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  • Author or Editor: David R. Hershey x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Single-pinched poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch `V-14 Glory') received 210 mg·L-1 constant N fertigation from Hoagland solution with N sources of 100% NO3-N or 60% NO3-N : 40% NH4-N, P concentrations of 7.8 or 23 mg·L-1, and leaching fractions (LFs) of 0, 0.2, or 0.4. The P fertigation rates did not significantly affect plant growth measurements and N leaching. Shoot dry masses and leaf and bract areas of plants fertigated with 60% NO3-N were 11% to 26% greater than those fertigated with 100% NO3-N. Shoot dry mass at the 0 LF was 27% smaller than those at the 0.4 LF. The total amount of N applied via fertigation was 1.7 g at the 0 LF and 3.3 g at the 0.4 LF. Leachate N concentration ranged from 170 to 850 mg·L-1. Nitrogen recovery was 74% to 91%, and the percentage of fertigation N recovered in leachate ranged from 51% at the 0.2 LF to 74% at the 0.4 LF. With a 0.4 LF and 210 mg·L-1 N fertigation, 15% to 22% of the recovered N was found in the shoots, and 68% to 75% was found in the leachate. Even with a 0.2 LF, >50% of the N recovered was found in the leachate. Premium marketable quality poinsettia were produced with N at 210 mg·L-1 from 60% NO3-N : 40% NH4-N fertigation solution at the 0.4 LF. To reduce N leaching to the environment, good marketable quality poinsettias could be grown at a LF of ≤0.2 with 210 mg·L-1 N fertigation if quality irrigation water is available and if a small reduction in growth is acceptable.

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Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch `V-14 Glory') grown as single-pinched plants and received constant fertigation of Hoagland solution with N at 210 mg·L-1 of 100% NO3-N or 60% NO3-N : 40% NH4-N; P at 7.8 and 23 mg·L-1; and leaching fractions (LFs) of 0, 0.2, or 0.4. The P at 23 mg·L-1 used in this study was about half the P concentration typically provided from a 20N-4.4P-16.6K fertilizer at 200 mg·L-1 N fertigation. The total P applied via fertigation ranged from 51 mg at the 0 LF to 360 mg at the 0.4 LF. The leachate P concentration ranged from 0.2 to 46 mg·L-1. With P at 7.8 mg·L-1, the percentage of total P recovered in the leachate was 6% to 7%. At 23 mg·L-1 P fertigation, however, the total P recovered in the leachate with 60% NO3-N treatment was 2-times greater than with 100% NO3-N treatment. This result is attributed to a lower substrate pH, which resulted from NH4-N uptake and nitrification processes with 60% NO3-N fertigation. The P concentration in the recently matured leaves with 7.8 mg·L-1 P fertigation was in the normal range of 0.3% to 0.6%. Fertigation P can be reduced by up to 80% and still be sufficient for producing quality poinsettias. Reducing the fertigation P concentration is beneficial because it reduces P leaching, reduces fertilizer costs, and reduces luxury consumption.

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Geraniums (Pelargonium × hortorum L.H. Bailey `Yours Truly') were grown in a glasshouse from 15 Mar. to 9 May as single pinched plants in a growing medium with a bulk volume of 1.3 liters per 15cm diameter standard plastic pot. Plants received constant fertigation with N at 300 mg·liter-1 from 20N-4.4P-16.6K with leaching fractions (LFs) of ≈ 0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4. The LF is the volume of solution leached from the container divided by the volume of solution applied to the container. There were 24 irrigations during the study. Plants with LFs of 0.2 and 0.4 had 46% larger leaf area, 40% more shoot fresh mass, and 37% more shoot dry mass than plants with LFs of 0 and 0.1. By week 5, the leachate electrical conductivity (EC) at 25C for LFs of 0.1,0.2, and 0.4 had increased from ≈ 3 dS·m-1 initially to 12, 8, and 4 dS·m-1, respectively. At harvest, the EC of a saturated medium extract (ECe) was 7, 4, 3, and 2 dS·m-1 for LFs of 0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4, respectively. At harvest, medium EC, with LFs of 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4 was 47% 68%, and 60% less in the lower two-thirds of the pot than in the upper third. With a LF of 0, the medium EC, was `not lower in the bottom of the pot. With fertigation N at 300 mg·liter-1, minimizing the LF substantially reduced growth of container-produced geraniums. In addition to specifying LF, the number of container capacities leached per week, termed the leaching intensity (LI), should be calculated for container leaching studies. In two studies, the LFs may be the same yet the LIs can be very different.

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Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch `V-14 Glory') were grown in a greenhouse for 70 days in 1.3 liters of medium (13 cm deep in 15-cm pots) with a leaching fraction (LF) of ≈ 0, 0.1, 0.2, or 0.4. Plants were fertigated with 300 mg N/liter from 20 N-4.4P-16.6K. The electrical conductivity (EC) of the fertigation solution was 2.1 dS·m-1. The leachate EC increased from 2 dS·m-1 initially to plateaus of ≈ 6, 9, and 15 dS·m-1 for LFs of 0.4, 0.2, and 0.1, respectively. Poinsettia height, shoot fresh and dry mass, and leaf and bract areas were not significantly different among the LF treatments. Leachate pH decreased from 6.1 initially to 5.1 at the end, but there was no significant difference among the LF treatments. The EC of a saturated medium extract (ECe) was between 17% and 48% higher in the lower third of the medium than in the middle third. The difference was greater with a lower LF. The EC, was 8.9, 7.3, 5.2, and 3.4 dS·m-1 in the lower third of the pot for a LF of 0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4, respectively. Under conditions of this study, container poinsettias required no leaching.

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Seedlings of Begonia × semperflorens-cultorum Hort. ‘Scarletta’ were grown in a greenhouse at a plant density of 193 plants/m2. Crop productivity (grams of dry matter produced per day per square meter of crop) and crop productivity efficiency (percentage of the photosynthetic photon flux incident on the crop that is stored in the form of crop dry matter as energy of combustion) did not increase when the photoperiod was extended from 9 to 13 hr with incandescent lights. However, stem and petiole length did increase under 13- compared to 9-hr photoperiods. Crop productivity of begonia was less than maximum values reported for some other bedding plants. However, when crop growth was expressed in terms of fresh weight rather than dry weight, begonia crop growth exceeded that reported for other bedding plants. This increased growth seemed to be due to the low dry weight to fresh weight ratio in wax begonia of 0.03.

Open Access