December 3, 2012

Selecting Fertilizer Formulations To Manage Plant Growth

Growers have several tools at their disposal to manage the finished height of crops — from negative DIF to plant growth regulator applications. Certainly, the rate of fertilizer application — like 150 versus 250 ppm nitrogen (N) — influences plant growth rate and size. But beyond this, an often overlooked strategy of growth management is in the selection of the fertilizer formulations used to provide plant nutrients. The formulation is presented on a bag of fertilizer as percent N to percent phosphorus (P2O5) to percent potassium (K2O). The specific nutrients to evaluate when your focus is growth management are phosphorus and nitrogen. Restricting (but not eliminating) phosphorus in the fertilizer source is a great growth management tool. Phosphorus availability often limits plant growth in nature, and phosphorus deficiency can be used to stall growth and stretch. In fact, the first visual indication of phosphorus deficiency is smaller, darker-green foliage. More […]

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November 29, 2012

Dosatron International Introduces New Mini Maintenance Kits

Dosatron International, Inc. introduces new Mini Maintenance Kits for fertilizer and chemical injectors. “The Mini Maintenance Kit is the perfect, economical solution for the Dosatron user and grower who performs maintenance on a regular schedule,” says Dosatron’s Vice President of Horticulture, Lela Kelly. The kits include wear parts, Dosa-Klean and a new product, Dosa-Lube, and were created for the 11-, 14-, 20-, 40- and 100-gallon-per-minute injectors. Soaking injector parts in Dosa-Klean for 24 to 48 hours cleans rust, mineral deposits and calcifications without scrubbing. Dosa-Lube, a convenient sized packet of silicone, is designed to easily lubricate your static seals and o-rings while you are changing the wear parts. The new Mini Maintenance Kits can be used as often as necessary and ensures that your Dosatron injects accurately and runs smoothly. To learn more about the Mini Maintenance Kits or to find your local distributor contact Dosatron International Customer Service at […]

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November 26, 2012

Focus On Dahlia Fertilizer

Dahlias can be grown from seed, plugs, liners or tubers. The newest dwarf varieties have brought intense color and appeal to our customers, which makes this crop a staple value-added selection for the early spring holidays. Fertility Early On In propagation, dahlias prefer to be kept in evenly moist media at a pH below 6 (5.5 to 5.8). Before the signs of first leaves, begin to fertilize with calcium-based formulas, like 15-0-15 or 13-2-13 at 75 ppm. The calcium in these formulas is associated with nitrogen as NO3, which is easily taken up by newly forming root systems. After seven to 10 days, increase your fertilizer rate to 100 to 150 ppm using the same formula for another seven to 10 days. After these initial two weeks, you can use the same formula selection or incorporate a more potentially acidic fertilizer like 21-5-20 as an alternative to keep the pH […]

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November 14, 2012

Focus On Fertility: Osteospermum

Osteospermum is a tender perennial, now classified outside of the dimorphotheca genus. In the more temperate climates, it can overwinter. However, when exposed to reoccurring frost or true freezing temperature, it will act as an annual. To homeowners, it goes by the common name of daisy or African daisy due to its flowers, which can vary in shape from small, large and spoon-like patterns. Producing this crop in a greenhouse can be done in many different container sizes to accommodate small-space containers, hanging baskets and also larger landscape plantings. Fertility requirements, however, remain the same. A Strong Root System At the youngest stage, hybrid osteospermum can best take up nutrients in the media when kept in an evenly moist environment at a pH between 5.8 and 6.5. Osteospermum have longer stems and need to support a large flower, so establishing a strong and healthy root system is key. Begin by […]

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September 10, 2012

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Fined $12.5 Million

In an Ohio federal court hearing on Sept. 7, 2012, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company agreed to pay $12.5 million in fines and penalties for violating federal pesticide laws, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s reports. Of the fines, Scotts will pay $4 million and perform community service acts for eleven violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This act covers the sale, distribution and manufacturing of pesticides, and the fine is the largest criminal penalty to date under FIFRA. An additional $500,000 will be contributed to organizations such as Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio that work to protect bird habitat. Although sentenced on Sept. 7, the fertilizer company pled guilty to “illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels and distributing unregistered […]

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August 14, 2012

When Fertilizing, Don’t Neglect The Root Zone

Bedding and potted plants are traditionally fertilized daily or several times a week with water soluble fertilizer (WSF) applied in the irrigation water. With WSF, the fertilizer components are in a form that can be directly absorbed by the plant. This also means the fertilizer components can immediately impact the soluble salts and the pH of the substrate. WSF are also in a form that can readily be leached from the root zone. When using controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) the nutrients are primarily held within the CRF prills and are not available for plant absorption until they are released slowly over time. Thus, when a CRF is added to the substrate, its effects on pH and salts are not immediate. Instead, they occur slowly over time as nutrients diffuse from the prills. Use the results from three studies to better manage the root-zone pH and electrical conductivity (EC) when using CRFs. […]

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August 13, 2012

Bedding Plants and CRFs

While controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are not a recent addition to a grower’s toolbox, they are not nearly as common as traditional water-soluble fertilizers (WSF). Many growers comment that they don’t want to lose the control they have with traditional WSF programs. However, new formulations and technologies in CRF manufacturing, along with a desire for alternative methods of delivering mineral nutrients, have led to increased interest in using CRFs. The experiments below focus on using CRFs in greenhouse propagation and finishing of short-term bedding plant crops. How Fertilizer Studies During Propagation Were Conducted At Purdue, cuttings of several cultivars of angelonia, geranium, nemesia, New Guinea impatiens and petunia were stuck in 105-cell propagation trays filled with 3 parts soilless substrate and 1 part perlite. The trays either contained no fertilizer charge or 5, 10, 20 or 40 pounds of Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 with micros CRF per cubic yard of substrate. This […]

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August 6, 2012

Potted Plants On CRFs

After seeing how bedding plants are affected by controlled-release fertilizers, three separate studies were conducted to show how the use of these fertilizers influenced the production of potted plants. The Poinsettia Experiments Rooted liners of ‘Premium Red’ poinsettias were potted into 4.5-inch containers filled with a commercial soilless substrate that was amended with CRFs: Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 and Osmocote Plus 16-9-12 applied at a rate of 7.9 and 7.4 pounds per square yard (lbs./yd³), respectively, and Nutricote 20-7-10 at 5.9 lbs./yd³. For comparison, a treatment of constant water soluble fertilizer (WSF) [15-4-15 Poinsettia FeED at 150 ppm nitrogen (N)] was also included. The plants were watered using drip irrigation as needed throughout the experiment, and a leaching fraction between 20 to 25 percent was maintained and adjusted weekly to accommodate for plant growth. Total leachate was also collected from the treatments and analyzed for nutrients each week. A second poinsettia […]

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July 26, 2012

BioWorks Partners With DCM Corp. To Offer Premium Fertilizers

BioWorks, Inc., a provider of environmentally responsible, safe and effective growing solutions, announced that it has entered a strategic alliance with DCM Corporation of Belgium, a leading producer of natural and organic-based fertilizers in Western Europe. The premier fertilizer product line that will be offered by BioWorks in the U.S. will be branded under the trade name Verdanta. Verdanta will include organic and organo-mineral fertilizers for professional horticulture and specialty agriculture growers. BioWorks plans to offer Verdanta fertilizers to growers of greenhouse ornamentals and vegetables, specialty agriculture and nursery and landscape plants in the latter part of 2012.  “This partnership represents BioWorks’ next exciting chapter. Growers trust our people, products and service; having the DCM name behind Verdanta will serve to strengthen that trust,” says Bill Foster, BioWorks president and CEO. “We are honored by the confidence DCM has placed in us and excited about the opportunities.” The high quality […]

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July 19, 2012

Dosatron Introduces New Product At OFA Short Course

Dosatron introduced the new 40 GPM–D8R at the 2012 OFA Short Course. As Lela Kelly, Dosatron’s vice president of horticulture says, “The D8R has been a staple to growers for over 26 years, and now, through new technology, innovation and with improved features, it is the must have fertilizer injector.” The 40 GPM offers: Improved chemical resistant housing Enhanced UV resistance Injection of corrosive chemicals Easy-to-adjust injection rates Easy-to-read graduated scales Other features include: Easily and accurately injects:–fertilizers –pesticides–acids Flow rate of 2.2 to 40 gallons per minute Injection rate of 1:500–1:50 Pressure range of 2.2 to 116 PSI

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June 12, 2012

Dosatron’s 40 GPM D8R Fertilizer Injector Updated With New Features

Dosatron International, Inc. has introduced the new 40 GPM – D8R fertilizer injector with improved chemical resistant housing and enhanced UV resistance, The new injector also allows injection of corrosive chemicals and features easy-to-adjust injection rates and easy-to read graduated scales. The D8R can easily inject fertilizers, pesticides and caustic chemicals accurately with a flow rate of 2.2 to 40 GPM, an injection ratio of 1:500 – 1:50, and a pressure range of 2 to 110 PSI. “We are very excited to offer the new 40 GPM fertilizer injector,” says Dosatron Vice President of Horticulture Lela Kelly. “The D8R has been a staple to growers for over 26 years and now, through new technology, innovation, and with improved features, it is the must have fertilizer injector.” For more information, contact Dosatron International’s customer service department at 800-523-8499 or visit the Dosatron International website.

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