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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #237100

Title: Growth of Woody Plants in Clean Chip Residual Substrate

item Boyer, C
item Fain, C
item Gilliam, C
item Gallagher, T
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Sibley, J

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 5/1/2008
Citation: Boyer, C.R., Fain, C.R., Gilliam, C.H., Gallagher, T.V., Torbert III, H.A., Sibley, J.L. 2008. Growth of Woody Plants in Clean Chip Residual Substrate. Georgia Green Industry Association Journal. 19:18-22.

Interpretive Summary: As the expense of growing nursery crops continues to rise along with labor shortages and higher material prices, it has become increasingly important to search for production practices that will lower input costs for growers. With recent and continued trends in the reduced availability of pine bark (PB) a promising avenue for reducing production costs has been the development of alternative substrates. Clean chip residual (CCR) is a forest residual material, a by-product of in-field harvesting of small-diameter pine trees for ‘clean chips’ used in paper manufacturing. Utilizing CCR as a nursery crop substrate could potentially lower costs to growers and provide a sustainable, local/regional substrate resource in the Southeast U.S. Our data shows that plants grown in CCR had comparable growth to plants grown in PB and is a viable option for the nursery industry.

Technical Abstract: Clean chip residual (CCR) is a potential replacement for pine bark (PB) in nursery crop substrates. It is a by-product of in-field forestry harvesting practices and has been shown to produce annual plants and perennials similar in size to plants grown in PB. This study evaluated growth of woody ornamentals grown in CCR or PB over the course of one year. Three species were tested; Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’, Lagerstroemia indica ‘Hopi’, and Rhododendron x ‘Fashion’. Data for all species show that plants grown in CCR had similar or greater growth as plants grown in PB. Plant growth indices, leaf chlorophyll content, and inflorescence number showed very few differences over the course of the year. Percent rootball coverage was also generally similar among treatments, though those grown in PB had the greatest percent rootball coverage in buddleia and azalea. These results indicate that CCR can produce woody plants similarly to PB and is a viable option for the nursery industry.