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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR EARLY STRESS DETECTION AND EFFICIENT AGROCHEMICAL UTILIZATION FOR PROTECTED HORTICULTURE CROPS

Location: Application Technology Research Unit

Title: Growth, partitioning, and nutrient and carbohydrate concentration of Petunia x hybrid Vilm. are influenced by altering light, CO2, and fertility

Authors
item Frantz, Jonathan
item Ling, Peter -

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/50043
Citation: Frantz, J., Ling, P. 2011. Growth, partitioning, and nutrient and carbohydrate concentration of Petunia x hybrid Vilm. are influenced by altering light, CO2, and fertility. HortScience. 46:228-235.

Interpretive Summary: Fuel prices have fluctuated wildly in the last several years, and faced with unpredictable or rising fuel costs, growers often lower temperature set points to decrease fuel use. However, this can delay plant development and suppress plant growth so that the same size and quality plant might take longer to produce resulting in additional fuel consumption. Alternatives to lowering temperatures are needed for efficient crop production. Fertility, light, and CO2 are other environmental factors that can be manipulated within a greenhouse. They interact with each other in complex and often unknown ways, especially with regards to plant quality. We grew petunia in controlled environments investigating how light, fertility, and CO2 influence growth and development including how plant mass is partitioned among leaves, stems, and flowers. Generally, light enhanced flowering, both in total mass and fraction of total biomass, while increased fertility decreased the proportion of biomass allocated to flowers. The influence of CO2 was complex, with high CO2 suppressing flowering and enhancing leaf growth. The CO2 effect was strongest mid-way through the seven week experiment, suggesting plants could no longer respond to CO2. Even when other growth limitations were removed (light and fertility), crop response to enhanced CO2 was low. Together, these data suggest strategies that grower may have in controlling crop growth and development, and indicate that enhanced growth (size) may be at the detriment of development (flowering mass and allocation).

Technical Abstract: Fuel prices have fluctuated wildly in the last several years, and faced with unpredictable or rising fuel costs, growers often lower temperature set points to decrease fuel use. However, plant growth and development are influenced by lower temperatures and may cause increases in fuel use due to longer production times. Alternative strategies to efficiency crop production are needed. Fertility, light, and CO2 are other environmental factors that can be manipulated within a greenhouse but how they interact together on growth and development are not well known. We grew Petunia × hybrida Vilm. in controlled environments in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial study investigating how light, fertility, and CO2 influence growth and development including shoot partitioning. Generally, light enhanced flowering, both mass and fraction of total biomass, while increased fertility was detrimental to the proportion of biomass allocated to flowers. The influence of CO2 was complex, with high CO2 suppressing flowering and enhancing leaf growth, but only mid-way through the seven week experiment. This suggests a sink limitation, so even in high light and fertility, crop response to enhanced CO2 was low. Together, these data suggest strategies that grower may have in controlling their crop growth and development, and indicate that enhanced growth (size) may be at the detriment of development (flowering mass and allocation).

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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