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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Using Agricultural and Industrial Byproducts to Improve Crop Production Systems and Environment Quality

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Hardwood amended substrates for annual plant production

Authors
item Murphy, A -
item Gilliam, C -
item Fain, G -
item Gallagher, T -
item Torbert, Henry
item Sibley, J -

Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 2010
Publication Date: January 10, 2010
Citation: Murphy, A., Gilliam, C.H., Fain, G.B., Gallagher, T.V., Torbert III, H.A., Sibley, J.L. 2010. Hardwood amended substrates for annual plant production. Southern Nursery Association Proceedings. 55:385-388.

Interpretive Summary: Shortages of peat for use in the greenhouse industry are already a problem, and greenhouse producers are faced with continued shortages, as well as increases in its price. In this study, three hardwood alternatives (sweetgum, hickory or eastern redcedar) were evaluated as amendments to a standard peat/perlite mix. These hardwood species are currently valued as ‘trash trees’ to the industry that could potentially be employed as economical and viable amendments, or even alternatives, in standard greenhouse substrates. The data indicated that Plants grown with sweetgum or Hickory treatments differed significantly from the growers standard and are not recommended as amendments for annual plant production with current greenhouse practices. However, greenhouse producers could amend their standard greenhouse substrate with up to 50% eastern redcedar with little to no differences in plant growth or flowering.

Technical Abstract: Shortages of peat for use in the greenhouse industry are already a problem, and greenhouse producers are faced with continued shortages, as well as increases in its price. In this study, three hardwood alternatives (sweetgum, hickory or eastern redcedar) were evaluated as amendments to a standard peat/perlite mix. These hardwood species are currently valued as ‘trash trees’ to the industry that could potentially be employed as economical and viable amendments, or even alternatives, in standard greenhouse substrates. The data indicated that Plants grown with sweetgum or Hickory treatments differed significantly from the growers standard and are not recommended as amendments for annual plant production with current greenhouse practices. However, greenhouse producers could amend their standard greenhouse substrate with up to 50% eastern redcedar with little to no differences in plant growth or flowering.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014