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| 8 SIMULATED SHIPPING OF CHRYSALIDOCARPUS LUTESCENS (ARECA PALM)
C. A. Conover and R. T. Poolel
University of Florida, IFAS
Agricultural Research Center Apopka
ARC-A Research Report RH-84-1
Research has been conducted during the past 2 years to determine the
most desirable shipping temperatures for a wide variety of foliage plants
(1, 3). Major problems observed have been leafdrop and/or loss of foliar
color (decrease in darkness of green foliage). Previous research on Areca
palm (2, 3) has shown that decreases in quality were not associated with
chlorophyll level, since some plants with lowest quality grade had highest
chlorophyll levels. Lowered quality ratings of Areca were observed on
plants held under simulated shipping beyond 3 weeks and/or at 500F. Areca
of good quality were obtained from simulated shipments at 550, 600 or 65F
when shipped for 1, 2 or 3 weeks.
The research described was designed to determine whether production
fertilizer levels would influence Areca palm quality during and after
shipment at 550, 60 or 650F for 2 or 4 week durations.
Three 8 inch tall Areca palm seedlings in a 4 inch pot were repotted
in 8 inch pots in a 3 sedge peat:l mason sand potting medium amended with
7 Ibs dolomite and 1.5 Ibs Micromax/yd3 on January 26, 1982. Plants were
grown under 63% shade in a shadehouse where temperature ranged between 450F
minimum and 1000F maximum, irrigated twice weekly, and sprayed as necessary
to control pests. The experiment was designed as a 3x3x2 factorial in
randomized block design with 5 replications and 3 plants in an 8 inch pot
as the experimental unit. Fertilizer treatments were 1500, 3000 and 4500
lb N/A/yr from 19-6-12 Osmocote which was equal to 7, 14 or 21 gm/pot/3
months. Fertilizer was applied initially and again after 3 months.
After 6 months plants were graded for quality and no differences were
observed for fertilizer levels, with grades of 4.1, 4.2 and 4.1 respectively
for the 1500, 3000 and 4500 lb N/A/yr rates. Plants were placed under
simulated shipping conditions on July 23, 1982, when they were placed in
dark coolers at 550, 600 or 650F and held under these conditions for 14 or
28 days. Upon removal from simulated shipping,plants were placed under an
interior environment where they received 125 ft-c from Cool White fluores-
cent lamps for 12 hours daily. Temperature in the interior environment was
maintained at 78 1lF and relative humidity was 60% 10%. Plants were
watered as necessary, but were not fertilized during the time they were
maintained under the interior environment. Sixty days after removal from
simulated shipping (Oct. 19th), plant height, plant grade (1 = poor, 3 =
fair, but salable and 5 = excellent) and color grade of foliage (1 = yellow,
3 = medium green and 5 = dark green) was determined.
Professor and Center Director and Professor, Plant Physiology, ARC-Apopka,
None of the factors tested affected plant height, plant grade or
color during the simulated shipping and interior holding period (Table 1).
These data indicate that increasing fertilizer level above 1500 lb N/A/yr
has no beneficial effect on plant growth, tolerance to simulated shipping
or during the interior transition period. However, neither were
fertilizer levels of 300D0or 4500 lb N/A/yr injurious to Areca. All
temperatures were satisfactory, which is in agreement with previous
research which indicated that 550, 600 and 650F were satisfactory, and
plants tolerated these temperatures for up to 28 days. Overall there was
a decrease in plant grade of about 1 unit when plants were graded after
simulated shipment of 14 or 28 days and 60 days under an interior environ-
ment as compared to the grade at the end of the production period. A
decrease of this magnitude is common on Areca, and it was hoped that inter-
actions of fertilizer, and simulated shipping temperature or duration might
be observed, but none were present.
Based on this and previous research, suggested shipping conditions for
Areca are 600F, with a range between 550 and 650F acceptable. Shipping
durations of up to 28 days appear to be acceptable, but some loss of plant
quality will occur. If good to excellent quality plants are shipped, they
will be satisfactory after shipping, while plants of marginal quality at
time of shipping will be unacceptable after 14 to 28 days of shipping.
1. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1983. How environment affects long-
term shipping of tropical foliage plants. Southern Florist and
Nurseryman 96(26):23, 26-27.
2. Conover, C. A. and R. T. Poole. 1983. Handling and overseas transpor-
tation of acclimatized foliage plants in reefers. Univ. of Fla. Agric.
Res. Ctr. Apopka Research Report RH-1983-1.
3. Poole, R. T. and C. A. Conover. 1983. Influence of simulated shipping
environments on foliage plant quality. HortScience 18:191-193.
Table 1. Influence of fertilizer levels and simulated shipping
temperature and duration on postshipment quality of Chrysalidocarpus
lutescens sixty days after removal from simulated shipping.
Treatment Height Grade Grade
1500 131.7 3.1 3.4
3000 131.5 3.0 3.5
4500 134.2 3.0 3.3
55 131.2 2.9 3.4
60 134.5 3.1 3.3
65 131.7 3.0 3.5
14 131.7 3.2 3.5
28 133.2 2.9 3.3