When producing annual bedding-plant plugs, water quality and mineral nutrient management has a major impact on seedling quality. Monitor irrigation water quality, substrate pH, and EC, and take corrective action when needed in order to produce excellent plugs.
by Nick Flax - firstname.lastname@example.org
With Mother's Day just around the corner, retail outfits across the northern US are filling up with bedding-plant material. As I look around at tightly packed racks and benches, it is clear to see which plants were grown from robust plugs and which ones were not. Many of the more troubled-looking bedding plants that I see appear to be suffering from nutrient related disorders and/or water-quality issues. Nutrient disorders can certainly occur during finished production, but the symptoms displayed by many of these plants are far too advanced to have only begun during finished production - these issues started in the plug phase! Though plug production is mostly done for the 2019 spring season, it is important to know how and why these disorders are occurring. As such, this Alert will cover water quality, fertilizer, and pH/EC management considerations for growing plugs.