Perry's Perennial Pages

Fertility and Media Effects on Perennial Growth 2004

Leonard Perry, Andrea Luchini, Sarah Kingsley Richards
Extension Professor, Graduate Assistants respectively
University of Vermont

 

Methods | Conclusions      Results: Dianthus | Geranium | Hemerocallis


Materials and Methods

A study was begun in 2004 in the nursery outside the UVM greenhouses in Burlington, Vermont, to examine the effects of various media and fertility on perennial growth in containers as was done in 2003. With 2003 a dry summer, and 2004 quite rainy, results could be seen in this climate under a range of conditions. Three species were used: Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro; Dianthus 'Arctic Fire', Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei'. Treatments in 2004 included various combinations of 6 media and 4 fertilizers.

Media

Fertility

ProMix BX

Osmocote brown (5-6mo, 15-9-9, 8lb/cuyd=6.5T/cuft)

Stender, coarse

Osmocote red (3-4mo, 16-11-11, 6lb/cuyd=5T/cuft

Stender, medium

Jack's Professional 17-4-17 (125ppmN, 1x/wk)

Metro Mix 510

Neptunes Fish and Seaweed 2-3-1 (2T/gal, 1x/wk)

Fafard 3BC

 

Nutripeat perennial (compost)

 

Main differences from 2003 in media were the addition of the Stender, medium; in fertility Jack’s was used instead of 15-16-17 in 2003, and Neptunes was used instead of Squantos.

Plants were divisions from stock plants in Jumbo squares, repotted into jumbo squares with appropriate treatments, with liquid fertilizers continued until data collection Oct. 30, 2004. There were 6 replicate pots of each of 3 species, for each treatment. Dry weight were taken and analyzed by Analysis of Variance, with means separated by Tukey’s procedure. In the following tables, means followed by the same letter are not statistically different. In addition, linear orthogonal contrasts were done for specific comparisons.


Conclusions

Fertility

Media

Summary

If using ProMix, Osmocote (red) was better than either of two liquid fertilizers at standard rates, yet these liquid fertilizers were not significantly different from fish products. Whether Osmocote or fish fertility was best varied with species, as did type of Osmocote and rate. In a wet season, higher levels of fertility resulted in more growth, but not in a dry season. Soilless media performed similarly in the wet season, with differences among species in a dry season. The Stender media generally were comparable to others with Osmocote; with Jack’s liquid fertility the Stender medium was generally one of the poorest combinations. The compost-based medium also varied with species, depending on season.


Results

Dianthus ‘Arctic Fire’

Media, fertility

Dry Weight, g

variable

Stender coarse, red

24.1abc

 

Stender medium, red

27.4a

yes

Stender medium, brown

31.5a

 

Stender medium, Jack’s

10.1f

 

Metro Mix 510, red

30.8a

 

Fafard 3BC, red

27.2a

 

ProMix BX, red

26.7ab

 

ProMix BX, 1/2x red

16.1cdef

yes

ProMix BX, Jack’s

11.7ef

 

ProMix BX, fish

13.7def

 

Compost, red

30.6a

 

Compost, fish

18.3bcdef

 

Mean dry weights, followed by the same letter, are not significantly different (0.05 level). Those noted as variable were less uniform within treatments than desired (Standard Error of Mean > 10% of mean).

Statistical Contrasts (ns=not significant, *significant, **highly significant, bold =highest)

Fertility
**    Osmocote (red) vs liquid (Stender and ProMix)
ns     liquid vs fish (ProMix)
**     Osmocote (red) vs fish (ProMix and Compost)
**     ½x vs 1x rate (ProMix, red osmocote)
ns     osmocote red vs brown (Stender medium)

Media
*     Nutripeat vs ProMix (red Osmocote and fish)
ns     Stender vs other media (red Osmocote)


Results

Geranium sanguineum ‘Max Frei’

Media, fertility

Dry Weight, g

variable

Stender coarse, red

5.8abc

 

Stender medium, red

4.6bc

 

Stender medium, brown

7.1a

 

Stender medium, Jack’s

4.3c

 

Metro Mix 510, red

5.2abc

 

Fafard 3BC, red

5.8abc

 

ProMix BX, red

6.0abc

 

ProMix BX, 1/2x red

4.5bc

 

ProMix BX, Jack’s

5.6abc

 

ProMix BX, fish

5.8abc

yes

Compost, red

5.9abc

 

Compost, fish

6.7ab

yes

Mean dry weights, followed by the same letter, are not significantly different (0.05 level). Those noted as variable were less uniform within treatments than desired (Standard Error of Mean > 10% of mean).

Statistical Contrasts (ns=not significant, *significant, **highly significant, bold =highest)

Fertility
ns     Osmocote (red) vs liquid (Stender and ProMix)
ns     liquid vs fish (ProMix)
ns     Osmocote (red) vs fish (ProMix and Compost)
*     ½x vs 1x rate (ProMix, red osmocote)
**     osmocote red vs brown (Stender medium)

Media
ns     Nutripeat vs ProMix (red Osmocote and fish)
ns     Stender vs other media (red Osmocote)


Results

Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’

Media, fertility

Dry Weight, g

variable

Stender coarse, red

5.5abcdef

 

Stender medium, red

4.0cdef

yes

Stender medium, brown

7.4a

yes

Stender medium, Jack’s

3.0f

 

Metro Mix 510, red

6.5abc

yes

Fafard 3BC, red

5.2abcdef

 

ProMix BX, red

6.0abcde

 

ProMix BX, 1/2x red

4.2bcdef

 

ProMix BX, Jack’s

3.6ef

 

ProMix BX, fish

3.7def

 

Compost, red

5.7abcdef

yes

Compost, fish

6.4abcd

 

Mean dry weights, followed by the same letter, are not significantly different (0.05 level). Those noted as variable were less uniform within treatments than desired (Standard Error of Mean > 10% of mean).

Statistical Contrasts (ns=not significant, *significant, **highly significant, bold =highest)

Fertility
**    Osmocote (red) vs liquid (Stender and ProMix)
ns     liquid vs fish (ProMix)
ns     Osmocote (red) vs fish (ProMix and Compost)
*     ½x vs 1x rate (ProMix, red osmocote)**     osmocote red vs brown (Stender medium)

Media
*    Nutripeat vs ProMix (red Osmocote and fish) (ns if only compared for Osmocote)
*     Stender vs other media (red Osmocote) (just barely significant, ns in 2003)



This study made possible by support from D.S. Cole Greenhouses, New England Grows, and the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station.

Return to:  Perry's Perennial Pages | Sustainable Research