June 12, 2008

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Irrigation Water Alkalinity & pH

Water quality is a key factor affecting pH and nutritional management in container-grown crops. Understanding a few technical details about water quality will help you improve nutrient management appropriate for your own greenhouse. In this article, we will discuss the difference between water pH and alkalinity. We will also discuss how to interpret water pH and alkalinity results, and adjust your pH management strategies accordingly.  pH And Alkalinity Are Two Different Aspects Of Water Quality The term pH is a direct measurement of the balance between acidic hydrogen ions (H+) and basic hydroxide ions (OH-), and can be measured with a pH meter. The pH of a solution can range between 0 (very acidic) and 14 (very basic). At a pH of 7.0, the concentrations of H+ and OH- are equal, and the solution is said to be neutral. When the pH is above 7.0, the concentration of OH- is higher […]

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June 12, 2008

Feeding The Global Market

As senior vice president of Scotts Professional Global with a home base in The Netherlands, Fred Bosch keeps an eye on the North American market, as well as those in Europe and Africa. Bosch has seen the global view from that role for slightly less than a year and shares his views of the global market.  Feeding A Different Consumer Market At the consumer level, the big difference between the United States and Europe in selling plants and flowers is that Europe is more complex from a business perspective, Bosch says. With all the different countries and cultural backgrounds of European consumers, marketing efforts need to target different audiences in different ways, a need that isn’t as great in the United States. The types of gardeners found in the States are different that those found in Europe. “In southern Europe, most people live in apartments, so they don’t even have […]

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June 11, 2008

Understanding Plant Nutrition: Nutrient Sources: Media Cation Exchange Capacity

Figure 1. Examples of how cation exchange capacity buffers media pH and nutrient concentrations. (A) is an example of an acidic sphagnum peat particle. The peat particle contains several negative charges (exchanged sites) at the surface. In unlimed peat, these exchange sites are usually filled with hydrogen ions. (B) is an example of the same peat after the application of some limestone. The CO3-2 of the limestone has neutralized most of the hydrogen ions in the soil solution as well as at the exchange sites, causing the pH to increase. Some of the calcium and magnesium (both cations) from the neutralized lime are attracted to the exchange sites. (C) is an example of the same limed peat, but after the application of an acidic fertilizer. The acidic fertilizer has produced excess hydrogen ions. If these hydrogen ions remained in solution, then the solution pH would be reduced. In this case, […]

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June 11, 2008

Feeding Hardy Mums

Hardy mums and other fall crops are grown in the summer months for late summer/fall sale, providing many growers with a second income stream during this period. These crops are unusual when compared to most greenhouse crops, as they are most often grown outside in field conditions with fewer environmental controls. This scenario is positive from an economic point of view. It can, however, result in some production challenges. Careful planning and implementation of a fertilizer program, combined with close observation, will ensure high-quality fall crops. Mums – as well as asters, ornamental cabbage and kale – are relatively heavy feeders. The mum plant canopy is primarily built during the vegetative stage of production (the first 1.5 months). If nutrients are lacking during this time, the mums will not achieve their full size or color potential. After flowers are formed, nutrient demand diminishes greatly. If you are using a water-soluble […]

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July 25, 2007

Match Water With Crops And Fertilizer

The Scotts Company, which owns the Peters line, has a new Web-based service to help growers match fertilizer to their water type and crop needs. Growers can enter their county and crop and choose from products suggested based on analysis of water types identified through more than 15,000 water sample tests conducted for growers throughout the country. The Peters A-B-C Selection System yields recommendations for more than 70 crops based on four different water types ranging from low to high alkalinity. Growers can register for water tests online and view the results. Check it out at http://www.PetersABC.com.

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