Container-grown nursery crops in the southeastern United States are typically grown in a rooting substrate comprised primarily of the ground bark of pine trees. However, pine bark is becoming less available and more costly because of changes in production and marketing practices within southeastern pine forestry. This shortage has resulted in the economic incentive to seek pine bark alternatives. Two possible alternatives are clean chip residual and whole tree. These alternatives are like pine bark, because both are products of southern pine forestry. Unlike pine bark, which is a single part of the tree, these alternatives contain all parts of the tree, including wood and foliage in various portions. Registration of preemergence-active herbicides has been based solely upon data obtained from pine bark–based nursery production. Research was conducted to determine if the control of (1) large crabgrass with prodiamine, (2) eclipta with flumioxazin, and (3) spotted spurge with isoxaben would be comparable in these alternatives to what has been established in pine bark. Seed germination of all three weed species in no-herbicide controls was approximately 10% and equivalent between pine bark and the alternatives. Foliage fresh weight production of large crabgrass and spotted spurge was less in the alternatives compared to pine bark; eclipta was not affected. For all three weed species–herbicide combinations, weed control was nearly identical between pine bark and the alternative substrates, provided the herbicide had been applied at its registered rate. For all three herbicides, rates that are effective in pine bark substrates will be equally effective in the pine bark alternatives.
Nomenclature: Flumioxazin; isoxaben; prodiamine; eclipta Eclipta alba (L.); large crabgrass Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.; spotted spurge Chamaesyce maculata (L.) Small.