Slower Growing Plants Help Inherent Defenses

It seems that nursery growers are in losing battle with insect pest and a rapid turn of plant crops. Here are the summaries of two articles I've come across recently.

Plants can either protect themselves or grow fast; but not both.

A recent published article in Science magazine by UC Irvine's Kailen Mooney et. al. came to the research conclusion that when plants have traits to grow fast, they are more prone to attack and need outside help from the attack of pests. The converse is true as well. A plant with slower growing traits favor more protection from insects that feed on them. It seems that faster growing plants are more tasty and preferred by plant eating insects.

Here is a link to a brief from the research from Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325143051.htm

Reduce fertilizer amount and reduce pest pressure.

This article was in NM Pro, March Issue. It was a summary of the researcher Andrew Chow and his colleagues work. They looked at reducing fertilizer inputs in rose crops and the pest status of introduced two spotted spider mites. They used 100, 50, and 33% of the recommended 15-5-15 Cal-Mag fertilizer and placed the same number of female mites on each plants and then grew them out. Mite egg count was 2 times higher with 100% fertilizer compared to the 50 or 33% fertilizer rate. Flowering shoots and quality was not compromised at the 50% fertility rate. This study showed that reducing fertilizer reduced the pest numbers and had positive monetary savings in sprays, labor, and fertilizer. The complete article was in Journal of Economic Entomology Vol. 102, Issue 5.

My take on these articles would be that if I had some plants that were insect magnets and I didn't need them produced for a market window, I might try to reduce the amount of fertilizer to them. Or even, spread out the production of this plant over the year and reduce the amount of fertilizer so that the slower growing plants would be reaching maturity throughout the year for sales. Then watch to see if the reduction of fertilizer reduced the pests to a non-economic damaging level. If you try this let me know how it works out!

No comments:

Post a Comment