Container Volume and Height Affect Shoot and Root Development in Marigold Seedlings

in HortScience
Authors:
Jennifer MarohnicDept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546

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Robert L. GeneveDept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546

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Marigold seedlings were grown in four containers that differed in both volume and shape. Seedlings grown in 1.5-gal containers showed the greatest potential for shoot and root development 20 days after sowing. These seedlings had greater leaf area, shoot and root dry weight, and total root number and length compared to seedlings grown in 406 plug trays, 72-cell packs, or 6-inch containers. There was a positive correlation (r2 = 0.81) between cell volume and seedling growth as well as a positive correlation (r2 = 0.89) between container height with seedling growth. An attempt was made to separate the impact of container volume vs. container height on seedling growth. Containers were designed using acrylics to vary the container height while keeping the volume constant at 1500 cm3. There was a positive correlation (r2 = 0.87) between shoot and root dry weight with container height. The data suggest that both container volume and height contribute to overall seedling growth in marigold, but when container volume is not limiting, container height has a large impact on seedling development.

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