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Urban Ag News:

Maximize your plants’ growth with supplemental CO2

If you are growing ornamental plants or vegetables in a controlled environment, including greenhouses, warehouses or growth chambers, carbon dioxide (CO2) could be considered another nutrient like nitrogen. Plants require carbon dioxide in order for the process of photosynthesis to occur enabling the plants to grow, flower and in the case of vegetables produce fruit.

“Ninety-nine percent of the plants that are grown for food or ornamentals in controlled environments would benefit from supplemental carbon dioxide,” said DuPont Pioneer research scientist Jonathan Frantz. “The outside ambient level of carbon dioxide is just over 400 parts per million. Once inside a greenhouse or other closed structure that contain plants, the plants start to draw down the carbon dioxide level. Depending on how much plant material is in the greenhouse and how tight the greenhouse is, the carbon dioxide level will be drawn down a lot. Warehouses and growth chambers are going to be tighter than greenhouses so the draw down is going to be faster in those types of structures.”

“Growth is adding mass,” he said. “Development rate is important in the timing of flowering. I’m interested in how carbon dioxide might accelerate that development rate.”

“In the case of low-value crops like lettuce, a grower is probably not going to want to inject a high level of carbon dioxide unless faster development rates are going to pay for themselves. For high value crops like herbs that are repeatedly harvested, it might be worthwhile to raise the level of carbon dioxide above 400 ppm.”

Frantz said there is a strong belief among some growers that their crops don’t need supplemental carbon dioxide or that their crops won’t respond to it.

Read more at Urban Ag News

Publication date: 6/1/2017

 


 

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