Evaluation of Alternative Subtrate Sources for Widespread Use in Container Nursery Production
Southern Horticultural Research
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to identify alternative sources to pinebark as a container substrate for widespread use in the nursery industry. In recent years there has been an increasing demand for pinebark as an energy source coupled with a steady decline in domestic timber production due to foreign imports. This along with the rapid growth in the horticulture and landscape industry has resulted in reduced market share of pinebark for horticultural use.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Research conducted will evaluate alternative substrate souces for their potential to have widespread use as a container substrate for nursery production. Criteria for selection will include: cost effective while producing comparable plant growth, widely available, non-toxic to nursery crops, stability in production process, and appropriate physical and chemical properties. Possible sources are agricultural, industrial and municipal waste, as well as agronomic crops which might provide a sustainable biomass source as opposed to a byproduct of another industry.
Alternative substrate evaluations have continued at Auburn University. Experiments have been conducted evaluating hardwood bark and processed paulownia trees as potential replacements for pine bark. Results were presented at the Southern Nursery Association Research Conference in January 2011. Experiments are being planned for evaluating a by-product of processing oils from eastern red cedar trees. Cooperators from Auburn visited Poplarville several times to discuss ongoing research projects. Cooperators from both sites also met in Mobile (at the Southern Nursery Association Research Conference) where current and future research objectives were discussed. The ADODR or his representative met regularly with the cooperating scientist, and these meetings included site visits.