1301 W. Co pans Road. Building D, Suite 8' Pompano Beach, FL 33064
(954)972-3255. FAX (954)972-7885 . email: Lgriff6250@aol.com EFFECTS OF TURF PRO SOIL
INNOCULANT ON FIVE SPECIES OF ORNAMENTAL PLANTS By: Lynn P Griffith 01/06/10
different plant types were grown in a commercially produced potting media at three
different fertilizer incorporation rates, with and without Turf Pro added to the
media. Spathiphyllum, blueberries, azaleas, mandevillas and begonias were consistently
and significantly larger in size and higher in plant quality than plants grown without
Turf Pro. Plants with somewhat lower fertilizer requirements such as blueberries
and azaleas did as well or better at the lower fertilizer rates. Plants with higher
fertilizer requirements such as spathiphyllum did better at the high fertilizer rates.
AND METHODS: Potting media containing 20% Canadian peat, 20% Florida peat, 30% Pine
bark and 30% Cypress sawdust by volume was obtained from a commercial producer. The
mix had 20 pounds per cubic yard of dolomite and 20 pounds of Turf Pro incorporated,
along with four pounds of Meg iron micronutrients. Two cubic yards of potting media
were obtained without granular Turf Pro incorporated, and two cubic yards were obtained
with Turf Pro.
Seventy two cell liners were obtained from a commercial source. The
varieties were spathiphyllum "Debbie", Ambassador Rose begonia, yellow mandevilla,
Southern Belle blueberry, and azaleas. The variety of azalea was not identified on
the liner flats, though it appeared to be a common variety of landscape azalea. Four
fertility regimes were employed, no fertilizer, 15 pounds of 19-6-12 eight to nine
month Osmocote incorporated, 12 pounds of 19- 6-12 eight to nine month Osmocote,
and 9 pounds of 18-6-12 eight to nine month Osmocote. Turf Pro was also applied in
liquid form to blueberries, using the same four different fertilizer incorporation
rates. The liners were selected for uniformity and planted in new, plastic ten inch
pots, and placed in a randomized block design. Treatments were identified by different
color dots of spray paint on the side of the container. A dot of red spray paint
was used for plants without Turf Pro, a green dot for plants with Turf Pro. The high
fertilizer rate was indicated by a gold dot of spray paint. The medium fertilizer
rate was identified by a silver dot and the low fertilizer rate by a white dot. Plants
were grown for three months on a raised bench, undercover, so that rainfall was not
a factor. Each planting was replicated five times.
Plants were irrigated with well
water on a pot by pot basis, making sure that a uniform amount of irrigation water
was applied to each container each time in order to avoid sprinkler system variation.
The pots were irrigated using a garden hose with a water breaker, with each pot being
irrigated for a uniform number of seconds using a counting system. As the plants
grew, the quantity of irrigation per application increased by about 50%. Irrigation
was generally about twice a week, though it ranged from one time to three times per
week depending on weather conditions. The same regime was applied to begonias, though
they were potted in full one gallon pots and were grown in full sun on the ground
in order to simulate typical nursery practice. No fungicide or insecticide sprays
were applied over the course of the study. Temperature ranged from a high near 90
to a low of 42 degrees during the three months of the study, which was conducted
during the fall of the year.
For the application of liquid Turf Pro, three gallon
blueberry plants were irrigated each time with liquid Turf Pro, using the hose-on
application bottle in which the liquid product is sold. Each plant was watered in
a uniform fashion, the same as the rest of the plants in the study, using a measured
amount of irrigation water with liquid Turf Pro. The liquid product was applied at
each watering, and plants receiving the liquid product were watered at the same time
as the plants in the rest of the study. Half of the blueberry plants had no incorporated
granular Turf Pro and only received liquid product. The other half had granular Turf
Pro incorporated, with liquid Turf Pro added as well at irrigation.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Crop
size and quality ratings were taken at 30 days and 90 days after planting. Crop size
was measured by multiplying the height times the spread times the root mass, the
larger the number indicating the larger the plant. Crop quality ratings were made
using a 0 - 10 scoring system, with 0 being a dead plant and 10 being the best possible
rating. The data after 30 days showed no real differentiation, as I think it was just
too early to see much difference. The 90 day data are presented in the tables below.
1 shows that without any fertilizer whatsoever, plant growth and quality was not
particularly good, though there was a response to the Turf Pro with all five plant
varieties, though the spathiphyllum difference is probably not significant. The Turf
Pro generated a growth response in the plants in the absence of added fertilizer.
the high rate of incorporated Osmocote, growth rates were dramatically different
with Turf Pro. The difference was especially dramatic with the azaleas. Two of the
test plants at the high fertilizer rates without Turf Pro died, whereas all of those
with Turf Pro lived. Plant quality ratings were significantly better with the Turf
Pro as well for all plant varieties tested.
At the medium fertilizer rates, spathiphyllum,
azaleas and begonias grew significantly better with Turf Pro. Growth was about even
for blueberries, and worse for mandevilla, primarily because one of the test plants
had died. At the low fertilizer rate, spathiphyllum, blueberries, azaleas and mandevilla
grew substantially better in the Turf Pro plots. Begonia growth was about the same.
Table 2 for plant quality, the plant quality ratings included plant color, plant
form, and leaf size. Plant quality ratings generally mirrored the plant size ratings.
Quality ratings were consistently and significantly better in virtually all of the
Turf Pro plots, with the exception of the mandevilla at the medium fertilizer rate.
only liquid Turf Pro, the blueberries did not grow as well at the high fertilizer
rate as they did at the medium and low rates. With both granular and liquid Turf
Pro, growth was significantly better, though the blueberry plants did best at the
lowest fertilizer rate with both types of Turf Pro in use. Plant quality ratings
were better with both liquid and granular Turf Pro as compared to using the liquid
only. Plant quality ratings with liquid Turf Pro only were comparable to the granular
product. Plant quality ratings were also similar between the liquid plus granular
Turf Pro to the granular Turf Pro only.
The data suggest several things. One is that
the Turf Pro inoculant seems to impart some sort of synergistic effect between the
plant, the soil and the fertilizer. Whether fertilizer was used or not and at all
three rates, plants generally did better with the Turf Pro product. Blueberries,
having a lower fertilizer requirement than the ornamental varieties tended not to
do as well at the higher fertility rates in some cases, though at higher fertility
rates with Turf Pro they did better. The growth rates and quality levels of blueberries
were greatly enhanced at the lower fertilizer rates. Field grown blueberries generally
receive only about 1/10th the amount of nitrogen per acre per year that spathiphyllum
do, so the better performance at lower fertility inputs is not surprising. Azaleas
also have lower fertility requirements than many tropical foliage plants. The data
with azaleas suggest that azaleas may be grown successfully at lower fertility rates
when Turf Pro is used. The loss of two of the test plants without Turf Pro could
be related to either soluble salts or disease. Some of the data for mandevilla also
suggests that lower fertility inputs may be utilized if the Turf Pro product is included
in the production program.
With the heavier feeding varieties such as spathiphyllum
and begonia, plants still generally did significantly better at the higher fertilizer
rates. At the high fertilizer rate, spath and begonias grew consistently better and
had higher plant quality ratings with Turf Pro granular than without. In this study,
the incorporation of granular Turf Pro into the potting media clearly resulted in
larger plants of better quality than the untreated controls.