Shoot and Root Temperature Effects on Lettuce Growth in a Floating Hydroponic System

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
  • 2 Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

`Ostinata' Butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) was used to study lettuce production at varied shoot (air) and root (pond) temperatures. A floating hydroponic system was used to study the influence of pond temperature on lettuce growth for 35 days. Pond water temperature setpoints of 17, 24, and 31 °C were used at air temperatures of 17/12, 24/19, and 31/26 °C (day/night). Pond temperature affected plant dry mass, and air temperature significantly affected growth over time. Maximum dry mass was produced at the 24/24 °C (air/pond temperature) treatment. Final dry mass at the 31/24 °C treatment did not differ significantly from the 24/24 °C treatment. The 24 °C pond treatment maintained market quality lettuce head production in 31 °C air. Using optimal pond temperature, lettuce production was deemed acceptable at a variety of air temperatures outside the normal range, and particularly at high air temperatures.

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