Efficacy of Exogenous Calcium Applications for Reducing Upper Leaf Necrosis in Lilium `Star Gazer'

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-5904
  • | 2 Office of Statistical Consulting, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-5904
  • | 3 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-5904

Upper leaf necrosis (ULN) on Lilium `Star Gazer' is a calcium deficiency disorder. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of foliar Ca sprays and bulb Ca dipping on reducing ULN. Necrosis severity of a single leaf was determined by an index from 0 (healthy) to 5, based on symptom progression and necrosed leaf area. Single leaf severity was then summed for all leaves to yield a whole-plant severity rating. Single daily applications of 25 mm calcium chloride or calcium nitrate sprays for 14 days significantly suppressed the degree of symptom expression; whole-plant severity was reduced from 18 (severely necrosed) to below 3 (essentially unnoticeable). Five single applications at 3.5-day intervals were not effective, even at concentrations up to 150 mm. At concentrations of 100 and 150 mm, 14 daily sprays of calcium chloride or calcium nitrate were toxic and caused leaf tip yellowing; calcium chloride caused more severe phytotoxicity than did calcium nitrate. For effectiveness of foliar Ca sprays, it was necessary to have the Ca solution reach the enclosed, young, expanding leaves. Preplant bulb immersion in calcium chloride was not effective even at concentrations as high as 400 mm for up to 16 hours.

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