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  • Author or Editor: Mike A. Dixon x
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Electrolytically generated copper is increasingly used to control diseases and algae in the greenhouse industry. However, there is a shortage of information regarding appropriate management strategies for copper in ornamental crop production. The objectives of this study were to characterize the response of three ornamental crops (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum L. `Fina', Rosa ×hybrida L. `Lavlinger', Pelargonium ×hortorum L. `Evening Glow') to different solution levels of Cu2+ (ranging from 0.4 to 40 μm) and to determine the critical levels above which toxic responses became apparent. The following measurements were used to assess the treatments: leaf chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm), leaf chlorophyll content, and visible injury of leaf and root. Excessive copper reduced plant root length, root dry weight, total dry weight, root to shoot ratio, leaf area, and specific leaf area in all three species. The critical solution level of Cu2+ that resulted in significantly reduced plant dry weight for chrysanthemum was 5 μm; for miniature rose, 2.4; and for geranium, 8 μm. Plant visible root injury was a more sensitive and reliable copper toxicity indicator than visible leaf injury, leaf chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm, or leaf and stem copper content. Generally, all the species exhibited some sensitivity to Cu2+ in solution culture, with chrysanthemum and miniature rose being most sensitive and geranium being least sensitive. Caution should be taken when applying copper in solution culture production systems.

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