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Open access

Toktam Taghavi, Alireza Rahemi, Reza Rafie, and Maru K. Kering

Rapid multiplication of turmeric (Curcuma longa) by micropropagation is needed to produce a continuous source of uniformly sized, high-quality, and disease-free plantlets. Three in vitro experiments were conducted to optimize the medium by evaluating nine media and a full factorial combination (matrix) of two plant growth regulators for direct organogenesis of ‘Hawaiian Red’ turmeric. Two experiments evaluated the media, and the third studied the plant growth regulator matrix. As a result, Driver and Kuniyuki walnut (DKW), Murashige and Skoog (MS), and broadleaf tree basal (BLT) media performed better than woody plant media [Lloyd & McCown woody plant basal medium (L&M), and McCown’s woody plant basal salt mixture (McCown)] for shoot and root formation. The multiplication rate was 18 plants per explant in DKW with 1 mg⋅L−1 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 0.1 mg⋅L−1 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). After transferring the plants to an ex vitro environment, the survival rate was 97%, and 30% higher than previously reported. DKW produced the highest number of plantlets (with shoots and roots), and BLT produced fewer plants with higher biomass. In the MS media, higher BAP to NAA ratio (2.5 to 0.1 mg⋅L−1) produced the most significant number of shoots; however, the lowest concentration of BAP and NAA (0.1 mg⋅L−1 of both) produced the highest number of rooted plantlets. There are two recommendations for tissue culture of ‘Hawaiian Red’ turmeric. To produce the highest number of plantlets, one should use the higher BAP to NAA ratio (2.5 mg⋅L−1 BAP and 0.1 mg⋅L−1 NAA) for shoot proliferation and then transfer the explants to the root initiation media. However, to reduce the number of subcultures, the explants can be grown in the lowest concentration of both BAP and NAA (0.1 mg⋅L−1) to induce both shoot and root. Although, the number of plantlets (with roots and shoots) will decrease in this method, there is no need for subsequent subcultures and changing of the plant growth regulator combinations.

Open access

James M. Orrock, Brantlee Spakes Richter, and Bala Rathinasabapathi

Tea (Camellia sinensis) is a promising new specialty crop for production in Florida. However, few data exist on the establishment phase of tea plantings in this environment and on how early growth parameters may predict yield potential. We tested seven accessions of tea grown under field conditions in north-central Florida for leaf yield and growth parameters—namely, pruned biomass, trunk diameter, trunk height, trunk width, trunk height × width, and canopy area—in the second and third years after planting. Our analyses indicated that the accession Fairhope performed best overall. Pruned biomass and trunk diameter were the best predictors for leaf yield. The harvested leaves produced good-quality black tea, with caffeine levels comparable to commercially available tea. These data indicate that nondestructive measurements of growth can be useful to assess yield potential of tea, and that regionally adapted tea accessions can be identified during the establishment stage.

Open access

Patience Seyram Akakpo, Moosa Mahmood Sedibe, Bello Zaid, Zenzile P. Khetsha, Mokgaputsiwa P. Theka-Kutumela, and Fhatuwani N. Mudau

Potassium (K) is an essential nutrient in plant metabolism, ionic balance, and stress resistance. In this study, the effects of K on agronomic attributes and on mineral and primary metabolite content in African potato were determined. K was administered hydroponically at four concentrations (4.00, 6.00, 8.00, and 10.00 meq·L−1) using Steiner’s universal nutrient solution. Chlorophyll content (CHL), leaf area (LA), fresh corm mass (FCM), number of roots (NR), root fresh weight (RFM), and root dry mass (RDM) were measured 18, 32, and 40 weeks after transplanting. Mineral analysis data were collected at 18 weeks, and primary metabolite data were collected at 32 weeks. Significant effects of K were observed after 18 weeks, and all test concentrations had a positive effect on yield. Calcium and boron significantly accumulated in the corm at 4.00 meq·L−1 K. Alanine and malic acid were the only metabolites affected by K concentrations. More minerals accumulated in the corm at 4.00 meq·L−1 K, whereas at 10.00 meq·L−1 K, more minerals clustered in the leaf. K applied at 4.00 meq·L−1 is recommended when growing African potato using a nutrient solution to improve corm mineral and metabolite accumulation.

Open access

Alexander Levin and Lloyd Nackley

Many consider tools for plant-based irrigation management methods to be the most precise way to manage irrigation in either a research or a commercial settings. Although many types of tools are available, they all measure some aspect of water movement along the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum. This article presents some of the more commonly used tools and the methods involved to properly employ them. In addition, recent literature is reviewed to provide context to the methods themselves and also to highlight each one’s specific advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, there is no clear winner or “best” tool as all have disadvantages, either due to prohibitive cost, the amount of data output, the difficulty of data interpretation, lack of signal resolution, or lack of dynamic ability to provide decision support. Therefore, we conclude that the user should carefully weigh these varied advantages and disadvantages in the context of their production goals before deciding on a given tool for irrigation management.

Open access

Celina Gómez, Megha Poudel, Matias Yegros, and Paul R. Fisher

The objectives were to characterize and compare shrinkage (i.e., transplant loss) and growth of tissue-cultured blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) transplants acclimated in greenhouses or indoors under 1) different photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) (Expt. 1); or 2) spectral changes over time using broad-spectrum white (W; 400 to 700 nm) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) without or with red or far-red (FR) radiation (Expt. 2). In Expt. 1, ‘Emerald’ and ‘Snowchaser’ transplants were acclimated for 8 weeks under PPFDs of 35, 70, 105, or 140 ± 5 µmol·m‒2·s‒1 provided by W LED fixtures for 20 h·d−1. In another treatment, PPFD was increased over time by moving transplants from treatment compartments providing 70 to 140 µmol·m‒2·s‒1 at the end of week 4. Transplants were also acclimated in either a research or a commercial greenhouse (RGH or CGH, respectively). Shrinkage was unaffected by PPFD, but all transplants acclimated indoors had lower shrinkage (≤4%) than those in the greenhouse (15% and 17% in RGH and CGH, respectively), and generally produced more shoot and root biomass, regardless of PPFD. Growth responses to increasing PPFD were linear in most cases, although treatment effects after finishing were generally not significant among PPFD treatments. In Expt. 2, ‘Emerald’ transplants were acclimated for 8 weeks under constant W, W + red (WR), or W + FR (WFR) radiation, all of which provided a PPFD of 70 ± 2 μmol·m−2·s−1 for 20 h·d−1. At the end of week 4, a group of transplants from WR and WFR were moved to treatment compartments with W (WRW or WFRW, respectively) or from W to a research greenhouse (WGH), where another group of transplants were also acclimated for 8 weeks (GH). Shrinkage of transplants acclimated indoors was also low in Expt. 2, ranging from 1% to 4%. In contrast, shrinkage of transplants acclimated in GH or under WGH was 37% or 14%, respectively. Growth of indoor-acclimated transplants was generally greater than that in GH or under WGH. Although growth responses were generally similar indoors, plants acclimated under WFR had a higher root dry mass (DM) and longer roots compared with GH and WGH.

Open access

Lauren Fessler, Amy Fulcher, Liesel Schneider, Wesley C. Wright, and Heping Zhu

Nursery producers are challenged with growing a wide range of species with little to no detectable damage from insects or diseases. Growing plants that meet consumer demand for aesthetics has traditionally meant routine pesticide application using the most time-efficient method possible, an air-blast sprayer, despite its known poor pesticide application efficiency. New variable-rate spray technology allows growers to make more targeted applications and reduce off-target pesticide loss. In this study, a prototype laser-guided variable-rate sprayer was compared with a traditional air-blast sprayer. Pesticide volume, spray application characteristics, and the control of powdery mildew were evaluated over the course of two growing seasons. Spray application characteristics were assessed using water-sensitive cards (WSCs) and DepositScan software. This prototype sprayer reduced pesticide volume by an average of 54% across both years despite being tested against a low rate (<250 L⋅ha−1). In 2016, the conventional sprayer had more than double the deposit density on target WSCs among distal trees than the variable-rate sprayer; however, within proximal trees, there was no difference between the two sprayer types. In 2017, when the trees were larger, within both the distal and proximal trees, the conventional sprayer had greater deposit density on target WSCs than the variable-rate sprayer. In 2016, coverage on target WSCs was nearly 7-fold greater with the conventional treatment than with the variable-rate treatment. In 2017, when trees were larger, there was greater coverage on target WSCs in proximal trees (3.8%) compared with those in distal trees (1.0%) regardless of the sprayer type. This variable-rate spray technology provided acceptable control of powdery mildew severity on individual branches and whole trees and maintained the incidence of powdery mildew to levels comparable to that occurring among trees sprayed with a traditional air-blast sprayer. Therefore, the variable-rate spray technology has the potential to effectively control disease, dramatically reduce the pesticide footprint, and preserve natural resources such as ground and surface water, soil, and beneficial insects found within and around nurseries.

Open access

Matthew S. Lobdell

Open access

Coleman L. Etheredge and James DelPrince

Retail florists in the United States were surveyed from Oct. to Nov. 2020 to document business practices and innovative approaches to marketing, designing, and delivering flowers during Mar. to Sept. 2020 of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Slightly less than half of the responding florists (45.0%) closed operations for an average of 31 to 60 days (15.6%). City or county COVID-19 restrictions caused 34% to close their storefronts to customers. Nearly all offered no-contact delivery service. Approximately one-third of these florists used social media marketing consisting of still images and video posts, and a similar number offered no-contact shopping options. Two-thirds of the florists made no changes to the way they designed flowers (60.6%). Event-oriented stores reorganized their business models and sought daily work to replace postponed or canceled wedding orders. Three-fourths of the florists who terminated employees because of shutdowns hired or planned to rehire all terminated employees.

Open access

Dalyn McCauley, Alexander Levin, and Lloyd Nackley

This study reviews how mini-lysimeters have been used effectively to optimize irrigation control in container horticulture production. Lysimeters are devices that measure evapotranspiration (ET) from the water balance of a fixed soil volume. The primary components of lysimeter-controlled irrigation are load cell sensors, a multiplexer, a data logger, a controller, and solenoid valves. The two common mini-lysimeter systems are platform lysimeters and suspension lysimeters. In these systems, a bending-beam single-point load cell is fastened between two plates, and a container is placed directly on the top platform. Platform lysimeters are commonly used for smaller pot sizes, and suspension lysimeters have been used for large shade trees up to 2.8 m tall and weighing 225 kg. Mini-lysimeters have been used for decades to calibrate ET models and create on-demand irrigation control programs that replenish plant daily water use or maintain deficit conditions. Research has demonstrated that lysimeter-based irrigation can respond more effectively to seasonal and diurnal variations in water demand, increasing irrigation cycles when evaporative demand is high, and decreasing irrigation cycles when demand is low. A strength of these systems is that for containerized plants, such as nursery production systems, mini-lysimeters capture whole-plant water use, which presents a more holistic measure compared with soil moisture sensors or leaf moisture sensors.

Open access

Bernardita Sallato, Matthew D. Whiting, and Juan Munguia

‘WA 38’ is a new apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivar, released by Washington State University (WSU) in 2017. An unknown disorder, ‘‘green spot’’ (GS), dark green halos in the epidermis, with necrotic, corky, and oxidated cortical tissue underneath the damaged epidermis, leads to unmarketable fruit and has become a threat to the adoption and profitability of ‘WA 38’, with young and mature orchards exhibiting up to 60% incidence in 2020. Given the apparent susceptibility of ‘WA 38’ to GS, this research investigated GS relation with nutrient levels in fruit. Research was carried out in 2018 and 2019 in a ‘WA 38’ apple block planted in 2013, on ‘Geneva 41’ (‘G.41’) and ‘M.9-Nic 29’ (‘M.9’) rootstocks. In both years, fruit number per tree, fruit weight, and fruit diameter were evaluated in 18 trees per treatment, from both rootstocks. From each tree, fruit were classified for presence or absence of GS, and subsequently analyzed for nutrient concentration in the peel and in the flesh, nutrient extraction, and total nutrient content, on an individual apple basis. Apples with GS had higher nitrogen (N) and magnesium (Mg) levels in the peel, regardless of year and rootstock. Apples grown on ‘G.41’ rootstock exhibited higher GS incidence and reduced crop load in both years; reduced size and fruit diameter were exhibited only in 2018. Fruit on ‘G.41’ had higher N, potassium (K), and Mg in the flesh and higher N and Mg in the peel, with lower levels of calcium (Ca) in the flesh and peel; however, only in 2018, with no differences in 2019. GS in ‘WA 38’ apples appears to be another Ca-related disorder in which excessive vigor, rootstock, and N and Mg excess are predisposing factors for its development.