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  • Author or Editor: L.N. Peters x
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This experiment was designed to determine the optimal light level for growing pawpaw seedlings in the greenhouse. In addition, we wanted to determine if modifying the root-zone would positively impact pawpaw seedling growth and development. Experimental treatments were imposed from seed sowing until the plants were destructively harvested. The experimental design was a split-plot, where blocking was done by position in the greenhouse. The main plot of the experiment was shade. This was accomplished by growing seedlings under a wooden frame covered with shadecloth to reduce incident light intensity received by the plant by 30%, 55%, 80%, or 95%. The control treatment was 0% shade or ambient greenhouse light level. The split-plot was root-zone modification. Half of all growing containers were untreated (control) while the other half were painted with SpinOutâ„¢, a commercially available product used to reduce root spiraling in nursery containers. There were 40 replicate seedlings per experimental treatment combination per block. Seedling shoot length and unfolded leaf number was recorded twice a week from seedling emergence until destructive harvest. Whole-plant leaf area was also determined. Leaves, stems, and tap and lateral roots were separated and dried to determine biomass partitioned to the respective organs. Up to 55% shade did not significantly reduce whole-plant biomass, while plants at 80% and 95% shade were stunted. Shade in the greenhouse is not required as was previously thought. Specific leaf mass and lateral root mass decreased as shade increased. Neither tap or lateral root dry weights were significantly affected by root-zone modification. New recommendations for container production of pawpaws in the greenhouse will be discussed.

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