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27 Apr 2020

Clean up your Water with Carbon Filtration

Paul Fisher, George Grant (University of Florida), and Rosa Raudales (University of Connecticut)

Are pesticide residues iin your irrigation water suppressing crop growth or causing phytotoxicity? Agrichemicals in water can be an issue in several situations. Persistent chemicals can accumulate in recirculation systems and affect subsequent crops even in the parts per billion (ppb) range. Growers using pond water occasionally experience a problem when herbicides are applied to surrounding land in the water shed and crop growth is suddenly deformed. Filtration using granular activated carbon in most cases is the best solution to remove pesticides from water. This article provides guidelines on design and operation of a GAC filter for greenhouses and nurseries.

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8 Apr 2020

Having Success with Organic Growing Mixes

Paul Fisher, Jin Huang, Maria Paz, and Ryan Dickson (University of Florida)

Organic production of edible and medicinal crops in greenhouses is increasing. At the University of Florida, we've been evaluating production pf potted organic edible plants for retail sale. This article is primarily intended for growers already using conventional growing methods who also want to produce organic transplants or retail potted products.

HavingSuccesswithOrganicGrowingMixes (821 KB)

2 Mar 2020

Consumer Involvement with and Expertise in Water Conservation and Plants Affect Landscape Plant Purchases, Importance, and Enjoyment

Bridget K. Behe (Michigan State University), Melinda Knuth and Charles Hall (Texas A&M), Patricia T. Huddleston and R. Thomas Fernandez (Michigan State University)

The strain on potable water supplies heightens the competition for water resources and potentially reduces the demand for landscaping. Therefore, we conducted an online survey to ascertain expertise, involvement, and importance of water conservation and landscaping. Cluster analysis results identified two segments: Actively Interested in Water Conservation and Disinterested in Water Conservation. Findings suggest that pro-water-conserving attitudes are found among consumers who value outdoor landscapes and those individuals who spend more on plants. Results suggest that professionals should focus messaging efforts on low water use cultivar selection and operationalizing water-conserving behaviors more than convincing consumers that plants are important.

Beheetal WaterConservationandPlants (112 KB)

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Description of research activities

A national team of scientists is working to encourage use of alternative water resources by the nation’s billion-dollar nursery and floriculture industry has been awarded funds for the first year of an $8.7 million, five year US Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture –Specialty Crop Research Initiative competitive grant.

The team will develop and apply systems-based solutions to assist grower decision making by providing science-based information to increase use of recycled water.  This award from the NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative is managed by Project Director Sarah White of Clemson University.  She leads a group of 21 scientists from nine U.S. institutions.

Entitled “Clean WateR3 - Reduce, Remediate, Recycle – Enhancing Alternative Water Resources Availability and Use to Increase Profitability in Specialty Crops”, the Clean WateR3 team will assist the grower decision-making process by providing science-based information on nutrient, pathogen, and pesticide fate in recycled water both before and after treatment, average cost and return-on investment of technologies examined, and model-derived, site specific recommendations for water management.  The trans-disciplinary Clean WateR3 team will develop these systems-based solutions by integrating sociological, economic, modeling, and biological data into a user-friendly decision-support system intended to inform and direct our stakeholders’ water management decision-making process.

The Clean WateR3 grant team is working with a stakeholder group of greenhouse and nursery growers throughout the United States.

For example, at the University of Florida graduate student George Grant is collecting data on removal of paclobutrazol, a highly persistent plant growth regulator chemical, from recirculated water using granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. This is being done in both research greenhouses and in a commercial site. The GAC filters can remove more than 90% of chemical residues, and are proving to be a cost-effective treatment method.