Simulation of long-term stem diameter variation of Ficus benjamina based on simulated transpiration

H.A.L. Van de Put, F.S. Lauriks, D.J.W. De Pauw, K. Steppe
Greenhouse microclimate (light, temperature, relative humidity and CO2) and irrigation are important factors for plant growth, development and quality in ornamental horticulture. To optimize plant growth, actual stem diameter growth can be measured and compared with a desired growth pattern. Using the deviation between measured and simulated stem diameter growth, growers can decide whether and in which way the microclimate or irrigation needs to be adjusted. Together with this decision, costs associated with climate control and irrigation must also be taken into account. This will help growers to find a proper balance between cultivation costs and plant growth. In this study, Ficus benjamina was grown from cutting to mature plant in a controlled greenhouse environment. Growing conditions, microclimate as well as plant spacing, closely resembled the ones used in commercial greenhouses. Microclimate, soil water content, leaf temperature, sap flow, stem diameter variation and leaf thickness were continuously measured on three plants. In addition, discrete measurements of leaf area, projected crown surface area, stem water potential, photosynthesis, transpiration and stomatal conductance were performed. These measurements were used to further extend a mechanistic plant model, which allows simulation of long-term stem diameter variation.
Van de Put, H.A.L., Lauriks, F.S., De Pauw, D.J.W. and Steppe, K. (2017). Simulation of long-term stem diameter variation of Ficus benjamina based on simulated transpiration. Acta Hortic. 1182, 219-226
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1182.26
ornamental horticulture, mechanistic modelling, plant monitoring, sap flow, stem diameter, leaf thickness

Acta Horticulturae