Environmental control computers allow regulation of greenhouse environments based on some model driven factor or factors other than fixed heating and cooling setpoints. A quantitative understanding of how environmental factors influence rate of plant development, flower initiation, and plant morphology is necessary to develop models for environmental control. The major limitation to the use of models for greenhouse climate and crop control is the lack of quantitative models. Examples of model development for environmental control will be discussed.
The objectives of this study were to quantify the effects of the radiant-to-thermal energy ratio (RRT) on poinsettia plant growth and development during the vegetative stage and develop a simple, mechanistic model for poinsettia quality control. Based on greenhouse experiments conducted with 27 treatment combinations; i.e., factorial combinations of three levels of constant temperature (19, 23, or 27°C), three levels of daily light integral (5, 10, or 20 mol/m2 per day), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction, the relationship between plant growth/development and light/temperature has been established. A model for poinsettia quality control was constructed using the computer software program STELLA II. The t-test shows that there were no significant differences between model predictions and actual observations for all considered plant characteristics; i.e., total, leaf and stem dry weight, leaf unfolding number, leaf area index, and leaf area. The simulation results confirm that RRT is an important parameter to describe potential plant quality in floral crop production.
Dendranthema ×grandiflorm (Ramat.) Kitamura `Powerhouse' plants were pinched to five nodes and grown in growth chambers at 35C day temperature (DT) and 14,17,21,24, or 27C night temperature (NT) to determine if NT influenced lateral shoot development on plants exposed to high DT. Vegetative cuttings were removed from two successive flushes of lateral shoots and evaluated for lateral shoot development after rooting and subsequent apex removal. Lateral shoot development was determined on a third flush of shoots that developed on the stock plants. The percentage of nodes that developed lateral shoots on stock plants or vegetative cuttings was not related to NT. The percentage of first-order, second-order, and third-order axillary nodes that developed a lateral shoot on the stock plants, averaged over all NT, was 76, 65, and 12, respectively. The percentage of nodes that developed lateral shoots on the first-order and second-order cuttings was 29 and 19, respectively. We concluded that cool NT were ineffective in preventing a decrease in lateral branching on plants grown under high (35C) DT conditions.
Dahlia “Royal Dahlietta Yellow” plants were grown in controlled temperature chambers under 25 different day and night temperature environments ranging from 10°C to 30°C. The day length was 12 hours with an average PPF level of 300 micromolm-2 s-1 at canopy level. Leaf unfolding rate, shoot elongation and flower development rate were determined and models developed. Leaf unfolding rate increased as temperature increased up to 25°C. Stem elongation increased as the difference between day and night temperature increased. Flower initiation was delayed at high (30°C) temperature and flower development rate increased as temperature increased from 10°C to 25°C. Plants are currently being grown under greenhouse conditions to provide data for validating the models.
Environments with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio (e.g., with high plant density) promote stem elongation, and a high R: FR suppresses it. While FR light promotes stem extension, it is also required for rapid, uniform flowering of many long-day plants. We investigated how a new FR filter [creating a FR-deficient (FRd) environment] influenced plug growth and subsequent flowering of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Crystal Bowl Yellow'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Carpet Pink'), impatiens (Impatiens wallerana `Accent Rose'), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus `Liberty Scarlet'), and tomato (Solanum lycopersicon `Beefmaster'). One-week-old seedlings were placed under three filter treatments with 16-h photoperiods: the FRd filter, a neutral-density filter (N) that transmitted a similar PPF, and transferring plugs from the N to the FRd filter when leaves of each species began to touch (7 to 11 days later). The predicted phytochrome photoequilibria under the FRd and N filters was 0.80 and 0.72, respectively. After 25 to 35 days at 20 °C, node number and stem (or petiole for pansy) length were collected. Twenty plants of each species and filter treatment were then transferred to 4-inch pots and grown under natural photoperiods (14 to 15 h) at 20 °C until flowering. Compared to plants continually under the N filter, stem length under the FRd filter was significantly reduced in impatiens (by 11%), pansy (by 18%), petunia (by 34%), snapdragon (by 5%), and tomato (by 24%). Flowering of plants from plugs under the FRd filter was delayed by 2 to 3 days for snapdragon, petunia, and pansy. Filter treatment of plugs had no significant effect on flower number or plant height at flower.
The postharvest quality of potted Asiflorum lily `Donau' (Lilium hybrid) was evaluated after plants were sprayed with 0, 50, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (BA equivalent) of Promalin (GA4+7 to BA ratio was 1:1) or Accel (GA4+7 to BA ratio 1:10) and stored at 2 to 3 °C for 0, 10, or 20 days. As storage was prolonged, more leaves senesced once plants were removed for evaluation. Leaf senescence declined with increasing concentrations of either Promalin or Accel, but Promalin was more effective. Application of 250 mg·L-1 Promalin completely eliminated leaf senescence over the 20-day shelf-life evaluation period, irrespective of duration of cold storage. The treatments did not affect flower bud opening or plant height. Chemical names used: gibberellin (GA4+7); benzyladenine (BA).
For many plants, light quality has a pronounced effect on plant morphology; light with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio promotes stem elongation and a high R: FR, or blue light (B, 400 to 500 nm), suppresses it. In addition, FR light is required for rapid flowering in some species, particularly for long-day plants. Our objective was to quantify how flexible spectral filters, which selectively reduce FR, B, or R, influence plant height and flowering of the quantitative long-day plants Pisum sativum L. `Utrillo' and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Crystal Bowl Yellow'. Plants were grown at 20 °C with reduced FR, B, or R environments or with a neutral density control (C) filter. Calculated phytochrome photoequilebria were 0.78, 0.73, 0.71, or 0.46 for the altered FR, B, C, or R environments, respectively. All filter treatments transmitted a similar photosynthetic photon flux. Sixteen-hour photoperiods were created with natural daylight supplemented with high-pressure sodium lamps positioned above filters. Viola grown under the FR filter never reached 100% flowering within 8 weeks, and visible bud appearance was delayed by at least 17 days compared to all other filters. The R and B filters enhanced peduncle length by at least 25% compared to the C or FR filters. In Pisum, average internode length was 2.2, 2.9, 3.4, and 3.7 cm under the FR, C, B, and R filters, respectively, all statistically different. Fresh and dry shoot weights were similar under the C and FR filters but were at least 35% greater under the B filter and 35% lower under the R filter.
Photothermal ratio (PTR) is defined as the ratio of radiant energy (light) to thermal energy (temperature). The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTR during the vegetative (PTRv) and reproductive phase (PTRr) on finished plant quality of `Freedom' poinsettia. In Expt. I, plants were grown under 27 combinations of three temperatures, three daily light integrals (DLI), and three plant spacings from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction and then moved to a common PTR until anthesis. In Expt. II, plants were grown under a common PTR during the vegetative stage and then assigned to nine combinations of one temperature, three DLIs, and three plant spacings after the onset of short-day flower induction. Both PTRr and PTRv affected final plant dry weight. All components of dry weight (total, stem, green leaf, and bract) responded in a linear way to PTRr and in a quadratic way to PTRv. Stem strength was more dependent on PTRv than PTRr. When PTRv increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, stem diameter increased about 24% while stem strength increased 75%. The size of bracts and cyathia was linearly correlated to PTRr, but not affected by PTRv. When PTRr increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, bract area, inflorescence diameter, and cyathia diameter increased 45%, 23%, and 44%, respectively.