• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Early history and development
 Principal areas of production
 General cultural conditions
 Experimental procedure
 Varietal studies
 Varietal experiment A
 Varietal experiment B
 Fertility studies
 Newly cultivated Everglades peat...
 NPK factorial experiment
 Potash experiment
 Older cropped Everglades peat...
 Phostphate-potash experiment
 Summary
 Acknowledgement
 Literature Cited














Group Title: Bulletin / University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ;
Title: Agronomic studies of ramie in the Florida everglades /
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026744/00001
 Material Information
Title: Agronomic studies of ramie in the Florida everglades /
Series Title: Bulletin / University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ;
Physical Description: 30 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Seale, Charles C
Gangstad, Edward O
Joyner, J. F ( J. Frank )
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 1953
Copyright Date: 1953
 Subjects
Subject: Ramie   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 29-30).
Statement of Responsibility: Charles C. Seale, Edward O. Gangstad and J. Frank Joyner.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "In cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026744
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AEN6702
oclc - 18270666
alephbibnum - 000926043

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    Early history and development
        Page 5
    Principal areas of production
        Page 6
    General cultural conditions
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Experimental procedure
        Page 10
    Varietal studies
        Page 11
    Varietal experiment A
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Varietal experiment B
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Fertility studies
        Page 16
    Newly cultivated Everglades peat soil
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    NPK factorial experiment
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Potash experiment
        Page 22
    Older cropped Everglades peat soil
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Phostphate-potash experiment
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Summary
        Page 27
    Acknowledgement
        Page 28
    Literature Cited
        Page 29
        Page 30
Full Text

NOV 25 1953


Bulletin 525


September 1953


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
WILLARD M. FIFIELD, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
(In cooperation with U. S. Department of Agriculture)





Agronomic Studies of Ramie

in the Florida Everglades


CHARLES C. SEALE, EDWARD O. GANGSTAD and J. FRANK JOYNER




TECHNICAL BULLETIN


Fig. 1.-Test plots of 10 varieties of ramie at time of harvest of the second
crop in July 1951, Everglades Experiment Station.











BOARD OF CONTROL

Hollis Rinehart, Chairman, Miami
J. Lee Ballard, St. Petersburg
Fred H. Kent, Jacksonville
Wm. H. Dial, Orlando
Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Jacksonville
George W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
W. Glenn Miller, Monticello
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee
EXECUTIVE STAFF
J. Hillis Miller, Ph.D., Presidents
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agr.3
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Director
J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Asso. Director
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D., Assistant Director
Rogers L. Bartley, B.S., Admin. Mgr.3
Geo. R. Freeman, B.S., Farm Superintendent


MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE

AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agr. Economists
R. E. L. Greene, Ph.D., Agr. Economist s
M. A. Brooker, Ph.D., Agr. Economists
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Agr. Economist
D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate
D. L. Brooke, M.S.A., Associate
M. R. Godwin, Ph.D., Associate3
W. K. McPherson, M.S., Economist 3
Eric Thor, M.S., Asso. Agr. Economist 3
Cecil N. Smith, M.A., Asso. Agr. Economist
Levi A. Powell, Sr., M.S.A., Assistant
Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA)
G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agri. Economist
J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agricultural
Statistician 2
J. B. Owens, B.S.A., Agr. Statistician 2
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING
Frazier Rogers, M.S.A., Agr. Engineer'1
J. M. Myers, M.S.A., Asso. Agr. Engineer
J. S. Norton, M.S., Asst. Agr. Engineer
AGRONOMY
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist1 2
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Agronomist
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Agronomist
Fred A. Clark, M.S., Associate
E. S. Horner, Ph.D., Assistant
A. T. Wallace, Ph.D., Assistant 3
I. E. McCloud, Ph.D., Assistant s
G. C. Nutter, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND NUTRITION
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Husbandman 's
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist
R. L. Shirley, Ph.D., Biochemist
A. M. Pearson, Ph.D., Asso. An. Husb.3
John P. Feaster, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri.
H. D. Wallace, Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb.3
M. Koger, Ph.D., An. Husbandman 3
J. F. Hentges, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb. 3
L. R. Arrington, Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb.
DAIRY SCIENCE
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist'1
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman
S. P. Marshall, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Husb.3
W. A. Krienke, M.S.. Asso. Dairy Tech.3
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asso. Dairy iIusb. 3
Leon Mull, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Tech.3
H. H. Wilkowske, Ph.D., Asst. Dairy Tech.3
James M. Wing, Ph.D., Asst. Dairy Husb.


EDITORIAL
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editors
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Associate Editor
J. N. Joiner, B.S.A., Assistant Editor 3
William G. Mitchell, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
Samuel L. Burgess, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
ENTOMOLOGY
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Entomologist 1
L. C. Kuitert, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistanrt
F. A. Robinson, M.S., Asst. Apiculturist
R. E. Waites, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
HOME ECONOMICS
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1
R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochemist
HORTICULTURE
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist 1
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Horticulturists"
Albert P. Lorz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
R. A. Dennison, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
R. HL Sharpe, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist
V. F. Nettles, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Horticulturist2
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asso. Hort.
L. H. Halsey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
C. B. Hall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Austin Griffiths, Jr., B.S., Asst. Hort.
S. E. McFadden, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
C. H. VanMiddelem, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
Buford D. Thompson, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
M. W. Hoover, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
LIBRARY
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian

PLANT PATHOLOGY
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist '
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Erdman West, M.S., Botanist & Mycologist 3
Robert W. Earhart, Ph.D., Plant Path.2
Howard N. Miller, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asso. Botanist
C. W. Anderson, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
POULTRY HUSBANDRY
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Awr., Poultry Husb.1
J. C. Driggers, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry Husb.3
SOILS
F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist'1
Gaylord M. Volk, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Ralph G. Leishty, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
G D. T~nrrtD- Ph D.. Microbiologist
C. F. Eno, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Microbiologist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Chemist 3
V. W. Carlisle, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
J. H. Walker, M.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
William K. Robertson, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
O. E. Cruz, B.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
W. G. Blue, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. G. A. Fiskel, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist a
L. C. Hammond, Ph.D., Asst. Soil Physicist
H. L. Breland, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Chem.
VETERINARY SCIENCE
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian'
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian 3
C. F. Simpson, D.V.M., Asso. Veterinarian
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist
W. R. Dennis, D.V.M., Asst. Parasitologist
E. W. Swarthout, D.V.M., Asso. Poultry
Pathologist (Dade City)











BRANCH STATIONS

NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY
W. C. Rhoades, Jr., M.S., Entomologist in
Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
L. G. Thompson, Jr. Ph.D., Soils Chemist
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Agronomist
Frank S. Baker, Jr. B.S., Asst. An. Hush.
Frank E. Guthrie, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
MoLile Unit, Monticello
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit, Marianna
R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit, Pensacola
R. L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist
MoLile Unit, Chipley
J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A., Asso. Chemist
J. W. Sites, Ph.D., Horticulturist
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
H. J. Reitz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Francine Fisher, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
I. W. Wander, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. W. Kesterson, M.S., Asso. Chemist
R. Hendrickson, B.S., Asst. Chemist
Ivan Stewart, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
D. S. Prosser, Jr., B.S., Asst. Engineer
R. W. Olsen, B.S., Bochemist
F. W .Wenzel, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist
Alvin H. Rouse, M.S., Asso. Chemist
H. W. Ford, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
L. C. Knorr, Ph.D., Asso. Histologist
R. M. Pratt, Ph.D., Asso. Ent.-Pathologist
W. A. Simanton, Ph.D., Entomologist
E. J. Deszyck, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
C. D. Leonard, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
W. T. Long, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
M. H. Muma, Ph.D., Asso. Entomologist
F. J. Reynolds, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
W. F. Spencer, Ph.D., Asst. Chem.
R. B. Johnson, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
W. F. Newhall, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
W. F. Grierson Jackson, Ph.D., Asst. Chem.
Roger Patrick, Ph.D., Bacteriologist
Marion F. Oberbacher, Ph.D., Asst. Plant
Physiologist
Evert J. Elvin, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
R. C. J. Koo, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. R. Kuykendall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE
W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist in Charge
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Fiber Technologist
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Physiologist
J. W. Randolph, M.S., Agricultural Engr.
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asso. Animal Husb.
C. C. Seale, Associate Agronomist
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A. Asso. Entomologist
E. A. Wol M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
W. H. Thames, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
W. G. Genung, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
Frank V. Stevenson, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.
Robert J. Allen, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
V. E. Green, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
J. F. Darby, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
V. L. Guzman, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
J. C. Stephens, B.S., Drainage Engineer2
A. E. Kretschmer, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Soils
Chem.
Charles T. Ozaki, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
Thomas L. Meade, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri.
D. S. Harrison, M.S., Asst. Agri. Engr.


F. T. Boyd, Ph.D., Asso. Agronomist
M. G. Hamilton, Ph.D.. Asst. Horticulturist
J. N. Simons, Ph.D., Asst. Virologist
D. N. Beardsley, M.S., Asst. Animal Hush.
SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOMESTEAD
Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
D. 0. Wol.enbarger, Ph.D., Entomologist
Francis B. Lincoln, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Robert A. Conover, Ph.D., Plant Path.
John L. Malcolm, Ph.D., Asso. Soils Chemist
R. W. Hark nes, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
R. Bruce Ledin. Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
J. C. Noonan, M.S., Asst. Hort.
M. H. Gallatin, B.S., Soil Conservationist 2
WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION,
BROOKSVILLE
Marian W. Hazen, M.S., Animal Husband-
man in Charge 2
RANGE CATTLE STATION, ONA
W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Agronomist
D. W. Jones, M.S., Asst. Soil Technologist

CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION, SANFORD
R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
J. W. Wilson, ScD., Entomologist
P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
Ben F. Whitner, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
Geo. Swank, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
WEST FLORIDA STATION, JAY
C. E. Hutton, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
H. W. Lundy, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
SUWANNEE VALLEY STATION,
LIVE OAK
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist in Charge
GULF COAST STATION, BRADENTON
E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist in Charge
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomolo 'ist
David G. A. Kelbert, Asso. Horticulturist
Robert O. Magie, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. M. Walter, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
S. S. Woltz, Ph D., Asst. Horticulturist
Donald S. Burgis, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
C. M. Geraldson, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist

FIELD LABORATORIES

Watermelon, Grape, Pasture-Leesburg
J. M. Crall, Ph.D., Associate Plant Path-
ologist Acting in Charge
C. C. Helms, Jr., B.S., Asst. Agronomist
L. H. Stover, Assistant in Horticulture
Straw erry-Plant City
A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Vegetables-Hastings
A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Horticulturist
T. M. Dobrovsky, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
Pecans-Monticello
A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asso. Entomologist
John R. Large, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.
Frost Forecasting-Lakeland
Warren O. Johnson, B.S., Meteorologist in
Charge2
1 Head of Department
2 In cooperation with U. S.
SCooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
On leave















CONTENTS
PAO'E

EARLY HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT ....... ............ .......................... 5

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF PRODUCTION .....-..........---............ ... ................. 6

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS .....-- .....-...... ..................................... 6

GENERAL CULTURAL CONDITIONS .................... .......................................... 7

CULTIVATION AND UTILIZATION OF THE PLANT ....................................... 7

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE --- -- --....................... ............................... 10

VARIETAL STUDIES ........................ ......................... ...... 11

Variety Experiment A ..-----------...-... ........ ......... 12

Variety Experim ent B ... ......................................... .................... 14

FERTILITY STUDIES ..........------.--------- ------........................... 16

NEWLY CULTIVATED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL .................................................. 17

Minor Element Experiment ...........-................. ......... --....----- 17

NPK Factorial Experiment --.... ---............. ................. ............ ... 20

Potash Experiment ....-- ...- -------....-.... ------..... ............... 22

OLDER CROPPED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL .......................... ................. 23

N nitrogen Experim ent .. .... ... ..... ... ... ............... ...................... 23

Phosphate-Potash Experiment ...-- ................................. ................... 25

SUMMARY --....------ ..----. ..-..--..........-. --- ................ ........ 27

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......--......-.... .-.......- ............ .... ...............---. 28

LITERATURE CITED ......... ....-- ....- ... ................ .......... ............... ...... 29









Agronomic Studies of Ramie

in the Florida Everglades'

CHARLES C. SEALE, EDWARD O. GANGSTAD and J. FRANK JOYNER 2

EARLY HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
The fiber plant ramie, Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaud., is indig-
enous to central and western China (33). It has been grown in
this and neighboring Asian countries for many centuries. The
plant was described by Linneaus in 1737, and the genus is named
in honor of George Rudolph Boehmer, a German professor at
Wittenberg (4). Ramie was brought to Europe in 1733 and was
planted as an ornamental in botanical gardens in Holland with-
out reference to its fiber-producing qualities (30). It was more
than a century later before the plant became distributed in vari-
ous parts of Europe, Africa and the Western Hemisphere as a
potential fiber plant (12, 30).
Ramie was first introduced into the United States in 1855.
Since that time it has been grown experimentally in several of
the Southern states by private individuals, companies, state
experiment stations and the United States Department of Agri-
culture (11, 30). Early records indicate that there was an ex-
perimental planting of ramie at the Florida Agricultural Experi-
ment Station at Lake City, Florida, as far back as 1896 (27).
Ramie was first grown with other fiber plant introductions at
the Everglades Experiment Station, Belle Glade, Florida, by
Allison (1) in 1929. Preliminary cultural and fertility require-
ments of the crop were studied by Neller (26) in 1938-42.
Commercial production of ramie in Florida was established in
1944 (9), using the variety P.I. 87521 obtained from Japan in
1930 by the Bureau of Plant Introduction. Since 1944 a consid-
erable amount of agronomic, engineering and technological re-
search has been done on ramie by the Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station (Fig. 1), in cooperation with the U. S. De-
partment of Agriculture and U. S. Department of Commerce (14,
22). The planting, cultivation and harvesting of the crop, as
1 Contribution from the University of Florida Everglades Experiment
Station, in cooperation with the Division of Cotton and Other Fiber Crops
and Diseases, BPISAE, ARA, USDA. Published with the approval of the
Director Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and the Chief, BPISAE.
2 Associate Agronomist, Everglades Experiment Station, Agronomist
and Assistant Agronomist, BPISAE, USDA, respectively, Belle Glade, Flor-
ida.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


well as the decortication of the fiber, are all done by modern
mechanical, methods (3, 10, 18).

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF PRODUCTION
Ramie has been grown most extensively in China in the prov-
inces of Hunan, Kiangsi, Hupeh and Szechwan (11, 29). Robin-
son (30) in 1940 estimated that about 100,000 long tons of crude
fiber or "China grass" were produced annually, of which about
80,000 tons were used locally. More recent statistics from this
area are not available.
Ramie has also been grown for a small cottage industry in
other Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Formosa, the
Philippines, Indo-China, Malaya, Indonesia and India (11, 29,
30). However, most of the fiber and fabrics produced in these
countries are used locally and seldom enter the channels of world
trade.
Attempts have been made to cultivate ramie in different parts
of Europe and Africa-including Russia, France, Italy, Spain,
Tanganyika, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and the Belgian Congo-but
agricultural production of the crop has not been established (11,
13, 29, 30, 31).
In the Western Hemisphere ramie has been grown experiment-
ally also in Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Co-
lombia, Argentina and several areas in the United States (7, 8, 11,
19, 22, 29, 30), but it is only in Brazil (23, 24, 29) and Florida
(14) that the fiber has been produced on a commercial scale. In
1951 ramie fiber production in Brazil was estimated at 1,400
short tons, while in Florida about 1,500 short tons were produced.

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS
The ramie plant is a perennial and is a member of the Urti-
caceae or Nettle family. The leaves and stems, however, are
devoid of the stinging hairs which are characteristic of some
members of this group of plants. The leaves are broad-ovate,
abruptly acuminate, with serrated margins and are borne on
long petioles in an alternate arrangement. The underside of the
leaves of Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaud. are silvery white in ap-
pearance, while those of Boehmeria utilis Blume (B. tenacissima
Gaud.) are green.
The stems are slender, up to 1/ inch in diameter, and attain
an average height of 6 to 7 feet when mature (4). The fiber







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


is located in the bast or inner bark of the plant and, when well
degummed, possesses a soft lustrous property and a high tensile
strength (5). The plant is monoecious, with small incon-
spicuous flowers borne on axillary panicles. The pistillate flower
clusters are formed on the upper part and the staminate flowers
on the lower part of the stem. The plant possesses rhizomes, as
well as storage and feeder roots (18, 22).

GENERAL CULTURAL CONDITIONS
The ramie plant is very sensitive to soil moisture conditions.
It grows best in land which has an adequate supply of moisture
well distributed throughout the growing season. The plant
makes very poor growth in dry sandy soils and is not readily
established in a poorly drained soil. Flood water standing on the
land for a period of 36 to 48 hours can cause a very high mor-
tality of the stand. The culture of ramie should be attempted
only where it is possible to provide adequate facilities for water
control (6).
Certain varieties of ramie are well adapted to growth on the
organic soils of south Florida (32). Everglades peat, a soil
which has been derived mainly from the slow and partial de-
composition of plant residues of saw grass (Cladium jamaicense
Crantz) under swamp conditions over a long period of geologic
time, is the most extensive soil type of this area (15).
The soil is characterized by a high organic matter content re-
qiring special minor element fertilization (2, 14). From an
agronomic point of view, newly cultivated peat soil has an open,
fibrous structure and contains a considerable quantity of unde-
composed plant material. It is somewhat difficult to prepare for
planting and does not readily retain surface moisture for good
germination of seed or distribution of fertilizer. After several
years of cropping, this soil becomes more finely divided and is
more readily compacted. As the organic material decomposes,
water control is somewhat more difficult and there is a change
in the fertility requirements.

CULTIVATION AND UTILIZATION OF THE PLANT
Ramie is propagated on a commercial scale from rhizome
cuttings. Although the bulbous storage roots do not produce
buds, they are not usually separated from the rhizome cuttings
when mechanical methods of planting are used. Seed is not







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


recommended for commercial plantings because the wide varia-
tion in seedling characteristics produces an irregular stand and
a lack of uniformity of fiber.
Planting is generally done by mechanical methods in the spring
or early summer months, in rows spaced 4 feet with plants about
1 foot apart in the row. Best results are obtained by planting
shortly after cutting and by compacting the soil after planting;
because the rhizome cuttings rapidly lose their viability from
exposure and dessication. Ramie plantings should be carefully
cultivated until the stand becomes well established. Weeds can
usually be controlled in the early stages of growth by several
cultivations with a spring-tooth harrow that rides over the
young plants without causing injury. Row cultivation also may
be necessary at a later stage of growth, if the weeds persist.
When the stand has been reduced by injury from flooding,
drought or frost, there is often an influx of annual broadleaf
weeds. These weeds can be controlled by the application of the
amine salt of 2,4-D at a rate of 1 to 11/2 pounds of 2,4-D acid
equivalent per acre without detrimental effect to the crop. This
treatment is most effectively applied before cutting or "staging"
the winter growth.
Under normal conditions of growth ramie is ready for harvest
about a year after planting. From that time onward three crops
are generally obtained during the summer growing season. The
winter growth, which is unfavorably affected by low temperature,
short day length and dry soil and atmospheric conditions, is not
harvested for fiber. The stand will persist with relatively good
yields under this system of cropping for several years. Re-
juvenation of the stand by heavy disking and harrowing after
the eighth or ninth year is usually profitable.
Data concerning growth rate and development of the com-
mercial variety of ramie, P.I. 87521, in experimental plots at
Canal Point during three crop periods in 1948 are presented in
Table 1. Growth in height is very rapid during the first 40 days.
After that age, growth proceeds at a much slower rate and
practically ceases after 80 days. Most rapid development is ob-
tained in the second crop in the mid-summer when soil and cli-
matic conditions are very favorable. The third crop is generally
larger than the first crop but somewhat less than the second.
The proportion of leaves, bast and woody material or shive
obtained under average conditions of growth in three crops in the







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


1948 season at the time of harvest for fiber are shown in Table
2. The highest proportion of leaves was obtained in the first
crop. Leaves comprise about 40 percent of the average total
dry weight, and the remainder is about equally distributed be-
tween bast and shive.

TABLE 1.-DAYS OF GROWTH AS RELATED TO AVERAGE PLANT HEIGHT AND
GROWTH INCREMENT IN INCHES OF THE COMMERCIAL VARIETY OF RAMIE,
P.I. 87521, FOR THREE CROPS IN 1948, CANAL POINT, FLORIDA.

Days of Average Height [ Growth Increment
Growth 1st 2nd 3rd | 1st 2nd 3rd
Crop Crop Crop Crop Crop Crop

21-30 30 40 33 12 20 16
31-40 40 55 47 9 10 13
41-50 49 64 58 8 9 8
51-60 56 71 65 7 4 6
61-70 62 73 69 5 1 2
71-80 66 74 70 2 1 1
81-90 67 75 71 0 0 0


The leaves and tops of the ramie plant have a high nutritional
value (14). The protein content ranges from 20 to 24 percent on
a dry weight basis. Experimental tests indicate that this ma-
terial can be used as a livestock feed for cattle (20), chickens
(25), and as a source of chlorophyll, xanthophyll and carotene
(28). While it is now the commercial practice to defoliate ramie
in the field to facilitate harvest and decortication, a study of the
distribution of the fiber in the plant shows that the tip quarter
section of the stalk contains only about 5 percent of the fiber and
it may be feasible under certain conditions to utilize ramie tops
for livestock feed.

TABLE 2.-AVERAGE PERCENT OF LEAF, BAST AND SHIVE OF THE COMMERCIAL
RAMIE VARIETY, P.I. 87521, ON A GREEN AND OVEN DRY WEIGHT BASIS
FOR THREE CROPS AT THE TIME OF HARVEST IN 1948, CANAL POINT,
FLORIDA.

Component 1st Crop 2nd Crop 3rd Crop Average
Green Dry Green Dry |Green Dry I Green Dry

Leaf .............. 50.1 47.7 34.1 35.5 38.6 36.9 40.9 40.0
Bast .............. 22.4 24.1 24.9 27.4 20.5 31.7 22.6 27.7
Shive --............ 27.5 28.2 41.0 37.1 40.9 31.4 36.5 32.3







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
The variety and fertility experiments were conducted on Ever-
glades peat soil. The design of the experiments varied according
to the nature of the factors studied. Random block designs were
used in the variety studies and the nitrogen, potash and minor
element fertilizer experiments. Factorial designs were used in
the NPK and PR studies. Plots were laid out in four to six repli-
cations of approximately 1/40 acre each. Planting was generally
done in the spring months, February through April, with root-
stock from established stands, at the rate of about 10,000 rhizome
pieces per acre.
No harvests were made in the year of planting when the stand
was not well established, but three crops were obtained the follow-
ing year. The cropping season was initiated by cutting or "stag-
ing" the plots in late February or early March. The first crop
was ready for harvest 70-80 days later. In the summer when con-
ditions of rainfall and temperature were more favorable for
growth, the second crop matured in 50-60 days. About 60 days
later a third crop was ready for harvest. A sickle-bar tractor
mower (Fig. 2) was used to harvest the experimental plots.
Weights of green plant material for plot yields and for repre-
sentative sub-samples of about 20-25 pounds for fiber deter-

Fig. 2.-Harvesting plots at Canal Point with sickle-bar tractor mower.











t .i.. -
-,, 17,






Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


mination were taken in the field. The samples were brought to
the laboratory, defoliated by hand stripping, weighed and de-
corticated in a raspador type of hand-fed decorticator made by
the Diamond Huller Company. The crude fiber obtained by
decortication was washed, oven-dried at approximately 1000 F.,
and conditioned for 48 hours or more at 70 F. and 65 percent
humidity before weighing. The fiber weights obtained were
used in the determination of plot yields. About 70 percent of the
reported fiber yield is recovered in commercial practice. Soil
tests for pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were deter-
mined during the course of these experiments by methods de-
scribed by Forsee (17) for Everglades conditions.

VARIETAL STUDIES
White ramie, B. nivea, is reported to be better adapted to
temperate regions and green ramie, B. utilis, to the tropics (11,
30). Under sub-tropical conditions in the Argentine province
of Tucuman, Kempski (19) states that B. nivea produced only
a half to two-thirds of the total green yield of B. utilis. Simi-
larly, the yields of fiber of B. utilis in Cuba, as reported by Crane
and Acufia (7), are somewhat higher than those obtained with
this species in Florida.
There is considerable variation in the response of varieties of
B. nivea to climatic and soil conditions. Robinson (30) reports
that a Japanese variety of ramie shows surprising resistance to
cold. Neller (26) found that the variety P.I. 87521 was better
adapted than P.I. 70971 to periods of cold and frosty weather in
Florida. Several varieties of B. nivea in 1947 and 1948 gave
very much higher yields of total green weight and dry fiber on
Everglades peat soil than on Davie and Leon fine sand in south
Florida (32). Practically all of the varieties tested made very
poor growth on Leon fine sand but a few grew fairly well on
Davie fine muck sand. In Japan, Kobayashi (21) reports that
the growth of ramie is poor on heavy clay or sandy soils.
Varieties of ramie also differ with respect to strength, fine-
ness and uniformity of fiber. These factors of quality vary with
the genetic composition of the plant and the environmental con-
ditions under which it is grown. Preliminary studies in 1947-48
indicate that varieties varied in tensile strength on Leon fine
sand as compared to their performance on Everglades peat soil
(14).






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Variety experiments were laid out in 1949 and 1950 on Ever-
glades peat soil. Experiment A was located on the lands of the
ramie plantation of Newport Industries, Inc., near Canal Point,
and Experiment B at the Everglades Experiment Station, Belle
Glade, Florida. Yields obtained in these and other experiments
in south Florida on Everglades peat soil are considerably higher
than those obtained in other areas where ramie is grown (7, 11,
19, 21, 30).
Variety Experiment A.-Vegetative rootstocks from individual
clones of six varieties of B. nivea and one selection of B. utilis
planted in this experiment were obtained from the following
sources:


Species Number or Name Source

B. nivea ...... P.I. 87521, Commercial Japan
B. nivea ....P. P.I. 205489 Brazil
B. nivea ...... Texas Frost Resistant Texas, U.S.A.
B. nivea ...... Usitatissima Cuba
B. nivea ...... Clone D Cuba
B. nivea ..-... Clone E Cuba
B. utilis ...... P.I. 205502 Mexico


The experiment was conducted in randomized blocks with five
replications. Plots were 32 ft. x 32 ft. of which 400 sq. ft. was
harvested for yields. The experimental area was fertilized at
time of planting and the following spring with 500 pounds per
acre of an 0-8-30 mixture to which was added 1.5, 1.5, 1.5 and
0.35 units of copper, manganese, zinc and boron, respectively.
The varieties were planted in February 1949. The previous
year's growth was "staged" or cut back in February 1950.
Three crops were harvested, in May, July and September 1950.
Soil tests taken on August 1, 1950, indicated a pH value of 4.55,
with 15 and 157 pounds per acre of available P and K, respec-
tively. These levels of fertility are considered satisfactory and
the ramie made good growth.
Results.-Yields of total green material, stalks and dry de-
corticated fiber for the three crops in 1950 were analyzed statis-
tically. They are presented m Table 3, where the varieties are
placed in descending order of their fiber yields.
The variety of ramie grown commercially in Florida, B. nivea
P.I. 87521, gave a significantly higher yield of fiber than other







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


varieties, but did not differ significantly from Usitatissima and
Texas Frost Resistant in yield of stalks and total green material.

TABLE 3.-VARIETY YIELDS OF TOTAL GREEN MATERIAL, DEFOLIATED STALKS
AND DECORTICATED DRY FIBER IN VARIETY EXPERIMENT A, 1950, AT
CANAL POINT, FLORIDA.


Yields, Pounds per acre


Variety


B. nivea ......................
P.I. 87521, Commercial

Totals ............. ........

B. nivea ..................
P.I. 205489 ...................


Totals .. ....................

B. nivea ........................
Texas Frost Resistant

T otals .........................

B. nivea .......................
Clone D .........................

Totals ......................

B. nivea ........................
Usitatissima .............

Totals .......................

B. nivea ..............-......
Clone E .................. -

Totals ..............-.....-
B. utilis ........................
B. utilis .- -
P.I. 205502 .................

Totals .........................

L.S.D. (Totals) 5% ....
L.S.D. (Totals) 1% ....
C.V. (Percent) ............


Crop




3


Total Green
Material

18,644
16,945
16,988
52 577


1 i 17,598
2 13,351
3 11,761
42,710

1 20,909
2 17,729
3 16,858
55,496

1 18,970
2 15,159
3 14,070
S 48,199

1 21,344
2 17,119
3 I 18,295
S 56,758

1 | 19,950
2 12,153
3 12,632
44,735

1 8,102
2 11,783
3 12,240
32,125

4,950
6,708
14


Defoliated Decorticated
Stalks Dry Fiber


9,627
10,237
10,433
30.-97


444
597
627
1,668


9,496 521
7,166 423
7,296 440
23,958 1,384

11,064 379
10.302 418
9,431 362
30,797 1,159

9,409 396
8,516 390
8,037 366
25,962 1,152

10,542 344
9,126 364
9,453 340
29,121 1,048

9,169 257
5,423 142
6,077 166
20,669 565

2,875 22
5,271 113
6,294 102
14,440 237

2,705 139
3,666 189
14 18


The variety P.I. 205489 gave a significantly lower yield of fiber
than P.I. 87521, but has the advantage of a high ratio of fiber
to total green material, a factor which increases mill capacity.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The variety Clone D, which gave good yields in Cuba (7), did
not give outstanding results in this test in Florida. B. utilis
P.I. 205502 gave the lowest yields of total green material, stalks
and fiber. The variety X crop interaction was significant for
yields of total green material, stalks and fiber, indicating that
the varieties responded differently to changes in edaphic condi-
tions.
Variety Experiment B.-The commercial variety P.I. 87521, in-
troductions from Brazil and Japan, and seven Florida Everglades
selections were planted in experiment B as listed below:


Species Number or Name Source

B. nivea ...... P.I. 87521, Commercial Japan
B. nivea ...... P.I. 205492, Murakami Brazil
B. nivea ...... P.I. 159366, Saikeiseishin Japan
B. nivea ...... E. 47-13 Florida selection
B. nivea ...... E. 47-25 Florida selection
B. nivea ...... E. 47-33 Florida selection
B. nivea ...... E. 49-27 Florida selection
B. nivea ...... E. 49-52 Florida selection
B. nivea ..... E. 49-56 Florida selection
B. nivea ..... E. 49-101 Florida selection


The design of the experiment was in randomized blocks with
four replications. Plots were 17 ft. x 17 ft. in area, of which
132 sq. ft. was harvested for yields. Fertilizer was applied at
time of planting and the following spring at the rate of 750
pounds per acre of an 0-8-16 containing 1.0, 1.0, 1.2, and 0.25
units of copper, manganese, zinc and boron, respectively. The
varieties were planted in September 1950, "staged" in February
1951 and harvested in May, July and September 1951. Soil
tests taken on June 2, 1951, showed 15 and 125 pounds of avail-
able P and K, respectively, at pH of 5.52. The ramie made good
growth at these levels of fertility.
Results.-Yields of the three crops in 1951 were analyzed sta-
tistically and are presented in Table 4.
The variety B. nivea P.I. 205492, Murakami obtained from
Brazil, yielded 2,030 pounds of decorticated fiber for the three
crops in 1951, a yield significantly larger than that of the com-
mercial variety, P.I. 87521, and other varieties included in the
test. Because P.I. 205492, Murakami, also possessed the high-
est fiber content of the stalk, it should be possible to increase
mill capacity by growing this variety.







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


TABLE 4.-VARIETY YIELDS OF TOTAL GREEN MATERIAL, DEFOLIATED STALKS
AND DECORTICATED DRY FIBER IN VARIETY EXPERIMENT B, 1951, AT
EVERGLADES EXPERIMENT STATION, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA.


Crop
Crop


Variety


Yields, Pounds per acre


Total Green
Material


Defoliated I Decorticated
Stalks I Dry Fiber


B. nivea ....................... 1 15,975 8,728 567
P.I. 205492, Murakami 2 19,021 11,199 731
3 15,481 10,128 732
Totals ........................... 50,477 30 055 2,030
B. nivea ........................ 1 16,798 9,470 548
E. 47-13 .................... 2 21,245 12,846 636
3 14,987 8,975 609
Totals .......................... 53,030 31,291 1,793
B nivea ......................... 1 17,045 9,634 482
P.I. 87521, Commercial 2 22,151 13,504 614
3 15,645 9,799 649
Totals ............................ 54,841 32,937 1,745
B. nivea ....................... 1 14,657 8,152 491


P.I. 15936~ SalKelseislln l
3
Totals ............................ .
B. nivea .......----................. 1
E. 49-27 .................... 2
3
Totals .........................
B. nivea ........................ 1
E. 49-52 ..................... 2
3
Totals .........................
B. nivea .........-......--... 1
E. 49-56 ..................... 2
3
Totals ...........-----------...


B. nivea .....................
E. 49-101 .................

Totals ..................
B. nivea ........................
E. 47-33 ..........-........

Totals .......................
B. nivea ........................
E 47-25 ...................

Totals ...................
L.S.D. (Totals) 5% ...
L.S.D. (Totals) 1% ....
C.V. (Percent) ............


1
2
3

1
2
3


13,125
13,257 1


45,042
18,116
18,692
17,457
54,265
19,268
22,233
16,633
58,134
15,069
15,892
14,904
45,865


8,564
8,564


S 26,597
S 10,211
10,046
10,540
30,797
11,446
13,587
S 9,964
34,997
7,987
8,728
8,646
25,361


15.563 8,811
19,186 11,199
13,751 8,399
48,500 28,409
16,633 1 9,470
18,774 11,281
14,740 8,893
50,147 29,644


12,352
16,716
13,669
42,737
4,016
5,423
10


555
563
1,609
520
459
573
1,552
503
534
497
1,534
464
477
577


1,518
409
520
469
1,398
459
414
479
1,352


6.423 315
10,128 456
7,987 509
24,538 1,280
2,642 178
3,568 240
11 13


Selection number 13 made in 1947 at the Everglades Experiment Station, Belle Glade,
Florida.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The commercial variety, P.I. 87521, gave a significantly higher
yield of fiber than the varieties E. 49-27, E. 49-52, E. 49-56, E.
49-101, E. 47-33 and E. 47-25, but did not significantly outyield
P. I. 159366, Saikeiseishin.
Yields were significantly affected by the variety X crop in-
teraction, indicating that varieties responded differently to
spring, summer and fall conditions of growth. E. 47-25 showed
the greatest response and E. 49-52 the least response to season.
Preliminary studies of the varieties in this experiment showed
that E. 47-33, E. 47-25, and E. 49-52 have a fine denier fiber.
However, analysis of the data does not show these differences
as being statistically significant.

FERTILITY STUDIES
On the highly organic soils of the Florida Everglades, the
marked response to minor element fertilization is somewhat
unique among soil-plant relationships (2, 16). In the early de-
velopment of these soils, copper was found to be the most limit-
ing element of plant nutrition (2). Several months before pre-
paring new land for cultivation, it is established practice to
apply about 25-30 pounds of copper (CuO) per acre as the sul-
phate or oxide. With certain plants and particular soil condi-
tions, outstanding results on growth also have been obtained
from the application of manganese and zinc (16). Manganese
deficiency is likely to show up when the soil pH value is 6.0 or
above. Ramie is one of the plants which has shown a marked
response to the application of zinc. A fertilizer mixture con-
taining the minor elements copper, zinc, manganese and boron
is reported by Neller (26) as being necessary for growth and
maintenance of ramie; but these elements were not tested in-
dividually.
Everglades peat soil has an abundant supply of nitrogen; it
is not necessary to apply this element during the summer season.
Neller found that the major fertility response of ramie on this
soil was to potash, with little effect from phosphate. He also
reported that ramie grew equally as well on Everglades peat as
on Okeechobee muck (26). On the peat soils at Zellwood, Flor-
ida, the major response was to phosphate, with little effect from
potash and minor elements (14).
Fertility requirements of newly cultivated Everglades peat
soil were studied in a minor element experiment to determine
response to copper, zinc, manganese and boron, in an NPK






Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


3 x 3 x 3 factorial experiment to measure response to levels of
nitrogen, phosphate and potash, and in a potash experiment to
determine the critical level of response to potash. Soil tests of
experimental areas before application of treatments indicated
a high residual level of phosphate and a moderate to low level
of potash.
The fertility requirement of older cropped Everglades peat
soil under an established stand of ramie was studied in a nitrogen
experiment to determine response to sources and time of applica-
tion of nitrogen, and in a PK factorial experiment to determine
response to different levels of phosphate and potash. Areas un-
der study had been cropped four years with ramie, and had re-
ceived an annual fertilizer application of about 35 pounds of
phosphate (P205) and 150 pounds of potash (K20) per acre with
minor elements copper, zinc, manganese and boron. Soil tests
at the beginning of the experiments indicated a moderate level
of phosphate and a moderate to high level of potash.

NEWLY CULTIVATED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL

Minor Element Experiment.-Treatments, source, time and
rate of application of the minor elements copper, zinc, manganese
and boron in this experiment are outlined in Table 5.
A pre-planting application of copper was broadcast by air-
plane over the entire field, as is the general commercial practice

TABLE 5.-RATE OF MINOR ELEMENT TREATMENTS IN POUNDS PER ACRE
AS RELATED TO SOURCE AND TIME OF APPLICATION.

Treatments
Source and Time A B C D i E F
of Application No No No
I Cu Cu Cu Zn Mn B

COPPER SULPHATE
Preplanting, Oct. 1949 ........... 50 50 50 50 50 50
Planting, March 1950 ............. 75 75 75 75 75
Supplemental, March 1951 ..... 10 10 10 10
ZINC SULPHATE
Planting, March 1950 ............. 25 25 25 25 25
Supplemental, March 1951 .... 10 10 10 10 10
MANGANESE SULPHATE
Planting, March 1950 ................ 75 75 75 75 75
Supplemental, March 1951 ... 10 10 10 10 10
BORAX
Planting, March 1950 ...--.-. 15 15 15 15 15 -
Supplemental, March 1951 -...-1 | 5 5 5 5 5 -






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


in preparation of new land, in October 1949, about five months
before the experiment was set out. Minor element treatments
applied at time of planting in March 1950 and the supplemental
application in March 1951 were superimposed on this basic appli-
cation of copper. The entire experimental site also received
an application of phosphate and potash at the rate of 60 pounds
P205 and 150 pounds K20 per acre, respectively, in 1950 and
1951.
The commercial variety of ramie P.I. 87521 was planted from
rootstock in March 1950 in rows 4 feet apart with plants spaced
about 1 foot in the row. The experiment was laid out in ran-
domized blocks with five replications. Plots were 33 feet x 33
feet in size, and an area of 441 sq. ft. was harvested for yields.
The previous year's growth was cut back in March 1951. Three
crops were harvested, in May, July and September 1951.
Results.-Yields of total green material, defoliated stalks and
decorticated dry fiber for the minor element treatments of the
three combined crops in 1951 were analyzed statistically and are
presented in summarized form in Table 6.
The major response in this experiment was to zinc (Fig. 3).
Treatment D, which did not receive zinc, gave a very poor yield
of green plant material and fiber. Zinc deficiency was more

Fig. 3.-Very poor growth of ramie where zinc was not applied in the
plots of the minor element experiment on newly cultivated Everglades peat
soil at Canal Point. Note normal growth in the background.







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


pronounced in the first crop, February to May, but became less
severe later in the season.

TABLE 6.-YIELDS OF THE MINOR ELEMENT TREATMENTS ON NEWLY
CULTIVATED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE CROPS IN 1951, CANAL
POINT, FLORIDA.

Yield, Pounds per Acre


Minor Element
Treatments


A. Copper-preplanting ....................
B. Copper-preplanting and planting
C. Copper-preplanting, planting
and supplemental ........
D N o zinc .........- ............ ..... .........
E. No manganese ..........................
F N o boron ........................... ...........

L.S.D. (5% level) .........................
L.S.D. (1% level) ..... ........


Crops

1st Crop ................
2nd Crop ...............
3rd Crop ...............

L.S.D. (5% level)
L.S.D. (1% level)


Total Green
Material

56,755
55,314

58,613
27,283
56,697
57,764


8,012
10,927


10,256
22,916
18,899


I Decorti-
Defoliated cated Dry.
Stalks Fiber

35,263 1,770
34,235 1,699

36,625 1,840
15,421 576
34,966 1,752
35,539 1,834

4,879 209
6,654 285


5,115
13,638
13,256


1,130 716
1,512 958


C.V. (Percent) ......... -- ........ 20 20


The pre-planting treatment of copper,


treatment A, for the


three combined crops produced satisfactory yields and no signifi-
cant increase was obtained from the additional applications of
this element, treatments B and C. However, there was a trend
toward increased yields with supplemental application of copper,
treatment C, which may become significant with continued
cropping.
The yield of treatment E, which did not receive manganese,
was not significantly lower than that of the check, treatment
C. Soil tests on February 24 and July 23, 1951, indicated average
pH values of 5.50 and 5.54, respectively, for the experimental
plots. At these pH values manganese was not limiting to growth.
However, when the soil pH value is 6.0 or above, manganese
deficiency is likely to occur, and efforts should be made to control
the condition by the following means: (a) reduction of soil pH
by applying elemental sulphur; (b) application of manganese in
fertilizer or as a foliar dust.


-----------------
.................
.................






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


No deficiency symptoms attributable to boron have been ob-
served in the field, and it was not possible in this test to demon-
strate a response to this minor element. The yield of treatment
F, which did not receive boron, did not differ significantly from
the check, treatment C.
Average yields of the first, second and third crops were signifi-
cantly different. Highest yields of total green material and de-
foliated stalks were obtained in the second crop, and of fiber in
the third crop. Treatments X crops interaction was significant.
This interaction effect is largely due to a more pronounced de-
ficiency of zinc early in the cropping season.
NPK Factorial Experiment.-The design of the experiment
was a 3 x 3 x 3 factorial with 27 plots of the treatment combina-
tions in two blocks. The following levels of nitrogen, phosphate
and potash were applied as uramon (43% N), superphosphate
(44% P205) and muriate of potash (60% K20) :

Levels
0 12
S Pounds per Acre
Nitrogen (N) .............. ... ......... 0 25 50
Phosphate (P205) .................. ... 0 60 120
Potash (K O2 ) ................................... 0 100 200


In addition, all plots in the experiment received an application
of minor elements as follows: The sulphates of copper, man-
ganese and zinc and borax at the rate of 25, 25, 15 and 5 pounds
per acre, respectively. Fertilizer treatments were applied in
April 1949 and March 1950.
The experimental site was planted in February 1949 with root-
stock of the variety P.I. 87521 in rows 4 feet apart. Plots were
32 feet x 32 feet, and an area of 400 sq. ft. was harvested for
yields. No harvesting was done in 1949. The experiment was
cut back in February 1950 and three crops were obtained, in
May, July and September. Soil tests made on May 4, June 9 and
August 1, 1950, indicated the following values: Average soil pH
4.64; available P and K, 10 and 51 pounds per acre, respectively,
for untreated plots.
Results.-Yields of the nitrogen, phosphate and potash treat-
ments for the three crops combined in 1951 are outlined in Table
7. Nitrogen and phosphate had no significant effect, but potash







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


increased yields of total green material, defoliated stalks and
decorticated dry fiber significantly. A large and highly signifi-
cant increase in yield was obtained from the first increment of
100 pounds of potash per acre. The second increment of potash
increased yields of total green material and defoliated stalks
significantly, but not the yield of fiber.

TABLE 7.-YIELDS OF NITROGEN, PHOSPHATE AND POTASH TREATMENTS IN
AN NPK 3 x 3 x 3 FACTORIAL EXPERIMENT ON NEWLY CULTIVATED
EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE CROPS IN 1950, CANAL POINT,
FLORIDA.


Crops
1st Crop ...... .
2nd Crop .............
3rd Crop ...............


L.S.D. 5% level
L.S.D. 1% level

C.V. (Percent) ...


....... 19,929


10,924


...... 17,858 11,182
........ 14,572 9,624

........ 457 259
........ 606 344

S8 11


Highest yield of total green material was obtained in the first
crop, and of defoliated stalks and fiber in the second crop. The
crops X potash interaction was significant only for yield of de-
foliated stalks, indicating a differential response to potash during
the season.


546
647
557


16
21

11






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Potash Experiment.-Potash was applied in this experiment
as muriate of potash (60% K20) at rates of 0, 50, 100, 150 and
200 pounds of K20 per acre. The experimental plots also received
an application of phosphate (60 pounds P205 per acre) and of
minor elements (the sulphates of copper, zinc and manganese
and borax at 75, 25, 25 and 5 pounds per acre, respectively).
Fertilizer treatments were applied in May 1950 and February
1951.
The experiment was laid out in randomized blocks with five
replications of each treatment. The commercial variety, P.I.
87521, was planted from rootstock in rows 4 feet apart in March
1950. Plot size was 33 feet x 33 feet, of which 441 sq. ft. was
harvested for yields. The previous year's growth was cut back
in February 1951. Three crops were harvested in May, July
and September 1951. Soil tests showed an average pH value
of 5.40 and 24 pounds of available P per acre for the season.

TABLE 8.-YIELDS OF POTASH TREATMENTS ON NEWLY CULTIVATED
EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE CROPS IN 1951, CANAL POINT,
FLORIDA.

Treatments Yield, Pounds per Acre
Potash (K20) Total Green Defoliated Decorticated
Pounds per Acre Material Stalks Dry Fiber

0 45,476 21,928 1,282
50 54,820 30,205 1,749
100 58,970 34,730 1,831
150 59,779 35,796 1,852
200 59,917 36,270 1,805

L.S.D. 5% level ................. 3,696 2,148 133
L.S.D. 1% level ................. 5,092 2,960 183


Crops
1st Crop ........ .......... ..... 13,347 6,108 257
2nd Crop .... ........... ....... 24,686 13,947 759
3rd Crop ...--. ...... 17,760 11,731 688

L.S.D. 5% level .................. 438 293 20
L.S.D. 1% level ................. 588 394 27
1__I _


C.V. (Percent) .- .............

Results.-Yield data of


9


the potash treatments in 1951 are


presented in Table 8. In the three combined crops yield of total






Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


green material and defoliated stalks was significantly increased
by application of 100 pounds of K20 per acre. In the first and
second crops and in the three combined crops, yield of fiber was
significantly increased by the application of 50 pounds K20 per
acre, but in the third crop the maximum level of significance
was reached at the 150-pound rate of application.
Yield of fiber as related to treatment with potash and to avail-
able soil potassium for three crops in 1951 is given in Table 9.
Highest yields of fiber in the first, second and third crops were
obtained by application of 50, 100 and 150 pounds KO per
acre, respectively. These yields are maximum when the con-
tent of available potassium in the soil was about 70 to 80 pounds
per acre.

TABLE 9.-YIELDS OF FIBER AS RELATED TO TREATMENT WITH POTASH
AND TO AVAILABLE SOIL POTASSIUM IN A POTASH EXPERIMENT ON
NEWLY CULTIVATED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE CROPS IN 1951,
CANAL POINT, FLORIDA.
Treatment
Potash (K20) Yield of Decorticated Fiber Available Soil Potassium
Pounds per Pounds per Acre Pounds per Acre
Acre 1st Crop 2nd Crop I 3rd Crop | 1st Crop | 2nd Crop I 3rd Crop
0 204 625 453 27 26 25
50 270 777 702 74 45 39
100 274 833 724 112 70 40
150 274 795 783 165 94 68
200 261 765 779 220 132 77


In practice it is found that a reduction in yield does occur in
following cropping years if less than 100 pounds of K20 per acre
is applied, while fertilizer is not satisfactorily utilized if the rate
exceeds 150 pounds K,O per acre.

OLDER CROPPED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL

Nitrogen Experiment.-The experiment was set out on a four-
year-old stand of the ramie variety P.I. 87521 that had been
planted commercially on older cropped Everglades peat soil, to
determine whether yields of established stands of ramie could be
improved by fertilizing with nitrogen.
Source, time and rate of application of nitrogen treatments
are outlined in Table 10. Slower acting sources of nitrogen fer-






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tilizers were applied at an early stage before the first crop in
March 1949. More readily available types were applied at a
later stage, either before the second crop in May 1949 or as a
split application before the second and third crops in May and
July 1949. Plots in the experiment were also given an applica-
tion of superphosphate (40 pounds PO25 per acre), potash (150
pounds K20 per acre) and minor elements (the sulphates of
copper, manganese and zinc and borax at 25, 25, 10 and 5 pounds
per acre, respectively) in February 1949.

TABLE 10.-THE SOURCE, TIME AND RATE OF APPLICATION IN POUNDS
PER ACRE OF THE NITROGEN TREATMENTS.
TREATMENTS

Time and Rate of Application
Source Before Before Before
1st Crop 2nd Crop 3rd Crop

1. Check (no nitrogen) -
2. Uraform G-6 ............ 0 -
3. Uraform G-7 ............ 0 -
4. Uraform 481 ........... 50 -
5. Uraform 482 ............ 50 -
6. Milorganite ............. 50 -
7. Castor pomace ..... 50 -
8. Uramon .................... -- 50 -
9. Sodium nitrate ....... 50 -
10. Ammonium sulphate 50 -
11. Uramon .---.............. 25 25
12. Sodium nitrate ........ 25 25


The experiment was laid out in randomized blocks with five
replications. Plot size was 32 ft. x 32 ft., of which 400 sq. ft.
was harvested for yields. The previous year's growth was cut
back in March 1949 and three crops were obtained, in May,
July and November 1949. Plant growth severely damaged by
hurricane in September 1949 was cut back and a third crop was
obtained somewhat later than usual in November 1949.
Results.-Yields of nitrogen treatments for three combined
crops in 1949 were analyzed statistically and are presented in
Table 11. There was no significant effect on yields of total green
material and decorticated dry fiber from any of the treatments
with different sources, time and rates of application of nitrogen.
Yields of total green material and fiber of the third crop were
significantly lower than the first and second crops.








Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


TABLE 11.-YIELDS OF NITROGEN TREATMENTS AT THE RATE OF 50 POUNDS
N PER ACRE ON OLDER CROPPED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE
CROPS IN 1949, CANAL POINT, FLORIDA.


Nitrogen Treatments


1. Check (no nitrogen)
Application before 1st crop ............-.....
2. Uraform G-6 ....... ............. .......
3. Uraform G-7 ............. --.. ... ...
4. Uraform 481 .................. ...-....... .....- ..
5. Uraform 482 -.. .. .......... .... ..... .-......
6. M ilorganite ...............................................
7. Castor pomace ....................................
Application before 2nd crop
8. U ram on ...................... ....................
9. Sodium nitrate .... ........................ ...........
10. Ammonium sulphate ...............................
Split application before 2nd and
3rd Crops
11. U ram on .................... .........- ...... --
12. Sodium nitrate .......................... ............


L.S.D. 5% level ......


Yields, Pounds per Acre
Total Green Decorticated
Material Dry Fiber


52,686
53,709
53,927
53,340
54,341
53,274
53,819
53,035
52,228
53,557

52,838
51,161


Not sig.


1,520
1,465
1,421
1,455
1,499
1,483
1,447
1,455
1,389
1,436

1,356
1,331


Not sig.


Crops
1st Crop .- ....... ...... ........-- ....- ..... 18,547 535
2nd Crop ...................................... ............... 21,782 545
3rd Crop ........................................................... 12,830 361


L.S.D. 5% level ...-.... ..- ....--- --... ... -..-- .- 509 22
L.S.D. 1% level ............ ............ .... 674 30


C.V. (Percent) ............................. 10 17



Phosphate-Potash Experiment.-Three levels of phosphate, 0,
30 and 60 pounds P205 per acre, and of potash, 0, 90 and 180
pounds K20 per acre, were applied as superphosphate (44%
P205) and muriate of potash (60% K20) in nine treatment com-
binations in a factorial experiment.
All plots in the experiment also received an application of
minor elements as follows: the sulphates of copper, manganese
and zinc and borax at the rates of 25, 25, 10 and 5 pounds per
acre, respectively. Fertilizer treatments were applied in January
1949. :1







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The experiment was laid out in randomized blocks with five
replications on a four-year-old stand of the variety P.I. 87521
planted commercially on older cropped Everglades peat soil in
1945. Plots were 25 feet x 25 feet in size and 506 sq. ft. were
harvested for yields. In March 1949 the previous year's growth
was cut back. Three crops were harvested, in May, July and
November 1949. Plant growth damaged by hurricane in Septem-
ber 1949 was cut back and a third crop obtained in November
1949.
Results.-Yields of total green material and decorticated dry
fiber for the phosphate and potash treatments in the three com-
bined crops in 1949 were analyzed statistically and are shown in
Table 12. Potash had no significant effect, but phosphate applied
at 60 pounds P205 per acre significantly increased yields of total
green material and fiber over the no phosphate treatment.

TABLE 12.-YIELDS OF PHOSPHATE AND POTASH TREATMENTS IN A
FACTORIAL EXPERIMENT ON OLDER CROPPED EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL
FOR THREE CROPS IN 1949, CANAL POINT, FLORIDA.

Main Treatment Yield, Pounds per Acre
Effects Total Green Decorticated
Material Dry Fiber

Po 47,152 1,321
P1 49,366 1,381
P, 51,937 1,475

Ko 48,581 1,361
K, 49,367 1,404
K, 50,507 1,414

L.S.D. 5% level ................ 2,815 92
L.S.D. 1% level ................. 3,785 124


Crops
1st Crop .................... ........ 18,410 504
2nd Crop ............................... 20,970 700
3rd Crop .............................. 10,105 189

L.S.D. 5% level ............. 507 22
L.S.D. 1% level .................. 673 29

C.V. (Percent) ................. 13 15







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


Highest yields were obtained in the second crop and lowest
in the third crop. The crops X potash interaction was significant
at the 5 percent level.
Yields of fiber as related to rate of application of phosphate
and potash and to soil content of available phosphorus and po-
tassium are given in Table 13. These tests indicate that the
residual level of soil potassium was relatively high as the result
of the previous program of fertilization and application of potash
had no significant effect on yields. On the other hand the resid-
ual level of soil phosphorus was moderate and yields were
significantly increased by application of 60 pounds P2Or per acre.
It appears that rate of application of phosphorus should be in-
creased with continued cropping of an established stand.

TABLE 13.-YIELD OF FIBER AS RELATED TO TREATMENT WITH PHOSPHATE
AND POTASH AND TO SOIL CONTENT OF AVAILABLE PHOSPHORUS AND
POTASSIUM IN THE PK FACTORIAL EXPERIMENT ON OLDER CROPPED
EVERGLADES PEAT SOIL FOR THREE COMBINED CROPS IN 1949, CANAL
POINT, FLORIDA.
Available Available
Treatments Yield of Fiber, Soil Phosphorus, Soil Potassium,
Pounds per Acre Pounds per Acre Pounds per Acre Pounds per Acre
Phosphate (P20)
0 1,321 10 89
30 1,381 12 85
60 1,475 16 86

Potash (KO)
0 1,361 13 61
90 1,404 12 82
180 1,414 13 115


SUMMARY

The fiber plant ramie, Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaud., is a pe-
rennial which is propagated from rhizome cuttings. The fiber
is located in the bast and is extracted from the green stalks by
mechanical decortication. After degumming the fiber possesses
a soft lustrous property and a high tensile strength.
Ramie is adapted to a sub-tropical and south temperate climate.
It grows best on fertile, well drained soils under conditions of
high summer temperature and rainfall. The plant grows well
on the peat soils of the Florida Everglades with proper water
control, fertilization and crop management. Very poor growth







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


is obtained on light sandy soils, and the rootstock is readily killed
when flooded for 36 to 48 hours.
Experiments were carried out on Everglades peat soil to study:
(a) fiber-yielding ability of varieties; (b) crop response to appli-
cation of major and minor elements of fertilization on newly
cultivated soil and established stands of ramie on older cropped
soil.
The variety of ramie grown commercially in Florida, B. nivea
P.I. 87521, which was obtained from Japan, gave a significantly
higher yield of fiber than other varieties in Experiment A. Green
ramie, B. utilis P.I. 205502, gave very poor yields. In variety
Experiment B, a clone obtained from Brazil, B. nivea P.I. 205492
Murakami, gave a yield of fiber which was significantly higher
than that of P.I. 87521 and other varieties and possessed the
highest content of fiber in the stalk.
On newly cultivated Everglades peat soil, which had been
treated with copper before planting, the most pronounced re-
sponse was to application of the minor element zinc. Nitrogen
and phosphate had no effect, but potash significantly increased
yields of green plant material and fiber. In order to maintain a
satisfactory yield of fiber throughout the season, it was neces-
sary to apply 100 to 150 pounds of potash (K20) as a single
application in the spring.
On older cultivated Everglades peat soil, which had been
cropped for four years and had received an annual application
of approximately 35 pounds phosphate (P205) and 150 pounds
potash (K20) with minor elements, yields were significantly in-
creased by application of 60 pounds of phosphate (P205) per acre.
Under this program of fertilization, the residual level of available
soil potassium was high and no significant response was obtained
from application of potash. Organic and inorganic sources of
nitrogen had no significant effect on yields of green plant ma-
terial and fiber.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Mr. J. M. Dempsey, Manager Fiber
Division, Newport Industries, Inc., Canal Point, Florida, for providing fa-
cilities for conducting field experiments on ramie, and to Dr. W. T. Forsee,
Jr., Chemist in Charge, Everglades Experiment Station, for the analysis of
soil samples from the experiments. The authors also wish to acknowledge
the general assistance and helpful advice of Dr. R. V. Allison, Fiber Tech-
nologist, Everglades Expriment Station, Mr. Elton G. Nelson, Agronomist,
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Mr. Mills M. Byrom, Senior Agricultural
Engineer, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and Mr. John W. Randolph,







Agronomic Studies of Ramie in the Everglades


Agricultural Engineer, Everglades Experiment Station, in the fiber research
program.
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