592 PB 164 POST-TRANSPLANT ROOT GROWTH OF CITRUS PLANTS AS INFLUENCED BY PRODUCTION TIME IN NURSERY CONTAINERS

in HortScience

An aeroponics system was used to determine root growth of Citrus aurantifolia Swingle following removal from containers. Rooted cuttings were planted in 0.46-liter containers in a 1 sand: 1 perlite medium, and watered daily and fertilized with a complete nutrient solution weekly. The plants were grown in the containers until root growth had filled the container volume. A sample of plants was removed from the bench after 86, 146, or 210 days in container production. Plants were bare-rooted and the existing root system dyed with methylene blue, and placed in the aeroponics system. The plants were maintained in the aeroponics system for 50 days, then were harvested and the roots separated into pre-existing roots and new roots. Two dimensional area and dry weight of roots were measured. Relative new root growth of plants that were maintained 210 days in the containers was less than that of plants that were removed from containers earlier. The data indicate that maintaining plants in containers for extended periods of time may reduce root regeneration following removal from containers.

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