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Supraoptimal root-zone temperatures affect Dahlia growth and development

Dahlia ( Dahlia ×hybrida ) is an important floriculture crop that has gained popularity in recent years. Greenhouse growers have recently reported a phenomenon known as “dahlia decline,” that can affect potted dahlias in greenhouse production. The crop exhibits graying foliage, root decline, and plant death, and the phenomenon has reportedly caused partial or total crop loss and has no known initiating factor.

The research team hypothesized that plant exposure to supraoptimal root-zone temperatures (RZTs) during production may decrease dahlia root quality, especially above 40 °C and could initiate dahlia decline. Because there is a lack of understanding on how supraoptimal RZT may impact dahlia growth and development, experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of supraoptimal RZTs on seven dahlia cultivars in Spring 2019 and 2020. Dahlias were grown for 4 to 5 weeks in the greenhouse and then root zones were exposed to ≈22 (control), 35, 40, 45, or 50 °C using a water bath. Root quality was rated before treatment and rated weekly after the hot water bath treatment, along with vegetative growth parameters for 4 weeks. In both years, a significant decline in root ratings was observed. ‘XXL Veracruz’ and ‘XXL Sunset’ average root ratings decreased after 45 and 50 °C treatments in year 2 and both cultivars demonstrated increased root rating averages by 3 weeks after treatment.

Cultivars exhibited a significant increase in root rating in the final observations when compared with root ratings taken 1 week posttreatment even if the initial decline after treatment was not significant. Overall plant height was significantly impacted, resulting in shorter heights in both years for all cultivars as treatment temperatures increased to 50 °C in comparison with the control and 35 °C, and a few cultivars exhibited significantly shorter heights at 40 and 45 °C. 

Read the complete research at www.researchgate.net.

Schneck, Karen & Boyer, Cheryl & Miller, Chad. (2021). Supraoptimal Root-zone Temperatures Affect Dahlia Growth and Development. HortTechnology. 1-12. 10.21273/HORTTECH04896-21. 


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