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Anuradha Tatineni, Nihal C. Rajapakse, R. Thomas Fernandez and James R. Rieck

Responses to selected chemical growth retardants (daminozide, paclobutrazol, and prohexadione-Ca) and GA1 and GA3 under photoselective greenhouse covers with various phytochrome photoequilibrium estimates (φe) were evaluated using `Bright Golden Anne' chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflora Kitam. (syn. Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.)] as the model plant to better understand the height control mechanism by far red (FR) light depleted environments. Plant height linearly decreased as φe increased from 0.72 to 0.83. The rate of height decrease of daminozide treated plants was less than that of water (control) or GA3-treated plants. The rate of height reduction was not different between control and GA3-treated plants among chambers with various φe. Both paclobutrazol and prohexadione-Ca reduced plant height regardless of φe, but the height reduction by paclobutrazol was more than that by prohexadioneCa. The combination of paclobutrazol and prohexadione-Ca reduced plant height more than either alone. GA1 reversed the height reduction caused by paclobutrazol and prohexadione-Ca regardless of φe, but the height increase by GA1 was more when it was applied with prohexadione-Ca than when applied alone. Results show that photoselective covers with high φe were effective in controlling height of chrysanthemums without chemical growth retardants. The linear relationship between plant height and φe suggests that effectiveness of photoselective covers increased as φe increased. The photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) transmission of photoselective covers decreased as the φe increased because of the increasing dye concentration. Identifying photoselective covers that effectively filter out FR light from sunlight and reduce plant height while minimizing the PPF reduction is critical for commercial success of photoselective covers. Gibberellins are, at least partially, involved in height control by photoselective covers. Photoselective greenhouse covers did not reduce responsiveness to gibberellins, and it appears that the mechanism may be to suppress gibberellin biosynthesis. Results also suggest that increased metabolism of GA1 to GA8 was not the mechanism of height control by photoselective covers. Chemical names used: butanedioic acid mono (2,2-dimethylhydrazide) [daminozide]; (±)-(R*,R*)-b-((4-chlorophenyl)methyl)-a-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol [paclobutrazol]; 3,5-dioxo-4-(1-oxopropyl)cyclohexanecarboxylic acid [prohexadione-Ca]; gibberellic acid [GA].

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Sandra B. Wilson and Nihal C. Rajapakse

Plant response to photoselective plastic films with varying spectral transmission properties was tested using lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) `Florida Pink', `Florida Blue', and `Florida Sky Blue'. Films were designated YXE-10 (far-red light-absorbing film) and SXE-4 (red light absorbing film). Light transmitted through YXE-10 films reduced plant height compared to control plants by 10% (`Florida Blue'), and stem dry weight by 19% to 40%, but the response varied by cultivar. Internode length was reduced by 10% to 19% when `Florida Pink' and `Florida Sky Blue' plants were grown under YXE-10 films. Leaf and root dry weights were not affected by YXE-10 films, with the exception that `Florida Sky Blue' plants had a lower leaf dry weight than the control plants. Light transmitted through SXE-4 films increased plant height of `Florida Pink' plants by 15% but not of `Florida Blue' or `Florida Sky Blue.' Regardless of cultivar, dry weight of leaf, stem and root tissue was not affected by SXE-4 films as compared to control films. The average number of days to flower and bud number were not affected by YXE-10 or SXE-4 films, regardless of cultivar. The results suggest that selective reduction of far-red wavelengths from sunlight may be an alternative technique for greenhouse production of compact plants, but the magnitude of the response is cultivar specific.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse, Roy E. Young, Margaret J. McMahon and Ryu Oi

The interest in using nonchemical alternatives for growth control of horticultural crops has recently increased due to public concerns for food safety and environmental pollution. Several research teams around the world are investigating alternative growth control measures, such as genetic manipulation, temperature, water and nutrient management, mechanical conditioning, and light quality manipulation. This review discusses the recent developments in light quality manipulation as a nonchemical alternative for greenhouse plant height control.

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Hans Christian Wien

Interest in growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers in rudimentary greenhouses covered with a single layer of polyethylene has been increasing in North America in recent years ( Carey et al., 2009 ). These high tunnels offer a low-cost method of

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Athanasios P. Papadopoulos

The greenhouse cover has previously been shown to have large effects upon the greenhouse environment, crop productivity and energy use. However, in most cases, because of inadequate treatment replication, the extent of these effects has been impossible to quantify with confidence. In the fall of 1987, a new greenhouse complex of 9 mini greenhouses (6.4m × 7.2m, each) was constructed at the Harrow Research Station on the principles of the 3×3 Latin Square experimental design and with glass, double polyethylene film and double acrylic panel greenhouse covers as the three levels of treatment in the Latin Square. During the spring seasons of 1988 and 1990 the greenhouse cucumber cultivar Corona was cropped in rockwool in all 9 mini greenhouses, under 3 day air (DAT: 18°C, 21 °C and 24°C) and 3 night air temperatures (NAT: 16°C, 18°C and 20°C), superimposed across the rows and columns of greenhouses, respectively, to estimate yield and energy use response to DAT, NAT and greenhouse cover variation. Early marketable yield was highest at the 18/18 and 18/20°C DAT/NAT combinations and final marketable yield was highest at 18°C DAT regardless of NAT. Yield differences due to the greenhouse cover were insignificant. However, there were consistent differences in greenhouse air RH due to greenhouse cover (60%, 70% and 75% daily averages for glass, double polyethylene and double acrylic, respectively). Also, there were significant energy savings with the use of double polyethylene or double acrylic, as compared to glass greenhouse cover, and with low DAT and NAT (28%, 15% and 12% energy use reduction, respectively).

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Martin P.N. Gent

treatments. The temperature in all houses was less than 1 °C warmer than ambient at night and ≈2.5 °C warmer than ambient in the day during the period when plants were shaded. Table 1. Environment in greenhouses covered with a double layer of

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Shumin Li, Nihal C. Rajapakse and Ryu Oi

The far-red light intercepting photoselective plastic greenhouse covers have been shown to be effective in producing compact vegetable transplants. However, photoselective films reduce the photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) transmission compared to conventional plastic films because of the dye contained in the film. The low PPF in greenhouses covered with photoselective films may result in decreased plant dry matter production and could especially be a problem in the season with low light level and in northern latitudes. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine if covering at the end of the day (EOD) with photoselective films was effective in controlling height of vegetable seedlings. This will allow growers to maintain a high light level during daytime for optimum growth of plants. Cucumber seedlings were exposed to light transmitted through a photoselective film and a clear control film. Three exposure durations: continuous, exposure to filtered light from 3:00 pm to 9:00 am, and from 5:00 pm - 9:00 am, were evaluated. Results show that, after 15 days of treatment, about 25% of height reduction could be achieved by exposing the plants at the EOD from 3:00 pm to 9:00 am or from 5:00 pm to 9:00 am. Plants grown continuously under filtered light were the shortest. Compared to plants grown in photoselective chamber continuously, EOD exposed plants had greater leaf, stem and shoot dry weights, greater leaf area and thicker stem. Specific leaf and stem dry weights were also greater in EOD exposed plants. Number of leaves was not significantly affected by any exposure periods tested. The results suggested that the EOD use of photoselective film is effective in reducing height of cucumber seedlings. The responses of other crops need to be evaluated to test the feasibility of using photoselective film as a EOD cover on wide range of crops.

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Shumin Li, Nihal C. Rajapakse and Ryu Oi

Growth chamber experiments were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of several photoselective plastic films in controlling height of `Sweet Success' cucumber, `Mt. Pride' tomato, and `Capistrano' bell pepper transplants. Four types of treatment films; a control, two far-red light intercepting films (YXE-1 and YXE-10), and a red light intercepting film (SXE-1), with R: FR ratios of 1.0, 2.0, 1.6, and 0.8, respectively, were used as the covering materials of experimental chambers. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) was adjusted to be the same in all chambers with cheese cloth. Treatment period for cucumber and tomato was 15 days and that for bell pepper was 20 days. At the end of the treatment, significantly shorter plants were found in both YXE-1 and YXE-10 chambers for all the three tested crops. However, YXE-10 was more effective than YXE-1 in producing compact cucumber, tomato and bell pepper transplants. SXE-4 film produced taller plants than control film. Magnitude of response to filtered light varied with the crop species. Number of leaves was not significantly affected by the light transmitted through photoselective filters, indicating that the height reduction was mainly caused by the reduction in internode length. With the commercial development of photoselective greenhouse covers or shade material in the near future, nursery and greenhouse industry could potentially reduce the cost for growth regulating chemicals, reduce the health risks to their workers and consumers, and reduce environmental pollution.

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Teresa A. Cerny, Nihal C. Rajapakse and Ryu Oi

A research collaboration between Clemson Univ. and Mitsui Chemicals, Japan, has been established to develop and test photoselective greenhouse covers that can filter out far-red (FR) light and control plant height with minimal use of chemicals. The effects of polymethyl methacylate (PMMA) filters containing FR-intercepting dyes were evaluated on watermelon, pepper, chrysanthemum, and tomato to select an optimum dye concentration. As the dye concentration increased, FR interception increased, photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) decreased, and phytochrome photoequilibrium increased from 0.72 to 0.82. Light transmitted through photoselective filters reduced plant height effectively in all species tested. However, watermelon was the most responsive (50% height reduction) and chrysanthemum was the least responsive (20% height reduction) to filtered light. Tomato and peppers had an intermediate response. In watermelons, total shoot dry weight was reduced over 25% compared to the control plants, with a progressive decrease in shoot weight as the dye concentration increased. The specific stem dry weight was gradually reduced as the dye concentration increased. Specific leaf dry weight was slightly reduced under filters, suggesting that smaller plants as opposed to a reduction in dry matter production primarily caused total dry weight reduction. Light transmitted through filters reduced percentage dry matter accumulation into stems from 27% to 18% and increased dry matter accumulation into leaves from 73% to 82%. Photoselective filters are effective in controlling height similarly to chemical growth regulators. Considering the PAR reduction by increase in dye concentration, a dye concentration that gives a light reduction of 25% or 35% may be optimum for commercial development of photoselective films.

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Vinod Kumar, Aref Abdul-Baki, James D. Anderson and Autar K. Mattoo

Cover crop management in growing horticultural produce has attracted attention for reducing soil erosion and limiting the input of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.), one of the cover crops, exhibits desirable attributes such as high N fixing ability, biomass quality, adaptability to low temperatures, resistance to pests, and fitness in vegetable production, particularly in rotation with tomatoes. The interactions between the cover crop mulch and the tomato plant in the field plots result in delayed leaf senescence and increased disease tolerance. The mechanisms underlying these interactions are largely unknown. Limits in pursuing these studies year-round in the field—growing season and complexity and variability of the field environment—could be circumvented if the observed responses of tomato plants to hairy vetch mulch in the field could be reproduced under greenhouse conditions. We have tested tomato plants for two years in the greenhouse using soil residues brought from field plots where respective cover crops had been previously grown. Treatments were a) bare soil from a fallow, weed-free field plot, b) soil from a field plot that had been planted into a rye cover crop, and c) soil from a field plot that had been planted into a hairy vetch cover crop. Pots with soil from the rye or vetch field plots were further topped with rye or vetch residues, respectively, after transplanting the tomato plants. Additional N was applied to 50% of the plants in each treatment. In the greenhouse, cover crop residue-supplemented tomatoes exhibited high vigor, higher marketable yield and delayed senescence compared to those grown in bare soil. All treatments responded favorably to additional N from commercial fertilizers. Delayed leaf senescence correlated with the accumulation of rubisco large subunit and chitinase, two proteins central to photosynthesis and pathogenesis, respectively. This study shows that the responses of tomato plants to cover crops seen in the field can be mimicked under greenhouse conditions.