Sustainable Plant Production
Dr. Moore conducts applied research on the use of alternative growing substrates (like compost) and alternative water sources (reclaimed waste water) to grow containerized ornamental plants. With droughts as well as increased salt water intrusion, growers are faced with potential water restrictions. To reduce salt water intrusion, cities are reducing well-field pumping and pursuing alternative water supplies like waste water. There are prospective savings to using waste water assuming growers concerns about salt levels are addressed. Damage due to salts (from over-fertilization, waste water, or salt water) can impact the production of bedding plants and foliage plants. There is clear potential for increased use of reclaimed wastewater to grow containerized ornamental plants but there still remain some barriers. Reclaimed wastewater qualities tend to vary from city to city and the salt content of reclaimed water tends to be higher than potable water. It is evident from previous research that plant response is varied to reclaimed wastewater and growth appears to be related to electrical conductivity (EC) levels as well as sodium (Na) levels.