Multistate evaluation of plant growth and water use in plastic and alternative nursery containers

Xueni Wang, R. Thomas Fernandez, Bert M. Cregg, Rafael Auras, Amy Fulcher, Diana R. Cochran, Genhua Niu, Youping Sun, Guihong Bi, Susmitha Nambuthir, Robert L. Geneve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Containers made from natural fiber and recycled plastic are marketed as sustainable substitutes for traditional plastic containers in the nursery industry. However, growers’ acceptance of alternative containers is limited by the lack of information on how alternative containers impact plant growth and water use (WU). Weconducted experiments in Michigan,Kentucky, Tennessee,Mississippi, and Texas to test plant growth and WU in five different alternative containers under nursery condition. In 2011, ‘Roemertwo’ wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) wereplantedin three types of #1 (≈1 gal) containers 1) black plastic (plastic), 2) wood pulp (WP), and 3) recycled paper (KF). In 2012, ‘Green Velvet’ boxwood (Buxus sempervirens · B. microphylla siebold var. koreana) was evaluated in 1) plastic, 2)WP, 3) fabric (FB), and 4) keratin (KT). In 2013, ‘Dark Knight’ bluebeard (Caryopteris ·clandonensis) was evaluated in 1) plastic, 2) WP, and 3) coir fiber (Coir). Plants grownin alternative containers generally had similar plant growth as plastic containers. ‘Roemertwo’ wintercreeper had high mortality while overwintering in alternative containers with no irrigation. Results from different states generally show plants grown in fiber containers such asWP, FB, and Coir usedmorewater than those in plastic containers. Water use efficiency of plants grown in alternative containers vs. plastic containers depended on plant variety, container type, and climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalHortTechnology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, HortTechnology. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Biocontainer
  • Coir container
  • Daily water use
  • Fabric container
  • Keratin
  • Wood pulp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture

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