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Growth and flowering of bedding plants grown in landscape bed amended with hydrophilic polymers
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Field study one incorporated hydrophilic polymers into field plots of bedding plants including 25, 50, 75, or 1 00 lb/1 00oft2 . Data recorded during the growing season included flower number, visual rating, soil moisture and temperature, and plant dry weights. Soil moisture was two to three times greater at the higher polymer rates compared to control plots maintaining soil moistures of 13-17% up through the fourth week of the study compared to 6% in the control plots. Soil temperatures were also significantly different due to polymer incorporation. Temperatures of soils with polymers remained 2 to 3 C cooler at both measured depths during daytime and remained warmer at both depths during the night. Flowering of petunia and vinca were increased due to polymer incorporation. However, marigold flowering was unaffected by polymer incorporation. Field study two was similar to field study one with the exception of the incorporation of supplemental nitrogen at the rate of 0.4 lb/100oft2 . Polymer incorporation increased soil moisture by approximately 1 0%. Temperature differences were also similar to field study one. Plant performance was poor for all treatments in this study due to exceptionally high rainfall during establishment. The greenhouse studies investigated N03 and NH4 retention in plots of petunias due to polymer incorporation. Leachate was collected on a daily basis and analyzed for N03 and NH4 content. Data collected during the studies included plant parameters, soil moisture, water loss and nutrient analysis in the plant, soil and water. Significant differences were found for all plant variables measured due to nitrogen incorporation. However there was no effect due to polymer incorporation on plant parameter, soil moisture or nutrient retention in the first greenhouse study which may have been partially due to the well-watered conditions the plants were kept at. In,the second greenhouse study, conducted under drying cycles, polymer incorporation increased soil moisture by approximately 50% in plots where no additional nitrogen was incorporated. In the presence of additional nitrogen, the water holding capacity of the polymer was decreased and there were no significant differences in soil moisture due to polymer incorporation.
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Boatright, Jennifer Lynn (1994). Growth and flowering of bedding plants grown in landscape bed amended with hydrophilic polymers. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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