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Huang J.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Horner W.E.,University of Florida | Argo W.R.,Blackmore Company
Journal of Plant Nutrition | Year: 2010

The objective was to quantify how the concentration and particle size of unreacted "residual" limestone affected pH buffering capacity for ten commercial and nine research container substrates that varied in residual calcium carbonate equivalents (CCE) from 0.3 to 4.9 g CCE·L-1. The nine research substrates contained 70% peat:30% perlite (by volume) with dolomitic hydrated lime at 2.1 g·L-1, followed by incorporation of one of four particle size fractions [850 to 2000 μm (10 to 20 US mesh), 250 to 850 μm (20 to 60 US mesh), 150 to 250 μm (60 to 100 US mesh), or 75 to 150 μm (100 to 200 US mesh)] of a dolomitic carbonate limestone at 0, 1.5 or 3.0 g·L-1. Substrate-pH buffering was quantified by measuring the pH change following either (a) mineral acid drenches without plants, or (b) a greenhouse experiment where an ammonium-based (acidic) or nitrate-based (basic) fertilizer was applied to Impatiens wallerana Hook. F. Increasing residual CCE in commercial substrates was correlated with greater pH buffering following either the hydrochloric acid (HCl) drench or impatiens growth with an ammonium-based fertilizer. Research substrates with high applied lime rate (3.0 kg·m-3) had greater pH buffering than at 0 or 1.5 g·L-1. At 3 g·L-1, the intermediate limestone particle size fractions of 250 to 850 μm and 150 to 250 (20 to 60 or 60 to 100 US mesh) provided the greatest pH-buffering with impatiens. Particle fractions finer than 150 μm reacted quickly over time, whereas buffering by particles coarser than 850 μm was limited because of the excessively slow reaction rate during the experimental periods. Addition of acid from either an ammonium-based fertilizer or HCl reduced residual CCE over time. Dosage with 40 meq acid from HCl per liter of substrate or titration with HCl acid to substrate-pH of 4.5 were well-correlated with pH buffering in the greenhouse trials and may be useful laboratory protocols to compare pH buffering of substrates. With nitrate fertilizer application, residual CCE did not affect buffering against increasing pH. Residual limestone is an important substrate property that should be considered for pH management in greenhouse crop production under acidic conditions. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Johnson C.N.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Huang J.,University of Florida | Vetanovetz R.P.,Sun Gro Horticulture | Argo W.R.,Blackmore Company
HortScience | Year: 2010

In current horticultural practice, potential acidity or basicity of fertilizers is estimated using Pierre's method (PM) expressed in calcium carbonate equivalents (CCE) per unit weight of fertilizer. PM was developed usingmineral field soil systems and may be inaccurate for quantifying fertilizer acidity in containerized plant production given the widespread use of soilless substrates and fertigation. The PM-predicted acidity of an ammonium-based fertilizer was compared against experimental data obtained when 'Ringo' geraniums [Pelargonium Xhortorum (Bailey. L.H.)] and 'Super Elfin' impatiens [Impatiens wallerana (Hook. F.)] were grown in 70% peat:30% perlite (v:v) limed with either hydrated limestone only (HL) or a combination of carbonate and hydrated limestone (CHL). Plants in 10-cm-diameter (0.35 L) containerswere top-irrigated with a total of 2.0 L over 6 weeks using a 15.2N-1.9P-12.6K fertilizer [100%of nitrogen (N) as NH4-N] applied with each irrigation at 100 mg N/L without leaching. According to PM, 61.8 meq of fertilizer acidity was applied per liter of substrate. During the experiment, the pH of the substrate decreased from 7.05 to 4.41 for the HL substrate and from 7.14 to 5.13 for the CHL substrate. A corresponding drop in substrate-pH was observed when 37.1 (HL) or 43.3 (CHL) meq of CCE from 0.5 N HCl was applied per liter of substrate in a laboratory titration of the same substrates without plants. Gasometric analysis of residual carbonate at Day 0 and at the end of the experiment quantified change in CHL substrate alkalinity with time, resulting in an estimated 30.7 meq of neutralized alkalinity. Using an electroneutrality approach that assumed anion uptake (NO3 -, P2O5 -) was basic, and cations (NH-, K+) were potentially acidic, nutrient analysis of the substrate at the beginning and end of the experiment estimated that an average 48.5 meq of acidity was contributed by the fertilizer. Experimentally measured acidity values were 13.1 to 31.1 meq·L-1 of substrate lower for HL and CHL than those expected from PM, suggesting PM overestimated the amount of fertilizer acidity applied to the substrate. These results support the need for an alternative method to predict fertilizer acidity for plant production in soilless substrates.


Dickson R.W.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Argo W.R.,Blackmore Company | Jacques D.J.,Sun Gro Horticulture | And 3 more authors.
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2016

Floriculture crops affect substrate-pH and resulting solubility of micronutrients in the root zone during commercial production. Two hydroponic experiments and tissue data from a container study were analyzed to determine whether (1) cation or anion uptake was related to solution acidity and basicity in the root zone for three floriculture crops [geranium (Pelargonium×hortorum, Bailey. L.H.), petunia (Petunia×hybrid, Vilm.-Andr.), and impatiens (Impatiens wallerana, Hook. F.)] and whether (2) the proportion of NH4 +-N versus NO3 --N uptake differed between these three floriculture species. In the container study, where >96% of nitrogen (N) was provided primarily as NO3 --N, substrate-pH did not change over time when geranium or impatiens were grown, whereas substrate-pH increased with petunia. Geranium had a higher cation/anion uptake ratio than petunia based on analysis of tissue nutrient levels, and impatiens was intermediate. In the hydroponic experiments, the three species were grown in nutrient solutions that varied in ammonium:nitrate (NH4 +:NO3 -) ratio from 0:100 to 50:50. In the first hydroponic experiment, there was an approximately 1:1 relationship between net anion minus cation uptake and net solution acidity or basicity, (milliequivalent (mEq) solution acidity or basicity=0.972±0.195*(net mEq of anions-cations taken up)+0.140±0.478; adjusted-R2=0.739) over all species, which indicated a strong correlation between solution-pH change and net cation or anion uptake. Geranium had the highest cation/anion uptake ratio (1.06) and produced greater acidity than petunia, which had the lowest cation/anion uptake ratio (0.94). Cation/anion uptake ratio increased as applied NH4 +:NO3 - ratio increased. In the second hydroponic experiment, uptake of NH4 +-N versus NO3 --N exceeded the ratio that was supplied in the 10:90 and 20:80 NH4 +:NO3 - solutions for all species, but not in the 50:50 solution. Although some results were inconsistent between experimental runs, petunia overall had a lower NH4 +:NO3 - uptake ratio than the other two species. A NH4 +:NO3 - ratio of 10% NH4 +-N for geranium and impatiens and 20% NH4 +-N for petunia would be expected to result in a neutral pH response in a hydroponic solution with zero alkalinity. Evaluating cation/anion uptake ratio across a range of NH4 +:NO3 - ratios could be used to predict the relative acidity or basicity of other plant species to assist in pH management. © 2015.


Santos K.M.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Yeager T.,University of Florida | Simonne E.H.,University of Florida | And 2 more authors.
HortScience | Year: 2011

The objective was to quantify the effect of the timing of macronutrient applications on nutrient uptake, growth, and development of Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm. -Andr. 'Supertunia Royal Velvet' during vegetative propagation. Starting with unrooted cuttings (Day 0), fertigation was applied continuously at three time intervals (Day 0 to 7, Day 8 to 14, or Day 15 to 21) using either a "complete" (C) water-soluble fertilizer containing (inmg.L -1) 75 NO 3--N, 25 NH 4-N, 12 phosphorus (P), 83 potassium (K), 20 calcium (Ca), 10 magnesium (Mg), 1.4 sulfur (S), 2 iron (Fe), 1 manganese (Mn), 1 zinc (Zn), 0.5 copper (Cu), 0.5 boron (B), and 0.2 molybdenum(Mo) or a micronutrient fertilizer (M) containing (inmg.L -1) 1.4 S, 2 Fe, 1 Mn, 1 Zn, 0.5 Cu, 0.5 B, and 0.2 Mo in a complete factorial arrangement. With constant fertigation using the C fertilizer, plant dry weight (DW) doubled from Day 0 (sticking of unrooted cuttings) to Day 7 (0.020 g to 0.047 g), root emergence was observed by Day 4, and by Day 7, the average length of primary roots was 2.6 cm. During any week that the M fertilizer was substituted for the C fertilizer, tissue N-P-K concentrations decreased compared with plants receiving the C fertilizer. For example, plants receiving the M fertilizer between Day 0 and 7 had 20% lower tissue-N concentration at Day 7 compared with those receiving the C fertilizer. Although both shoot DW and leaf count increased once macronutrient fertilization was resumed after Day 7, final shoot DW and leaf count were lower than plants receiving C fertilizer from Day 0 to 21. Time to first root emergence was unaffected by fertigation. Constant application ofCresulted in a higher shoot-to-root ratio at Day 21 than all other treatments. Results emphasize the importance of early fertigation on petunia, a fast-rooting species, tomaintain tissue nutrient levelswithin recommended ranges.


Santos K.M.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Argo W.R.,Blackmore Co.
Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis | Year: 2011

Nutrient ranges for finished plant production exist for many plant species, however, ranges (recommended or survey) do not exist for unrooted cuttings. A tissue nutrient survey was conducted during 2004-2008 on 44 plant genera commercially produced as unrooted cuttings. The objectives of this survey were to compare mean tissue nutrient levels from the selected plants to recommended ranges and to provide survey ranges for species for which sufficiency data are not available. Mean tissue levels in almost 50% of the unrooted cutting species surveyed were statistically similar to ranges established for finished plants. Species with nutrients that fell outside the recommended ranges did not reach critical minimum deficiency or toxicity levels. The nutrient ranges presented in this survey represent typical nutrient levels in cuttings of each species. Growers can use these ranges when interpreting tissue analysis reports of their unrooted cuttings and making corrective nutrient management decisions. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Argo W.R.,Blackmore Company | Biernbaum J.A.,Michigan State University
HortScience | Year: 2014

Additional index words. basicity, growing media, impatiens, limestone, nitrogen CCE, peat, petunia, pelargonium, pH management, soilless media, water-soluble fertilizer Abstract. Two experiments were run to validate a "Nitrogen Calcium Carbonate Equivalence (CCE)" model that predicts potential fertilizer basicity or acidity based on nitrogen (N) form and concentration for floriculture crops grown with water-soluble fertilizer in containers with minimal leaching. In one experiment, nine bedding plant species were grown for 28 days in a peat-based substrate using one of three nutrient solutions (FS) composed of three commercially available water-soluble fertilizers that varied in ammonium to nitrate (NH4 +:NO3 -) ratio (40:60, 25:75, or 4:96) mixed with well water with 130 mg·L-1 calcium carbonate (CaCO3) alkalinity. Both the ammoniumnitrogen (NH4-N) content of the FS and plant species affected substrate pH. Predicted acidity or basicity of the FS for Impatiens walleriana Hook.f. (impatiens), Petunia 3hybrida E. Vilm. (petunia), and Pelargonium hortorum L.H. Bailey (pelargonium) from the Nitrogen CCE model was similar to observed pH change with an adjusted R2 of 0.849. In a second experiment, water alkalinity (0 or 135.5 mg·L-1 CaCO3), NH4 +:NO3 - ratio (75:25 or 3:97), and N concentration (50, 100, or 200 mg·LL1 N) in the FS were varied with impatiens. As predicted by the N CCE model, substrate pH decreased as NH4 + concentration increased and alkalinity decreased with an adjusted R2 of 0.763. Results provide confidence in the N CCE model as a tool for fertilizer selection to maintain stable substrate pH over time. The limited scope of these experiments emphasizes the need for more research on plant species effects on substrate pH and interactions with other factors such as residual limestone and substrate components to predict pH dynamics of containerized plants over time.


Johnson C.N.,University of Florida | Fisher P.R.,University of Florida | Huang J.,University of Florida | Yeager T.H.,University of Florida | And 4 more authors.
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2013

The potential of a water soluble fertilizer (WSF) to raise or lower substrate-pH is estimated in calcium carbonate equivalents (CCE) of acidity or basicity per unit mass of fertilizer. The CCE is currently estimated using Pierre's Method, PM, which is based on assumptions as to the effects of nitrogen and other ions in field soils that may not apply in container substrates. In a greenhouse experiment, the substrate-pH change was measured with 18 WSFs that varied in the concentration of NH4-N, NO3-N, urea-N and other nutrients. 'Ringo Deep Red' Pelargonium×hortorum (Bailey. L.H.), 'Super Elfin Bright Orange' Impatiens wallerana (Hook. F.), and 'Ultra Red' Petunia×hybrida seedling plugs were grown in 70%:30% (v:v) peat:perlite substrate amended with dolomitic hydrated limestone. Plants in 900mL, 6-celled containers were top-irrigated with a total of 3.07L over 4 weeks at 100mgL-1 N without leaching. Plant species varied in their pH effect, in the order from acidic to basic of Pelargonium, Impatiens, and Petunia. Fertilizer CCE was positively correlated with substrate-pH, with r2 between 0.54 and 0.80 depending on the species. Multivariate regression also quantified NH4-N, NO3-N, and urea-N concentration effects on substrate-pH and CCE of applied fertilizer. Estimated mequiv. of acid (negative values) or base (positive values) per mmol of each nitrogen form applied were NH4-N -0.6678, -0.6143, -0.8123; NO3-N 0.0713, 0.2746, -0.1296; and urea-N -0.2038, -0.1445, -0.2711 for Impatiens, Petunia, and Pelargonium, respectively. Ammonium-N therefore had a strong acid effect, nitrate-N was a weak base or acid, and urea-N was a weak acid. Calculation of CCE based on PM or nitrogen alone provided a similar R2 with observed pH, despite a wide range in concentrations of macronutrients other than N in the fertilizer blends. Pierre's Method and nitrogen estimates of CCE for fertilizer blends were similar to each other (R2=0.97). However, PM estimates were biased compared with experimental results, over-predicting acidity of high-ammonium fertilizers, and over-predicting basicity of high-nitrate fertilizers. Results indicate that nitrogen form and concentration may provide a simple estimation of the acidity or basicity of blended fertilizers, although research under other growing conditions would be required. Accurate estimation of CCE is important to help growers formulate appropriate fertilizers to balance other factors such as water alkalinity and plant species. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Patent
Blackmore Company | Date: 2015-10-22

The present teachings provide for a horticulture tray including a growing cell. The growing cell can include a first end, a second end, and a sidewall. The first end can define a first aperture. The second end can be opposite to the first end. The sidewall can define a plurality of arcuate shaped chambers that can extend longitudinally between the first and second ends. Each arcuate shaped chamber can define a plant supporting portion proximate to and spaced apart from the second end. Each arcuate shaped chamber can continuously taper from the first end to the plant supporting portion at a first rate and can continuously taper from the plant supporting portion to the second end at a second rate. The second rate can be greater than the first rate.


Patent
Blackmore Company | Date: 2013-05-07

A horticulture tray including a growing cell. The growing cell includes a first end, a second end, a sidewall, and a plant supporting portion. The first end defines a first aperture having a first diameter. The second end is opposite the first end and has a second diameter that is smaller than the first diameter. The sidewall extends between the first end and the second end, and the sidewall continuously tapers from the first end to the second end. The plant supporting portion is proximate to the second end, but spaced apart from the second end. The plant supporting portion is configured to support a plant within the growing cell apart from the second end. The growing cell promotes proper root structure by supporting stabilized growth plugs therein without horizontal surfaces and by creating a perimeter gap such that air can circulate around the growth plugs to air prune roots.


Trademark
Blackmore Co. | Date: 2012-11-05

Containers, not of metal for commercial or industrial use; packaging containers of plastic material; containers of plastic material for commercial or industrial use for seeding, growing, transplanting and propagating plants, seedlings and horticultural specimens; containers, not of metal for use in commercial or industrial horticulture applications. Trays for horticulture, namely, plant cultivation trays; plant and seedling growing trays; plant growing pots; plant growing trays; propagation trays for plants, seeds and seedlings.

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