Sugarcane eye propagation in northern Florida

Lester Muralles, Alex Bolques, Henry Grant, Gilbert Queeley


In northern Florida, sugarcane (Saccharum offi cinarum L.) is grown on a small-scale production basis and in backyard landscapes. Normally sugarcane is planted during September and November by planting stalks in furrows. Since sugarcane is highly susceptible to frost, it is important that growers use propagation methods that help mitigate the effects of freezing temperatures. The objective of this study was to propagate sugarcane from cane nodes in a protective environment to overcome early and late frost damage on seed stock and to evaluate the germination rate of selected varieties after hot water treatments. The two varieties used in this trial were CP31-511, a chewing variety, and CP67-500, a syrup variety. These are the most desired varieties for chewing and syrup making, respectively. To overcome early and late season frost, sugarcane was propagated using cane nodes in a protected environment. By using this technique, one can increase the number of plants per stalk and shorten the field growing season. Sugarcane nodes were treated with hot water to break dormancy and increase germination. The hot water treatments consisted of a control, 100 °F, 110 °F, and 120 °F for 10 seconds. Canes were divided into segments and designated as tops, middles, and bottoms. Overall sugarcane tops had the best germinating rate (83% to 94%), compared to middles (11% to 67%) and bottoms (0% to 39%); there were significant differences in germination between segments. But, there was no significant difference between temperature treatments for any of the tested varieties. These finding are important because of the high demand for planting material for homeowner landscapes and small-scale farming.


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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283