Manipulating fertilization: a management tactic against Frankliniella occidentalis on potted chrysanthemum
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Fertilization during production of greenhouse chrysanthemum, Dendranthema grandiflora (Tzvelev), will influence Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) populations as well as plant productivity and postproduction longevity. It is essential to include fertilization effects in the development of crop management practices that reduce thrips populations and maintain plant marketability. In this study, we lowered fertilization to reduce thrips population abundance while maintaining plant productivity. We tested fertilization levels below and above the recommended level (375 p.p.m. N) for commercial production. We reduced mean rate of change in F. occidentalis abundance from 0.05 to 0.03 (day-1) and mean number of thrips per plant by 44% by fertilizing with either 188 p.p.m. N (50% of the recommended level) or 568 p.p.m. N (150%) and higher. Fertilization influenced not only the rate of change in thrips abundance but also the production time (from transplanting to flower opening). Lowering fertilization to 50% of the recommended level lengthened mean production time from 84 to 88 days. Plant height, flower size, and flower number were not adversely affected when fertilization was reduced to 50% of the recommended level. Mean postproduction longevity was shortened from 26 to 24 days when plants were fertilized with 50% of the recommended level. Two important advantages of lowering fertilization to 50% of the recommended level were (1) a 44% reduction in mean F. occidentalis abundance and (2) a significant reduction in fertilizer input for the production system. Manipulation of fertilization can be a useful management tactic against F. occidentalis. 2006 The Authors.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
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Chau, Amanda||Heinz, Kevin M