Nitrogen Fertilization and Irrigation Frequency Affect Hydrangea Growth and Nutrient Uptake in Two Container Types

in HortScience

Plant growth, water use, photosynthetic performance, and nitrogen (N) uptake of ‘Merritt’s Supreme’ hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) were investigated. Plants were fertilized with one of five N rates (0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 mm from NH4NO3), irrigated once or twice per day with the same total daily amount of water, and grown in either a paper biodegradable container or a traditional plastic container. Greater N rate generally increased plant growth index (PGI) in both plastic and biocontainers. Leaf and total plant dry weight (DW) increased with increasing N rate from 0 to 20 mm and stem and root DW were greatest when fertilized with 15 mm and 20 mm N. Plants fertilized with 20 mm N had the greatest leaf area and chlorophyll content in terms of SPAD reading. Container type had no influence on DW accumulation or leaf area. N concentrations (%) in leaves, roots, and the entire plant increased with increasing N rate. N concentrations in roots and in the entire plant were lower in biocontainers compared with plastic containers. Greater N rate generally increased daily water use (DWU), and biocontainers had greater DWU than plastic containers. The 20 mm N rate resulted in the highest net photosynthetic rate measured on 11 Sept. and 22 Sept. (65 and 76 days after treatment). Net photosynthetic rate (measured on 8 Oct.) and stomatal conductance (gS) (measured on 27 Aug., 22 Sept., and 8 Oct.) were lower in biocontainers compared with plastic containers. Two irrigations per day resulted in higher substrate moisture at 5-cm depth than one irrigation per day, and slightly increased PGI on 19 Aug. However, irrigation frequency did not affect photosynthetic rate, gS, or N uptake of hydrangea plants except in stems. Considering the increased water use of hydrangea plants when grown in the paper biocontainer and lower plant photosynthesis and N uptake, the tested paper biocontainer may not serve as a satisfactory sustainable alternative to traditional plastic containers.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project MIS-249180.We thank Oregon Hydrangea Company, Brookings, OR, and Natchez Trace Greenhouse, Kosciusko, MS, for plant material.Mention of a trademark, proprietary product, or vendor does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by Mississippi State University or the USDA and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products or vendors that also may be suitable.

Corresponding author. E-mail: tl665@msstate.edu.

  • ArmitageA.M.SeagerN.G.WarringtonI.J.GreerD.H.ReyngoudJ.1990Response of Oxypetalum caeruleum to irradiance, temperature, and photoperiodJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.115910914

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BeeksS.A.EvansM.R.2013Growth of cyclamen in biocontainers on an ebb-and-flood subirrigation systemHortTechnology23173176

  • BiG.ScagelC.F.2008Nitrogen uptake and mobilization by hydrangea leaves from foliar-sprayed urea in fall depend on plant nitrogen statusHortScience4321512154

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BiG.ScagelC.F.HarkessR.L.2008Rate of nitrogen fertigation during vegetative growth and spray application of urea in the fall alters growth and flowering of florists’ hydrangeasHortScience43472477

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BiG.ScagelC.F.ChengL.DongS.FuchigamiL.H.2003Spring growth of almond nursery trees depends upon both nitrogen reserves and spring nitrogen applicationJ. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol.78853858

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BiG.ScagelC.F.FuchigamiL.H.ReganP.R.2007Rate of nitrogen application during the growing season alters the response of container-grown rhododendron and azalea to foliar application of urea in the autumnJ. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol.82753763

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BremnerJ.M.1965Total nitrogen p. 1149–1178. In: C.A. Black (ed.). Methods of soil analysis Part 2 Agronomy 9. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Inc. Madison WI

  • BrumfieldR.G.DeVincentisA.J.WangX.FernandezR.T.NambuthiriS.GeneveR.L.KoeserA.K.BiG.LiT.SunY.NiuG.CochranD.FulcherA.StewartJ.R.2015Economics of utilizing alternative containers in ornamental crop production systemsHortTechnology251725

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ChengL.XiaG.2004Growth and fruiting of young ‘Concord’ grapevines in relation to reserve nitrogen and carbohydratesJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.129660666

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ChengL.DongS.GuakS.FuchigamiL.H.2001Effects of nitrogen fertigation on reserve nitrogen and carbohydrate status and regrowth performance of pear nursery plantsActa Hort.5645162

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CurreyC.J.LopezR.G.2015Biomass accumulation and allocation, photosynthesis, and carbohydrate status of New Guinea impatiens, geraniums, and petunia cuttings are affected by photosynthetic daily light integral during root developmentJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.140542549

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DirrM.A.2004Hydrangeas for American gardens. Timber Press Portland OR

  • DirrM.A.1998Manual of woody landscape plants. The identification ornamental characteristics culture propagation and uses. Stipes Publ. Champaign IL

  • EvansJ.R.1989Photosynthesis and nitrogen relationship in leaves of C3 plantsOecologia78919

  • EvansM.R.TaylerM.KuehnyJ.2010Physical properties of biocontainer for greenhouse crops productionHortTechnology20549555

  • GastalF.LemaireG.2002N uptake and distribution in crops: An agronomical and ecophysiological perspectiveJ. Expt. Bot.53789799

  • GuS.FuchigamiL.H.GuakS.H.ShinC.1996Effects of short-term water stress, hydrophilic polymer amendment, and antitranspirant on stomatal status, transpiration, water loss, and growth in ‘Better Boy’ tomato plantsJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.121831837

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HeeremaR.J.VanLeeuwenD.St. HilaireR.GutschickV.P.CookB.2014Leaf photosynthesis in nitrogen-starved ‘Western’ pecan is lower on fruiting shoots than non-fruiting shoots during kernel fillJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.139267274

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JasonM.J.LawlorD.W.1979The relationship between transpiration, root water uptake, and leaf water potentialJ. Expt. Bot.30169181

  • JifonJ.L.SyvertsenJ.P.WhaleyE.2005Growth environment and leaf anatomy affect nondestructive estimates of chlorophyll and nitrogen in Citrus sp. leavesJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.130152158

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KimS.H.JeongJ.H.NackleyL.L.2013Photosynthetic and transpiration responses to light, CO2, temperature, and leaf senescence in garlic: Analysis and modelingJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.138149156

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KoeserA.KlingG.MillerC.WarnockD.2013Compatibility of biocontainer in commercial greenhouse crop productionHortTechnology23149156

  • KuehnyJ.S.TaylorM.EvansM.R.2011Greenhouse and landscape performance of bedding plants in biocontainersHortTechnology21155161

  • LasseigneF.T.WarrenS.L.BlazichF.A.RanneyT.G.2007Day/night temperature affects growth and photosynthesis of cultivated Salvia taxaJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.132492500

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LiT.BiG.NiuG.NambuthiriS.S.GeneveR.L.WangX.FernandezT.SunY.ZhaoX.2015Feasibility of using biocontainers in a pot-in-pot system for nursery production of river birchHortTechnology255762

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LiT.BiG.HarkessR.L.DennyG.C.BlytheE.K.ZhaoX.2018Nitrogen rate, irrigation frequency, and container type affect plant growth and nutrient uptake of encore azalea ‘Chiffon’HortScience53560566

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McElroneA.J.ChoatB.GambettaG.A.BrodersenC.R.2013Water uptake and transport in vascular plantsNature Educ. Knowledge456

  • MillardP.1995Internal cycling of nitrogen in treesActa Hort.383313

  • NambuthiriB.GeneveR.L.SunY.WangX.FernandezR.T.NiuG.BiG.FulcherA.2015Substrate temperature in plastic and alternative nursery containersHortTechnology255056

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NettoA.T.CampostriniE.OliveiraJ.G.Bressan-SmithR.E.2005Photosynthetic pigments, nitrogen, chlorophyll α fluorescence and SPAD-502 readings in coffee leavesScientia Hort.104199209

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O’MearaL.ChappellM.R.van IerselM.W.2014Water use of Hydrangea macrophylla and Gardenia jasminoides in response to a gradually drying substrateHortScience49493498

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orozco-ObandoW.HirschG.N.WetzsteinH.Y.2005Genotypic variation in flower induction and development in Hydrangea macrophyllaHortScience4016951698

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ReedS.M.JonesK.D.RinehartT.A.2008Production and characterization of intergeneric hybrids between Dichroa febrifuga and Hydrangea macrophyllaJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.1338491

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RoseM.A.RoseM.WangH.1999Fertilizer concentration and moisture tension affect growth and foliar N, P, and K contents of two woody ornamentalHortScience34246250

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SalisburyF.RossC.W.1992Plant physiology. 4th ed. Wadsworth Publ. Co. Belmont CA

  • SanchezE.E.RighettiT.L.SugarD.LombardP.B.1991Recycling of nitrogen in field-grown ‘Comice’ pearsJ. Hort. Sci.66479486

  • ScagelC.F.BiG.FuchigamiL.H.ReganR.P.2011Effects of irrigation frequency and nitrogen fertilizer rate on water stress, nitrogen uptake, and plant growth of container-grown rhododendronHortScience4615691603

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ScagelC.F.BiG.FuchigamiL.H.ReganR.P.2012Irrigation frequency alters nutrient uptake in container-grown Rhododendron plants grown with different rates of nitrogenHortScience47189197

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ScheiberS.M.BeensonR.C.ChenJ.WangQ.PearsonB.2008Evaluation of irrigation frequency and quantity on leaf gas exchange, growth, and nitrate leaching of coleus in a simulated landscapeHortScience43881884

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SilberA.XuG.LevkovitchI.SorianoS.BiluA.WallachR.2003High fertigation frequency: The effects on uptake of nutrients, water, and plant growthPlant Soil253467477

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SunY.BiG.NiuG.PerezC.2015Foliar application of dikegulac sodium increased branching of ‘Merritt’s Supreme’ bigleaf hydrangeaHortTechnology25306312

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TagliaviniM.MillardP.QuartieriM.MarangoniB.1999Timing of nitrogen uptake affects winter storage and spring remobilization of nitrogen in nectarine (Prunus persica var. nectarina) treesPlant Soil211149153

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture20142012 Census of Agriculture. Census of Horticultural Specialties (2014). U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington DC. <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Census_of_Horticulture_Specialties/HORTIC.pdf>

  • van GelderenC.J.van GelderenD.M.2004Encyclopedia of hydrangeas. Timber Press Portland OR

  • WangX.FernandezR.T.CreggB.M.AurasR.FulcherA.CochranD.R.NiuG.SunY.BiG.NambuthiriS.GeneveR.L.2015Multistate evaluation of plant growth and water use in plastic and alternative nursery containersHortTechnology254249

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WeinbaumS.A.KleinI.BroadbentF.E.MickeW.C.MuraokaT.T.1984Effect of time of nitrogen application and soil texture on the availability of isotopically labeled fertilizer nitrogen to reproductive and vegetative growth of mature almond treesJ. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.109339343

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • XuG.LevkovitchI.SorianoS.WallachR.SilberA.2004Integrated effect of irrigation frequency and phosphorus level on lettuce: P uptake, root growth, and yieldPlant Soil263297309

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • YeagerT.H.WrightR.D.FareD.GilliamC.H.JohnsonJ.R.BilderbackT.ZondagR.1993Six state survey of container nursery nitrate nitrogen runoffJ. Environ. Hort.11206208

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ZhouT.S.HaraN.1988Development of shoot in Hydrangea macrophylla. I. Terminal and axillary budsBot. Mag. Tokyo102193206

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 334 334 19
Full Text Views 68 68 1
PDF Downloads 40 40 0