The interactions between the NH4-N/total-N supply ratio (N r) and the pH of the nutrient solution delivered to the plants regarding the nutrient availability and its influence on plant growth and yield were investigated in a gerbera crop grown in pumice. Four treatments obtained by combining a low and a high N r (0.02 and 0.13 on a molar basis, respectively) with two different levels of nutrient solution pH (5.0 and 5.8, respectively) were compared in a long-term glasshouse experiment. The low N r resulted in significantly higher pH levels in the rhizosphere, as indicated by the values measured in the drainage water. A high nutrient solution pH further increased pH in the root zone at low N r but had no influence on it at the higher N r level. The high pH in the root zone restricted significantly the Cu, Mn, and Zn uptake as indicated by both analytical results and visual symptoms, which were typical for Cu- and Mn-deficiencies. Mn-deficiency was induced only when a low N r was combined with a high nutrient solution pH. The Cu-deficiency symptoms appeared earlier, were more severe and occurred also when the low N r was combined with a low nutrient solution pH, but to a lesser extent. As a result of these nutrient deficiencies, both the growth and the flower yield were severely restricted when N r was low. These results indicate that gerbera is prone to Cu- and Mn deficiencies at pH values above 6 in the rhizosphere. The maintenance of root zone pH below this level in soilless culture is most successfully attained by properly adjusting the NH4-N/total-N supply ratio rather than the pH of the nutrient solution delivered to the plants.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adams P 2002 Nutritional control in hydroponics In Hydroponic Production of Vegetables and Ornamentals. Eds. D Savvas and H C Passam. pp. 211–261. Embryo Publications, Athens, Greece.
Bar-Tal A, Aloni B, Karni L and Rosenberg R 2001 Nitrogen nutrition of greenhouse pepper. II. Effects of nitrogen concentration and NO3:NH4 ratio on growth, transpiration, and nutrient uptake. HortScience 36 (7), 1252–1259.
Beevers L and Hageman R H 1983 Uptake and reduction of nitrate: Bacteria and higher plants. In Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, New Series. Eds. A Läuchli and R L Bieleski. Vol. 15A, pp. 351–375. Springer Verlag, Berlin, New York.
Bennett W F 1993 Plant nutrient utilization and diagnostic plant symptoms. In Nutrient Deficiencies & Toxicities in Crop Plants. Ed. W F Bennett. pp. 1–7. APS Press, Minnesota, USA.
Bergman W 1988 Ernährungsstörungen bei Kulturpflanzen. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, New York. 380 pp.
Blackwell R D, Murray A J S, Lea P J and Joy K W1988 Photorespiratory amino donors, sucrose synthesis and the induction of CO2 fixation in barley deficient in glutamine synthetase and/or glutamate synthase. J. Exp. Bot. 39, 845–858.
Bolan N S, Hedley M J and White R E 1991. Processes of soil acidification during nitrogen cycling with emphasis on legume based pastures. In Plant – Soil Interactions at Low pH. Eds. R J Wright, V C Baligar and R P Murrmann. pp. 169–179. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Breteler H 1973 A comparison between NH4 and NO3 nutrition of young sugar-beet plants grown in nutrient solution at constant acidity. 1. Production of dry matter, ionic balance, and chemical composition. Neth. J. Agr. Sci. 21, 227–244.
Bussler W 1981 Physiological functions and utilization of copper. In Copper in Soils and Plants. Eds. J F Loneragan, A D Robson and R D Graham. pp. 213–234. Academic Press, London and Orlando.
Campbell L C and Nable R O 1988 Physiological functions of manganese in plants. In Manganese in Soils and Plants. Eds. R D Graham, R J Hannam and N C Uren. pp. 139–154. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Chance W O, Somda Z C and Mills H A 1999 Effect of nitrogen form during the flowering period on zucchini squash growth and nutrient element uptake. J. Plant Nutr. 22 (3), 597–607.
Davies J N, Adams P and Winsor G W 1978 Bud development and flowering of Chrysanthemum morifolium in relation to some enzyme activities and to the copper, iron and manganese status. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 9, 249–264.
De Kreij C and van der Hoeven B 1996 Effect of humic substances, pH and its control on growth of chrysanthemum in aeroponics. In Proceedings, 9th International Congress on Soilless Culture. pp. 207–230. ISOSC, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Delwiche C C 1983 Cycling of elements in the biosphere. In Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, New Series. Eds. A Läuchli and R L Bieleski. Vol. 15A, pp. 212–238. Springer Verlag, Berlin, New York.
Eaton A D, Clesceri L S aand Greenberg A E 1995 Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. American Public Health Association, 19th Ed., Washington, USA.
Errebhi M and Wilcox G E 1990. Tomato growth and nutrient uptake pattern as influenced by nitrogen form ratio. J. Plant Nutr. 13, 1031–1043.
Forde B G and Clarkson D T 1999 Nitrate and ammonium nutrition of plants: Physiological and molecular perspectives. Adv. Bot. Res. 30, 1–90.
Franz T A, Peterson D M and Durbin R D 1982 Sources of ammonium in oat leaves treated with tabtoxin or methionine sulfoximine. Plant Physiol. 69, 345–348.
Gashaw L and Mugwira L M 1981 Ammonium-N and nitrate-N effects on the growth and mineral compositions of triticale, wheat and rye. Agron. J. 73, 47–51.
Gerendás J, Zhu Z, Bendixen R, Ratcliffe R G and Sattelmacher B 1997 Physiological and biochemical processes related to ammonium toxicity in higher plants. Z. Pflanzenernähr. Bodenkd. 160, 239–251.
Gijsman A J and van Noordwijk M 1991 Critical ammonium: nitrate uptake ratios for Douglas-fir determining rhizosphere pH and tree mortality. In Plant–Soil Interactions at Low pH. Eds. R J Wright, V C Baligar and R P Murrmann. pp. 181–186. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Givan C V 1979 Metabolic detoxification of ammonia in tissues of higher plants. Phytochemistry 18, 375–382.
Givan C V, Joy K W and Kleczkowski L A 1988 A decade of photorespiratory nitrogen cycle. Trends Bioch. Sci. 13, 433–437.
Guba W 1994a The effect of pH in the root medium on the production and quality of gerbera grown in rockwool. J. Fruit Ornamental Plant Res. 2 (3), 123–134.
Guba W 1994b The effect of different NH4/NO3 ratios on the production and quality of gerbera grown in rockwool. J. Fruit Ornamental Plant Res. 2 (4), 143–155.
Guo S, Brück H and Sattelmacher B 2002. Effects of supplied nitrogen form on growth and water uptake of French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) plants. Plant Soil 239, 267–275.
Haynes R J and Goh K M 1978 Ammonium and nitrate nutrition of plants. Biol. Rev. 53, 465–510.
Haynes R J and Swift R S 1985 Effects of soil acidification on the chemical extractability of Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu and the growth and micronutrient uptake of highbush blueberry plants. Plant Soil 84, 201–212.
Ikeda H and Osawa T 1981 Nitrate and ammonium-N absorption by vegetables from nutrient solution containing ammonium nitrate and the resultant change of solution pH. J. Jap. Soc. Hort. Sci. 50, 225–230.
Imas P, Bar-Yosef B, Kafkafi U and Ganmore-Neumann R 1997 Release of carboxylic anions and protons by tomato roots in response to ammonium nitrate ratio and pH in nutrient solution. Plant Soil 191, 27–34.
Ingestad T 1972 Mineral nutrition requirements of cucumber seedlings. Plant Physiol. 52, 332–338.
Islam A K M S, Edwards D G and Asher C J 1980 pH optima for crop growth. Results of a flowing solution culture experiment with six species. Plant Soil 54, 339–357.
Kirkby E A and Knight A H 1977 Influence of the level of nitrate nutrition on ion uptake and assimilation, organic acid accumulation, and cation-anion balance in whole tomato plants. Plant Physiol. 60, 349–353.
Kirkby E A and Mengel K 1967 Ionic balance in different tissues of the tomato plant in relation to nitrate, urea, or ammonium nutrition. Plant Physiol. 42, 6–14.
Laanbroek H J, Bodelier P L E and Gerards S 1994 Oxygen consumption kinetics of Nitrosomonas europea and Nitrobacter hamburgensis grown in mixed continuous cultures. Arch. Microbiol. 159, 453–459.
Lea-Cox J D, Stutte G W, Berry W L and Wheeler R M 1996 Nutrient dynamics and pH/charge-balance relationships in hydroponic solutions. Acta Hort. 481, 241–248.
Lea-Cox J D, Stutte G W, Berry W L and Wheeler R M 1999 Charge balance – a theoretical basis for modulating pH fluctuations in plant nutrient delivery systems. Life Support and Biosphere Sci. 3, 53–59.
Magalhaes J R and Wilcox G E 1983 Tomato growth and mineral composition as influenced by nitrogen form and light intensity. J. Plant Nutr. 6, 847–862.
Marschner H 1983 General introduction to the mineral nutrition of plants. In Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, New Series. Eds. A Läuchli and R L Bieleski. Vol. 15A, pp. 5–60. Springer Verlag, Berlin, New York.
Marschner H 1995 Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. Academic Press, 2nd Edition, London.
Mengel K and Kirkby E A 1987. Principles of Plant Nutrition. International Potash Institute, Bern, Switzerland.
Mills H A and Jones J Jr 1996 Plant Analysis Handbook II. MicroMacro Publishing, Inc., Athens, GA, USA. 422 pp.
Rahimi A and Bussler W 1973 Physiologische Voraussetzungen für die Bildung der Kupfermangelsymptome. Z. Pflanzenernähr. Bodenkd. 136, 25–32.
Rosen C J, Allan D L and Luby J J 1990. Nitrogen form and solution pH influence growth and nutrition of two Vaccinium clones. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 115, 83–89.
Savvas D and Adamidis K 1999 Automated management of nutrient solutions based on target electrical conductivity, pH, and nutrient concentration ratios. J. Plant Nutr. 22, 1415–1432.
Savvas D and Gizas G 2002 Response of hydroponically grown gerbera to nutrient solution recycling and different nutrient cation ratios. Sci. Hort. 96, 267–280.
Schrevens E and Cornell J 1993 Design and analysis of mixture systems: Applications in hydroponic, plant nutrition research. Plant Soil 154, 45–52.
Sonneveld C 2002 Composition of nutrient solutions. In Hydroponic Production of Vegetables and Ornamentals. Eds. D Savvas and H C Passam. pp. 179–210. Embryo Publications, Athens, Greece.
Sonneveld C and Voogt W 1997 Effects of pH value and Mn application on yield and nutrient absorption with rockwool grown gerbera. Acta Hort. 450, 139–147.
Sonneveld C, Baas R, Nijssen H M C and de Hoog J 1999 Salt tolerance of flower crops grown in soilless culture. J. Plant Nutr. 22, 1033–1048.
Stensvand A and Gislerød H R 1992 The effect of the NO3/NH4 ratio of the nutrient solution on growth and mineral uptake in Chrysanthemum × morifolium, Passiflora caerulea, and Cordyline fruticosa. Gartenbauwissenschaft 57, 193–198.
Taiz L and Zeiger E 1991 Plant Physiology. The Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing Company, Inc., Redwood City, California, USA.
Weinberger P and Yee D 1984 The influence of nitrogen sources on root-mediated changes in substrate pH. Can. J. Bot. 62, 161–2.
Wolf B 1974 Improvements in the azomethine-H method for the determination of boron. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 5, 39–44.
Zhu Z, Gerendás J, Bendixen R, Schinner K, Tabrizi H, Sattelmacher B and Hansen U-P 2000 Different tolerance to light stress in NO3 ?-and NH4 +-grown Phaseolus vulgaris L. Plant Biol. 2, 558–570.
About this article
Cite this article
Savvas, D., Karagianni, V., Kotsiras, A. et al. Interactions between ammonium and pH of the nutrient solution supplied to gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) grown in pumice. Plant and Soil 254, 393–402 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025595201676
- Gerbera jamesonii
- nutritional disorders
- soilless culture