Impact of Biopots on Landscape Plant Performance and Pot Degradation

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 10:30 AM
Desert Salon 1-2 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Genhua Niu , Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Youping Sun , Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Guihong Bi , Mississippi State University, Crystal Springs, MS
Andrew Koeser , Crop Sciences, University of Florida, GREC, Wimauma, FL
Krista Jacobsen , University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Sven Verlinden , West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Renee Conneway , West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Amy Fulcher , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Horticulture industry professionals and consumers are interested in biodegradable pots as alternatives to plastic pots given their perceived environmental sustainability. The impact of biopots on plant performance and pot degradability after being planted in landscapes has been investigated in Texas, Mississippi, Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia. This abstract reports the results from two growing seasons for Texas. In the first year, the impact of seven plantable biopots and one plastic pot on the performance of three ornamental species, Impatiens x 'Sunpatiens Compact Magenta', Cleome x 'Senorita Rosalita', Lantana x 'Luscious Citrus' and the degradation of these biopots at the end of the growing season was quantified. In the second year, the same pot types were used but the plant species were Lantana x 'Luscious Citrus', Buddleia ‘Nanho Blue’, and Artemesia ‘Silver Mound’. The seven biopots were Jiffy pot (peat moss), SoilWrap (bio-polymer), Fertilpot (wood pulp), coir (coconut fiber), Cowpot (composted cow manure), NetPot (slotted pressed rice hulls), and straw pot (rice straw). As a comparison, 4-inch plastic pot was included. In the first year, cleome and impatiens did not perform well, which was not related to pot type. Lantana shoot dry weight was greater in Soilwrap, while no differences were observed among other pot types. In the second year, the effect of pot type on plant performance varied with species. In both years, plant species did not affect pot degradation, which varied with pot material and there were differences in pot degradations in the two growing seasons in some pots.