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  • Author or Editor: Richard Y. Evans x
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Hydration of a commercial hydrophilic polyacrylamide gel in 20 meq Ca(NO3)2/liter was reduced to <10% of the maximum hydration in deionized water. Repeated soaking with deionized water to remove soluble salts restored hydration to ≈ 30% of maximum. Incorporating KNO3 at concentrations ranging from 5 to 40 meq·liter-1 with the Ca(NO3)2 in the hydration solution partially reversed the Ca2+ inhibition of hydration following repeated soaking. Potential hydrogel hydration increased to 50% of maximum with 40 meq K+/liter. Potassium nitrate supplied separately following hydration in Ca(NO3)2 was much more effective at reversing Ca2+ inhibition of hydrogel hydration than joint application. Potential hydrogel hydration (following repeated soaking) was doubled after treatment with 5 meq KNO3/liter and reached 77% of maximum at 40 meq KNO3/liter.

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Low concentrations of ethylene induced abscission of leaves and berries from cut branchlets of English holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) and American mistletoe [Phoradendron tomentosum (DC.) Engelm. ex Gray ssp. macrophyllum (Engelm.) Wiens]. Application of 1 μmol of Ag+ per branchlet (as the anionic silver thiosulfate complex, STS) via the transpiration stream was found to retard this abscission. A higher application rate (4 μmol Ag+ per branchlet) stimulated leaf abscission in mistletoe. There were marked differences in sensitivity to ethylene among various types of holly.

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A study was conducted to determine the potential for using ground automobile tires as a container medium amendment. Rooted cuttings of chrysanthemum [Dendranthema × grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] were planted in 1.56-liter pots containing 1 sand:2 sawdust (v/v) or media in which coarsely or finely ground particles of rubber substituted for 33%, 67%, or 100% of the sawdust. Amendment with the coarse material decreased total porosity and container capacity and increased air-filled porosity and bulk density relative to the sawdust control. Amending the medium with the fine material did not appreciably alter total porosity, container capacity, or bulk density, but did increase air-filled porosity. Plant height, fresh weight, dry weight, and number of open flowers were reduced significantly in rubber-amended media compared to sawdust controls. Rubber amendment reduced shoot tissue concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Cu, but increased Zn as much as 74-fold over control values. There was no accumulation of other heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb) or Na in the tissue due to rubber amendment. This study demonstrates that ground tires might be used as a component of container media in the production of greenhouse chrysanthemums. However, growth reductions and the potential for Zn toxicity may limit the usefulness of ground tires as a substitute for conventional organic amendments.

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N deprivation is known to increase the rate of N uptake by graminaceous plants, but such response has not been reported for mature woody plants. A recirculating nutrient solution system was utilized to study the effect of intermittent N-deprivation on N uptake by mature `Royalty' rose plants. Plants received a nutrient solution lacking N for 4, 8 or 16 days, after which one containing N was supplied for 4 days. N-deprivation resulted in a 2-3 fold increase in N uptake rate compared to control plants supplied continuously with N (e.g., 143 vs 62 mg N plant-1 day-t). The magnitude of this deprivation-enhanced N uptake was not affected by either the duration of N-deprivation or the plant developmental stage.

A characteristic diurnal pattern of N uptake was observed in both N-starved and control plants. Uptake oscillated between minimum rates in the morning and maximum rates in the evening, the latter occurring 4-6 hr after the maximum transpiration rates.

The ability to increase the rate of N uptake in roses by depriving them of N for several days may be of practical importance for increasing N fertilizer use efficiency and decreasing N losses to leaching.

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N uptake by greenhouse roses is out of phase with flower shoot elongation, such that N uptake is highest when shoots are not growing and lowest when shoots are elongating rapidly. Isotopically labelled 15N fertilizer was supplied at different stages of one flowering cycle to `Royalty' rose plants growing in a static nutrient solution system to study the partitioning of recently-absorbed N and the dynamics of N partitioning. After a two-day exposure, whole plants were harvested, separated into old and new leaves, stems, and roots, and analyzed for total N and 15N enrichment. During rapid shoot elongation, N uptake by roots supplied 16 to 36% of shoot N demand. The remaining N came from other organs, particularly old stems and leaves. The increased N uptake later in the flowering cycle was sufficient to meet shoot N demand and replenish the N supply in old foliage and woody tissues. These organs continued to accumulate N until the subsequent bud break, when this N became available for the next cycle of flowering shoot growth.

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Nitrogen leaching losses of 21, 40 and 49% were measured from container-grown `Royalty' roses irrigated for one year with nutrient solutions containing 77, 154 and 231 mg N/l. There were no significant differences in number of flowers per plant or dry matter per plant. The N present in the harvested flowers accounted for 43, 27 and 17% of the N applied for the 77, 154 and 231 mg N/l treatments, respectively.

Plants receiving 154 mg N/l at leaching fractions of 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 had corresponding N leaching losses of 22, 38 and 56%. In this experiment, however, the 0.5 leaching fraction produced yields significantly higher than those of the 0.1 and 0.25 treatments. The N recovered in the harvested flowers accounted for 28, 25 and 19% of that applied to the 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 treatments, respectively.

The results of these studies suggest that modifications in current irrigation and fertilization practices of greenhouse roses would result in a considerable reduction of N leaching losses and enhance N fertilizer use efficiency, without loss of cut flower yield and quality.

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A recirculating nutrient solution system was constructed for studying the N uptake by roses in relation to the developmental stage of the crop and light conditions. N and water uptake were measured at 2 to 3 day intervals for a period of 1 year. Daily PPFD was also recorded.

N uptake rates followed a cyclical pattern that was related to shoot development and harvest, but independent of transpiration rate. The N uptake rate changed fourto five-fold during a single cycle of flower shoot growth (e.g., 29 to 146 mg N plant-1 day-1). The lowest N uptake rate occurred when the shoot elongation rate was at its maximum. The highest N uptake rate occurred at about the time the flower shoot reached commercial maturity. Following harvest, the uptake rate remained high for several days, even though there was no shoot growth during that time. There were also seasonal changes in N uptake. The average daily plant N demand was about 30 and 60 to 70 mg plant-1 day-1 during the winter and summer months, respectively. The total annual plant N uptake was in close agreement with the yearly plant N demand calculated for container grown roses.

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