IMPROVING THE SURVIVAL OF NURSERY PLANTS DURING POSTHARVEST HANDLING.

in HortScience

Desiccation stress during the postharvest handling of bare-root nursery plants is often responsible for poor performance after transplanting. Alternate methods of handling desiccation sensitive deciduous trees, such as Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum Med.), and herbaceous perennials species, including Iris, Hosta, and Hemerocallis, are needed for improving survival after transplanting.

A new antidesiccant compound called Moisturin has been useful in reducing water loss from Washington hawthorn trees during storage and shipping, and in improving survival and plant performance during establishment. Hawthorn seedlings or multi-stemmed trees treated with Moisturin before a period of water stress had up to 75% less dieback than control or other antidesiccant treatments.

The use of Moisturin treatment and / or protection with plastic bags of topped bare-rooted herbaceous perennials before five weeks of cold storage (2C) was effective in improving the survival of Iris ensata, Iris sibirica, and Hosta plants. Hemerocallis plants survived equally well with all treatments. The greatest effect on reduction of water loss and improvement of survival was when plants were sealed in plastic bags.

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