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Tasneem M. Vaid, Erik S. Runkle, and Jonathan M. Frantz

Plant quality is subjective and situational with desired attributes largely depending on the customer, plant, and season. For flowering ornamental crops, attributes of plant quality can include absence of insect and disease pests, presence of

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Julia C. Brotton and Janet C. Cole

was applied had higher damage ratings than those brushed with a gloved hand, suggesting that the lotion or some other substance on the hand adversely affected plant quality. The substance affecting the plants may or may not have been the oils

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Margarita Pérez-Jiménez, Almudena Bayo-Canha, Gregorio López-Ortega, and Francisco M. del Amor

increases plant quality and survival Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult. 121 3 547 557 Porra, R.J. Thompson, W.A. Kriedemann, P.E. 1989 Determination of accurate extinction coefficients and simultaneous-equations for assaying chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b

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Kristian Borch, Kathleen M. Brown, and Jonathan P. Lynch

Bedding plants are frequently exposed to water stress during the postproduction period, resulting in reduced quality. We demonstrated that alumina-buffered P fertilizer (Al-P) provides adequate but much lower P concentrations than conventionally used in soilless mixes. When impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f. `Impulse Orange') and marigold (Tagetes patula L. `Janie Tangerine') plants were grown with reduced phosphorus using Al-P, P leaching was greatly reduced and plant quality was improved. Diameter of impatiens plants and leaf area of plants of both species were reduced by Al-P. Marigold plants grown with Al-P had more flowers and fewer wilted flowers. Flower wilting was also reduced for impatiens plants grown with Al-P. In marigold plants, roots were confined to a small volume beneath the drip tube in control plants, while roots of Al-P plants were well distributed through the medium. There was no obvious difference in impatiens root distribution. When plants at the marketing stage were exposed to drought, the Al-P plants of both species wilted more slowly than the conventionally fertilized controls. The reduced leaf area in both species and the improved root distribution of marigold may account for the improvement in drought tolerance of the Al-P plants.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Light (radiant energy) and temperature (thermal energy) affect quality of greenhouse crops. Radiant energy drives photosynthesis and, consequently, plant biomass accumulation. Thermal energy is the primary environmental factor driving developmental rate. The concept of a photothermal ratio (PTR), the ratio of radiant energy [moles of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons/m2] to thermal energy (degree-day), was proposed to describe the balance between plant growth and plant development in greenhouse crops. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTR during vegetative (PTRv) or reproductive (PTRr) phases on finished plant quality of `Freedom' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch). In Expt. 1, plants were grown under 27 combinations of three constant temperatures (19, 23, or 27 °C), three daily light integrals (DLIs) as measured by the number of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons (5, 10, or 20 mol·m-2·d-1), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm) from pinch to the start of short-day flower induction, and then moved to a common PTR until anthesis. In Expt. 2, plants were grown under a common PTR during the vegetative stage and then moved to combinations of three DLIs (5, 10, or 15 mol·m-2·d-1) and three plant spacings (25 × 25, 30 × 30, or 35 × 35 cm) at a constant 20 °C from the start of short days until anthesis. Both PTRr and PTRv affected final plant dry weight (DW). All components of DW (total, stem, leaf, and bract) increased linearly as PTRr increased, and responded quadratically to PTRv, reaching a maximum when PTRv was 0.04 mol/degree-day per plant. Stem strength depended more on PTRv than PTRr. When PTRv increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, stem diameter increased ≈24%, while stem strength increased 75%. The size of bracts and cyathia increased linearly as PTRr increased, but was unaffected 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.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

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.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Plant growth and development are driven by two forms of energy: radiant and thermal. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of the ratio of radiant energy to thermal energy on plant quality of Euphorbia pulcherrima `Freedom'. Plants were grown under 27 combinations of temperature (thermal energy), light (radiant energy), and spacing, 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·m–2·d–1), and three levels of plant spacing (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction. Plants were treated for 450 degree-days (base temperature = 5°C) in Expt. 1 or 5 weeks in Expt. 2. The results showed that increasing radiant energy or decreasing average daily temperature during accumulation of 450 degree-days increased plant dry weight. When radiant and thermal energy were calculated into the ratio, plant dry weight increased linearly as the ratio increased Plants exposed to low light: levels and high temperatures, i.e., those at a low ratio, developed thin, weak stems. Higher radiant-to-thermal energy ratios produced thicker stems.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

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.

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Shannon E. Beach*, Terri W. Starman, and H. Brent Pemberton

Bracteantha bracteata (Vent.) Anderb. & Haegi (bracteantha) is a vegetative annual produced as a 12.7-cm potted plant in 6 weeks of greenhouse production. A dense leaf canopy produced with a conventional constant-feed fertilization regime (300 mg·L-1 20N-4.4P-16.6K) caused increased disease pressure and lower leaf chlorosis during greenhouse production. During shelf life, lower leaves of plants con-tinued to become chlorotic. The objective was to decrease leaf area and prevent lower leaf chlorosis without affecting harvest time, plant quality or shelf life of two cultivars of three series of bracteantha. The first experiment was to reduce the rate of fertilizer two weeks prior to harvest. Treatments were no fertility reduction (300 mg/liter), 50% reduction (150 mg/liter), and 100% reduction (0 mg·L-1). At harvest, plants were evaluated for shelf life in a growth room at 21.1 ± 1.3 °C and 6 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF. Five cultivars in the 100% fertility reduction treatment had decreased height and/or width index at harvest and three cultivars maintained higher postharvest quality ratings compared to the other treatments. Separately, the effect of the duration of fertilization was evaluated by terminating fertilization at weekly intervals (0-6 weeks) throughout production. Ceasing fertilization two to three weeks prior to harvest produced plants with lower leaf area without affecting flower number. In another experiment, thidiazuron (TDZ) as a foliar spray at 0, 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 mg·L-1 was applied to decrease lower leaf yellowing. SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter readings of lower leaves were increased with 0.1 mg·L-1 TDZ treatment compared to the control. Phytotoxic symptoms occurred on plants receiving higher TDZ rates.

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Wagner Vendrame, Kimberly K. Moore, and Timothy K. Broschat

New guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) (NGI) `Pure Beauty Rose' (PBR) and `Paradise Orchid' (PO) were grown in full sun, 55% shade, or 73% shade and fertilized with a controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) [Nutricote Total 13-13-13 (13N-5.7P-10.8K), type 100] incorporated at rates of 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 and 32 lb/yard3 of growing media (1.2, 2.4, 3.6, 4.7, 7.1, 9.5, 11.9, 14.2, 16.6, and 19.0 kg·m-3). Plant quality rating, shoot dry weight, and flower number were measured at harvest and substrate samples were collected to analyze final substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC). For both cultivars, light intensity and fertilization rate interactions were different for shoot dry weight and flower number, but there was no difference in plant quality rating between the light levels. Quality ratings of both PBR and PO plants increased as CRF rate increased to 12 to 16 lb/yard3 above these levels quality was not improved. Shoot dry weight of PBR plants grown in full sun increased as CRF rate increased to 28 lb/yard3 and then decreased, while shoot dry weight of plants grown with 55% and 73% shade increased as CRF rate increased to 20 and 16 lb/yard3, respectively, with no further increases. Shoot dry weight of PO plants grown in full sun and 55% shade increased as CRF rate increased to 28 and 24 lb/yard3, respectively, with no further increases, while shoot dry weight of plants grown with 73% shade increased as CRF rate increased to 24 lb/yard3 and then decreased. Flower number of PBR plants grown in full sun, 55% shade, and 73% shade increased as CRF rate increased to 24 lb/yard3 and then decreased. Flower number of PO plants grown in full sun increased as CRF rate increased to 28 lb/yard3 and then decreased, while flower number of plants grown in 55% and 73% shade increased as CRF rate increased to 24 lb/yard3 and then decreased.