679 Intelligent Media: Use of Buffered Phosphate for Production of Ornamentals in Soilless Media

in HortScience
Authors:
Jonathan LynchDept. of Horticulture, Penn State, University Park, PA 16802

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Kathleen BrownDept. of Horticulture, Penn State, University Park, PA 16802

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We have developed solid-phase P buffers capable of maintaining P concentrations in soiless media much lower than conventional fertilizers, in the range of available P levels found in natural soil. In addition to substantially reducing PGH reaching into the environment, these buffers can have a number of useful effects on crop growth. Using various floriculture and ornamental species, plants grown in media buffered at low P levels have stimulated root branching and growth, increased drought resistance, better transplant establishment, better shoot form, better vegetative growth, increased flowering, and continued development of buds in the postharvest environment. Phosphorus availability regulates many aspects of root architecture including adventitious rooting, lateral branch density, root gravitropism, and root hair formation. It appears that many of the effects of P on root growth may be mediated by ethylene. We hypothesize that the high P concentrations used in many horticultural systems are detrimental to optimal plant growth, and that buffered media represent an opportunity to improve production systems while also reducing environmental pollution from nutrient effluents.

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