Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists develop sustainable, environmentally friendly potting medium for plants

Date:
August 5, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A new type of sustainable and environmentally friendly potting medium made from thinned pine trees has been created.

ARS and their university cooperators have developed a new type of sustainable and environmentally friendly potting medium made from thinned pine trees.
Credit: Glenn Fain

A new type of sustainable and environmentally friendly potting medium made from thinned pine trees has been created by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their university cooperators.

Nursery plants are now grown in containers filled with soil-less potting medium, formally called substrate, consisting of Canadian peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and pine bark. But obtaining these materials can be costly and time-consuming, due to required energy inputs and availability.

WholeTree is a new material that can be used alone or mixed with other materials to make substrate. It was created by horticulturist Glenn Fain, formerly with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss., and Charles Gilliam, a professor with Auburn University. They collaborated with research leader James Spiers and horticulturalist Anthony Witcher at the ARS Poplarville laboratory, and with Greg Young, owner of Young's Plant Farm in Auburn, Ala. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

As its name suggests, WholeTree is made from all parts of a tree, in particular the southern pine tree (Pinus taeda). But the trees aren't cut down in natural forests. Instead, the trees used to make WholeTree are harvested from tree plantations at the thinning stage, when some trees are removed to achieve a density the site can support. Once processed, WholeTree can be used as an alternative substrate.

Similar products have been available in Europe for several years, but WholeTree could be one of the first available U.S. products made from locally grown materials. According to Fain, who is now an assistant professor at Auburn University, field and laboratory studies have demonstrated the successful use of WholeTree, even at 100 percent for some nursery plants.

The scientists are further researching WholeTree's suitability for use in cutting and seedling propagation of herbaceous perennial and woody ornamental crops. So far, they have conducted tests on plants popular to the ornamental and landscaping industries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Stephanie Yao. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Scientists develop sustainable, environmentally friendly potting medium for plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805172949.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, August 5). Scientists develop sustainable, environmentally friendly potting medium for plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805172949.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Scientists develop sustainable, environmentally friendly potting medium for plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805172949.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins