Garden mums are one of the most popular summer and fall crops for greenhouse operations, but despite expertly developed production schedules and tech sheets from specialty propagators, this seemingly simple crop can still perplex many growers.
The use of Constant Liquid Feed for mum production is often central to the production of quality garden mums. In order to ensure that the fertility needs of the mum crop are clearly being met, a grower needs to make sure that their fertilizer injector is working properly. After a hectic bedding plant season, few growers find the time to evaluate the operation of their fertilizer injector to ensure its accuracy prior to planting the garden mum crop. A malfunctioning fertilizer injector can lead to lower injection rates of acid and/or fertilizer, resulting in nutrient and media pH issues.
In a few cases, growers have continued to fertilize their garden mums too late into the production cycle, resulting in elevated soluble salts levels in the growing media. As a rule, growers should stop all fertilization and finish the crop with plain water when the first hint of color appears to improve post-harvest shelf life and plant quality. If media soluble salts levels are too high, the crop can become more susceptible to diseases like Pythium root rot.
Learn more in this e-Gro alert from Tom Ford at Penn State University.