Laura Kaderabek

Former Graduate Student

Degree: M.S., 2017

Thesis: Physical, Chemical, and Biological Factors Influencing Utilization Potential of Organic Materials in Horticultural Substrates

Horticultural substrates are comprised mainly of organic constituents ranging in chemical and physical compositions. The variability and extreme diversity of organic materials used across the US are immense and only growing larger. While much is known about the utilization of many traditional organic materials such as peat moss, there remains a great amount of uncertainty about the optimal use of many materials, including pine bark, composts, agricultural wastes, etc. The variation found in pine (and fir) bark and forest/wood components in horticultural substrates is due in large part to the lack of understanding of processing and handling of these materials. The use of organic materials that aren’t fully stable can create problems when used in substrates and may require cultural modifications by growers when growing plants. To answer some concerns about stability and maturity in the use of pine bark and wood materials in substrates, the aim of my research is to utilize traditional and novel methods to understand/characterize pine bark and wood materials at various degrees of aging and stability. Further assessing the potential of bark and wood substrates will aid in the further development and use of these local and sustainable materials to grow horticultural crops.

Laura E. Kaderabek