Keywords: China aster, DHA, Electric conductivity, Germination, Sprays, Nutrient, Seed quality
One of the global floriculture industrys limiting factors is the supply & accessibility of good quality viable seeds. While genetic variables mostly regulate product quality, effective cultural tactics or interventions can have a significant impact. As a result, an investigation was conducted to assess the effects of crop management, multi-nutrient foliar sprays, and different planting density on seed germination, seedling attributes, de-hydrogenase activity (DHA), and electric conductivity of China aster (Callistephus chinensis) seed leachates. The experiment consisted of two levels of pinching (P0 and P1), three planting densities (D1, D2, and D3), and three levels of foliar sprays (S1, S2, and S3), replicated thrice in a randomized complete block design. The results indicated enhanced DHA (0.47, 0.44 and 0.46 mg L−1), seedling fresh weight (182.19, 176.48 and 169.51 mg), seedling dry weight (1.88, 1.79 and 1.81), root length (3.12, 2.92 and 2.86 cm), and cell wall integrity as illustrated with condensed electric conductivity (ќ) of seed leachates (1.53, 1.56 and 1.56 dSm−1) with pinching, wider plant density and five foliar applications of nutrients. Notably highest germination percentage (81.11 and 82.50), mean germination time (2.43 and 2.36 day−1), germination index (4.57 and 4.57), root-shoot ratio (0.34 and 0.33), and shoot length (4.08 and 4.06 cm) were recorded in seed acquired from plants subjected to pinching and five foliar sprays of nutrients. In conclusion, the seeds obtained from plants subjected to crop manipulation by removal of terminal portion at visible bud stage (P1), five foliar applications of nutrient sprays (S3), and broader planting density (D1) depicted better seed biochemical and electric attributes, germination and growth properties. As a result, the investigation showed that appropriate and timely cultural intervention could significantly increase seed quality. From a growers standpoint, this strategy is simple, affordable, and cost-effective.
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The authors are very thankful to UGC for providing MANF fellowship for the doctorate programme.