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James M. Dangler and C. Wesley Wood

Collards (Brassica oleracea L. Acephala Group) were grown in spring and fall to evaluate the effects of N fertilizer rate (0, 56, 112, 168, and 224 kg·ha -1), cultivar (Blue Max and Vates), and within-row spacing (15, 23, and 30 cm) on yield and leaf mineral nutrient concentrations. Season, cultivar, and N rate interacted in their effects on yield. In spring, `Blue Max' yield increased linearly with N rate to 10.4 t·ha-1, whereas the highest `Vates' yield (7.0 t·ha-1) was obtained with 112 kg N/ha, and yield remained similar with additional N. In fall, `Blue Max' and `Vates' yields were highest (14.5 and 9.9 t·ha -1, respectively) with 112 kg N/ha. Leaf N and P concentrations increased quadratically and linearly, respectively, in response to N rate. Maximum yields were obtained with the 15-cm within-row spacing. Leaf N concentration increased linearly with increased plant population. The adequacy of the present sufficiency range for leaf Ca concentrations of field-grown collards is discussed.

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Carrie L. Whitcher, Matthew W. Kent, and David Wm. Reed

The objective of this study was to quantify the optimum rates of water-soluble phosphorus (P) under constant nitrogen and potassium on the growth of new guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri Bull.) `Paradise Violet' and vinca Catharanthus roseus `Pacifica Red' in soilless media in a recirculating subirrigation system. The experiment was designed so that only phosphate varied between treatments while all other nutrients remained constant. The ammoniacal N to nitrate N ratio was varied to counter balance increases in phosphate. Sodium was used as a counter ion to phosphate at higher concentrations of phosphate; sodium proved to be toxic at concentrations above 6 mm. In the new guinea impatiens experiment, there was a small increase in K due to the use of dibasic K phosphate to buffer pH. All growth parameters measured (height, leaf number, flower number, and shoot fresh and dry weight) showed significant differences with increasing P rate. Depending on the growth parameter measured, quadratic–linear models revealed an optimum P rate of 0.1 to 0.96 mm for new guinea impatiens `Paradise Violet' and 0.45 to 1.25 mm P for vinca `Pacifica Red'. For dry shoot weight, a common measure of optimum plant growth, the optimum P rate was 0.75 mm P for new guinea impatiens `Paradise Violet' and 0.67 mm P for vinca `Pacifica Red'. For flower number, a common measure of floral quality, the optimal P rate was 0.96 mm P for new guinea impatiens `Paradise Violet' and 1.25 mm P for vinca `Pacifica Red'. Electrical conductivity (EC) of the growing media increased significantly with increasing rate of P. At all rates, EC was significantly greater in the top layer than in the bottom and middle layers. The pH of the growing medium did not vary in relation to P concentration.

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Earl E. Albregts, George J. Hochnmth, Craig K. Chandler, John Cornell, and Jay Harrison

`Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) in 1991-92 and `Oso Grande' and `Seascape' in 1992-93 were grown in a K fertilization study using polyethylene-mulched and fumigated beds. Potassium was injected weekly into the drip irrigation system at 0.28,0.56,0.84, 1.12, and 1.40 kg K/ha per day. Early, March, and total-season marketable fruit yields were not affected by K rate during either season. The average fruit weight of `Oso Grande' for the early, March, and total-season harvest periods in the 1992-93 season decreased with increased K rate. For the same harvest periods, `Seascape' average fruit weight increased, decreased, and did not change, respectively, with increased K rate. Cull fruit yield during both seasons and fruit firmness during the 1992-93 season were not affected by K rate. Petiole sap, whole leaf, and leaf blade K concentrations increased with increasing K rates on most sampling dates during both seasons. `Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' produced similar total marketable fruit yields the first season, but `Oso Grande' produced higher total yields than `Seascape' during all harvest periods of the second season.

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Yuncong Li and Min Zhang

Excessive bicarbonate concentrations and high irrigation water pH affect the growth and appearance of nursery plants in southern Florida. A greenhouse experiment consisting of five nitrogen (N) rates of urea or nitric acid was conducted to evaluate the influence of N sources and rates in irrigation water on bicarbonate concentrations, medium pH, and growth and appearance of anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum Lind.) plants. Pot medium pH, dry weight, plant appearance and N uptake by plants were significantly affected by N rates in irrigation water amended with either liquid urea or nitric acid, but the differences between the two N sources were not significant. The optimum growth and the best appearance of anthurium were achieved when N was added to irrigation well water as either urea or nitric acid at a rate of 20 mg·L-1 (ppm) and an electrical conductivity in a range of 0.36 to 0.42 dS·m-1 Nitrogen rates at 80 and 120 mg·L-1 induced adverse plant growth because of the greater salinity of the solutions and the lower pH of the medium.

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María José Gómez-Bellot, Pedro Antonio Nortes, María Fernanda Ortuño, María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco, Karoline Santos Gonçalves, and Sebastián Bañón

Euonymus japonica Thunb. (euonymus) plants were submitted for 9 months to two irrigation treatments using water from different sources: a control (C) water with electrical conductivity (EC) less than 1.2 dS·m−1 and reclaimed wastewater (RW) with EC ≈4 dS·m−1. At the end of the experiment, no differences in the total dry weight were observed between treatments, whereas the leaf dry mass increased (to the detriment of the root part in RW plants). Throughout the day, the stem water potential (Ψstem) of the RW plants was lower than in C, whereas stomatal conductance (g S) was slightly reduced in RW from 0800 hr to 1200 hr, but no significant variation in photosynthesis (Pn) or energy conversion efficiency (F′v/F′m) in photosystem II was detected through the effect of salinity. Gas exchange and fluorescence showed a tendency to increase after midday in plants treated with RW. The photosynthetic behavior and fluorescence of RW plants may have been related to the nitrogen and chlorophyll content of the leaves, confirming the resistance of the photosynthetic mechanism to salinity in this species in these conditions. The toxic effects produced by high concentrations of boron (B), sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl) were offset by the effect of other ions like magnesium (Mg2+), potassium (K+), and phosphorus (P) in plants irrigated with RW, thus improving their physiological status without decreasing their ornamental value.

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Irradiation of FeDTPA-containing nutrient solutions by a fluorescent plus incandescent light source resulted in the loss of both Fe-chelate and soluble Fe, the formation of a precipitate that was composed mostly of Fe, and a rise in pH. The rate of Fe-chelate photodegradation in solution increased with irradiance intensity and with solution temperature under irradiation, but irradiance had the greater effect. Fe-chelates absorb in the blue and UV regions of the spectrum. Removal of these wavelengths with a spectral filter eliminated photodegradation. Chemical name used: ferric diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (FeDTPA).

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Harvey J. Lang and Timothy R. Pannkuk

New Guinea impatiens `Barbados' (Impatiens ×hawkeri) were fertilized with solutions containing N at 6, 12, or 18 mmol·L-1 delivered from a drip irrigation system with either minimum leaching or standard leaching (0.3 to 0.4 leaching fraction). Irrigation was monitored and controlled by computers using microtensiometers placed in representative pots of each treatment. In two separate experiments, growth index, fresh mass, and dry mass were dependent upon both fertilizer concentration and irrigation treatment. Maximum growth overall was achieved at 12 mmol·L-1 N regardless of irrigation treatment; however, standard-leached plants receiving N at both 6 and 18 mmol·L-1 produced larger plants than did similarly fertilized minimum-leached plants. Leaf scorch, spotting, or marginal necrosis did not occur in any of the treatments. Leaf N, P, and K concentrations were highest in plants treated with N at 18 mmol·L-1, but Ca, Mg, and several micronutrients were highest in plants at 6 mmol·L-1 N. At the end of the cropping period for both experiments, growing medium electrical conductivity (EC) in the uppermost one-third layer of the pot was two to four times as high as that in the bottom two-thirds (root zone) layer. Root-zone EC ranged from 0.6 to 4.0 dS·m-1 and increased as fertilizer concentration increased. Standard leaching had little effect in reducing root-zone EC except in plants fertilized with N at 18 mmol·L-1. All plants continued to perform well and flower after 4 weeks in a simulated interior environment. Minimum-leach drip irrigation used ≈35% less solution than did standard irrigation with leaching, and eliminated N runoff.

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Lucina Gómez-Pérez, Luis Alonso Valdez-Aguilar, Alberto Sandoval-Rangel, Adalberto Benavides-Mendoza, Rosalinda Mendoza-Villarreal, and Ana María Castillo-González

Irrigation water high in alkalinity can severely compromise the growth and marketability of ornamental plants. In the present study we investigated the response of lisianthus to increased calcium (Ca) when irrigated with solutions containing high levels of bicarbonate (HCO3 )-induced alkalinity. Alkalinity in irrigation water reduced the growth of lisianthus; however, plants supplemented with an increased concentration of Ca at alkalinity levels from 4 to 7 meq·L−1 of HCO3 exhibited improved growth and dry mass (DM) accumulation or were not detrimentally affected, demonstrating that Ca contributes to the increase of the tolerance of lisianthus to alkalinity. Supplementary Ca did maintain a high stomatal conductance (g S) and transpiration rate when alkalinity was at 4 meq·L−1, which explained the lower water potential in young leaves. Plants irrigated with solutions containing supplementary Ca had higher total DM, which was associated with a higher g S; however, when conductance was higher than 0.280 cm·s−1, like in plants with no supplementary Ca, DM tended to decrease. At a typical Ca concentration, there was a disruption on stomata functioning as g S and transpiration rate increased, which was associated with a reduction in shoot potassium (K). Calcium ameliorated the uptake of K when alkalinity was 4 meq·L−1 by allowing a less marked reduction in shoot K concentration. Chlorophyll was reduced by increasing alkalinity as a result of a decrease in shoot iron (Fe); however, supplementary Ca also contributed in increasing plant tolerance to alkalinity at 4 meq·L−1 by sustaining a high shoot Fe concentration. Supplementary Ca increased catalase and peroxidase activities, indicating that lisianthus responded to the stress by enhancing the activity of these enzymes to reduce oxidative damage.

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K.M. Batal, D.M. Granberry, and B.G. Mullinix Jr.

The effects of three rates of N, Mg, and B on cauliflower (Brassica oleracea, Botrytis group) yield, average curd mass, and hollow stem disorder were evaluated on sandy and clay loam soils. Cultivars White Empress and Stovepipe were tested on the sandy loam soil and `White Empress' was tested on the clay loam soil. Maximum mean curd mass and maximum yields were obtained with the highest N rates (269 and 381 kg·ha-1) applied to sandy loam and clay loam soils, respectively. Yield response to increased N rates varied with cultivar. Increasing Mg from 22.5 to 90 kg·ha-1 did not affect yield or curd mass on clay loam soil, but increased yield and mean curd mass on sandy loam soil. The Mg effect on curd mass was influenced by N and B rates. On both soil types, the higher Mg and B rates reduced the incidence of hollow stem, but the Mg effect was influenced by N applications. On clay loam soil, increasing B from 2.2 to 8.8 kg·ha-1 reduced hollow stem but had no effect on yield or curd mass. On sandy loam soil, B at 4.4 kg·ha-1 maximized yield and curd mass, but the hollow stem disorder continued to decrease as B rates were increased from 2.2 to 8.8 kg·ha-1.

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James E. Altland, Charles Krause, James C. Locke, and Wendy L. Zellner

The objective of this research was to determine the suitability of a steel slag product for supplying micronutrients to container-grown floriculture crops. Geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey ‘Maverick Red’) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L. ‘Megabite’) were grown in 11.4-cm containers with a substrate composed of 85 peatmoss : 15 perlite (v/v). A group of containers referred to as the commercial control (C-control) were amended with 4.8 kg·m−3 dolomitic lime and fertilized with a commercial complete fertilizer providing macro and micronutrients (Jack’s 20N–4.4P–16.6K–0.15Mg–0.02B–0.01Cu–0.1Fe–0.05Mn–0.01Mo–0.05Zn) at a concentration of 100 mg·L−1 nitrogen (N). Another group of containers, referred to as the micronutrient control (M-control), were amended with a commercial granular micronutrient package at 0.9 kg·m−3 and dolomitic lime at 4.8 kg·m−3. The M-controls were fertilized with 7.1 mm N (100 mg·L−1 N) with ammonium nitrate and 2 mm potassium phosphate. A final group of containers were amended with 1.2, 2.4, or 4.8 kg·m−3 of steel slag and fertilized with 3.6 mm ammonium nitrate and 2 mm potassium phosphate. Both control groups resulted in vigorous and saleable plants by the conclusion of the experiment. In both crops, chlorophyll levels, root ratings, and shoot dry mass were lower in all steel slag–amended plants compared with either control groups. In geranium, foliar nutrient concentrations suggest Cu and Zn were limiting whereas B and Zn were limiting in tomato. Based on the results of this research, steel slag does not provide sufficient micronutrients, most notably B, Cu, and Zn, to be the sole source of micronutrient fertilization in container-grown crops.