Hanging Basket Flower

The Effect of Super-oxygenated Water Supplied by Drip Irrigation on Hanging Basket Flower Mixtures

Faribault Growers, Faribault, Minnesota | 2007

Prepared by: A.H. Markhart for Ovation Science

Introduction:

Previous experiments with super-oxygenated water delivered by a 1 gallon watering system to individual potted flowers and by drip irrigation to field grown vegetables increased flowering and fruit yield. The current experiment was designed to determine the plant and grower response to a flow-through super-oxygenated irrigation system added to a grower’s standard production methods. We collaborated with a well-known greenhouse producer of wholesale floriculture crops in Faribault, MN to investigate the effect of super-oxygenated water on eight hanging basket flower mixtures. Super-oxygenated water increased shoot growth by 16% and root growth by 14%. At the conclusion of the experiment the grower commented “All mixes demonstrated more vigorous growth. The changes in plant growth will affect the way we handle our materials.”

Materials and Methods

On October 18, 2007 the grower prepared seven unique mixtures of flowering plants to be grown from cuttings in 6½ inch pots.
Mix 1 – calibrachoa, petunia, argyranthemum
Mix 2 – argyranthemum, calibrachoa, petunia, verbena
Mix 3 – calibrachoa, petunia, alternanthera, verbena
Mix 4 – calibrachoa, nemesia, petitunia
Mix 5 – torenia, nemesia, double impatien
Mix 6 – bacopa, torenia, double impatien
Mix 7 – fuchia, lobelia, double impatien, wandering jew

Figure 1:

Mean Shoot and Root Dry Weights. Plant mixtures selected by Faribault Growers for sale with as hanging baskets.
At 8-9 weeks plants would typically be transferred into12 inch pots, grown for another 4 weeks, and sold to retailers as hanging baskets. Sixteen pots of each mixture were arranged on the greenhouse bench in two blocks. Each block consisted of 4 pots irrigated with normal well water and 4 pots of each block were irrigated with well-water super-oxygenated with a custom built flow-through oxygenation system. Irrigation water was supplied at 0.5 gallons per minute. The oxygen concentration of the well-water was 2.42 mg/L and the oxygen concentration of the super-oxygenated water was 11.44 mg/L. Irrigation was scheduled as determined by the grower. Fertility was supplied by a liquid feed grower supplied injector down stream from the oxygenator. Plants were grown from cuttings for 2 months. Three mixtures were harvested December 6th, two harvested December 13th, and two mixtures (#3 and #4) were not harvested at the grower’s request. Several replicates from each mixture were left at the growers request for later use. Total shoot dry weights were determined for all harvested mixtures. Root dry weights were determined for the two.

Results

Plants from all mixtures irrigated with super-oxygenated water produced more shoot dry weight than plants irrigated with non-oxygenated well-water (Figure 1). Although some mixtures responded more to the super-oxygenated irrigation water than others, the average over all mixtures was a 16% increase in shoot growth and a 14% increase in root dry weight. The grower was pleased with the ease of use of the oxygenator. The oxygenator was easily installed into their regular irrigation system upstream from the fertilizer injector. The grower volunteered the following observations, “All mixes demonstrated more vigorous growth. The changes in plant growth will affect the way we handle our materials.”
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