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  • Author or Editor: D.D. Warncke x
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Abstract

Growth media used for growing containerized plants in greenhouses have changed greatly since the initiation of the Spurway test procedure (8). Well-aggregated field soils gradually gave way to mixtures of soil and manufactured coarse amendments and eventually to soilless growth media. Along with these changes in growth media composition came changes in physical and chemical properties—some desirable, some not so desirable. Field soils generally have a high-nutrient capacity value and a low-intensity factor. The level of the capacity factor has decreased as the change in growth media composition has taken place. Geraldson (1-3) developed an “intensity and balance” analysis system for the unique, sandy soils of Florida; soils that provide little buffering capacity. He found the concentration (intensity) and balance of nutrients in the soil solution to be important when the capacity factor was small. Similarly, the concentration and balance of nutrients in the solution phase of greenhouse growth media today have become important to plant growth and quality.

Open Access
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Single-plant microplots of `Russet Norkotah' potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) were grown outdoors in a 5 × 5 factorial RCBD of indigenous phosphorous level (200, 325, 450, 575, 700 kg·ha-1 Bray-Kurtz Pl extractable; McBride sandy loam) and banded triple super phosphate (0, 50, 100, 150, 200 kg P2O5/ha). Disease in the low P soil that was used to create the four lower P soil blends completely confounds response of the plants across indigenous P levels and might have accentuated responses within levels. Plants responded to fertilizer P with tuber yield increases of 100, 70, 40, and 10 percent within the 200, 325, 450, and 575 indigenous P levels, respectively. Fertilizer P also increased marketable yield and tuber P concentration. Neither indigenous nor fertilizer P altered tuber specific gravity.

Companion studies compare the responses of corn (Zea mays L.) and potato to indigenous soil P levels and quantify P uptake among potato cultivars in solution culture.

Free access

Six potato cultivars (Atlantic, Sebago, Onaway, Russet Burbank, Lemhi Russet,and Norland) were evaluated for phosphorus uptake efficiency in solution culture. Individual rooted cuttings of each cultivar were transferred from a standard 1/5 Hoagland's solution into solutions containing one of six P concentrations (0.05,0.1,0.22,0.5,1.1 and 2.3mg/l). After a 24h adjustment period P uptake was followed over a 6h period by collecting solution aliquots every two hours. All cultivars depleted the two lowest initial P concentrations to similar stable P concentration. The P uptake rate per unit length of root showed a sigmoidal relationship to the initial P solution concentration. The general nature of the P uptake relation to solution P concentration was similar among the cultivars, although the actual values varied. In general, P uptake rate increased from 5.0 × 10-4 at the lowest concentration to 7.0 × 10-2μg·cm-1·h-1 at the highest P solution concentration.

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Phosphorus applications can increase potato yields in Michigan soils with over 400 kg·ha-1 Bray-Kurtz P1 extractable P. Four potato cultivars (Onaway (On), Kennebec (Ke), Russet Norkotah (RN), and Snowden (Sn)) were planted on 7 May 1993 to study P fertilizer effects on root growth and development. Each plot received adequate N & K, and either 0 or 50 kg·ha-1 P. Two minirhizotrons (5 cm i.d.) were set 1.1 m deep at 45° to the soil surface into each plot. P treatment did not influence tuber yield. At 65 days after planting, root counts for On, RN and Sn averaged 72, 44 and 58%. respectively, of those in Ke plots. The P treatment did not significantly influence total root counts within or across cultivars on any of five sampling dates. More visible roots were produced in the first 0.4 m of soil by plants receiving P than by plants not receiving P. Below the first 0.4 m, plants not fertilized with P produced more visible roots than those receiving P.

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Carrots (Daucus carota L.) or onions (Allium cepa L.) were interplanted with barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) or rye (Secale cereale L.) seeded at 0, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 bushels/acre (0, 43.5, 87, and 174 liters-ha-i). Barley was killed at heights of 4, 8, 12, or 16 inches (10, 20, 30, or 40 cm), and rye was killed at 4, 6, 7, or 8 inches with a postemergence graminicide. Barley and rye killed at 4 inches did not reduce onion yield. If barley exceeded 8 inches and rye exceeded 7 inches when killed, onion yields were reduced. Carrot yield was reduced only by 2 bushels of barley killed at 16 inches. One bushel of barley per acre killed at 4 inches appeared to be optimal in giving good soil protection and minimal crop competition.

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The effects of cover crops on nutrient cycling, weed suppression, and onion (Allium cepa) yield were evaluated under a muck soil with high organic matter in Michigan. Four brassica cover crops, including brown mustard (Brassica juncea ‘Common brown’), oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus ‘Daikon’), oriental mustard (B. juncea ‘Forge’), and yellow mustard (Sinapis alba ‘Tilney’), as well as sorghum sudangrass (Sorghum bicolor × S. sudanense ‘Honey Sweet’) produced similar amount of biomass and recycled similar amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The brassica cover crop biomass contained more calcium, sulfur, and boron, but less magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc than sorghum sudangrass. However, soil fertility was generally similar regardless of whether a cover crop was used. This was mainly because the soil was sampled when most of the cover crop residue was not yet decomposed. Weed density during onion growth was reduced by all cover crops compared with the control with no cover crop, with yellow mustard treatment having the lowest weed density among the cover crops. Weed species composition was also significantly affected by the cover crops. Yellow mustard treatment had the lowest density of common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), whereas sorghum sudangrass had the highest yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) density among all the treatments. However, weed suppression was not enough to eliminate normal control strategies. The brassica cover crops, especially oilseed radish and yellow mustard, increased onion stand count and marketable yield. These results suggest that brassica and sorghum sudangrass cover crops could provide multiple benefits if incorporated into short-term onion rotations under Michigan growing conditions.

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Abstract

Vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizal colonization of onion (Allium cepa L.) roots was found at high levels in commercially used soils only when P concentrations were below 30 µg/cm3. Soils sampled were muck soils with varying amounts of organic matter and sand and marl soils, and the P range was 10-250 µg/cm3. Onions were also seeded in 2 fields of Houghton muck soil, at 4 P levels, with and without inoculum of Glomus etunicatus Becker & Gerdemann. High colonization occurred when soil P concentrations were below 15-20 µg/cm3. High yields and high colonization past midseason were achieved simultaneously upon the addition of 30 kg/ha P. In a separate experiment, onions were grown at 3 P levels and 2 watering regimes. The P concentrations associated with limited mycorrhizal root colonization shifted from 15 to 30 µg/cm3 with a decrease in water availability. The results demonstrate the need for control of soil water conditions, as well as P, when attempting to utilize VA mycorrhizae.

Open Access

Chemical analyses of 4306 randomly selected greenhouse water samples for 1995 from the United States and Canada were obtained from four analytical laboratories and graphically characterized using a distribution analysis. For pH, electro-conductivity (EC), and nutrient concentrations, a mean and median value and the percentage of samples with concentrations above or below those generally considered acceptable are presented for all samples and the 10 leading states in floricultural production. The median nutrient concentrations were more representative of the type of water found throughout the United States and Canada than that of the mean values because of the unequal distribution of the data. The overall median water source had a pH of 7.1; an EC of 0.4 dS·m−1; an alkalinity of CaCO3 at 130 mg·L−1; (in mg·L−1) 40 Ca, 11 Mg, 8 SO4−S, 13 Na, 14 Cl, 0.02 B, and <0.01 F; a Ca: Mg ratio of 3.2, and a sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) of 0.7. The information presented characterizes irrigation water and may assist in developing more refined fertilizer recommendations for greenhouse crop production.

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