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Group Title: ARC-A research report - Agricultural Research and Education Center - RH-1983-18
Title: Fertilization of Bird's-nest fern
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066511/00001
 Material Information
Title: Fertilization of Bird's-nest fern
Series Title: ARC-A research report
Physical Description: 5 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Poole, R. T ( Richard Turk )
Conover, Charles Albert, 1934-
Agricultural Research Center (Apopka, Fla.)
Publisher: University of Florida, IFAS, Agricultural Research Center-Apopka
Place of Publication: Apopka FL
Publication Date: 1983
 Subjects
Subject: Asplenium -- Growth -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Ferns -- Fertilizers -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 2-3).
Statement of Responsibility: R.T. Poole and C.A. Conover.
General Note: Caption title.
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066511
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 71261343

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HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
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Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
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^ o ^-1 L-
Y -9_1 FERTILIZATION OF BIRD'S-NEST FERN
R. T. Poole and C. A. Conover
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural Research Center Apopka
ARC-A Research Report RH-83-18

Asplenium nidus L. (Bird's-nest fern), a native of tropical Asia, is a
large epiphytic plant with stiff erect, simple leaves sometimes growing to
45 inches in length and 7 inches in width. Bird's-nest fern often produces
leaves that are notched or small and crinkled which suggests a nutritional
problem. Boston fern produced its best growth at 1000 lb N/A/yr from a
fertilizer with a N-P-K ratio of 14-6-12. There were only slight differences
in growth reflected from rates of 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 b: N/A/yr (2,3).
A suggestion of 1200 lb: N/A/yr has been given for commercial production of
Boston fern (1). Another study reported 200 ppm/N applied twice weekly gave
best growth of Boston fern (4). Ground beds of leatherleaf fern receiving
250 Ib. N/A/yr produced best growth (5), while in another experiment incor-
poration of dolomite and a micronutrient blend reduced yield (6). A partial
summary of fern fertilization experiments is found in Table 1.

Objectives of these experiments were to determine effects of various
nutrients on plant growth and leaf deformity of Bird's-nest fern.

Experiment 1. Bird's-nest fern sporelings, 4 to 5 inches tall, were
planted April 10, 1981 in 6 inch tubs in a medium of peat:pine bark (2:1 by
volume) with dolomite and Perk (a micronutrient blend) incorporated at 7 and
1.5 Ib/ydj, respectively. Nitrogen from NH4N03 and K from KC1 were applied at
32, 96 and 160 mg/pot in 50 ml of solution and P from H3P04 was applied at 8,
48 and 88 mg/pot every 2 weeks, which equaled approximately 450, 1350 and 2250
lb N and K/A/yr and 110, 660 and 1210 lb P/A/yr. Plants were grown in a glass
greenhouse, provided 1500 ft-c light maximum and irrigated as needed.

July 7, 1981 deformed strap-like leaves and necrotic leaves were counted.
Plants receiving the middle level of P were utilized for Experiment 2 and the
resulting 3 x 2 x 3 experiment was continued to November 29, 1981, when frond
length, number of necrotic leaves, plant quality (1 = poor with numerous
small deformed leaves, 3 = good, salable and 5 = excellent quality) and foliar
color (1 = light green, 3 = moderate green and 5 = dark green color) were
determined. Mature leaves were then taken for tissue analyses.

A 5-fold increase of N and K made only a slight difference and 11-fold
increase of P had no effect on leaves of Bird's-nest fern three months after
experiment initiation (Table 2). As N increased, number of necrotic leaves
increased from 0O6 leaves/plant to 1.4 leaves/plant. As K increased, necrotic
leaves decreased 1.1 to 0.6, suggesting that a low N:K ratio is desirable for
an attractive Bird's-nest fern. Phosphorus levels had no effect. Data taken
after 8 months showed the same trends. In addition, increasing N slightly
decreased fern growth and quality although color was improved. An increase
in K levels slightly increased frond length (Table 3). Previous research
(5,7,8) did not show the benefit of increasing K level, but did indicate the
lack of response to P and slight effect of N.







Results from this experiment with Bird's-nest fern, as well as previous
research (3,5,7,8) indicate that fern will grow well while receiving a wide
range of fertilizer levels. Symptoms of K deficiency include chlorotic or
necrotic leaf edges which could explain why increased K decreased necrotic
leaves.

Best Bird's-nest fern had a tissue content at the low N level of 2.6% N,
0.40% P, 2.7% K, 0.3% Ca and 0.3% Mg. Copper, Fe, Mn and Zn levels were 6,
270, 471 and 116 ppm (Table 4). These quantities are similar to levels
reported previously on other species of fern (5,6,7).

Experiment 2. Plants which received the middle P level in Experiment 1
were selected for use in Experiment 2 to determine the cause of the deformed
strap-like leaves. Treatments applied July 8, 1981 included control, 15 mg
Cu/pot, 50 mg Zn/pot, 1.5 mg B/pot, or 0.3 mg Mo/pot. All plants were then
fertilized once with 4 g of 14-6-12 (N-P-K) slow release fertilizer and
wise grown as in experiment 1. Data recorded October 13, 1981 included frond
length, plant quality, foliar color and number of necrotic leaves.

Copper at 15 mg/15-cm pot slightly decreased plant quality of Bird
fern after 3 months, but additions of other microelements had no effect
(Table 5).

Summary

When examining results from other published research (Table 5),less than
200 lb N/A/yr appears to be below optimum for fern growth while 2000 or above
appear to be too high. Although exact recommendations cannot be determined
from the fern experiments conducted, a range of 600 to 1200 lb N/A/yr from a
fertilizer with a N-P-K ratio of 6-1-3 would produce maximum growth without
harmful effects, although higher K appears desirable for Bird's-nest fern.
Leaf strapping and chlorosis does not appear to be caused by micronutrient
deficiency, because tissue analysis showed elements to be high except for Cu
and plants receiving additional Cu had slightly more deformity than other
treatments. These data indicate however, that the Ca level is somewhat low
and it is possible that this could cause the deformed leaves.

Literature Cited

1. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1976. Light and fertilizer recomme
on production of foliage stock plants and acclimatized potted plants.
of Fla., ARC-A Res. Rept. RH-76-6.

2. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1977. Influence of potting media and
fertilizer source and level on growth of four foliage plants on capillary
mats. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 90:316-318.

3. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1977. Influence of irrigation method and
fertilizer source and level on growth of four foliage plants. Proc. Fla.
State Hort. Soc. 90:312-313.

4. Morgan, D. L. and B. W. Hipp. 1979. Nitrogen requirements for Neph h
exaltata (L.) Schott 'Rooseveltii'. HortScience 14(5):619-620.







5. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1973. Influence of shade, N and K levels on
production and elemental composition of leatherleaf fern. Proc. Trop. Reg.
Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 17:385-388.


6. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1973.
nutrients on yield of leatherleaf fern.

7. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1978.
Adiantum pedatum K. Presl. HortScience


Influence of dolomite and micro-
Proc. Fla. State Hort Soc. 86:372-374.

Fertilization of Maidenhair fern,
13(2):176-177.


8. Poole, R. T., C. A. Conover.and D. B. McConnell. 1978. Spore propagation and
production of the Hawaiian Tree Fern, Cibotium glaucum (Sm.) Hook and Arn.
Proc. Trop. Reg. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 22:291-300.


Table 1. A partial summary of fern fertilization experiments.
Ibs
Fern Actual N N/A/yr Yield Reference

Adiantum pedatum 12.5 mg/100 cm2/wk 650 21 g top fresh wt 7
(Maidenhair fern) 50 mg/100 cm2/wk 500 17 g top fresh wt
Asplenium nidus 32 mg/175 cm2/2 wks 450 51 cm frond length Table 2
(Bird's-nest fern) 160 mg/175 cm2/2 wks 2200 47 cm frond length
Cibotium glaucum 15 mg/175 cm2/mo 80 60 cm frond length 8
(Tree fern) 75 mg/175 cm2/mo 400 70 cm frond length
Nephrolepis exaltata 5 mg/175 cm2/3.5 days 160 10.5 g dry wt 3
cv. Rooseveltii 40 mg/175 cm2/3.5 days 1200 20.4 g dry wt
(Boston fern)
o 2
Rumohra adiantiformis 22.5 g/10 m /mo 200 2811 fronds/10 m2/yr 5
(Leatherleaf fern) 90 g/10 m2/mo 1000 2687 fronds/10 m /yr







Table 2. Influence of N-P-K levels on number of leaves with deformity or
necrosis on Bird's-nest fern after 3 months. Experiment 1.
Avg. no. Avg. no.
Element mg/15-cm deformed necrotic
pot/2 wks leaves leaves
N 32 3.9 0.6
96 4.4 0.6
160 4.9 1.4
P 8 4.1 0.8
48 4.7 1.0
88 4.5 0.8
K 32 4.5 1.1
96 4.4 0.9
160 4.4 0.6
Significant effects:
N linear 0.05 0.05
P linear NS NS
K linear NS 0.05


Table 3. Influence of N-P-K levels on growth, leaf necrosis, and foliar
color and plant quality after 8 months. Experiment 1.

Avg. length Avg. no. Foliar Plant
mg/15-cm 2 longest necrotic colr q y
Element pot/2 wks fronds (cm) leavesquality

N 32 51 3 3.0 3.8
96 52 5 3.9 2.9
160 47 7 3.8 2.2
P 8 49 4 3.5 2.9
88 51 5 3.6 3.0
K 32 48 6 3.4 2.5
96 51 5 3.6 3.1
160 52 4 3.7 3.2
Significant effects:
N linear .01 .01 .01 .01
N quadratic .05 NS .01 NS
P linear NS NS NS NS
K linear .01 .01 NS NS
K quadratic NS NS NS NS

Z1 = light green, 3 = moderate green and 5 = dark green color.
Y1 = poor with numerous small deformed leaves, 3 = good, salable, 5 =
excellent quality.








Table 4. Influence of N-P-K levels on elemental tissue analysis of Bird's-nest
fern. Experiment 1.

% ppm
mg/15-cm N P K Ca Mg Cu Fe Mn Zn
Element pot/2 wks
N 32 2.6 .40 2.7 .35 .33 6 220 471 116
96 3.7 .40 2.8 .26 .37 7 160 671 104
160 4.0 .31 2.9 .18 .25 7 146 579 71
P 8 3.3 .30 2.6 .32 .32 7 189 503 108
88 3.6 .42 3.0 .21 .31 6 162 644 86
K 32 3.5 .32 2,1 .23 .36 7 197 659 103
96 3.4 .24 2.9 .29 .31 7 160 539 101
160 3.4 .27 3.4 .26 .28 6 170 523 87

Significant effects:

N linear .01 .01 NS .01 .01 NS .01 NS .01
N quadratic .01 NS NS NS .01 NS NS .05 NS
P linear .05 .01 .01 .01 NS NS NS .01 .01
K linear NS .01 .01 NS .01 NS NS NS NS
K quadratic NS .01 NS NS NS NS NS NS NS


Table 5. Influence of micronutrients on Bird's-nest fern after 5 months.
Experiment 2.
Avg. length No.
mg/15-cm 2 longest Plant Foliar necrotic
Element pot fronds (cm) quality colorY leaves

Control 55 3.8 a 3.0 4.3
Cu 15.0 52 2.8 b 2.5 5.6
Zn 50.0 54 3.4 a 2.9 6.3
B 1.5 55 3.6 a 3.0 4.8
Mo 0.3 50 3.5 a 3.0 4.2

Signifcance NS .05 NS NS

Z1 = poor with numerous small deformed leaves, 3 = good, salable, 5 = excellent
quality.

Y1 = light green, 3 = moderate green and 5 = dark green color.


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