Group Title: AREC-A research report - Agricultural Research and Education Center-Apopka ; RH-85-11
Title: Physical and chemical characteristics of potting media containing Solite
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 Material Information
Title: Physical and chemical characteristics of potting media containing Solite
Series Title: AREC-A research report
Physical Description: 3 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Conover, Charles Albert, 1934-
Poole, R. T ( Richard Turk )
Agricultural Research and Education Center (Apopka, Fla.)
Publisher: University of Florida, IFAS, Agricultural Research and Education Center-Apopka
Place of Publication: Apopka FL
Publication Date: 1985
Subject: Potting soils -- Composition   ( lcsh )
Soils -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 2).
Statement of Responsibility: C.A. Conover and R.T. Poole.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065961
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 70926924

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The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

L t/L

SPhysical and Chemical Characteristics of
Potting Media Containing Solite

C. A. Conover and R. T. Poole
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural Research and Education Center-Apopka
AREC-A Research Report RH-85-11

Solite is an aggregate manufactured from montmorillonite clay which is fed
into a rotary kiln and fired at temperatures of approximately 12600C. The
crushed material is screened to exclude small or large-sized particles, with
size ranges from dust to 1.5 cm diameter available. The major uses of Solite
are as a component of light-weight concrete and for imparting antiskid
characteristics to the surface layer of macadam highways. The material used in
this evaluation was manufactured at Green Cove Springs, FL by the Solite
Corporation of Richmond, VA. At present, Solite aggregate is available in car-
load lots from the manufacturer. The price per cubic yard varies because it
is sold by the ton and, therefore, volume per ton is dependent on particle

We became interested in the potential for Solite when we began research
on use of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Punk Tree) as a component of potting media
(1). Research on production of Ficus benjamin and Dracaena marginata in a
shadehouse showed that plants grown in combinations of 3 Peat:l Sand, 3 Peat:
1 Solite or 2 Peat:1 Solite (by volume) were equal in quality (Table 1).
However, the 3 Peat:1 Solite combination was about 30% lighter in weight than
3 Peat:1 Sand and had more non-capillary pore space (Table 2). The increase
in pore space due to Solite would be beneficial during periods of excessive
rainfall or irrigation to reduce the potential for oxygen depletion within the
root ball. When we combined Melaleuca bark or Melaleuca tree mix (combination
of wood, bark and leaves) with Solite, we obtained poorer plant quality with
Dracaena marginata, but not with Ficus benjamin (Table 1). This appeared to
be due to excessive capillary and non-capillary pore space which reduced
waterholding capacity of media containing both solite and melaleuca.
Subsequently, we conducted physical and chemical analyses on seven additional
media containing Solite (Table 2), but did not grow plants in these media.

In this study, we concluded that media numbers 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10 in table
2 should produce good quality plants in greenhouses and shadehouses while 3
and 7 would be questionable for use in shadehouses, but might be useful in
greenhouses. We do not feel the other potting media used would provide a
satisfactory root environment under shadehouse conditions. Previous research
(1,2,3) has shown that potting media perform best under shadehouse conditions
that have at least 0.10 meq/cc cation exchange capacity, water-holding capacity
of at least 50% by volume and non-caiilTary-pore-space of 5 to 15%.
; a U.i\ : R ^ Y

Professor and Center Director, and iProfes sor, PanPhysiology, Agricultural
S Research and Education Center, 2807,Birion Road, Apopka, FL 32703,
respectively. of '

Literature Cited

1. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1983. Sedge moss peat, Solite and
Melaleuca quinquenervia as potting medium components for shadehouse
production of foliage plants. HortScience 18(6):888-890.

2. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole.
products. Univ. of Fla., IFAS,
Apopka Research Report RH-85-10.

1985. Comparison of several peat moss
Agricultural Research and Education Center-

3. Poole, R. T., C. A. Conover and J. N. Joiner. 1981. Soils and Potting
Mixes. Chapter in Foliage Plant Production, J. N. Joiner, Univ. of Fla.,
Ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. pp. 179-202.

Table 1.

Effect of several medium combinations on growth of Dracaena and

Dracaena marginata Ficus benjamin
Ht Pltant ~t Plant
Media by Volume (cm) grades (cm) grade

3 Peat:1 Sand 66.0 4.2 82.9 3.9

3 Peat:l Solite 59.1 4.0 85.8 4.2

2 Peat:l Solite 58.9 3.9 83.1 4.2

1 Peat:l Melaleuca:
1 Solite 56.7 3.8 85.0 4.1

2 Peat:2 Melaleuca:
1 Solite 55.6 3.5 85.2 4.3

1 Peat:2 Melaleuca:
1 Solite 54.3 3.3 84.8 4.0

ZPlant Grade; 1 = poor
highly salable

not salable, 3 = good salable and 5'= excellent quality,

Table 2. ysical and Chemical


of Solite Conta ing

Media Compared to Two Media Used in

the Foliage

Cation Water Non- Capillary Potentialx
exchange holding Bulk capillary pore Produce for quality
capacity capacity density pore space space quality plant
Media (by volume) (meq/cc) (% by vol) (g/cc) (%) (%) plants production
:1.z 75% Sedge Peat:
25% Sand (3:1) 0.125 59.4 0.58 5.1 59.4 yes Good
2. 75% Sedge Peat:
25% Solite (3:1) 0.123 60.4 0.41 7.2 60.1 yes Good
3. 50% Sedge Peat:
50% Solite (1:1) 0.067 47.3 0.63 10.4 47.5 Questionable
4. 25% Sedge Peat:
75% Solite (1:3) 0.017 37.1 0.80 15.8 38.2 --Y Poor
5. 100% Solite (1) 0.005 20.9 0.84 24.9 21.0 -- Poor
6. 75% Canadian Peat:
25% Solite (3:1) 0.132 61.1 0.43 11.1 60.1 -- Good
7. 50% Canadian Peat:
50% Solite (1:1) 0.052 53.2 0.52 11.4 54.0 -- Questionable
8. 25% Canadian Peat:
75% Solite (1:3) 0.021 42.9 0.67 15.5 42.2 --Y Poor
9. 66.7% Sedge Peat:
33.3% Solite (2:1) 0.112 58.9 0.61 9.0 56.2 yes Good
10. 66.7% Sedge Peat:
33.3% Pine Bark (2:1) 0.199 61.2 0.33 8.9 62.3 Good
11. 33.3% Sedge Peat:
33.3% Melaleuca:
33.3% Solite (1:1:1) 0.096 49.1 0.51 20.4 47.6 no Poor
12. 40% Sedge Peat:
40% Melaleuca:
20% Solite (2:2:1) 0.131 56.4 0.48 17.1 54.4 no Poor
13. 25% Sedge Peat:
50% Melaleuca:
25% Solite (1:2:1) 0.110 44.8 0.47 24.6 47.1 no Poor

ZMedia numbers 1 and 10 are commonly used in the foliage industry.
YNot used to grow plants in these experiments.
XBased on comparisons of physical and chemical characteristics.


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