What is Flower Abortion?
Flower abortion is the premature death of a flower. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies or toxicities, and environmental stresses. The plant will typically abort pods after R6 (full seed) and the plant will typically respond to stress by limiting seed fill which can lead to flat pods. Flower abortion is the natural process by which a soybean plant stops developing pods and seeds in its flowers. This can result in loss of yield, as there are no seeds in the pods that would have been formed if the flower had not been aborted. Flower abortion can also give rise to flat or empty pods which reduce yields.
What can cause soybean plants to abort their flowers?
- There are many potential causes of flower bud abortion, including Nutrient Deficiencies like Boran, insects and mites that feed on flower buds and shoot tips, or pathogens that attack a root system, making a plant less able to support the water and fertility demands of the developing flowers. What can farmers do to reduce flower bud abortion in soybean plants?
- Boron is important for pollen tube growth and pollen grain germination. Thus, its deficiency leads to a low flower set and malformation of soybeans grains. Boron deficiency causes malformation of the pollen tube and results in an increase in flower abortion, thus reducing soybean yield potential
- Flower Bud Abruption: this occurs when the apical meristem does not develop correctly and the plant cannot form flowers properly.
- Low soil temperature: soybean plants need a soil temperature above 60F in order to grow their flowers and produce pods. If the soil is too cold, the plants may abort their flower buds. If the cause for flower abortion cannot be identified when applying nutrients to meet crop needs can reduce further stress that may lead to additional abortions.
Role of Boron and Other Nutrients to avoid Flower Abortion in Soybean?
- Plants require Macro and Microelements for optimal growth; Some important ones include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and micronutrients zinc, boron, copper, iron manganese and molybdenum. Nutrient deficiencies or toxicities will negatively plant growth, development and yield.
- Boron is important for pollen tube growth and pollen grain germination. Thus, its deficiency leads to a low flower set and malformation of soybeans grains. Boron deficiency causes malformation of the pollen tube and results in an increase in flower abortion, thus reducing soybean yield potential. Therefore it very important nutrient to ensure a good yield. Flower abortion can cause low seed production because there are no seeds in the pods that would have been formed if the flower had not been aborted. Flower abortion can also give rise to flat or empty pods which reduce yields
- One possible solution to help reduce flower bud abortion is by applying calcium chloride(CaCl) to the soil during the flowering stage. This may help to maintain high GA3 levels in the plant sap, which will help to ensure higher seed production. It is recommended that the farmers should also apply Nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in order to maintain these levels in the plant sap.
What are some other ways that can reduce flower bud abortion in soybean plants?
Other ways that farmers can reduce flower bud abortion in soybean plants include:
- Removal of damaged flowers and buds: if damage from insects or disease has been observed, it is important to remove damaged flowers and buds.
- Planting soybeans when soil temperatures are above 60F: by planting the soybeans at the right time of year, farmers can help reduce flower abortion in their soybean plants.
- Using high-quality seed: by using high-quality seed with a good germination rate, farmers can help to ensure that more flowers will set pods and increase yields.
- Ensuring that other stress factors are minimized: factors such as low fertility soils, waterlogging and drought can all lead to flower bud abortion in soybean plants. By ensuring that these stress factors are minimized, farmers can help to maximize yields from their soybean crops.
- Soil Amendments: these are materials that are added to the soil to improve its physical and chemical properties. Common soil amendments include lime, manure and compost.
- Crop Protection Products: these are products that are used to protect plants from pests and diseases. Many crop protection products also contain nutrients that help to improve plant growth.
|Dr Haroon Zaman Khan|
Department of Agronomy,
University of Agriculture Faisalabad
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