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Proceedings of Past Forest Nursery Association Meetings:

Nitrate Non-point Pollution Potential in Midwestern Bareroot Nurseries
Schultz, Richard C.; Thompson, Janette R.; Ovrom, Paul; Rodrigues, Charles A.
1993: St. Louis, MO
Non-point source (NPS) pollution is a major contributor to poor surface and groundwater quality in the United States. Agriculture is the major contributor to NPS pollution, with NO3-N, certain pesticides, and sediment being the major pollutants. Bareroot nurseries manage the land more intensively than most cultivated agricultural systems. High levels of nitrogen fertilizer, numerous chemical pesticides, and surface erosion from fallow beds and paths can contribute to surface and groundwater pollution. The Hardwood Nursery Cooperative conducted a study during the 1992 growing season to determine the fate of nitrogen fertilizers applied to nursery beds. Results suggest that the potential for NPS pollution from nitrogen fertilizer applications exists under present fertilizer regimes. NO3-N concentrations as high as 35 mg/L (ppm) were consistently found at 15 cm (6 in) depths and concentrations between 15 and 20 mg/L (ppm) were found at 1 m (3 ft) depths. The results of this study indicate that bareroot nurseries may be a source of NPS pollution for NO3-N. Nursery managers should determine the effect of fertilizer applications on NPS pollution and modify fertilizer application regimes accordingly.
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