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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.
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).
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.
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.
Acidification of the irrigation water with phosphoric acid is a common practice to avoid nutrient deficiencies/toxicities from alkaline root media. It has been suggested high phosphorus levels could cause phosphorus toxicity.
Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. cultivars Supjibi and Celebrate 2 cuttings were potted on June 6, 1991 in a root medium of peat, perlite and soil (40:40:20 by volume) amended with N, K, Ca and micro-nutrients, plus six phosphorus (0-40-0) rates of .89, 1.78, 3.55, 7.11, 10.67, and 14.22 kg/meter3. Foliar samples were analyzed for NH4, P, and K every two weeks after the start of short days. Root media samples were also collected and analyzed pH, SS and NO3, P, K and NH4. Bract diameter, bract edge burn, days to anthesis, and plant height were recorded at anthesis.
Media P levels increased as the phosphorus rate increased, but a significant treatment*harvest interaction for media P was observed. There was decreased bract size and increased incidences of bract edge burn as phosphorus rate increased. Root media P levels did not affect the levels of other nutrient elements in the foliar samples. No visual symptoms of phosphorus toxicity was observed except for bract edge burn at anthesis.
Mini-poinsettias are a popular form of potted plant, but there is a need to control plant height because tall growing cultivars are used. A study was conducted to determine the suitability of paclobutrazol to control height of mini-poinsettias. Cuttings of poinsettia cultivars Freedom and Red Sails were taken on 10 Sept. 1993 and rooted under mist. On 11 Oct. when short days began, plant height was measured and 4 plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments were applied as foliar sprays using a volume of 204 ml·m-2: paclobutrazol at 15, 30, 45 and 60 mg·liter-1, plus an untreated control. At anthesis, plant height (pot rim to top of plant) and bract diameter (measured in 2 directions and averaged) were measured. Data for plant height gain (PHG), the difference between plant height at anthesis and when PGRs were applied, and bract diameter were analyzed statistically.
PHG was significantly different at the cultivar × treatment interaction. For `Red Sails' all paclobutrazol treatments significantly retarded PHG, but there were no significant differences in PHG with increased rates of application. For `Freedom' only paclobuuazol rates at 30 and 45 mg·liter-1 significantly retarded PHG. Bract diameter was significantly different at paclobunazol rates 30 mg·liter-1 or greater, with diameter decreasing as the rate of PGR applied increased
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).
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.
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.