Cutting Production Is Affected by Pinch Number during Scaffold Development of Stock Plants

in HortScience

Stock plants of four vegetatively propagated annual species (Argyranthemum frutescens `Comet Pink', Nemesia fruticans `Plum Sachet' Venten., Osteospermum fruticosum `Zulu' L., and Verbena ×hybrida `Lanai Bright Pink' L.) were grown with one (P), two (PP), or three (PPP) pinches during the scaffold development phase. The number of pinches applied to all four species affected the yield and distribution of cuttings produced over time. P began to produce cuttings first; however, the rate (number of cuttings per week) of cutting production was relatively low resulting in the fewest total cuttings produced by the end of the experiment. Cutting harvest from PPP started 3 to 6 weeks after cuttings were initially harvested from P. However, the rate of increase in cutting production was greater in PPP than P for all species, except Osteospermum, so the total cutting yield of PPP equaled P after 3 to 5 weeks of cutting production. The final cutting yield for PPP was 38%, 38%, 20%, and 8% higher than P for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, Osteospermum, and Verbena, respectively. PP produced 24%, 17%, and 21% more total cuttings than P for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, and Osteospermum, respectively, while Verbena displayed no significant difference. At the termination of the experiment, the weekly rate of cutting production increased 66.3%, 84.0%, and 30.5% as pinch number increased from P to PPP for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, and Verbena, respectively. This study demonstrates that the number of pinches performed on stock plants during scaffold development can have a significant impact on the timing, the weekly production rate, and cumulative yield of cuttings harvested.

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