Cooperative Extension and Propagation for Caño Negro, Costa Rica
Type of Degreethesis
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A research relationship was established with colleagues in Costa Rica. These included not only members of academia but also non-profit organization workers, government officials, community members, and private research partners. After extensive consultation with an advisory committee formed by members from each of these entities, a research project was formed. Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge was identified as an optimal location to begin research by all parties, and two plant species native to this location were selected on which to begin propagation experiments. Hylocereus stenopterus cuttings were subjected to several different treatments to determine the most effective propagation technique. Half of the cuttings were stuck immediately, while the other half were allowed to remain uncovered on a bench in the greenhouse for 72 h (cicatrization). Prior to sticking, the basal ends of half of the cuttings were treated with a commercial rooting hormone while the other half received no hormone. Once stuck, half of the cuttings were covered with a plastic tent. Thus, treatments were arranged in a 2 hormone x 2 cicatrization x 2 tent factorial design or 8 total treatments with 20 replications per treatment for a total of 160 cuttings. Additional cuttings of Hylocereus undatus and Hylocereus costariensis received one of three hormone treatments: untreated (no hormone applied, control), 0.1% indole butyric acid (IBA) or 0.8% IBA. H. stenopterus cuttings responded well to both rooting hormone and mist tent but showed very little response to cicatrization time. However, cuttings from all three species showed excellent survival, vigorous root growth, as well as subsequent shoot growth regardless of treatment. The same was true of H. undatus and H. costariensis. H. costariensis had a 100% survival rate regardless of treatment. Experiments were also conducted on the palm Acoelorraphe wrightii. Seeds of this plant were subjected to several preplanting scarification techniques including manual scarification, hot water soaking, and sulfuric acid scarification. In all experiments, seeds scarified by either acid or hot water had higher germination percentages and rates than untreated (control) or manually scarified seeds. Highest germination percentages were observed in the 1:1 peat:perlite mix.