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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357171

Research Project: Development of Technologies and Strategies for Sustainable Crop Production in Containerized and Protected Horticulture Systems

Location: Application Technology Research

Title: Responses of marigold cultivars to saline water irrigation

Author
item Sun, Youping - Utah State University
item Niu, Genhua - Texas A&m Agrilife
item Perez, Christina - Texas A&m Agrilife
item Pemberton, H. Brent - Texas A&m Agrilife
item Altland, James

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2018
Publication Date: 4/1/2018
Citation: Sun, Y., Niu, G., Perez, C., Pemberton, H., Altland, J.E. 2018. Responses of marigold cultivars to saline water irrigation. HortTechnology. 28(2):166-171. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH03981-18.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH03981-18

Interpretive Summary: Alternative water sources such as brackish water, gray water, and reclaimed municipal water are becoming important resources for ‘‘new water’’ in arid to semiarid areas in the United States. Alternative water sources such as brackish water, gray water, and reclaimed municipal water are becoming important resources for ‘‘new water’’ in arid to semiarid areas in the United States. Concentrations of salts in alternative waters can potentially stress, damage, and reduce plant growth if not managed properly. The present study was designed to compare the growth of eight popular marigold cultivars when irrigated with saline solutions supplemented with NaCl and CaCl2. All marigold cultivars were moderately sensitive to salinity. These results suggest that marigold breeders develop salt-tolerant marigold cultivars for landscapes with high soil salinity.

Technical Abstract: Marigolds (Tagetes sp.) are ornamental plants with fine-textured, dark green foliage, and yellow, orange, or bicolored flowers. The relative salt tolerance of eight marigolds [‘Discovery Orange’, ‘Discovery Yellow’, ‘Taishan Gold’, ‘Taishan Orange’, and ‘Taishan Yellow’ african marigold (Tagetes erecta); ‘Hot Pak Gold’, ‘Hot Pak Orange’, and ‘Hot Pak Yellow’ french marigold (Tagetes patula)] was evaluated in a greenhouse experiment. Plants were irrigated weekly with nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dSmL1 (control) or saline solutions at an EC of 3.0 or 6.0 dSmL1 (EC 3 or EC 6). Marigold plants began to show foliar salt damage (leaf burn and necrosis) at 6 weeks after the initiation of treatment. At harvest (9 weeks after the initiation of treatment), ‘Discovery Orange’, ‘Discovery Yellow’, ‘Taishan Gold’, and ‘Taishan Yellow’ plants exhibited severe foliar salt damage with visual scores less than 2 (on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 = dead and 5 = excellent with no foliar salt damage) in EC 6. In the same treatment, ‘Hot Pak Gold’ and ‘Taishan Orange’ plants all died and only one of nine ‘Hot Pak Orange’ and ‘Hot Pak Yellow’ plants survived. In EC 3, all cultivars had slight or minimal foliar salt damage with visual scores 4 with the exception of Taishan Gold and Taishan Orange plants that showed moderate foliar damage with a visual score of 2.3 and 2.1, respectively. Treatment EC 3 reduced the flower number of ‘Discovery Orange’, ‘Discovery Yellow’, ‘Hot Pak Gold’, and ‘Hot Pak Yellow’ by 52%, 28%, 50%, and 30%, respectively, whereas EC 6 decreased the flower number of ‘Discovery Orange’ and ‘Discovery Yellow’ by 48% and 52%, respectively. In addition, both EC 3 and EC 6 did not reduce total dry weight (DW) of any cultivars, except Hot Pak Yellow and Taishan Yellow. In conclusion, all marigold cultivars are moderately sensitive to salt. ‘Discovery Orange’, ‘Taishan Yellow’, ‘Discovery Yellow’, and ‘Taishan Gold’ were more tolerant than ‘Hot Pak Gold’, ‘Hot Pak Orange’, ‘Hot Pak Yellow’, and ‘Taishan Orange’.