Leaf nitrogen (N) and contact optical sensor sampling methods vary in the literature. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the best sampling procedure for correlating leaf N concentration to contact optical sensor readings. To investigate this, fertilizer rates of 0, 5, 10, or 15 g of 16N–9P–12K were applied as a topdress application on ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) ‘Tokyo Red’. Soil plant analysis development (SPAD) and atLEAF chlorophyll meters were used every week for 5 weeks starting 30 days after planting. For each pot, SPAD and atLEAF measurements were taken from a single mature leaf from the middle to upper level of the plant at the leaf tip, blade, or base of the leaf not including the midrib. Weekly leaf foliar analysis consisted of collecting either fully developed leaves from a single plant, five plants, or 10 plants per, using only the tip, blade, or base of three leaves for total leaf N concentration per treatment. A significant position affect was seen in both SPAD and atLEAF sensors. For SPAD, sensor readings taken from the tip and blade of a leaf were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from the base of the leaf. All three positions for atLEAF were significantly different from each other. This indicates that sensor sampling location within a leaf will affect readings. A significant difference was observed among leaf sampling methods. Taking leaf samples from the tip and base had the highest leaf N concentrations and were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from all other sampling methods, which were not significantly different from each other. Significant correlations were seen among all combinations of sensor positions and leaf N sampling methods except SPAD readings taken from the tip and leaf sampling from a single plant. Highest correlations (r = 0.7 to 0.8) were seen when SPAD readings were taken from the base of the leaf irrespective of leaf sampling method. Based on this experiment, either sensor could be used for correlating leaf N; however, growers should consistently collect sensor readings from the same location on a leaf to achieve consistent values and correlations.
This study aimed to identify the best method to improve poor branching of poinsettia ‘Orange Spice’. Treatments included pinched and unpinched alone and in combination with four different rates (3.9, 7.8, 11.7, and 23.4 mL⋅L−1) of Atrimmec. Pinching reduced plant height, as did unpinched + 11.7 mL⋅L−1 and unpinched + 11.7 mL⋅L−1 Atrimmec. Neither pinching nor Atrimmec had any effect on plant width, stem caliper, or shoot dry weight. Atrimmec did not increase the number of laterals in combination for pinched or unpinched treatments, but unpinched plants generally produced more laterals. Unpinched with any rate of Atrimmec resulted in tertiary shoots, which improved the visual appearance and quality.
Success of the floral industry lies in strengthening the fresh flower market with value-added products. An experiment was conducted to quantify luminescence of cut-flower white carnations after exposure to two fluorescent products (dye from a yellow highlighter or glow-in-the-dark spray paint). Single stems were placed in bud vases that were filled with 240 mL deionized water and 2 g floral preservative. Highlighter treatments were applied to the vase as either one drop, three drops, or half of the dye reservoir (half stick). Paint treatments were applied at 2-, 4-, or 6-second durations to the flowers. Combination treatments were applied as three drops of highlighter dye plus either 2, 4, or 6 seconds of paint application. Treatments were compared against each other and a nontreated control. There were five repetitions of three stems per treatment arranged in a completely randomized design. Measurements were taken daily on stem fresh weight, flower diameter, quality rating, flower maximum brightness, flower mean brightness, relative stem fresh weight percentage, overall solution absorption rate percentage, and daily solution absorption rate. Stem fresh weight, relative stem fresh weight percentage, flower diameter, and overall solution absorption rate were greatest on day 4. Flower maximum brightness without ultraviolet (UV) light was greatest 2 days after treatment (DAT), but still produced a detectable glow through 8 DAT. Among treatments before UV charge, the 6-second paint duration provided the greatest flower maximum brightness value. The half-stick highlighter treatment had the greatest vase mean brightness. All paint treatments reduced flower quality. For each treated flower, the UV charge increased the brightness values, which ranged from 53% to 206% greater than before the UV charge. White carnations can luminesce with spray applications of glow-in-the-dark spray paint or through the stem absorption method using yellow highlighter dye, with the latter being less detrimental to vase life but requiring a UV light source to glow.
Algae is not desirable in hydroponics and creates problems such as reduced yield and decreased dissolved oxygen, and affects the physiology of plants and, thus, needs to be controlled. An experiment was conducted in Ebb and Flow hydroponic systems to investigate the application timing and rates of two hydrogen peroxide products (Zerotol and PERpose Plus). Treatments included 35 mL weekly, 35 mL biweekly, 70 mL weekly, 70 mL biweekly, and a control with no application of hydrogen peroxide using a 40-gallon reservoir of water. Pepper ‘Early Jalapeno’ and ‘Lunchbox Red’ and tomato ‘Geronimo’ and ‘Little Sicily’ were used. The study was conducted in a split-plot design with two replications over time. Plant growth parameters, including plant height, flower number, net CO2 assimilation, fresh weight, and dry weight were recorded. Algae data, including dry weight, algae cell counts, and chl a were also measured. Results indicated that with increasing rate and timing of either product decreased algae counts, dry weight, and chl a values. However, weekly and biweekly application of 70 mL of both products were not different for algae quantification. In pepper, plant height, shoot fresh and dry weight, and root fresh and dry weight were found to be significantly greater with Zerotol 35 mL biweekly, Zerotol 70 mL weekly, PERpose Plus 35 mL biweekly, and PERpose Plus 70 mL weekly compared with the control. ‘Lunchbox Red’ was significantly greater than ‘Early Jalapeno’ in all growth parameters, except soil plant analysis development (SPAD). ‘Lunchbox Red’ had the greatest flower number, with weekly application of 70 mL PERpose Plus. In tomato, greatest flower number and SPAD were observed in ‘Geronimo’ with a weekly application of 70 mL PERpose Plus and 70 mL Zerotol, respectively. Greater shoot and root fresh and dry weight for both tomato cultivars were recorded with 35 mL biweekly or 70 mL weekly application with either product. The results from both plants as well as algae analysis suggest that weekly application of 70 mL of either Zerotol or PERpose Plus produced the best results in terms of controlling algae and improving the growth of pepper and tomato plants.
Hydroponic systems have become increasingly popular for growers in recent years for year-round local production. Whereas optimal air temperature for plant growth has been considered, optimal root zone temperatures have not been examined as thoroughly. The objective of this research was to determine the optimal water temperature for growing different types of basil hydroponically. Research was conducted at the greenhouses in Stillwater, OK. Seventeen cultivars were selected from six main types of basil and transplanted into Nutrient Film Technique hydroponic systems, and three water temperature treatments were applied: 23, 27.5, and 31 °C. Height, width, average leaf area, leaf number, chlorophyll concentration (chlorophyll readings obtained with the Minolta-502 SPAD meter), shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight were evaluated. In general, the 27.5 and 31 °C treatments were not greater than each other in terms of leaf number and root dry weight but were greater than the 23 °C treatment. The 31 °C treatment had the greatest height, whereas width, average leaf area, shoot fresh weight, and shoot dry weight were not different from the 27.5 °C treatment. The 23 °C treatment had the greatest chlorophyll concentration (SPAD) value. Cultivar differences were significant in average leaf area and SPAD, with ‘Spicy Bush’ having the smallest leaf area and purple basil having the greatest SPAD value. For all cultivars except purple basil and ‘Large Leaf Italian’, a 27.5 °C water temperature would be recommended for greater plant growth.