Antidesiccants Applied to Packaged Rose Plants Affect Growth and Field Performance

in HortScience
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  • 1 Botany and Plant Sciences Department, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521
  • | 2 Cooperative Extension, University of California, 1031 South Mount Vernon Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93307
  • | 3 Bear Creek Production Company, P.O. Box 280, Wasco, CA 93280

Moisture loss from bare-root plants during postharvest handling and storage can have a significant impact on plant survival and growth during establishment. Three film-forming antitranspirants and hot wax were applied to bare-root roses (Rosa) packaged after harvesting from the field and before 13 weeks of –2C storage to determine effects on vegetative growth and flowering. Subsequently, during 15 days under simulated display conditions (22 to 32C), plants treated with hot wax resumed growth at the fastest rate compared to control or antitranspirant treatments. Hot-wax-treated plants remained at an advanced phenological stage compared to the other plants for 2 weeks following transplanting in the field. For the remaining 10 weeks of the experiment, vegetative growth and flowering development were similar for all treatments. More than 60% of the plants treated with hot wax developed moderate to severe cane damage and plant dieback. Less than 20% of the antitranspirant-treated plants were damaged. A laboratory experiment confirmed that hot wax treatment was most effective; it reduced weight loss from stem sections by 85% relative to the control. The other antitranspirants reduced weight loss by 27%.

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