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POSTERS: Biological control

Beneficial microorganisms can enhance greenhouse floriculture plant performance under reduced fertility
Laura Chapin - The Ohio State University. Nathan Nordstedt- The Ohio State University, Michelle Jones- The Ohio State University

Beneficial microorganisms provide greenhouse growers with a tool to enhance plant nutrient uptake, allowing them to reduce fertilizer inputs during floriculture crop production. The objective of this study was to determine if high quality plants could be produced at reduced fertilizer rates by treating with beneficial microorganisms. The first experiment tested two microbe-containing commercial products (MycoApply Endo and Cease) on Viola × wittrockiana ‘Delta Pure Rose’ (pansy) transplants fertilized with 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, or 1.0X water soluble 15-5-15 Ca-Mg for 6 weeks, where 1.0X was equivalent to 150 mg·L-1 N. Plant performance was evaluated by determining flower number, rating the visual quality of the roots and shoots, and measuring final dry weights of roots and shoots. Under no fertilizer (0X) conditions, MycoApply Endo and Cease treatments resulted in plants with greater flower numbers and higher shoot dry weight than the untreated control. Quality ratings of plants treated with MycoApply Endo and Cease were also higher at 0.5X. The second experiment tested the ability of three Pseudomonas strains to enhance plant performance and nutrient uptake of pansy plants grown with 25 mg·L-1 N fertilizer. Shoot dry weight and nutrient content (N, P, K) was higher in plants treated with each of the Pseudomonas strains compared to the untreated control. A reduced fertilizer regime can produce high quality floriculture plants when beneficial microbes are utilized.