Cut-flower businesses demand high nutritional soil requirements and intensive farming methods, which can drain sustainably intended systems.
Objectives: 1) To evaluate the long-term effects of three organic soil amendments on soil nutrient levels and soil structure and 2) to investigate the impact these amendments have on the quality and quantity of plant material in the cut-flower business.
The producer applied dog hair, aged horse manure and woodchip compost to annual and perennial cut-flowers, as well as ornamental corn, amorouth, okra and pepper plants. She also mulched fall flowers with both black plastic and dog hair.
The producer incorporated the mulch into the soil before planting and applied additional mulch to plots after planting.
Results: Plants mulched with dog hair showed considerably more growth, improved color, increased production and reduced pest pressure through the entire growing season than plots mulched with manure or woodchips.