Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

David L. Coffey

Committee Members

Alvin Rutledge, Gary Lessman


Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) transplants were grown in soils amended with hydrogel (Viterria) and a starchpolyacrylonitrile graft copolymer (Super Slurper). Two levels of each material were evaluated in the green-house. The recommended rate for Viterria was .25% or 113 g./1.0 bu. of soil and for Super Slurper was .125% or 57 g./1.0 bu. of soil. These recommended rates were used throughout the test and they were also doubled the first year of the test. Since there was no significant difference found between the recommended and two times the recommended levels, the higher levels were not included in sub-sequent studies. More water was required for initial saturation and for wetting during the growth period for the amended soils than for the unamended soils. Plant height, stem diameter, fresh weight and dry weight were increased from plants grown in amended soils than from plants grown in unamended soils for tomato transplants. Tomato transplants grown in soil treated with Viterria and Super Slurper were of sufficient size for field transplanting within five weeks while the control plants required six weeks. Leaf nutrient concentration of P and Ca from plants grown in amended soil was higher but no different in concentrations of N, K and Mg. The amendments substantially increased the pH in the growth media. The amendments had no influence on subsequent yields of tomato in the field.

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