found in all continental states except Florida (Blossey, 2002) and accounts for USA$50 million per year in control costs and forage losses. Mexican petunia, Ruellia simplex (previously also known as R. brittoniana, R. coerulea, R. malacosperma, and R. tweediana), was introduced to Florida from Mexico sometime before 1940 (Hupp et al., 2009) and has now naturalized throughout the state, plus six other southern USA states, Puerto Rico, the USA Virgin Islands and Hawaii (USDA-NRCS, 2014). It is considered as a Category I invasive species in Florida because it is altering native plant communities by displacing native species and changing community structures or ecological functions (FLEPPC, 2013). However, there is no evidence that it is hybridizing with native species (Freyre and Tripp, 2014). Sales of R. simplex ‘Purple Showers’ in Florida were ranked third for herbaceous perennials after pentas and lantana (Rick Brown, Riverview Flower Farms, pers. comm.), so a breeding program aiming to develop sterile, non-invasive cultivars was established at the University of Florida in 2007 (Freyre et al., 2012a). This species will be described in more detail in this paper.
Lean Flow at North Creek Nurseries/ Establishing a Culture of Lean

Author: Steve Castorani

PP: 83

In 2008, North Creek nurseries had its best year ever. Having built a business over a 20- year period, we had grown rapidly, eventually working on two farms. Realizing this growth, and being cramped for space, we felt that we needed to expand our operation. We knew this would allow us to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We felt the need to increase our production capacity and efficiency. In exploring our potential for expansion, we worked with a friend, Robert Hayter, a landscape architect. After pertinent discussions, he asked this question of us: “Had we ever analyzed our processes?” Our answer was that we had not done a thorough analysis, or the due diligence necessary to understand our work processes, product movement, or work flow. We came to the conclusion we needed to delve deeper into understanding our manufacturing processes.
Some Considerations for Fertilizing Container Nursery Crops

Author: Youbin Zheng, Mary Jane Clark and Erin Agro

PP: 89

Ornamental horticulture is an economically important industry in Canada, with consumer retail spending tallied at nearly $6.3 billion for ornamental horticultural products and another $1.8 billion on landscaping services in 2007 nationwide (Deloitte, 2009). In addition, nursery operations have considerable input needs, for example 93.3% of the annual water usage by the Canadian ornamental horticulture sector is by nursery operations (Zheng et al., 2009). Excess fertilization and irrigation is not only costly, but can also injure plants and cause unnecessary water and nutrient runoff, resulting in environmental damage. However, insufficient fertilization can cause plant nutrient deficiencies, reduce crop productivity, and eventually reduce the efficiency of other resource inputs during nursery crop production. When optimal fertilizer application rates are used, nursery crops will perform at their best, and growers will be able to increase their profit margin, while minimizing environmental impacts. For different growing substrates, plants, and climate combinations, optimal fertilization rates will vary. As fertilizer companies continuously improve their products and release new products, research is needed to identify optimal fertilizer rates for nursery crop production. Conducting on-farm trials, with industry-standard cultural practices, is essential for understanding the response of crops to fertilizers, and the fate of the fertilizers (i.e., from application in the growing substrate to plant uptake or runoff to the environment). However, this type of on-farm research is rare, especially in temperate climate regions such as Ontario, Canada, and some states in northern USA. To meet the research needs of the nursery industry, and provide growers with recommendations on optimal fertilization rates for container-grown nursery crops in temperate climate regions, we conducted extensive on-farm trials in 2012 and 2013. The trials were conducted at four commercial nurseries, located in different regions within Ontario, and at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Four fertilizer types, two application methods (i.e., incorporation and topdressing), and 21 crop species were tested during production in both 1- and 2-gal containers. Based on the large amount of information obtained from these trials, the following results merit particular emphasis in order to increase fertilizer use efficiency and minimize negative environmental impacts during container-grown nursery crop production.
Coir and Peat: an Optimum Rooting Substrate for Propagation

Author: John Bonin

PP: 95

An optimum rooting substrate for propagation should always consist of the proper levels of air and water (balanced levels), along with an adjusted proper pH level for nutrient uptake. The base of this substrate can be peat, coir or a combination of both. By providing an optimum rooting substrate for cuttings or finished growing containers, it will ensure that these items will get off to a strong start, while reducing or minimizing cultural issues that may arise over time in production due to the compaction of the substrate.

As with hydroponics, this holds true to the popularity that coir has gained in today’s greenhouse and nursery industry, not only as a standalone growing medium for vegetables and cut flowers, but for production and propagation due to its organic origin. It is produced around the world in locations like Mexico, Dominican Republic, India, Sri Lanka, and Central South America. Coir in its raw form must be treated differently than other growing components. In its raw form, coir can have EC levels up to 8.0 mmhos· cm-1. This is why proper care and treatment must be taken to reduce the amount of excess elements that can be harmful to crops, eventually leading to higher input costs. These elements must be balanced to provide an optimum level of guarantee that crop performance will be maximized.

Controlled Release Fertilizers: Recent Nursery Trials in Sweden

Author: Lars Rudin

PP: 257

The development of controlled release fertilizers (CRF) parallels the progress of container growing with most of the advances being made in the 1980s and 1990s. The first CRF sources to become commercially available were only nitrogen (N) but the technology has expanded to include potassium (K), phosphorus (P), and other nutrients, including micronutrients.

Controlled release fertilizers use several mechanisms to limit the amount of nutrient made available at any one time. In the first types, nutrient prills were coated with materials as molten sulphur, clay, and wax. The problem with these materials was that cracks in the coating meant the release-rate was not uniform. Today this problem has been overcome by using other materials. For example, Osmocote® uses a resin coating of an alkyd-type, while Multicote® and Plantacote® use a polyurethane-like coating and Ficote® uses thermoplastic resins. All these materials allow a controlled release of nutrients by osmosis, where the thickness of the coating determines release timing and rate.

Today CRF fertilisers are widely used in container production of nursery stock all over the western world and in Japan. Growers in Sweden started to use them in the early 1970s. At that time the only available product was Osmocote. Today we also use Multicote, Plantacote, Ficote and Basacote®.

Mulch Type and Depth Influences Weed Control on Three Major Weed Species in Nursery Container Production

Author: aul Bartley III, Glenn Wehtje, Anna-Marie Murphy and Charles Gill

PP: 415

A number of factors over the past several years have forced container-grown plant producers to alter production practices. Increasing labor cost and new immigration laws have forced growers to rely more on herbicides for weed control. Problems associated with herbicide use in container production include non-target loss, achieving correct calibration, and the expense of repeat applications a year (Case and Mathers, 2006). Non- chemical weed control methods could diminish non-target herbicide loss and reduce potential environmental concerns. Data from this study reveals that one application of various mulch species at a depth of at least 5 cm (2 in.) will provide long-term control of spotted spurge, phyllanthus, and eclipta.