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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 361: International Symposium on New Cultivation Systems in Greenhouse

A SOILLESS EBB-AND-FLOW SYSTEM FOR ALL-YEAR-ROUND CHRYSANTHEMUMS

Authors:   F. Buwalda, R. Baas, P.A. van Weel
Keywords:   chrysanthemum morifolium, cultivation system, mineral nutrition, oxygen deficiency, production, recirculation, root die-back
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.1994.361.10
Abstract:
We developed a closed cultivation system with ebb-and-flow irrigation for chrysanthemums, in which only 15 cm3 of substrate per plant is used in the form of a small, fibrous plug. A series of experiments was conducted, aimed at optimization of production factors in the root-zone, i.e. mineral nutrition, irrigation frequency and root aeration. Nutrient uptake was efficient, as shown by influx concentrations for N and K, which were considerably higher than concentrations in the bulk nutrient solution. There was little difference between four ebb-and flow treatments in production or mineral nutrition, but severe waterlogging symptoms developed in completely stagnant nutrient solution culture. In over 2 years of experimentation, it was possible to produce chrysanthemums of a constant good quality, and the system showed a high productivity. Although no chemical or physical sterilization was applied, no problems with root diseases were encountered. The high productivity indicates that the ebb-and flow system may have advantages over soil-based cultivation. However, it is still uncertain whether these advantages are large enough to make the system economically competitive.

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