Sustainable paper, bioplastic containers require less transplant time, save labor, reduce plastic
Consumer demand for groundcover plants for residential and commercial landscapes is on the rise. Low-growing, low-maintenance groundcovers are favored not only for their aesthetic appeal, but also for their environmental contributions such as the ability to reduce storm water runoff and control weeds.
Ajuga repens "Bronze Beauty" is shown eight weeks after transplanting into SoilWrapTM containers. A study showed plantable containers like this type to be suitable for growing groundcover plants.
Credit: Photo by Dewayne Ingram.
Looking for sustainable alternatives to growing plants in standard plastic containers, researchers uncovered a variety of groundcover plants that they say can be successfully grown in ecofriendly "plantable" containers.
Susmitha Nambuthiri and Dewayne Ingram, authors of a study published in HortTechnology, explained that current production practices for groundcover can be limiting. "Groundcover plants are currently available to landscapers as small plants in celled flats or bare root, or as more mature plants in 1-gallon containers," they said. "The cost of large numbers of plants that are required to cover an area is often a limiting factor, considering most landscape installation budgets."
Nambuthiri and Ingram said that conversations with landscapers revealed a need for locally available perennial groundcover plants in alternative sizes that can help reduce maintenance requirements while providing quick cover in landscapes. "The landscape industry is a visible segment of the green industry, and having hundreds of plastic containers scattered across a client's landscape during installation can be detrimental to the industry's image," they explained.
They added that recycling of plastic containers is not readily available in some areas, leading some consumers to view the production of groundcovers in individual plastic containers as an unsustainable practice.
Seeking alternatives to these concerns, Ingram and Nambuthiri conducted two experiments to determine if "plantable" containers could be used efficiently in a groundcover production and marketing system. In the first study, the team studied plants they identified as having potential suitability for a rapid turnover system for groundcover production in flats and using plantable containers (compared with standard plastic containers). The follow-up study evaluated plant performance during production and in the landscape from the same production system with multiple planting dates.
The experiments showed that 'Bronze Beauty' ajuga, 'Herman's Pride' lamiastrum, 'Beacon Silver' lamium, 'Immergrunchen' sedum, 'Red Carpet Stonecrop' sedum, and 'Vera Jameson' sedum could be grown to a marketable size from 1.5-inch plugs in 8 weeks when transplanted in May through August. 'Big Blue' liriope from bare root bibs required 12 weeks.
Results also revealed that ecofriendly paper and bioplastic containers were suitable for growing the groundcover plants. Plant growth in a 90-mm paper container and 80-mm bioplastic container was determined to be similar to that of plant growth in standard 3-inch rigid plastic containers. The plants grown in paper and bioplastic also required 20% less time to transplant into the landscape, and grew rapidly after transplanting in the landscape, resulting in labor savings and less plastic for recycling or disposal. Peat containers yielded smaller plants and slower ground coverage after transplanting in the field than plants grown in the other containers.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/24/1/48.abstract
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org
Michael W. Neff | Eurek Alert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences