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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Kenaf Core As a Potting Mix Component

Authors
item Webber, Charles
item Whitworth, Julia - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Dole, John - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Kenaf Association International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Kenaf is a highly productive warm season annual that is closely related cotton and okra. Kenaf stalks contain two different fiber types, bast and core. The core material is very absorbent and may be suitable for use in greenhouse potting mixtures. Two greenhouse research studies were conducted during 1993 and 1995 to determine the feasibility of substituting kenaf core material for vermiculite and bark. In study #1, fine-grade kenaf was evaluated as a replacement for vermiculite, while in study #2, coarse-grade kenaf was evaluated as a replacement for bark. Periwinkle seedlings were harvested approximately 10 weeks after transplanting into each type of greenhouse potting mixture. Plant heights, canopy diameters, shoot weights, and root weights were determined at the end of each study. Periwinkle heights, canopy diameters, and shoot weights decreased as the amount of kenaf core material increased in each study. The amount of kenaf core material had little or no effect on periwinkle root weights. Results from study #1 suggest caution in substituting fine-grade kenaf core for vermiculite in greenhouse production of periwinkles. All yield factors for periwinkles produced with a 1:1 ratio of kenaf to peat moss were equal to or greater than yields for plants produced on the bark mixture. This data indicates that coarse-grade kenaf in a 1:1 ratio with peat moss may be a suitable replacement for bark for periwinkle production.

Technical Abstract: Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) stalks contain two distinct fiber types bast and core. The absorbent, low density core material is a possible potting mix component. Two greenhouse research studies were conducted during 1993 and 1995 to determine the feasibility of substituting kenaf core material for vermiculite and bark. In study #1, fine-grade kenaf was used in three ratios (1X, 2X and 3X) by volume with peat moss and perlite and compared to a 1:1:1 ratio of vermiculite:peat moss:perlite. In study #2, coarse-grade kenaf was used in three ratios (1X, 2X and 3X) by volume with peat moss and compared to a 1:1 ratio of bark:peat moss. Each study had three replications with five containers per treatment. Periwinkle (Vinca minor) seedlings were transplanted into 12.5 cm diameter pots and harvested approximately 10 weeks after transplanting. Plant heights, canopy diameters, shoot weights, and root weights were determined at the end of each study. Periwinkle heights, canopy diameters and shoot weights decreased as the ratio of kenaf core material increased in each study. The ratio of kenaf core material had little or no effect on periwinkle root weights. These research studies suggest that kenaf core material should be limited in its use as a potting mix component for periwinkle production.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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