Background and Aims
The success of using bent shoots in cut-rose (Rosa hybrida) production to improve flower shoot quality has been attributed to bent shoots capturing more light and thus providing more assimilates for flower shoot growth. We aimed at quantifying this contribution of photosynthesis by bent shoots to flower shoot growth.
Rose plants were grown with four upright flower shoots and with no, one or three bent shoots per plant. Plant architectural traits, leaf photosynthetic parameters and organ dry weight were measured. A functional–structural plant (FSP) model of rose was used to calculate photosynthesis of upright shoots and bent shoots separately, taking into account the heterogeneous canopy structure of these plants.
Bent shoots contributed to 43–53 % of total assimilated CO2 by the plant. Plant photosynthesis increased by 73 and 117 % in plants with, respectively, one and three bent shoots compared with plants without bent shoots. Upright shoot photosynthesis was not significantly affected by the presence of bent shoots. However, upright shoot dry weight increased by 35 and 59 % in plants with, respectively, one and three bent shoots compared with plants without bent shoots. The increased upright shoot dry weight was entirely due to the contribution of extra photosynthesis by bent shoots, as this was the only source that could induce differences in upright shoot growth apart from their own photosynthesis. At least 47–51 % of the photosynthesis by bent shoots was translocated to upright shoots to support their biomass increase.
Based on model simulations, we conclude that the positive effect of shoot bending on flower shoot growth and quality in cut-rose production system can almost entirely be attributed to assimilate supply from bent shoots. FSP modelling is a useful tool to quantify the contributions of photosynthesis by different parts of heterogeneous canopies.