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  • Author or Editor: Shumin Li x
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The far-red light intercepting photoselective plastic greenhouse covers have been shown to be effective in producing compact vegetable transplants. However, photoselective films reduce the photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) transmission compared to conventional plastic films because of the dye contained in the film. The low PPF in greenhouses covered with photoselective films may result in decreased plant dry matter production and could especially be a problem in the season with low light level and in northern latitudes. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine if covering at the end of the day (EOD) with photoselective films was effective in controlling height of vegetable seedlings. This will allow growers to maintain a high light level during daytime for optimum growth of plants. Cucumber seedlings were exposed to light transmitted through a photoselective film and a clear control film. Three exposure durations: continuous, exposure to filtered light from 3:00 pm to 9:00 am, and from 5:00 pm - 9:00 am, were evaluated. Results show that, after 15 days of treatment, about 25% of height reduction could be achieved by exposing the plants at the EOD from 3:00 pm to 9:00 am or from 5:00 pm to 9:00 am. Plants grown continuously under filtered light were the shortest. Compared to plants grown in photoselective chamber continuously, EOD exposed plants had greater leaf, stem and shoot dry weights, greater leaf area and thicker stem. Specific leaf and stem dry weights were also greater in EOD exposed plants. Number of leaves was not significantly affected by any exposure periods tested. The results suggested that the EOD use of photoselective film is effective in reducing height of cucumber seedlings. The responses of other crops need to be evaluated to test the feasibility of using photoselective film as a EOD cover on wide range of crops.

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Growth chamber experiments were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of several photoselective plastic films in controlling height of `Sweet Success' cucumber, `Mt. Pride' tomato, and `Capistrano' bell pepper transplants. Four types of treatment films; a control, two far-red light intercepting films (YXE-1 and YXE-10), and a red light intercepting film (SXE-1), with R: FR ratios of 1.0, 2.0, 1.6, and 0.8, respectively, were used as the covering materials of experimental chambers. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) was adjusted to be the same in all chambers with cheese cloth. Treatment period for cucumber and tomato was 15 days and that for bell pepper was 20 days. At the end of the treatment, significantly shorter plants were found in both YXE-1 and YXE-10 chambers for all the three tested crops. However, YXE-10 was more effective than YXE-1 in producing compact cucumber, tomato and bell pepper transplants. SXE-4 film produced taller plants than control film. Magnitude of response to filtered light varied with the crop species. Number of leaves was not significantly affected by the light transmitted through photoselective filters, indicating that the height reduction was mainly caused by the reduction in internode length. With the commercial development of photoselective greenhouse covers or shade material in the near future, nursery and greenhouse industry could potentially reduce the cost for growth regulating chemicals, reduce the health risks to their workers and consumers, and reduce environmental pollution.

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Growth and development responses of three chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflora (Ramat.) Kitam. (syn. Chrysanthemum ×morifolium Ramat.)] cultivars (`Bright Golden Anne', `Iridon', and `Yellow Snowdon') to photoselective plastic films with varying concentrations (0 to 0.22 g·m-2) of a far-red (FR) light absorbing dye were investigated under greenhouse conditions. Photoselective films reduced stem elongation of all three cultivars. The greater the dye concentration in the film, the greater and earlier the reduction in stem elongation. After 4 weeks, `Yellow Snowden', `Bright Golden Anne', and `Iridon' plants grown under the film with the highest dye concentration (Afr3 film) were 21%, 26%, and 26% shorter than control plants, respectively. Height reduction under photoselective films was caused by shorter internodes. Photoselective covers were most effective in reducing the stem elongation during the early vegetative period. Following transition to the reproductive stage, weekly stem elongation rates were reduced. At the time of flowering, `Yellow Snowden', `Bright Golden Anne', and `Iridon' plants grown under the film with the highest dye concentration (Afr3 film) were 12%, 7%, and 14% short9er than control plants, respectively. Photoselective covers did not affect the anthesis of chrysanthemum cultivars, but resulted in a 10% to 14% reduction in flower diameter depending on the cultivar. Although the films with higher dye concentration were more effective in reducing stem elongation of chrysanthemum, increased dye concentration reduced light transmission. Thus, photoselective covers that reduce light transmission over 25% would not be suitable for commercial production.

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