The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology
Vol. 80 No: 2
The effects of photoperiod and light spectrum on stock plant growth and rooting of cuttings of Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'
R.W. F. CAMERON, R. S. HARRISON-MURRAY, H. L. JUDD, T. R. MARKS, Y.-Y. FORD and C. H. A. BATES
Extending the season of production and improving the scheduling of ornamental crops are key commercial objectives for nurserymen. In some woody species, the period in which cuttings can be rooted successfully is transient, thus limiting the opportunities for scheduled production. Optimum rooting often occurs in early- to mid-summer coinciding with periods of active shoot growth. The relationship between this shoot activity and root initiation was investigated in Cotinus coggygria ´Royal Purple`. Shoot growth on stock plants was manipulated by altering the photoperiod or light quality. Results indicated there were seasonal effects on rooting, but the importance of shoot activity varied with harvest time. Cuttings harvested in August had high rooting percentages, irrespective of photoperiod, and despite shoot growth terminating in response to the short-day treatment. In contrast, by September, rooting percentage was highest in cuttings from plants under long-days, which had maintained greatest shoot growth activity. Cotinus shoots grown in vitro under 16 h days showed reduced shoot growth and increased rooting competence compared with shoots grown under 8 h days. Growing stock plants under polythene films, which altered the amount and quality of the incident light, influenced the rooting of cuttings harvested in August, but no consistent relationship with shoot activity was apparent. From a practical viewpoint, maintaining shoot activity late in the season may prolong the period for propagation by cuttings; but, from a scientific viewpoint, processes associated with an active shoot apex do not provide a complete explanation of seasonal variation in rooting.
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