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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

Four freesia cultivars were exposed to 24 hour·day-1 high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting during various stages of their development. Upon emergence, freesia plants were exposed to the following four lighting treatments: 1) ambient; 2) ambient until shoot length was 5 to 8 cm followed by HPS lighting until flowering; 3) HPS lighting until shoot length was 5 to 8 cm followed by ambient lighting; and 4) continuous HPS lighting. Supplemental HPS lighting was provided at 37 μmol·m-2·s-1 at plant level in a glasshouse. Continuous lighting or lighting during flower development hastened flowering but reduced the number of flowering stems per corm, as well as stem length and weight. Lighting during the vegetative and flower initiation periods produced minor effects. The main benefit of supplemental lighting was found in total corm weight.

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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

Low volume drip (2 l/h) was compared with 2 subirrigation ('trough' and `ebb and flo') systems for production of poinsettias and chrysanthemums in 15 cm diameter (1.6 l) `azalea' pots. Irrigation frequency as well as fertilizer rates were the same for all systems. The drip system received 280 ml per watering.

Two plantings of poinsettias (fall) as well as two plantings of chrysanthemums (spring and summer) showed no differences in plant growth between the drip and the subirrigation systems. Water uptake by the medium was similar for all irrigation systems, but water and fertilizer application was 70% higher for the drip system. Nutrients, measured at 4 depths within the pot at monthly intervals, increased with time and was markedly more concentrated in the top layer, regardless of the irrigation system.

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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

The Al content was determined in roots, buds, and stems of dormant florists' hydrangeas [Hydrangea macrophylla subsp. macrophylla var. macrophylla (Thunb.) `Mathilda Gutges' and `Brestenburg'] that were or were not treated in the field with aluminum sulfate. During the greenhouse forcing stage, previously nontreated plants were subjected to four successive weekly subirrigated applications of aluminum sulfate totalling 4, 8, 12, or 16 g/pot. Applications were early (weeks 2, 3, 4, 5) or late (weeks 6, 7, 8, 9), using the start of forcing as week = 0. The Al contents in stems and buds of dormant plants were about five to six times higher in field-treated than in nontreated plants. Roots were the primary location of Al accumulation (≈70%). Aluminum sulfate applications of 12 to 16 g/pot during greenhouse forcing provided commercially acceptable blue plants. Maximum foliar Al concentration was 50% higher in early than in late-treated plants and calculated to occur with 14.5 and 12.2 g aluminum sulfate/pot for early and late-treated plants, respectively. There was a positive correlation (r = 0.74) between blueness ranking and the Al foliar concentration of the two uppermost expanded leaves taken from flowering plants.

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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

The effect of constant 16C and noncontrolled soil temperature on flowering of four Alstroemeria cultivars grown in a greenhouse was studied over 3 years. Soil temperature regime did not influence either the start or cessation of flowering. During spring/summer, production was 15% lower under constant soil temperature, irrespective of cultivar. During fall/winter, the effect of constant soil temperature was cultivar-dependent; yield of `Red Sunset' was increased by 150%, while that for `Rio' decreased by 2270 relative to the noncontrolled. Annual production was not affected, but the ratio between the production of spring/summer and fail/winter decreased from 3.1 to 2.2 for noncontrolled and constant soil temperature, respectively.

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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

High-volume top irrigation (Chapin) was compared to subirrigation (ebb and flow) using 15-cm-diameter (1.56 liter) pot-grown chrysanthemums [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] with peatwool (50 peatmoss: 50 granulated rockwool) as the growing substrate. Preplant moisture contents (25%, 125%, and 250%, gravimetric) and compaction (0, 20, and 50 g·cm-2) of the peatwool were also studied. Shrinkage of growing substrate was large (>309'6 of pot volume) when peatwool in the pots was not compacted. Compaction reduced shrinkage and produced plants with larger leaves, more fresh weight, and longer stems than without preplant compaction. Drainable pore space, container capacity, and total porosity was not affected by compaction. The higher preplant moisture contents increased drainable pore space but had no effect on plant growth. Chapin-irrigated plants had significantly more fresh weight (+ 24%) at the pea-size bud stage than plants grown in the ebb-and-flow system. The difference in growth was similar at flowering but significant only at P = 0.08. Soluble salts concentration in the peatwool and foliar nutrient contents differed at flowering for the two irrigation systems.