Growth studies with lettuce (Lactuca sativa L) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Horticultural Science in Plant Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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In a sand culture experiment carried out in a heated glasshouse, the effect of five levels of P (ranging from 7.75 p.p.m. - 124 p.p.m. on the growth of two cultivars of lettuce was examined. Samples were taken at weekly intervals for ten weeks and growth analysis, and chemical analysis of the whole plant were carried out for total N, P and K from the samples. Significant differences between cultivars were found for net assimilation rate and leaf area ratio, with a slightly higher relative growth rate in young 'Cobham Green' plants. 'Cobham Green' had a greater leaf area ratio but smaller net assimilation rate than 'Webb's Wonderful' . The higher relative growth rate of Cobham Green at the early stages of growth was mainly due to its higher leaf area ratio, but net assimilation rate became an important component during later growth stages, possibly as a result of mutual shading. Within each cultivar, however, the variation in relative growth rate was based on net assimilation rate rather than in leaf area ratio. Both dry weight and the percentage of total P increased with increase in P supply. The percentages of total N and K decreased towards the market maturity but no general trend was observed in the percentage of total P.
Lettuce, Growth