2020 Amanda Bayer, PhD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
The success of urban and landscape trees starts with production practices. There are positive and negative aspects of all production methods including impacts on root growth and overall plant health. Container production of Cornus florida has increased in popularity due to increased consumer demand along with the long field production cycle. Growers, however, have reported that Cornus florida can be a challenging container crop due to irrigation and fertilization issues. Transplant and establishment of the bare-loot liners is also challenging, with high mortality. Research has also shown that container type can have a large impact on root development with circling roots being a well-known problem in container plant production. Newer container designs, such as fabric containers, have been developed to reduce circling roots and improve plant health. Inefficient irrigation can result in problems including uneven wetting of the substrate, hydrophobic areas, channeling, or poor plant growth. Both over- and -under irrigation can be common in container plant production because of variability in plant water needs and a lack of understanding of actual plant water requirements. Irrigation management is especially important during liner establishment to ensure good root development. Soilless substrates vary in terms of their physical and chemical properties including water holding capacity, aeration, pH, and cation exchange capacity. A better understanding of how soilless substrates impact liner establishment in container production of Cornus florida will help growers to improve production practices that are ready to be installed in the landscape with little or no corrections needed during landscape planting. The objective of this research is to determine the effect of container type, substrate composition, and irrigation on growth of container grown dogwood with an emphasis on improving rooting.
Funding Duration: 3 years
Grant Program: Barborinas Family Grant
Grant Title: Impact of container type, substrate, and volumetric water content during transplant of bare root Cornus florida during production
Researcher: Dr. Amanda Bayer
Peer Reviewed Publications from Grant:
General Audience/Trade Publications: