USE OF PLANT GROWTH REGULATORS FOR MAXIMIZING CROP GENETIC POTENTIAL WITH PLASTICULTURE SYSTEMS
Use of a plasticulture system (raised beds, plastic mulch and drip irrigation) will consistently produce more and higher quality vegetables compared to bare ground production. However, yield potential or genetic expression of that crop growing on plastic film depends on an effective, complete nutritional program. A complete nutritional program, in this context, means application of molecules or atoms either to the roots or canopy, that not only facilitate proteins to catalyze biochemical reactions at optimal rates but also express those genes affecting crop productivity, produce quality and functionality of the crop plant. Over the years, there have been many products that have come onto the market that promised fantastic results of high marketable yields, impeccable quality and extremely long shelf life. Unfortunately many of the companies that produced these nutritional wonders are not in existence today. Previous research has demonstrated that both roots and vegetative tops must be supplied with required growth regulators and nutrients for optimum plant growth to occur during the growing season (from establishment to harvest). After several years of evaluating different nutritional materials and components in fieldwork at the Penn State Horticulture Research Farm, Rock Springs, PA consistent, repetitive results were obtained on most vegetable crops when both roots and vegetative tops were provided with an optimum nutrition program in conjunction with appropriate plant growth regulators. Working with processing tomatoes, sweet corn, butternut squash, eggplant and onion over the last 4 years, a 20% marketable yield increase has been obtained compared to a standard soluble N-P-K treatment. Since the plants were actively growing and healthy, both insecticide and fungicide applications were reduced by half during the growing season.
Orzolek, M.D. (2013). USE OF PLANT GROWTH REGULATORS FOR MAXIMIZING CROP GENETIC POTENTIAL WITH PLASTICULTURE SYSTEMS. Acta Hortic. 987, 49-53
nutrients, processing tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum L.), butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata (Duchesne)), sweet corn (Zea mays L.)