The sensitivity of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thumb.) Matsum and Naki 'Sugar Baby'] plant growth to day-long alterations in light quality was determined by exposing plants to light transmitted through broad band wavelength selective filters. Of the three acetate falters analyzed (nos. 19, 27, and 74), filter no. 74 transmitted the least amount of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) (400 to 700 nm), the smallest red light: far-red light ratio (R:FR) (645:735 nm), and the greatest amount of blue light (400 to 500 nm) radiation from metal halide lamps. Plants grown under filter no. 74 were taller, had elongated petioles, and had a greater amount of petiole and stem biomass than plants grown under the other filters. Spectral transmission properties of commercially available rowcover materials were evaluated for variation of PPF, R:FR, and blue light. Clear polyethylene rowcovers were completely permeable to all measured (330 to 850 nm) wavelengths of radiation from metal halide lamps. White polyethylene rowcovers were the least permeable of the rowcover materials to wavelengths of radiation with decreases in the PPF, R:FR, and blue light. Spunbonded polyester materials slightly reduced PPF, R:FR, and blue light. Plants grown under white polyethylene and spunbonded materials grew taller (longer stems) than plants grown under the clear polyethylene rowcover. Petiole lengths were generally longer for plants grown under white polyethylene. Our results suggests that alterations in the R:FR and blue light due to selected wavelength transmission through commercially available rowcover material alter early watermelon growth.
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