Evaluation of composted green waste in ornamental container-grown plants: effects on growth and plant water relations
Ornamental nurseries extensively utilize peat in commercial soilless potting media, but its use as an organic amendment with a superior water holding capacity is challenged by economic and environmental pressures so potential alternatives to peat need to be investigated. In our experiment, commercially available peat-based soilless mixes were amended with increasing composted green waste (CGW) percentages. Results on Photinia X fraseri and Viburnum tinus suggest that CGW could partially substitute peat in containerized nursery production, with a different effectiveness related to species behavior. Viburnum seemed to be less affected by CGW addition (only CGW-based media, T100, showed a significant difference compared to peat-based media, used as control), which on the contrary hardly affected Photinia growth in terms of biomass production and quality. On the other hand, a higher CGW content (75% or 100%) also improved plant susceptibility to water shortage. Concluding, peat-based media partially amended with CGW may have positive agronomic and economic consequences for commercial ornamental nursery production.