Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Plants, Soils, and Climate
National growth in small-scale, specialty cut flower farms is reflected in Utah, where 145 members have joined the Utah Cut Flower Farm Association since its 2019 founding. Cool season cut flower production is limited in Utah and the Intermountain West by a narrow harvest window and elevated soil salinity. The objective of this research was to optimize production systems for anemone (Anemone coronaria L.) and ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus L.) in the Intermountain West by evaluating season advancement methods within a high tunnel and field production system, as well as the salinity sensitivity of each species. Fall planting dates, combinations of low tunnels and straw mulch, pre-sprouting, and cultivars were trialed in North Logan, UT from 2019 to 2022. Up to four cultivars of anemone tubers and ranunculus tuberous roots were presprouted or directly planted into a high tunnel (left bare or covered with low tunnels) or field (left bare or covered with mulch, a low tunnel, or mulch and a low tunnel) from November to April and evaluated for harvest timing, yield, stem quality, and profitability. Additionally, anemone and ranunculus were grown in pots in a greenhouse, irrigated with nutrient solutions with electrical conductivities (EC) from 0.5 dS·m-1 to 5.5 dS·m-1 for eight weeks, and evaluated for growth, yield, and gas exchange parameters to determine their salinity sensitivity. For anemone, planting pre-sprouted tubers under low tunnels in the high tunnel in November delivered the earliest harvest (2 Mar.), greatest marketable yield (280 stems per m2), and greatest net returns ($38 per m2), with 32% greater marketable yield for ‘Galilee’ than ‘Carmel.’ For ranunculus, planting pre-sprouted tuberous roots in the high tunnel in November delivered the earliest harvest (6 Apr.), greatest marketable yield (286 stems per m2), and greatest net returns ($54 per m2), with 39% greater marketable yield for ‘LaBelle’ than ‘Amandine.’ In the salinity trial, visual quality, plant growth, and net photosynthesis decreased when plants were irrigated with EC 2.5 dS·m–1 and above, indicating that the irrigation salinity tolerance threshold for both anemone and ranunculus is likely between 0.5 and 2.5 dS·m–1. High-yielding cultivars, pre-sprouting, fall-planting in high tunnels with frost cloth, and managing soil salinity are recommended for Intermountain West anemone and ranunculus growers.
Rauter, Shannon, "Evaluating Strategies for Anemone and Ranunculus Cut Flower Production in the US Intermountain West" (2022). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8682.
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