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  • Author or Editor: Wagner A. Vendrame x
  • HortTechnology x
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Although composting has been practiced for thousands of years, it was not until the 20th century that controlled scientific studies were published illustrating the benefits of compost use in crop production. These studies helped to spur increased interest in composting and compost use, and gave way to the development of commercial composting facilities that supply finished compost products to horticultural producers. Increasing composting activity and compost use encouraged the formation in the late 20th century of trade organizations, such as the U.S. Composting Council and similar organizations in other countries, that support research and applications work to determine ways to improve quality control of commercial compost products.

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Experiments were conducted during two different time periods to determine if hybrid phalaenopsis orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.) liners accumulate silicon (Si) and if this element can affect liner growth. A total of 800 liners were evaluated and Si fertilization was performed by applying potassium silicate (KSiO3) as a drench with three treatments (0.5%, 1.0%, and 2.0% v/v) and a control (water, no Si fertilization). The application of KSiO3 affected overall growth of phalaenopsis orchid liners, where Si content of the plant ranged from 0.5% to 1.7%. Overall, Si applied at 0.5% and 1.0% increased fresh weight and dry weight (DW) and at 1.0% Si significantly increased DW of root, shoot, and whole plant over the control. Increases in DW ranged from 27% up to 118%. Results from the second experiment were similar. Other plant parameters evaluated such as leaf number and size, root number, and length were unaffected by Si application. Although leaves of phalaenopsis orchid liners treated with Si appeared darker green when compared with the control, no significant differences were observed in chlorophyll content of leaves. Reduced growth was observed when 2.0% Si was applied affecting Si tissue concentrations and substrate electric conductivity. The data obtained from this study indicate that hybrid phalaenopsis orchid liners are Si accumulators and that this element influences their growth. Further studies are warranted to address the long-term effects of Si fertilization on the complete life cycle of hybrid phalaenopsis orchids.

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