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- Author or Editor: Roger J. Field x
Defruited cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants were grown hydroponically for 28 days in containers with 4.5 liters of capacity, in which constant solution depths of 1, 5, 50, and 170 mm were maintained. The plants grown in the 1- and 5-mm-deep solutions grew more slowly than those in the deeper solutions. Both root and shoot growth were reduced at the shallow depths, but shoot growth was affected more than root growth. Thus, the shoot : root ratios were considerably smaller in the shallower than in the deeper solutions. The root systems in the shallower solutions, initially, were relatively more branched than in the deeper solutions. The shallow solutions caused the plants to allocate a higher proportion of their photosynthetic resources to the root at the expense of leaf growth. In the shallow solutions, a progressively higher proportion of this root growth became exposed above the solution, and, therefore, could not contribute to the absorption of water and nutrients. Control of solution depth may be a useful tool for controlling the vigor of the shoots of cucumber and the data presented may explain why growth problems have been experienced with this crop, particularly where a very thin film of nutrient is used, as in nutrient film technique.