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Landscape establishment of woody ornamentals grown in alternative wood-based container substrates

Marble, S. Christopher, Fain, Glenn B., Gilliam, Charles H., Runion, G. Brett, Prior, Stephen A., Torbert, H. Allen, Wells, Daniel E.
Journal of environmental horticulture. 2012 v.30 no.1 pp. 13
Lagerstroemia indica, Magnolia, Pinus, Quercus shumardii, bark, growing media, growing season, landscapes, nitrogen, ornamental woody plants, wood chips
Due to concerns over future pine bark (PB) availability for container plant production, recent research has focused on evaluating suitable alternatives. For alternatives to be considered suitable substrate replacements, they must not only have desirable characteristics as a container substrate (e.g., adequate drainage, inert, pathogen free, etc.), but must also cause no negative fertility effects (e.g., nitrogen immobilization) following planting in the landscape. The study objective was to evaluate the landscape performance of three woody ornamentals grown in PB and in two alternative wood-based substrates, namely WholeTree (WT) and Clean Chip Residual (CCR). Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica × faurei ‘Acoma’), magnolia (Magnolia grandifl ora ‘D.D. Blanchard’), and shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) were container grown in PB, WT, or CCR for an entire growing season prior to being planted into the landscape. Plants were grown in the landscape for two growing seasons. Data suggest that all species exhibited similar landscape performance when grown in WT or CCR compared to the PB standard. Therefore, the use of WT and CCR as alternative wood-based substrates for crapemyrtle, magnolia, and oak production may be acceptable from a landscape establishment standpoint.