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- Author or Editor: P. Allen Hammer x
The problem of statistics in horticultural research as reported in HortScience and the Journal is not unique to ASHS. Other societies are fighting the same battle. And certainly no one can disagree with Padaki’s comments. However, the question of inconsistencies in the use of statistics is a great deal more complex than he has stated. If all experiments could be easily analyzed as regression, multiple comparison and contrasts, and factorial experiments, the statistical issue would be greatly simplified. However, add to that list sampling, time (years), nonhomogeneity of variance, outliers, percent, transformation, subsamples, split-plots, interactions, unequal observations, dead plants, poorly designed experiments, lack of statistical consultants, poor access to statistical packages, etc. There is “no cookbook” to follow for every experiment nor do statisticians always agree on a single “correct” procedure. The problem is not easily solved.
Statistics is a very important tool for the horticultural scientist. But, like any tool, statistics can be, and often is, misused and abused. In nearly all cases the misuse is not intentional but rather a misunderstanding of how to correctly use the tool.
Controlling variability is central to the principles o f scientific experimentation. The researcher starts with a written statement of the question or questions and the hypotheses. The researcher uses “planned or controlled variability” (treatments) in an experiment to test these hypotheses. However, for valid conclusions, the researcher must also consider “non-planned or unwanted variability” when designing the experiment (Fig. 1). The following quote from the 1920s about field experiments graphically makes this point:
“As Fisher put it in correspondence, the experimenter games with the devil; he must he prepared by his layout to accommodate whatever pattern of soil fertilities the devil may have chosen in advance.” (1)
The main statistical tools for measuring and/or controlling variability are replication, randomization, and blocking.
Daylengths ≤ 12 hours greatly reduced the time required to form visible stolons in Chlorophytum. Three weeks of 8 hour daylengths were the minimum number of short days required to reduce the days to visible stolon formation. The all-green plant (Chlorophytum capense (L.) Voss) was less responsive to photoperiod than the variegated plant (Chlorophytum comosum (Thunb.) Jacques cv. Vittatum).
In 2002 the USDA reported potted geraniums accounted for $150 million in wholesale value, more than any other bedding or garden plant surveyed. Despite the importance of the geranium in floriculture production, little published research data is available pertaining to the media pH requirements of zonal and ivy geraniums. Current recommendations suggest zonal geraniums be grown at pH 5.7-6.6 and ivy geraniums at pH 5.0-6.2. The wide range in root medium pH recommendations for both zonal and ivy geraniums and the lack of research data prompted this research. Also, the basis for recommending a lower medium pH for ivy geraniums could not be found in published literature. The research objectives were to investigate the effect of medium pH on plant growth and to determine more precise recommendations for both species. The growth of 3 cultivars each of zonal and ivy geraniums growing in 8 medium pH treatments were evaluated. Limestone and hydrated lime were incorporated at increasing rates into a 1:1:1 peat, perlite and bark mix to achieve a medium pH ranging from pH 4.0-7.5. Plants were harvested at weeks 3, 6, and 11 and plant dry weight and media pH were determined. Leaf luminance, chroma and hue were evaluated at week 10. Plant dry weight was greatest at pH 6.55 or higher for both zonal and ivy geraniums at week 11. Leaves of plants grown at pH 6.55 or higher had significantly lower luminance and chroma and greater hue in all cultivars, corresponding to leaves that were darker, less vivid, and deeper green in color. This study shows a root medium pH greater than pH 6.5 results in greatest plant dry weight accumulation and quality of leaf color for both zonal and ivy geraniums. This study also shows ivy geraniums can be grown at the same media pH as zonal geraniums.
Plant growth retardant (PGR) media drench treatments (in mg a.i./pot) of ancymidol at 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 8.0; paclobutrazol at 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 8.0, or 16.0; uniconazole at 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 8.0 were applied to tuberous-rooted dahlias to compare their effectiveness as a chemical height control. All paclobutrazol, ancymidol, and uniconazole rates applied significantly reduced `Red Pigmy' plant height by 21% or greater compared to the nontreated control. Excessively short plants resulted from uniconazole and ancymidol drench rates ≥1.0 mg. `Red Pigmy', a less vigorous cultivar, were acceptable as potted-plants with paclobutrazol rates of 2.0 to 4.0 mg, 0.25 to 0.5 mg of uniconazole, or 0.5 mg of ancymidol. All paclobutrazol, ancymidol, and uniconazole rates significantly reduced `Golden Emblem' plant height by ≥11% when compared to the nontreated plants. Excessively short plants resulted from paclobutrazol drench rates of 16.0 mg, uniconazole rates of 2.0 mg and for ancymidol drenches ≥4.0 mg. `Golden Emblem', the more vigorous cultivar, were acceptable as potted-plants with paclobutrazol rates of 4.0 to 8.0 mg, 0.5 to 1.0 mg of uniconazole, or 2.0 mg of ancymidol.
Excessive alkalinity in greenhouse irrigation water can increase substrate solution pH, resulting in reduced micronutrient availability for plants. A spreadsheet was designed to offer a quick and practical method for calculating: 1) amount of nitric, phosphoric, and sulfuric acid required to achieve an endpoint alkalinity or pH in irrigation water; 2) the amount of nutrients added by the acid addition; and 3) acid costs. It calculates both pH and alkalinity of irrigation water after acidification, regardless of the endpoint selected. The spreadsheet accounts for the pH-dependent reaction that determines the relative percentage of each of the carbonate species—carbonates (CO 2– 3), bicarbonates (HCO– 3), and carbonic acid (H2CO3)—present in the solution. In addition, the acidification calculations account for the dissociation characteristics of the acid selected to neutralize the alkalinity. The spreadsheet was validated with six water sources from Indiana and North Carolina. Alkalinity neutralization was achieved within an acceptable range (greatest deviation from predicted pH was 0.16 units; greatest deviation from predicted residual alkalinity was 0.21 meq·liter–1) for both target endpoint pHs and endpoint alkalinity concentrations. The mathematical model used in the spreadsheet development provides a chemical basis for acidification and provides results useful for making grower recommendations for acid additions to irrigation water for alkalinity neutralization.
Salpiglossis sinuata R. et P., a floriferous member of the Solanaceae, was studied for potential as a flowering potted plant when modified by growth retardants. Seedlings of an inbred line P-5 were covered with black cloth for an 8-hour photoperiod to permit vegetative growth to ≈16 -cm-diameter rosettes. Plants were then exposed to an 18-hour photoperiod for the duration of study. Flowering occurred 40 days after the plants were transferred to long days. Neither spray applications of uniconazole at 10, 20, 40, or 100 ppm, nor chlormequat chloride at 750, 1500, or 3000 ppm significantly retarded plant height. Applications of daminozide, ranging in concentration from 1000 to 5000 ppm, alone and in combination with chlormequat chloride, were effective at retarding plant height; however, concomitant restriction of corolla diameter was frequently observed. Chemical names used: 2-chloro- N,N,N -trimethylethanaminium chloride (chlormequat chloride); butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); and (E) -1-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl) -1-penten-3-01 (uniconazole).
Although foliar applied glyphosate to Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum Thunb.) caused little damage at concentrations up to 540 x 10-4m (2.2 kg/ha), direct exposure of roots to glyphosate at concentrations as low as 2.7 x 10-4m (0.1 kg/ha) resulted in death. Glyphosate application after simulated flooding of the greenhouse floor indicated that plant injury would not occur if glyphosate is applied as recommended.
Chemical plant growth retardant (PGR) treatments (mg·liter–1) were applied as foliar sprays to three zonal geranium cultivars: chlormequat at 1500, applied two, three, and four times, a combination of chlormequat at 750 and daminozide at 1250, applied one and two times, and paclobutrazol applied once at 5, 10, 20, and 30; twice at 5, 10, and 15; and three times at 5, plus an untreated control. Two paclobutrazol drench treatments at 0.1 and 0.25 mg a.i. per pot were also applied. The results of the PGR applications were significant at the cultivar × treatment interaction for leaf canopy height and plant diameter. Paclobutrazol rates of 10 to 15 mg·liter–1 resulted in acceptable height control for `Medallion Dark Red' and `Aurora'. `Pink Satisfaction' is a less vigorous cultivar and lower paclobutrazol rates of 5 to 10 mg·liter–1 were more suitable. When the total concentration of the single and multiple applications were compared, no additional height control was realized with the multiple applications of paclobutrazol.