Correcting Iron Deficiency in Calibrachoa Grown in a Container Medium at High pH

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Plant Biology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824.
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, OH 43210-1096.
  • | 3 Blackmore Co., 10800 Blackmore Ave, Belleville, MI 48111.

The objective was to evaluate and compare foliar spray and soil drench application methods of iron (Fe) for correcting Fe deficiency in hybrid calibrachoa (Calibrachoa × hybrida) grown in a container medium at pH 6.9 to 7.4. Untreated plants showed severe chlorosis and necrosis, stunting, and lack of flowering. An organosilicone surfactant applied at 1.25 mL·L-1 (0.160 fl oz/gal) increased uptake of Fe from foliar applications of both ferrous sulfate (FeSO4) and ferric ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (Fe-EDTA). Foliar sprays at 60 mg·L-1 (ppm) Fe were more effective when Fe was applied as Fe-EDTA than FeSO4. Increasing Fe concentration of foliar sprays up to 240 mg·L-1 Fe from Fe-EDTA or 368 mg·L-1 Fe (the highest concentrations tested) from ferric diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Fe-DTPA) increased chlorophyll content compared with lower spray concentrations, but leaf necrosis at the highest concentrations may have been caused by phytotoxicity. Drenches with ferric ethylenediaminedi(o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid (Fe-EDDHA) at 20 to 80 mg·L-1 Fe were highly effective at correcting Fe-deficiency symptoms, and had superior effects on plant growth compared with drenches of Fe-DTPA at 80 mg·L-1 Fe or foliar sprays. Efficacy of Fe-DTPA drenches increased as concentration increased from 20 to 80 mg·L-1 Fe. An Fe-EDDHA drench at 20 to 80 mg·L-1 Fe was a cost-effective option for correcting severe Fe deficiency at high medium pH.

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