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  • Author or Editor: Joaquin A. Chong x
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Joaquin A. Chong, Uttara C. Samarakoon and James E. Faust

Poinsettia stock plants consist of a dense canopy of competing shoots, and the growth and development of these individual shoots have not been previously quantified. The effects of air temperature, daily light integral (DLI), and canopy density (CD) were investigated on poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex. Klotsch) ‘Freedom Red’ shoot development in a stock plant canopy. Plants were grown at two constant temperatures (20.3 or 25.7 °C), five CD (43, 86, 129, 172, or 215 shoots/m2), and three DLI treatments (2.6, 4.4, or 7.7 mol·m−2.d−1 for the September planting and 4.0, 6.0, or 10.6 mol·m−2.d−1 for the January planting). Shoot position at the final data collection was used to assign shoots to different levels within the canopy; Level 1 = the four highest shoots, Level 2 = the next four highest shoots, and so forth for Levels 3, 4, and 5. Temperature did not significantly affect leaf unfolding rate (LUR), shoot fresh mass (FM), or shoot caliper, whereas DLI and CD affected shoot growth and development. LUR and FM increased as DLI increased from 2.6 to 10.6 mol·m−2.d−1, whereas LUR and FM decreased on the uppermost shoots in the canopy, e.g., Level 1 shoots, as CD increased from 43 to 129 shoots/m2. Therefore, higher CD required higher DLI to achieve similar LUR and FM. Shoot caliper on Level 1 shoots increased from 6.3 to 7.4 mm as CD decreased from 129 to 43 shoots/m2; and shoot caliper increased from 5.8 to 7.6 mm as DLI increased from 4.0 to 10.6 mol·m−2.d−1. The DLI environment needs to be managed to accommodate greater CD, to sustain growth and development of individual shoots within the canopy of poinsettia stock plants.