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!
Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University
New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine