Author Archives: Neil S. Mattson

About Neil S. Mattson

Neil Mattson is an assistant professor and floriculture Extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. You can eMail him at neil.mattson@cornell.edu.

Stress Is Good For Plants

Do your greenhouse plants live a life of luxury? Soaking up the sun, bathed in nourishing nutrients, in a temperature-controlled climate — your greenhouse is like Club Med for plants. But then reality hits as the plant is shipped to the retail environment and then brought into the “real world,” when the consumer brings it

Manage pH And Soluble Salts In Hydroponics

Hydroponic greenhouse production has garnered increasing interest nationwide. For growers transitioning from greenhouse container production to hydroponics, it is important to be aware of some differences in monitoring pH and EC (electrical conductivity, a measure of soluble salts). This article discusses these differences and presents a case study in pH and EC monitoring. Acquiring Target

When Fertilizing, Don’t Neglect The Root Zone

Bedding and potted plants are traditionally fertilized daily or several times a week with water soluble fertilizer (WSF) applied in the irrigation water. With WSF, the fertilizer components are in a form that can be directly absorbed by the plant. This also means the fertilizer components can immediately impact the soluble salts and the pH

Bedding Plants and CRFs

While controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are not a recent addition to a grower’s toolbox, they are not nearly as common as traditional water-soluble fertilizers (WSF). Many growers comment that they don’t want to lose the control they have with traditional WSF programs. However, new formulations and technologies in CRF manufacturing, along with a desire for alternative

Potted Plants On CRFs

After seeing how bedding plants are affected by controlled-release fertilizers, three separate studies were conducted to show how the use of these fertilizers influenced the production of potted plants. The Poinsettia Experiments Rooted liners of ‘Premium Red’ poinsettias were potted into 4.5-inch containers filled with a commercial soilless substrate that was amended with CRFs: Osmocote

Finish Hanging Baskets In High Tunnels

Minimally heated greenhouse structures have long been used by the floriculture industry to finish crops. Although finishing hanging baskets in a high tunnel may be profitable due to lower input and capital costs, the high tunnel may be riskier since temperature is not directly controlled, resulting in a more variable market date. Cooler temperatures can

High Tunnels: Grow Better Bedding Plants In Cold Weather

Bedding production begins in mid- to late-winter and early spring in the northern half of the U.S., when outdoor air temperatures and light are at seasonally low levels. During this time, greenhouses must be heated to maintain desirable production temperatures. The costs involved can be huge. Energy for heating in northern climates accounts for 10