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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and Jonathan Frantz

High relative humidity (RH) can cause lower concentrations of boron (B) accumulating in plants. The common greenhouse practice of controlling excess temperatures by applying mist irrigation to young plants (plugs) can result in elevated RH levels, especially with plugs grown in high heat and humidity conditions of summer. ‘Dynamite Yellow’ pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.), ‘White Storm’ petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Vilm.), and ‘Festival Apricot’ gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii Bolus) plugs were grown in high or ambient RH conditions to determine the effect RH had on B uptake. Results indicate that an increase in RH decreased the amount of water the plant lost as a result of transpiration resulting in lower concentrations of B in shoot tissue. Boron concentrations in leaf tissue were 9.43, 10.56, and 17.81 mg·L−1 in pansy, petunia, and gerbera plants, respectively, grown in high RH conditions. These values were significantly lower than pansy, petunia, and gerbera plants grown in ambient RH conditions (19.94, 25.49, and 42.71 mg·L−1, respectively). Leaf distortion, consistent with B deficiency symptoms, was present in petunia and gerbera plants. Similar trends were observed when the experiment was repeated and leaf distortion was present in all species. This provides convincing evidence that the distorted growth observed in pansy, petunia, and gerbera plug production is the result of limited B caused by excessive humidity.

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Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and Brian A. Krug

Flurprimidol was applied as a foliar spray (12.5, 25.0, 37.5, 50.0, or 62.5 mg·L-1) or as a substrate drench (0.015, 0.03, 0.06, 0.12, or 0.24 mg/pot a.i.) to determine its efficacy on `Blue Champion' exacum (Exacum affine). Flurprimidol substrate drenches were more consistent in controlling plant growth than foliar sprays. Substrate drenches of 0.03 mg/pot a.i. or foliar sprays ≥50 mg·L-1 resulted in smaller plant heights and diameters than the untreated control. With the use of flurprimidol, exacum growers have another plant growth regulator (PGR) available to control excessive growth.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Flurprimidol preplant soaks, foliar sprays, and substrate drenches were compared to commercially recommended concentrations of uniconazole as a preplant bulb soak and a foliar spray for height control of `Star Gazer' oriental lily (Lilium hybrids). Foliar sprays of uniconazole at 10 mg·L–1 (ppm) did not control plant height and foliar sprays of flurprimidol concentrations ≥80 mg·L–1 provided only minimal height control. Substrate drenches of flurprimidol at 0.5 mg/pot a.i. (28,350 mg = 1 oz) controlled plant height, resulting in plants 45.3 cm (17.83 inches) tall, which were 24% shorter than the untreated control. Uniconazole preplant bulb soaks of 5 and 10 mg·L–1 controlled plant height, resulting in plants 41.8 cm (16.46 inches) and 37.8 cm (14.88 inches), respectively. Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol (25 to 400 mg·L–1) were applied and a concentration of 25 mg·L–1 resulted in plants 47.7 cm (18.78 inches) tall, which were 23% shorter than the untreated control. Flurprimidol substrate drenches and preplant bulb soaks at concentrations of 0.5 mg/pot a.i. and 25 mg·L–1, respectively, were effective in controlling height in `Star Gazer' lily. In Expt. 2, flurprimidol substrate drenches were applied as either a single or two split applications. A one-time flurprimidol substrate drench of 0.5 mg/pot a.i. provided similar control as two split applications of 0.25 mg/pot a.i.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Eight experiments were conducted to develop height control protocols for greenhouse-forced hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) bulbs. `Pink Pearl' hyacinth bulbs were treated with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks to determine optimal timing of treatment, soak duration, quantity of bulbs that could be treated before the solution lost efficacy, bulb location of solution uptake, and if higher concentrations of flurprimidol can be used to overcome stretch that occurs with extended cold treatment. No difference in height control occurred when bulbs were soaked in flurprimidol the day of, 1 day before, or 7 days before potting; therefore, growers can treat bulbs up to 1 week before potting with no difference in height control. All preplant bulb soak durations of 1, 5, 10, 20, or 40 min controlled plant height. Any soak durations ≥1.3 min resulted in similar height control, which would provide growers with a flexible time frame of 2 to 40 min in which to soak the bulbs. When 1 L of 20 mg·L-1 flurprimidol solution was used repeatedly over 20 batches of five bulbs, solution efficacy was similar from the first batch to the last batch, indicating the soak solution of flurprimidol can be used repeatedly without loss of efficacy. Soak solution temperature was also tested to determine its effect on flurprimidol and paclobutrazol uptake. Temperature of the soak solution (8, 16, or 24 °C) had no effect on flurprimidol and only at a temperature of 8 °C was the efficacy of paclobutrazol lower. Postharvest heights of `Pink Pearl' hyacinths were similar whether only the top, bottom, or the entire bulb was soaked. Control provided by flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, or uniconazole preplant bulb soaks varied among the three hyacinth cultivars Delft Blue, Jan Bos, and Pink Pearl, so growers will have to conduct their own trials to determine optimal cultivar response to preplant bulb soaks. Also, `Pacino' sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) were treated with residual soak solution of flurprimidol to determine if substrate drenches could be used as a disposal method. Fresh and residual solutions of flurprimidol (1.18, 2.37, or 4.73 mg/pot a.i.) applied to `Pacino' sunflowers were similar in their efficacy of controlling height, which would enable growers to avoid disposal problems of residual soak solutions.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker and Ingram McCall

Flurprimidol preplant tuber soaks (1.25 to 40 mg·L−1) and substrate drenches (0.25 to 4 mg/pot a.i.) were applied to ‘Red Flash’ caladium (Caladium bicolor) plants for growth control. Flurprimidol was compared with the industry recommendations of paclobutrazol preplant tuber soaks (2.5 to 40 mg·L−1) and paclobutrazol and uniconazole substrate drenches (0.25 to 4 mg/pot a.i.). At the concentrations used, neither flurprimidol nor paclobutrazol preplant tuber soaks controlled plant height or diameter. Longer soaking time or higher concentrations of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol may be required for growth control of vigorous caladium cultivars. Uniconazole substrate drenches did not provide height or diameter control. Both flurprimidol and paclobutrazol substrate drenches at 2 mg/pot a.i. provided acceptable height control resulting in plants that were 17% and 15%, respectively, shorter than the untreated control. The 4 mg/pot a.i. drench of flurprimidol or paclobutrazol provided excessive control.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Jonathan Frantz and Ingram McCall

Pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida hort. Vilm.), and gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii Bol. ex Adlam.) plants were grown hydroponically to characterize the deficiency symptoms caused by the absence of calcium (Ca) or boron (B). Primary symptoms occurred on the youngest tissue for both elements, but distinct differences between Ca and B deficiencies were observed. Plants responding to Ca deficiency exhibited discoloration and upward rolling of leaves and ultimately necrosis. Plants responding to B deficiency exhibited minor chlorosis, upward curling, and thickening of leaves, distorted meristems, and strap-like leaves. A second experiment investigated how a temporary disruption of Ca or B affects the plant throughout the crop cycle. Either Ca or B was removed from the nutrient solution for a 7-day period from Day 15 to Day 21, Day 22 to Day 28, or Day 29 to Day 35 after sowing. After the 7-day disruption, the respective element was reintroduced to the plants. Regardless of when the plants were deprived of Ca or B, the symptoms of the respective deficiency were present at the end of the experiment. These studies have shown that a temporary disruption of either Ca or B can cause lasting symptoms throughout the plug production cycle. Also, the symptoms that have been observed in plug production were most similar to those symptoms caused by B deficiency, not Ca deficiency.

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Diane M. Camberato, Roberto G. Lopez and Brian A. Krug

The holiday poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch.) is the number two potted flowering crop sold in the United States with a reported wholesale value of $146 million in 2010. Profitability is increasingly threatened as the cost to heat greenhouses has increased by over 90% in the last 10 years. As energy costs continue to increase and poinsettia prices remain relatively constant, growers are seeking cultivars that can be finished under reduced temperatures. Our objectives were to quantify how reduced temperature finishing (RTF) 2 weeks after the start of short days influences height, bract area index, and time to anthesis of poinsettia. Eight red poinsettia cultivars were selected based on their early response attributes (initiate and finish within 6 to 8 weeks), moderate to high vigor, and naturally large bracts. Rooted cuttings were grown at day/night temperature set points (12 h/12 h) of 24/19 °C until 15 Oct. and under a 16-h photoperiod consisting of natural daylengths with day-extension lighting until 1 Oct. On 15 Oct., plants were transferred to day/night temperatures (12 h/12 h) of 20/14, 21/17, or 24/19 °C. Time to anthesis from the start of short days was 60 and 55 days at 24/19 °C and 76 and 68 days at a reduced finishing temperature of 20/14 °C for ‘Prestige Early Red’ and ‘Early Orion Red’, respectively. Final height was not significantly influenced by RTF in either cultivar. Our results indicate that RTF is a viable option that greenhouse growers can use to help reduce energy costs of carefully selected poinsettia cultivars.

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Stephanie Burnett, Neil Mattson, Brian Krug and Roberto Lopez

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and John M. Dole

Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole; foliar sprays of ethephon and flurprimidol; and substrate drenches of flurprimidol were compared for height control of `Anna Marie' hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis). Preplant bulb soak concentrations of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol were from 25 to 400 mg·L-1, and uniconazole from 5 to 80 mg·L-1. Height control was evaluated at anthesis and 11 days later under postharvest conditions. Ethephon (250 to 2000 mg·L-1) and flurprimidol (5 to 80 mg·L-1) foliar sprays were ineffective. Flurprimidol (0.25 to 4 mg/pot) drenches had no effect during forcing, but controlled postharvest height at concentrations ≥0.25 mg/pot a.i. with at least 4% shorter plants than the untreated control. Preplant bulb soaks resulted in height control with flurprimidol ≥25 mg·L-1, paclobutrazol ≥100 mg·L-1, and uniconazole ≥40 mg·L-1; having at least 9%, 6%, and 19%, respectively, shorter plants than the untreated control. Based on our results, flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks have a greater efficacy than either uniconazole or paclobutrazol. Preplant PGR soaks are a cost-effective method of controlling plant height of hyacinths because of the limited amount of chemical required to treat a large quantity of bulbs.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and John M. Dole

Three experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of plant growth regulators (PGRs) on `Tete a Tete', `Dutch Master', and `Sweetness' narcissus (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). Ethephon foliar sprays (500 to 2500 mg·L-1) and substrate drenches of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol (0.25 to 4 mg/pot a.i.) did not control height during greenhouse forcing of `Tete a Tete' at any concentration trialed. Stem stretch was controlled during postharvest evaluation with ethephon foliar sprays ≥1000 mg·L-1, flurprimidol substrate drenches ≥0.5 mg/pot a.i., and paclobutrazol substrate drenches of 4 mg/pot a.i. A second experiment investigated preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol (10 to 40 mg·L-1) applied to `Dutch Master' and `Tete a Tete' narcissus bulbs. Flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks controlled postharvest stretch on `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master' at concentrations ≥15 and ≥10 mg·L-1, respectively. A third experiment was conducted with paclobutrazol (75 to 375 mg·L-1) on `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master' and three concentrations of flurprimidol on `Sweetness' to determine optimal soak recommendations. Paclobutrazol preplant bulb soaks ≥75 mg·L-1 controlled postharvest stretch of `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master', while 37.5 mg·L-1 of flurprimidol controlled postharvest stretch of `Sweetness'. Based on the results of these experiments, growers can now select a PGR to help control excessive plant growth.