Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #444706

Research Project: Evaluation of growth, fertility, and temperature in southeastern U.S. stratified substrate nursery and greenhouse production systems

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-084-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2023
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

The objective of this research is to develop protocols for stakeholders to increase their crop productivity and resource efficiency, including providing options for reducing water and fertilizer application requirements, while improving crop growth and root development. This will be achieved through the utilization of substrate stratification practices and managing substrate temperature with irrigation scheduling and container color.

We will investigate the synergistic impact of substrate stratification with root- zone temperature management, irrigation scheduling, and fertilizer management on crop production speed, resource efficiency, and overall costs. The research will build on the iterative process to identify ideal production combinations of stratified media in concert with a fertilizer placement in colored containers under varying cultural practices. This will , minimizeing inputs, and to maximize production efficiency when compared to conventional production systems. Optimized systems will be evaluated on nurseries throughout southeastern U.S. New concepts or “lessons learned” will be incorporated into the container system for further optimization. These new system integrations will be measured with respect to substrate temperature, crop stress, water relations, crop fertility, fertilizer efficacy and agrichemical fate.