Treatments before planting

All planting material is subjected to a variety of treatments prior to planting. These include curing, bundling, transportation from the field or growing area, grading, storing, dipping, transport to the planting field, spreading and finally planting. These treatments will not all be discussed in detail, as practices vary with the areas in which the pineapples are grown. However, the important points are covered in the following paragraphs.

Planting-material size and uniformity are particularly important. Within any category of planting material, large pieces will usually grow to forcing weight faster than smaller pieces generated in the same area. For this reason, grading of planting material by size is critical to provide uniform plants at forcing and efficiencies at time of harvest.

Crowns, slips, hapas, suckers and propag-ules are very tolerant of storage and may be stored for months between harvest and planting. However, stored plants continue to grow, stem diameter decreases and storage reserves are consumed, so prolonged storage slows initial growth and increases variability (Py et al., 1987). Therefore, fresh planting material is almost always superior to stored material because it grows faster. However, very fresh material should be treated with a fungicide to avoid black rot caused by Chalara paradoxa. Dipping of plant material is done to protect against rots and control pests. For details on control of pests and diseases of planting material, see Rohrbach and Johnson (Chapter 9, this volume).

Storage of planting material should be under conditions that allow for good air movement to avoid rot. Storage in piles or other conditions that block exposure to light should be kept to a minimum, as stem etiolation will occur if the material is deprived of light for more than 2 weeks.

Spreading of planting material in the field should be done to facilitate the work of planters and to provide the appropriate amount of planting material for the areas assigned to be planted (Figs 6.8, 6.9). Oversupply should be kept to a minimum, as additional handling can damage the planting material and it will not perform as well as material only spread once.

Fig. 6.9. Hand-planting of 'Smooth Cayenne' pineapple. Pineapple planting material has been spread to speed the planting operation.

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