Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists develop sustainable, environmentally friendly potting medium

06.08.2010
A new type of sustainable and environmentally friendly potting medium made from thinned pine trees has been created by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their university cooperators.

Nursery plants are now grown in containers filled with soil-less potting medium, formally called substrate, consisting of Canadian peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and pine bark. But obtaining these materials can be costly and time-consuming, due to required energy inputs and availability.

WholeTree is a new material that can be used alone or mixed with other materials to make substrate. It was created by horticulturist Glenn Fain, formerly with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss., and Charles Gilliam, a professor with Auburn University. They collaborated with research leader James Spiers and horticulturalist Anthony Witcher at the ARS Poplarville laboratory, and with Greg Young, owner of Young's Plant Farm in Auburn, Ala. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

As its name suggests, WholeTree is made from all parts of a tree, in particular the southern pine tree (Pinus taeda). But the trees aren't cut down in natural forests. Instead, the trees used to make WholeTree are harvested from tree plantations at the thinning stage, when some trees are removed to achieve a density the site can support. Once processed, WholeTree can be used as an alternative substrate.

Similar products have been available in Europe for several years, but WholeTree could be one of the first available U.S. products made from locally grown materials. According to Fain, who is now an assistant professor at Auburn University, field and laboratory studies have demonstrated the successful use of WholeTree, even at 100 percent for some nursery plants.

The scientists are further researching WholeTree's suitability for use in cutting and seedling propagation of herbaceous perennial and woody ornamental crops. So far, they have conducted tests on plants popular to the ornamental and landscaping industries.

Read more about this research in the August 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Stephanie Yao | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ars.usda.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>