247 Early Growth and Development of Container-grown Pawpaw Seedlings in Various Potting Media and Nutrient Regimes

in HortScience

The pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] is a native American tree fruit with potential in edible landscapes and as a new fruit crop. A split-plot experiment (main plot: fertilizer level and subplot potting medium) was conducted in the greenhouse to identify the best growing medium for production of pawpaw seedlings. Seeds were sown in rootrainers containing one of the following media: 1) Promix (control); 2) 6 pine bark:1 mason sand (v/v); 3) 1 mason sand: 1 sphagnum peat; and 4) 4 pine bark:1 mason sand:1 sphagnum peat. When seedlings had at least two to three leaves, weekly fertigation of seedlings began, using 0, 250, or 500 ppm Peters 20N-20P-20K. Germination rate at 10 weeks was similar in all media, at about 80%. The plants were destructively harvested 10 weeks after imposition of fertigation treatments. Both potting media and fertigation influenced leaf number and height; however, there was a significant interaction between these main effects. Leaf number and height for plants in medium 3 were similar to those of the control (medium 1), at about 11 leaves and 18-cm plant height, respectively, at 500 ppm fertigation. Plants in media 2 and 4 were about half as tall and had about half as many leaves as control medium plants at 500 ppm fertigation. Plant leaf area and biomass data will be discussed.

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