Youbin Zheng, M.J. Clark, E. Agro
Ornamental horticulture is an economically important industry in Canada, with consumer retail spending tallied at nearly $6.3 billion for ornamental horticultural products and another $1.8 billion on landscaping services in 2007 nationwide (Deloitte, 2009). In addition, nursery operations have considerable input needs, for example 93.3% of the annual water usage by the Canadian ornamental horticulture sector is by nursery operations (Zheng et al., 2009). Excess fertilization and irrigation is not only costly, but can also injure plants and cause unnecessary water and nutrient runoff, resulting in environmental damage. However, insufficient fertilization can cause plant nutrient deficiencies, reduce crop productivity, and eventually reduce the efficiency of other resource inputs during nursery crop production. When optimal fertilizer application rates are used, nursery crops will perform at their best, and growers will be able to increase their profit margin, while minimizing environmental impacts. For different growing substrates, plants, and climate combinations, optimal fertilization rates will vary. As fertilizer companies continuously improve their products and release new products, research is needed to identify optimal fertilizer rates for nursery crop production. Conducting on-farm trials, with industry-standard cultural practices, is essential for understanding the response of crops to fertilizers, and the fate of the fertilizers (i.e., from application in the growing substrate to plant uptake or runoff to the environment). However, this type of on-farm research is rare, especially in temperate climate regions such as Ontario, Canada, and some states in northern USA.
Youbin Zheng, , Clark, M.J. and Agro, E. (2015). SOME CONSIDERATIONS FOR FERTILIZING CONTAINER NURSERY CROPS©. Acta Hortic. 1085, 89-94
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1085.16

Acta Horticulturae