Title page for ETD etd-04052006-222512

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lopez, Angelina
Author's Email Address alopez3@lsu.edu
URN etd-04052006-222512
Title Media Influence on Post-Harvest Container Plant Quality in a Retail Nursery Setting
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Horticulture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Edward Bush Committee Chair
Allen Owings Committee Member
Charles Johnson Committee Member
Paul Wilson Committee Member
  • salvia
  • buddleia
  • pinebark
  • verbena
  • hydrogel
Date of Defense 2006-03-17
Availability unrestricted
Media amendments can be added to pinebark to increase its water holding capacity.

Hydrogels are amendments which can hold 20 to1000 times their weight in water. The objective

of this study is to determine the effects of media and a hydrogel on the post-harvest quality of

ornamentals likely to have poor post-harvest quality in the retail nursery setting. The selected

species were Buddleia davidii ‘Nanho Blue’, Salvia leucantha and Verbena x canadensis

‘Homestead Purple’. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design. It

consisted of eight replications of three species, three media treatments and a hydrogel

amendment for two planting dates and three retail nursery settings, totaling 576 pots. The three

media were 100% pinebark, 9 pinebark:1 peat and 9 pinebark:1 sand. The hydrogel was applied

post-harvest, to a portion of the plants grown in 100% pine bark. Once harvested, plants were

transferred to three retail nursery settings where they remained for 4 months.

There were differences in specie response to the different media. At the end of

production, growth for Salvia leucantha was similar except for plants assigned to one retail

nursery setting, where pinebark:peat and pinebark:sand had the highest growth indices. Buddleia

davidii ‘Nanho Blue’ had the highest growth index in pinebark:peat for plants assigned to two

retail nursery settings. Verbena x canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’had the highest growth index in

pinebark and pinebark to be amended with hydrogel assigned to one retail nursery setting. The

hydrogel increased growth index of Buddleia davidii ‘Nanho Blue’ by 13% at one retail nursery

setting and maintained plant quality at another retail nursery setting, where it increased dry shoot

weight by 46% and 103.8% for crop 1 and crop 2 respectively. For Salvia leucantha, the

hydrogel increased growth index in two retail nursery settings by 5% and 19%, and maintained

plant quality in two retail nursery settings. For Verbena x canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’, the

hydrogel increased dry shoot weight by 72%, and maintained the best plant quality in one retail

nursery setting. Overall plant quality was lowest at the two retail nursery settings where the

irrigation water had a higher alkalinity.

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