Crape Myrtle Post-transplant Growth as Affected by Nitrogen Nutrition during Nursery Production

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Plant Science, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Containerized crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L. × Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne `Tonto') plants were grown for 9 months under various nitrogen fertility regimes, and then transplanted to a sandy loam soil with minimal management to evaluate their landscape establishment and growth performance. During the nursery phase plants were irrigated, except over an overwintering period, with complete nutrient solutions differing in applied N concentration, ranging from 15 to 300 mg·L-1. By 16 weeks after transplanting (WAT) into the landscape soil, plant biomass was significantly higher in the plants that had been grown with higher N supplies and had been among the smallest at transplant. Such plant growth response was linearly and positively correlated to plant N status at transplant. Plant shoot to root ratio and tissue N, Ca, S, and Fe concentrations, which had been significantly affected by the N fertilization regime in the nursery, equalized over time after transplant, with no significant differences observed among treatments by 16 WAT. Flowering response in the landscape was delayed in plants originally grown with the higher N supplies. Plant survival and establishment per se were not affected by treatments; no plants were lost, and aside from the differences in size and flower timing, all plants were considered aesthetically similar.

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