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Stalk strength in Minn. vs. Ark

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Stalk strength in Minn. vs. Ark
  • From: bstassen@comp.uark.edu (Robert E. Stassen)
  • Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 20:41:49 -0600 (MDT)

Friends,

Yesterday, I returned from southwestern Minnesota (the Fatherland) and once
again was "stricken" by the thickness and sturdiness of the TB stalks grown
on these high pH (7.5+) soils.  They are way ahead of normal bloom up there,
with most TB stalks 'free' of the boot leaf.  There is no flexibility to the
stalks. 

 Here in the Ozarks, at the other extreme of low pHs (<6, blueberry zone)
with red (0 organic matter) soil, my TB stalks, while adequate, are
comparatively flimsy, thin and brittle -- I think our cats could snap them
with their tails.   (JI, SI, and SPU all are looking good, by the way.)

What is the 'conventional wisdom' on this?  I'm apt to attribute it to soil
pH, but I can't figure out what nutrient is unavailable due to the lower pH
--or is it the lack of a nutrient associated with organic matter, such as
nitrogen.  (I do not fertilize my TBs with nitrogen--maybe I should, I've
been 'gun shy' of this because I've felt it would make matters worse).  I
have a tough time believing that a soil with a clay base could ever be low
in potassium, but I will soil test.  This is a case where no element is
'limiting' but there must be a more complex interaction of acidity with
plant growth.

I am under a self-imposed moratorium on TBs until I can figure this out.

Walter--you've grown TBs in TX (high pH) and MS low pH--what's your
experience with this?  (Both places had low O.M., I presume.)





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