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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #200630

Title: Processed Whole Pine Trees as a Substrate for Container-grown Plants

item Fain, Glenn

Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Research Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/1/2006
Citation: Fain, G.B., Gilliam, C.H., Sibley, J.L. Processed Whole Pine Trees as a Substrate for Container-grown Plants. Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Vol 51 pp 59-61.

Interpretive Summary: This study evaluated a new substrate for production of container- grown ornamental plants. Results indicated that substrates comprised of processed whole pine trees are suitable for the production of container-grown plants and should be considered a viable alternative to pine bark. Some plant species might benefit from higher rates of nitrogen.

Technical Abstract: Studies were conducted at the Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS. Six to eight inch diameter loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) were harvested from a 10 year old planted pine plantation in south Mississippi. The entire tree including needles was feed through a drum chipper. Resulting chips were then further processed using a swinging hammer mill to pass a 3/8” screen. Substrates were amended per cubic yard with 5 lbs dolomitic lime, 1.5 lbs micromax, 14 lbs Osmocote 18-6-12 Plus (9 month formulation) and 0.0, 1.19, 2.38, or 3.57 lbs of 42-0-0 polymer coated urea. On 7 April 2006 trade gallon containers were filled with substrates and 1 plug (72 cells) was planted into each container for butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii ‘Pink Delight’) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Irene’). Containers were placed outside in full sun under overhead irrigation and watered as needed. At 90 days after potting (DAP) there was no difference in flower number or leaf chlorophyll content for butterfly bush. At 90 DAP fertilizer rate had no effect on plant growth index for rosemary or butterfly bush. At 90 DAP there was a significant substrate effect on growth index for butterfly bush but not for rosemary. When averaged across substrates there was an increase in dry weight with increasing fertilizer rate at with butterfly bush and rosemary at 104 DAP. Substrate had no effect on dry weight of rosemary at 104 DAP, however, butterfly bush plants grown in pine bark had more plant shoot dry weight than those grown in whole tree substrate. In conclusion the results of this experiment indicate that whole tree substrates are a viable alternative to pine bark, especially when higher rates of N are used.