Submitted to: International Symposium on Growing Media and Hydroponics
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2007
Publication Date: September 30, 2007
Citation: Zhu, H., Zondag, R., Frantz, J., Chen, L., Krause, C.R. 2007. Comparison of irrigation, leachate and tree growth between soilless and coal ash based media. International Symposium on Growing Media and Hydroponics.Available: http://www.actahort.org/books/819/819_54.htm. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 819, International Symposium on Growing Media 2007. Nottingham, United Kingdom. Technical Abstract: In nursery production, knowledge of water quality and quantity is needed to improve irrigation and fertilizer application efficiency as it relates to potential for soil and groundwater contamination. Water and fertilizer use and loss as well as tree growth were investigated for Red Sunset maple (Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’) trees in a pot-in-pot system with two different potting media and one coal ash based medium. The two potting media mainly composed of aged pine bark and steamed composted nursery trimmings as well as left-over potting mix from commercial nurseries, but one with high initial amendments (Medium #1) and the other one with low initial amendments (Medium #2). The coal ash based medium (Medium #3) was mainly composed of biosolids, flue gas desulfurization gypsum, and coal combustion bottom ash. Trickle irrigation was applied to each tree with an automatic control system. Watering trees started when the medium moisture was below 30%, and stopped when the moisture was 42%. During two-year tests, the amount of water including irrigation and rainfall applied to each tree with Medium #1, #2 and #3 was 999, 1024 and 765 L, respectively. The amount of water loss through drainage for each tree with Medium #1, #2 and #3 was 114, 225 and 110 L, respectively. Among the tree media, Medium #1 produced the highest tree growth rate, followed by the Medium #2. The coal ash based medium had great potentials to be used for nursery production.