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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit » Research » Research Project #439530

Research Project: Optimizing Mineral Nutrition in Container-Grown Crops in Soilless Substrates

Location: Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit

Project Number: 2072-21000-055-028-G
Project Type: Grant

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Oct 31, 2024

Characterize impact of irrigation, nutrition, temperature and substrate stratification on crop quality and nutrient leaching.

The effects of different cultural practices (fertilizer and irrigation management) will be investigated in a series of experiments with perennial nursery crops. Using different nursery crop species, we will assess how (1) digital imagery can be used to monitor crop performance (nutrition and water stress); and (2) fertilizer rate alters plant nutrient uptake and nutrient run-off into the environment. Experiments will be performed on a run-off pad, a unique system that enables the collection of run-off from container-grown crops. We propose to continue this research to further understand the impact of temperature on plant growth and fertilizer nutrition. For the 2023-2024 year, we plan to adjust our treatments to investigate how pot color (black and white) and fertilizer nutrition are affected by substrate stratification. This is a recently developed method of filling a container with coarse and fine substrates that has been shown to improve substrate hydraulics, resulting in improved root formation and plant growth.