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Some effects of magnesium and boron on King Alfred daffodil bulbs forced in a Fraser Valley 'problem' soil Dennis, Mary Mulvin

Abstract

A commercial bulb growing concern in the Cloverdale section of the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia, has been experiencing recently a severe reduction in tonnage of mature bulbs produced. Because of premature ripening of the foliage, the bulbs do not attain an optimum increase in size and weight. The loss is considered to be over fifty percent reduction in crop yield. A bulb forcing experiment was set up in the University of British Columbia greenhouse in order to ascertain the effects of boron and magnesium on the growth and yield of bulbs produced on the Cloverdale farm. Soil, from the farm was used for four sets of flats planted with comparable lots of bulbs; a fifth set of flats was planted, using U.B.C. unfertilized greenhouse soil. The four sets of flats filled with the 'problem' soil were treated as follows: one series of flats was left untreated, a second series was treated with boric acid at the rate of 50 pounds to the acre, a third series was treated with magnesium sulphate at the rate of 200 pounds to the acre and the fourth series, was left until foliar growth was established and at that time was sprayed with a boric acid spray of 100 ppm boron concentration. The bulbs were planted in November and brought into the greenhouse from cold frames in late January for forcing. After the daffodils had bloomed, the flats were placed outside for the ripening off of the foliage. No early die-back occurred and the bulbs were lifted in June. After the bulbs had been dried, they were cleaned and weighed. Increases in yield for each treatment were calculated and analysed statistically. It was found that boron as a foliar spray of 100 ppm had a detrimental effect on bulb weight increase, and. that boron applied as a fertilizer at the rate of 50 pounds, to the acre had no beneficial effect. Magnesium sulphate applied to the soil, at a rate of |00 pounds to the acre, to the 'problem' soil had a significant effect on bulb weight increase of the King Alfred daffodil bulbs forced in the greenhouse.

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