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  • 1 Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, P. O. Drawer E, Overton, Texas 75684

Field grown `Mr. Lincoln' rose plants were dug and wrapped in plastic to reduce moisture loss during transport to the lab. Plants were then pruned, weighed, and returned to the plastic cover. After recording initial weights, plants were allowed to dry for 0, 1, 4, 7, or 24 hours at 16°C. Plants were then oven dried, potted, or soaked in water for 20 hours before potting for each drying time treatment. The potted plants were forced to first flower in a glasshouse at which time growth measurements were made. Undried plants had a moisture content of 48%. Seven hours drying reduced moisture content to 41%, but had no effect on growth or flowering. The 24 hour drying time resulted in a plant moisture content of 33%, a plant loss of 44%, and delayed growth initiation and flowering by up to 15 days compared to undried controls. Soaking after 24 hours drying increased plant survival from 38 to 75%. Plants that survived the excessive drying produced flowering growth comparable to plants with a moisture content of > 40%. A critical moisture level for rose plant survival was found to be between 33 and 41%.