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  • Author or Editor: Geoffrey M. Weaver x
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Physiological antitranspirants can reduce financial risks to growers by temporarily preventing drought stress, improving product quality, and extending the shelf life of ornamental bedding plants. Exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) is an effective antitranspirant that induces stomatal closure in a rate-dependent manner, reducing transpirational water loss in many species. However, it may also cause chlorosis, which reduces product quality. Synthetic ABA analogs have similar effects on stomatal conductance (g S) but are not known to induce chlorosis. We studied the effects of ABA and its analog 8′ acetylene ABA methyl-ester (PBI 429) on g S and net photosynthesis (Pn) in pansies (Viola ×wittrockiana), compared the efficacy and longevity of each compound, and quantified the resulting chlorosis. Plants were treated with spray solutions of ABA (0 to 2000 mg·L−1) and PBI 429 (0 to 200 mg·L−1) and irrigated daily. Gas exchange and leaf chlorophyll measurements were made twice weekly for 2 weeks. Additional measurements were taken once or twice weekly through 47 days. Abscisic acid reduced leaf chlorophyll content and Pn in a rate-dependent manner for 14 days after application but reduced g S for only 11 days, whereas PBI 429 reduced Pn and g S similarly for 7 days and did not reduce leaf chlorophyll content. Reductions in g S and Pn were greatest on the first day after treatment for both compounds. Our results demonstrate that ABA is more effective than PBI 429 at 100 and 200 mg·L−1, but also causes chlorosis, whereas PBI 429 is an effective antitranspirant without this phytotoxic effect.

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A study was conducted to observe changes in mineral element concentrations within different sections of leafy stem cuttings of Hibiscus acetosella ‘Panama Red’ (PP20121) during a 21-day propagation period under standard industry propagation conditions. Concentrations of 13 mineral elements were analyzed in leaves, lower stems (below substrate), upper stems (above substrate), and roots at 3-day intervals. Before root emergence (day 0–6), P, K, Zn, Ca, and Mg concentrations decreased in the shoots (including upper stems and leaves), whereas Zn, Ca, and B concentrations decreased in the lower stems. Sulfur increase occurred in lower stems before root emergence. After rooting (day 9–21), N, P, Zn, Fe, Cu, and Ni concentrations decreased in the roots; K, S, B, and Mg concentrations increased. In the lower stems, N, P, K, S, and Zn concentrations decreased, whereas B increased. Potassium concentration decreased in the leaves; P, K, S, and Zn decreased in the upper stems. Calcium and Mg increased in leaves. This study indicates specific nutrients are important in adventitious rooting, and that it is important to analyze rooting as a function of fine-scale temporal measurements and fine-scale sectional measurements.

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Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone involved in regulating stomatal responses to environmental stress. By inducing stomatal closure, applications of exogenous ABA can reduce plant water use and delay the onset of drought stress when plants are not watered. However, ABA can also cause unwanted side effects, including chlorosis. Pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) has been shown to be particularly susceptible to ABA-induced chlorosis. The objective of this study was to determine if fertilization rate affects the severity of ABA-induced chlorosis in this species. ‘Delta Premium Pure Yellow’ pansy seedlings were fertilized with controlled-release fertilizer incorporated at rates from 0 to 8 g·L−1 of substrate. When plants had reached a salable size, half the plants were sprayed with a solution containing 1 g·L−1 ABA, whereas the other plants were sprayed with water. Leaf chlorophyll content was monitored for 2 weeks following ABA application. Leaf chlorophyll content increased greatly as fertilizer rate increased from 0 to 2 g·L−1, with little increase in leaf chlorophyll at even higher fertilizer rates. ABA induced chlorosis, irrespective of the fertilizer rate. Plant dry weight was lowest when no controlled-release fertilizer was incorporated, but similar in all fertilized treatments. ABA treatment reduced shoot dry weight by ≈24%, regardless of fertilization rate. This may be due to ABA-induced stomatal closure, which limits carbon dioxide (CO2) diffusion into the leaves. We conclude that ABA sprays induce chlorosis, regardless of which fertilizer rate is used. However, because leaf chlorophyll concentration increases with increasing fertilizer rates, higher fertilizer rates can mask ABA-induced chlorosis.

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