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Open access

Samuel Kwakye, Davie M. Kadyampakeni, Edzard van Santen, Tripti Vashisth, and Alan Wright

Improving nutrient uptake and tree health play an important role in managing Huanglongbing (HLB)-affected citrus trees in Florida. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of increasing rates of manganese (Mn) on growth and development of sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] trees at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, FL. Half the trees were graft-inoculated with the HLB pathogen and the remainder were used as the HLB-free (non HLB) control trees. Four rates of Mn (0.0 kg·ha−1 Mn (Control), 5.6 kg·ha−1 Mn (1x—standard rate), 11.2 kg·ha−1 Mn (2x—standard rate), and 22.4 kg·ha−1 Mn (4x—standard rate) were split applied quarterly to both sets of the trees in a completely randomized design. There were seven single tree replicates for each treatment. Response variables measured were trunk diameter, tree height, leaf Mn concentration, plus above- and belowground biomass. The accumulated Mn in leaf tissues significantly increased trunk diameter but did not affect tree height for both HLB-affected and non-HLB trees, the 2x rate had the maximum value for trunk diameter relative to the 4x rate. This study established a positive correlation between soil available Mn with Fe and Cu, but negative correlation with B and Zn. A strong correlation of −0.76, −0.69, and 0.65 was observed between soil Mn and B, Zn, and Cu, respectively, as compared with 0.49 with Mn and Fe. Among HLB-affected trees, the 2x rate gave the most belowground dry matter, which was 3% greater than the control and 5% greater than 4x. Aboveground dry matter had at least 30% more biomass than belowground matter among all treatments within HLB-affected trees. For small and medium roots, Mn accumulation increased with Mn application until 2x rate and decreased thereafter for HLB-affected trees. The results from our study showed an Mn rate of 8.9–11.5 kg·ha−1 Mn, as the optimum Mn level for young ‘Valencia’ HLB-affected trees in Florida.

Open access

Jingran Lian, Yuyan Li, Haiying Li, Yuxin Chen, Sijie Wang, Juan Zhou, Chen Lian, and Yan Ao

Yellow-horn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium Bunge) is a rare woody oil plant mainly distributed in China, with nutritious seeds that contain a high oil content in the seed kernels (Xie and Zhang, 2018). It is suitable for both biodiesel production and high-grade edible oil (Liu et al., 2017). Because it is mainly distributed in northern China, it has been referred to as “northern oil tea” (Chang et al., 2019). The State Forestry Administration has listed yellow-horn as the main tree species for the construction of biomass diesel raw material base. At the same time,

Open access

Jie Zeng, Ting Zhou, Donglin Zhang, and Wangxiang Zhang

Crabapple is one of the most important ornamental small trees and shrubs, and includes all wild species of the genus Malus and its horticultural cultivars (fruit diameter ≤ 5 cm). Most are highly valued due to their range of flower colors (purple, red, pink, white, etc.) as well as colorful fruits (primarily purple, red, pink, orange, yellow, and green), and wide range of growth habits (columnar, fastigiate, upright, spreading, drooping, and weeping) (UPOV, 2003; Wyman, 1955). In addition, crabapples show strong environmental adaptability including drought resistance, cold resistance, saline alkali tolerance, and barren resistance.

Open access

Marcia R. Ostrom, David S. Conner, Heleene Tambet, Katherine Selting Smith, J. Robert Sirrine, Philip H. Howard, and Michelle Miller

Hard cider is an important and growing part of the U.S. beverage market. Previous research suggests there is an opportunity for growers interested in selling locally grown cider-specific apple (Malus domestica) varieties. However, cider apple growers face production, distribution, and marketing challenges. This article fills a gap in the literature using survey data from four states. We find that growers are interested in expanding cider apple production to supply local craft cider makers, but may be constrained by gaps in current production information, such as how to grow cider varieties. Uncertainty about the regional suitability of different varieties, disease management, and the willingness of cider makers to pay a premium for cider apple production constitute significant concerns. Survey respondents most commonly requested information on horticultural qualities of varieties and disease management. Top marketing needs include the ability to garner premium prices. A regional “terroir” approach to cider marketing holds promise.

Open access

Isha Poudel and Anthony L. Witcher

Weeds are a major problem in cutting propagation and compete with the main crop for water, sunlight, and nutrients, thus reducing growth and marketable quality of rooted cuttings. Due to the high labor cost of hand weeding, mulches can be an alternative method for weed control in the propagation environment. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of mulches (coarse vermiculite, rice hulls, paper pellets, and pine pellets) on rooting of stem cuttings and weed control when applied at 0.5- and 1-inch depths. Cuttings of three plant species [‘Nanho Blue’ butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), ‘Phantom’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)] were stuck in 2.5-inch-diameter containers filled with pine bark substrate and treated with mulch. In a separate study, seeds of four weed species [creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis), mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa)] were sown onto the mulch surface. Rooting percentage was unaffected by mulch type or depth for any of the three crop species (‘Nanho Blue’ butterfly bush, ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle, ‘Phantom’ hydrangea). Pine pellets did not affect root dry weight of any crop species, but root length and volume of ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle was reduced by pine pellets at 1-inch depth. Rice hulls slightly reduced the root length and volume of ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle, but the reduction was less than 50%. Pine pellets and paper pellets (both depths) reduced growth of all four weed species. Even though weed seeds germinated in pine and paper pellets, seedlings did not grow large enough to potentially affect crop rooting. In conclusion, pine pellets and paper pellets at 0.5-inch depth can be effective in suppressing weed populations with minimal effect on rooting.

Open access

Stephen C. Smith, Katherine M. Jennings, David W. Monks, David L. Jordan, S. Chris Reberg-Horton, and Michael R. Schwarz

Field studies were conducted in North Carolina in 2019 and 2020 to determine the effect of a reduced-tillage, high-residue rye (Secale cereal) cover crop system on soil health, and growth and storage root yield of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) cultivars having upright (NC04-0531 or NC15-650) or prostrate (Covington or Bayou Belle) vining characteristics. Sweetpotato canopy width expanded quicker in the conventional tillage system than the reduced-tillage rye system. Prostrate sweetpotato cultivars had greater late-season canopy widths than upright cultivars. Soil bulk density of raised beds was greatest in the reduced-tillage rye system, but both systems remained within the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended range for soil bulk density. The conventional-tillage system resulted in 17% more marketable roots; however, no differences were observed in total marketable root weight between systems. ‘Covington’ and ‘NC15-650’ had greater marketable yield than ‘NC04-0531’ but less marketable yield than ‘Bayou Belle’.

Open access

J. Bryan Webber, Darcy Gordon, Adolfo Rosati, Nicholas Meier, Michael Gold, and Ronald Revord

U.S. chestnut (Castanea sp.) production is expanding as knowledge of seedling cultivation and germplasm advances. Chestnuts have high starch and water content, making them highly perishable; therefore, they require cold storage immediately following harvest. Postharvest spoilage remains a significant area for improvement. Several postharvest fungi (including Fusarium sp. and Penicillium sp.) can infect chestnuts during storage, leading to spoilage and nonsellable nuts. The annual crop losses can reach up to 10%, thereby affecting trees differently. Our research objectives were to 1) evaluate spoilage incidence on the interior (i.e., pellicle, kernel) and exterior (i.e., nutshell) of the nut over the course of 200 days of cold storage on eight cultivars and 2) assess the impact of food contact-approved chlorine solution and 2% peracetic acid (PAA) with 27% hydrogen peroxide prestorage treatments for spoilage suppression on ‘Qing’ nuts. Fourteen timepoints were observed during the study period, each with four replications of 16 nuts. An additional four replicates of 16 ‘Qing’ nuts were treated prestorage and observed over seven time points. The incidence of spoilage was reported as the percentage of nonsellable nuts for each treatment and cultivar at four timepoints. The nut interior showed the highest spoilage incidence after 200 days, with four cultivars having >30% nonsellable nuts. Overall, the cultivars had an average of 10% nonsellable nuts from interior spoilage after 60 days in storage. ‘Hong Kong’ had the highest percentage of nonsellable nuts by the end of the study at 60%, whereas ‘Qing’ and ‘Mossbarger’ had the lowest rates, with only 14% nonsellable nuts. Spoilage of the exterior, although less frequent, is visible to buyers and impacts nut marketability. ‘Kohr’ had the highest percentage of nonsellable nuts because of exterior spoilage (35.9%). ‘Mossbarger’ had the lowest percentage of nonsellable nuts because of exterior spoilage (3.1%). ‘Qing’ nuts treated with 500 ppm chlorine and 100/200 ppm PAA demonstrated reduced exterior spoilage with longer storage times. Prestorage treatment did not show efficacy for reducing interior spoilage. This study provides a preliminary report of evidence that cultivar differences influence the spoilage incidence and supports taking nuts to market within 60 days of harvesting. These preliminary data also inform breeding parent combinations and studies of inheritance for postharvest spoilage tolerance at the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry breeding program.

Open access

Dan Wang, Yang Yang, Fengyi Li, Sheng Zhou, Guiling Liu, Juan Yang, Wangbin Ye, and Ling Wang

Rhododendron dauricum is an extremely cold hardy, semievergreen, multibranched shrub that is distributed widely throughout northeastern China, Mongolia, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Russia (Yang et al., 2020). It grows in a wide range of environmental conditions, from forests to rocky landscapes; produces flower buds during severe winters; and blooms in early spring even if it is covered in snow (Polezhaeva et al., 2018). It is a valuable ornamental landscape species in the Great Khingan Mountains of northeastern China, where the annual average temperature is –22.27 to 9.67 °C (Zhang et al., 2018). It

Open access

Bryan K. Sales, David R. Bryla, Kristin M. Trippe, Carolyn F. Scagel, Bernadine C. Strik, and Dan M. Sullivan

Biochar, as a soil amendment, has been reported to improve plant growth by increasing soil moisture and retaining nutrients. In a previous 12-week greenhouse study with highbush blueberry (Vaccinium hybrid), we found that amending soil with biochar alone or in combination with bokashi (fermented wheat bran) increased plant growth relative to unamended soil. The biochar was produced from mixed conifer species during conversion of wood to energy. In the current study, we aimed to validate the greenhouse findings under field conditions in western Oregon. The specific objectives of this 2-year study were to determine the effect of amending soil with biochar or a combination of biochar and bokashi on growth and early fruit production during establishment of northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). To achieve these objectives, we transplanted ‘Duke’ blueberry plants into soil that was either unamended or amended with biochar or 4:1 (v/v) mixtures of biochar and bokashi or biochar and douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] sawdust. Each amendment was either applied in the planting hole or incorporated into the row. A treatment with douglas fir sawdust incorporated into the row was also included and represented the industry standard for the region. Plants grown in soil amended with biochar (in the planting hole or row) had 40% to 74% greater total dry weight at the end of the first growing season and 70% to 82% greater fruit yield in the second season than those grown with no amendments or in soil amended with sawdust. However, leaf Mg concentrations were lower with biochar, suggesting it could limit Mg uptake in blueberry. Soil amended with sawdust, on the other hand, was higher in organic matter, microbial activity, and wet stable aggregates than the other soil treatments but resulted in lower leaf N concentrations during the second year after planting. Unlike in the greenhouse study, biochar had no effect on root colonization by mycorrhizal fungi, and there was no benefit to using biochar with bokashi. Adding 4 L of biochar to the planting hole was considerably more economical than applying it to the row and cost $1320/ha less than the industry standard of incorporating sawdust in the row. These findings indicate that biochar is a promising soil amendment for commercial production of highbush blueberry.

Open access

Kim S. Lewers and John M. Enns

Cordial, a late-season, short-day strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch. ex Rozier), follows Keepsake as the second cultivar resulting from a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) effort at Beltsville, MD, to develop strawberries with increased shelf life (Lewers et al., 2019). ‘Cordial’ and ‘Keepsake’ strawberries had similarly low proportions of fruit rot and degradation in 2 weeks of refrigerated storage compared with other cultivars and breeding selections. ‘Cordial’ has consistently provided very high yields and very low rot with no fumigation or fungicides in an annual plasticulture system at Beltsville, MD. ‘Cordial’ strawberries are