Effects of salinity stress on vegetative growth of chrysanthemum [Dendranthema glandiflora Kitam.]

P.K. Wahome, N.P. Shongwe


Estimates show that about 10% of the world’s arable land is affected by salinity. Since water
is increasingly becoming a very limited resource in many parts of the world, there is need to
explore the potential of using saline water in irrigated agriculture. A greenhouse experiment
was carried out to determine the highest level of salinity, which chrysanthemum plants can
tolerate in order to reduce use of fresh water in agriculture. The objective of the experiment
was to determine the effects of different levels of sodium chloride [NaCl] on the vegetative
growth of chrysanthemums. There were five treatments which consisted of irrigation water
containing 0 [control], 2, 4, 8, and 16 dS/m NaCl. The treatments were laid out in a
randomised complete block design [RCBD]. Results showed that the highest plant height
[54.2 cm] was obtained from chrysanthemums irrigated with water containing 2 dS/m NaCl.
The lowest plant height [35.6 cm], root length [21.2 cm], shoot fresh mass [203.5 g], shoot
dry mass [48.0 g], and root dry mass [2.0 g] at 8 weeks after transplanting [WAT], were
obtained from chrysanthemums irrigated with water at 16 dS/m NaCl. An increase in salt
concentration above 4 dS/m resulted in a corresponding reduction in all parameters
determined. There was more than four-fold reduction in root fresh mass between the control
and plants irrigated with 16 dS/m NaCl. There was an almost 15 fold reduction in root dry
mass between the control and plants irrigated using 16 dS/m solution. Irrigation water at 16
dS/m was highly detrimental to growth and development of chrysanthemums. Farmers
interested in the production of chrysanthemums should use irrigation water at 4 dS/m or
less to prevent reduction in plant growth and development.


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