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Technologies and Strategies for Sustainable Substrates in Containerized Crop Production
Welcome to the American Floral Endowment's Grow Pro Webinar Series! Throughout this series, our nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers will offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects to help the industry navigate through these ever-changing growing challenges. The webinar topics are current and offer long-term opportunities for growers to focus on increased profit, greater sustainability, and improved labor efficiency. Each session includes a presentation and interactive Q&A. To see the full series calendar visit endowment.org/GrowPro.

The December 19th session of our series focuses on technologies and strategies for sustainable substrates in containerized crop production.

Greenhouse and nursery producers have been filling containers uniformly with peat- and pine bark-based substrates for the past 60 years. Instead of filling the entire container with the same substrate, new research is exploring ideas of layering or stratifying substrates in containers to improve plant performance, reduce agrichemical leaching, and reduce substrate costs. Substrate stratification can dramatically improve weed control, reduce fertilizer leaching, reduce fertilizer costs, reduce water stress, and improve overall plant performance. This seminar will present concepts in stratifying substrates and how this opens up a myriad of new ideas and approaches for solving production-related problems.

Topics will include:
• The idea that containers don’t need to be filled with the same substrate from top to bottom.
• Stratifying substrates to intentionally introduce functional layers in the container profile that solve specific problems.
• New paradigms created by stratifying substates in substrate management that allow growers to strategically use multiple layers of substrates to solve specific problems.

Speaker: Dr. James Atland, USDA ARS
(see bio below)

Dec 19, 2023 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. James Atland
Research Leader, Application Technology Research Unit @USDA ARS
Dr. James Altland is the Research Leader for the Application Technology Research Unit (ATRU) in Wooster, OH. The unit focuses on agricultural spray technologies and all aspects of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) including entomology, plant pathology, irrigation and water quality, plant physiology, energy efficiency, and systems engineering. His specific interests are in the chemical, physical, and biological properties of container substrates and how they can be managed and modified for sustainable crop production. Recent research has focused on chemical amendments to that reduce the amount of phosphorus (P) leached from containers. A major emphasis of current research is to better understand the biological properties of container substrates by documenting how management practices affect the microbiome. Using amplicon sequencing techniques, they observe the change in microbial communities over the production cycle of crops exposed to different management practices.