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Compared with the ambient Earth carbon dioxide concentration (≈415 μmol⋅mol–1), the International Space Station has superelevated carbon dioxide (≈2800 μmol⋅mol–1), which can be a stressor to certain crops. Far-red light can drive plant photosynthesis and increase extension growth and biomass. However, the effects of far-red light under superelevated carbon dioxide are unclear. We grew hydroponic mustard (Brassica carinata) ‘Amara’ seedlings in four growth chambers using a randomized complete block design with two carbon dioxide concentrations (415 and 2800 μmol⋅mol–1), two lighting treatments, and two blocks at temperature and relative humidity set points of 22 °C and 40%, respectively. Each growth chamber had two lighting treatments at the same total photon flux density of 200 μmol⋅m–2⋅s–1. Under the same blue and green light at 50 μmol⋅m–2⋅s–1 each, plants received either red light at 100 μmol⋅m–2⋅s–1 or red + far-red light at 50 μmol⋅m–2⋅s–1 each. At day 15 after planting, far-red light did not influence shoot fresh or dry mass at 415 μmol⋅mol–1 carbon dioxide, but decreased both parameters by 22% to 23% at 2800 μmol⋅mol–1 carbon dioxide. Increasing the carbon dioxide concentration increased shoot fresh and dry mass 27% to 49%, regardless of the lighting treatment. Far-red light decreased leaf area by 16% at 2800 μmol⋅mol–1 carbon dioxide, but had no effect at 415 μmol⋅mol–1 carbon dioxide. Increasing the carbon dioxide concentration increased leaf area by 21% to 33%, regardless of far-red light. Regardless of the carbon dioxide concentration, far-red light promoted stem elongation and decreased chlorophyll concentrations by 39% to 42%. These responses indicate far-red light elicited a crop-specific shade avoidance response in mustard ‘Amara’, increasing extension growth but decreasing leaf area, thereby reducing light interception and biomass. In addition, carbon dioxide enrichment up to 2800 μmol⋅mol–1 increased the biomass of mustard ‘Amara’ but decreased the biomass of other crops, indicating crop-specific tolerance to superelevated carbon dioxide. In conclusion, mustard ‘Amara’ seedlings benefit from superelevated carbon dioxide, but exhibit growth reduction under far-red light under superelevated carbon dioxide.

Open Access

Various soilless substrate components have been evaluated for many years to identify sustainable resources that do not negatively impact plant growth. Biochar is a carbon-based material that has been evaluated for use as an alternative aggregate in peat-based soilless substrates. In addition, the use of carbon adsorption for compound removal is widely used in groundwater remediation, municipal water filtration, and volatile organic compounds. Experiment one aimed to determine the impact of coarse biochar (<6 mm) on paclobutrazol efficacy when incorporated at 15% or 30% by volume in a peat-based substrate when compared with a perlite-amended substrate at the same incorporation volumes. In Expt. 1, a single paclobutrazol drench application of 0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg·L−1 was applied to ‘Princettia Red’ and ‘Princettia White’ poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima × Euphorbia cornastra). In Expt. 2, two different biochar particle sizes of coarse (<6 mm) and extra coarse (>6 mm) were examined at the same incorporation volumes as Expt. 1 and compared with a perlite-amended substrate at the same incorporation volumes. However, during Expt. 2, continual drench applications at times of irrigation of 0.0, 6.25, 12.5, 25.0, 50, and 100 μg·L−1 (ppb) paclobutrazol were applied to pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) ‘Matrix Blue Blotch’ and begonia (Begonia ×hybrida) ‘Big Red Bronze Leaf’. The efficacy of paclobutrazol drenches for controlling growth in all species was unaffected by the substrate composition regarding aggregate type or aggregate incorporation rate. Thus, even though biochar is often used for bioremediation and wastewater treatment, it did not negatively impact the efficacy of paclobutrazol drenches at the concentrations used. This research suggests that when biochar is used as an amendment to peatmoss it will not influence paclobutrazol drench efficacy when incorporated up to 30% by volume for the examined species.

Open Access

Traffic injury caused by foot- or athlete-surface interaction is one of the most critical problems athletic field managers face in maintaining the surface playability and aesthetic quality of athletic fields. Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is the most widely used turfgrass species on athletic fields in the transitional climatic zone. A 2-year field study was conducted to evaluate nine bermudagrass cultivars for their persistence and surface playability under simulated fall cleat traffic. The experiment was conducted in Stillwater, OK, on a natural loam soil. Treatments were arranged as a split-block design with three replications. Traffic was applied for 6 weeks in Fall 2019 and 2020 using a Baldree traffic simulator, which generated 10 traffic events per week; each traffic event resulted in 678 cleat marks/m2. ‘Bimini’ was generally found to be the most persistent grass under traffic for aesthetic properties, and ‘Astro’ and ‘Tifway’ were the least persistent. Surface playability was affected by simulated traffic stress as shear strength (SS) declined and surface hardness (SH) increased, over time. ‘Bimini’ had greater SS than ‘Astro’ and ‘OKC1131’ (Tahoma 31®) by 1.9 and 1.4 N·m, respectively. SS of ‘DT-1’ (TifTuf®) and Tahoma 31 and SH of ‘OKC1134’ (NorthBridge®) were least affected by simulated traffic stress. Overall, surface playability characteristics of NorthBridge, ‘Bimini’, ‘OKC1119’ (Latitude 36®), TifTuf, Tahoma 31, and ‘Riley Riley’s Super Sport’ (Celebration®) were least affected by traffic. Findings illustrate bermudagrass cultivars can vary in visual persistence and surface playability.

Open Access

Due to the widespread use of the pour-through extraction procedure in horticultural production and research, the objective of this study was to determine if the method is biased by preferentially extracting substrate solution near the bottom of the container in both conventionally filled containers as well as intentionally stratified containers. Eight treatments were created using 2.5-L, 17.5-cm tall plastic nursery containers. The first four treatments were created by layering a conventional pine bark substrate (CONV) that was either amended (+A) or nonamended (−A) with fertilizer and lime with the following layers: amended substrate throughout the entire container profile (+A/+A); amended substrate in the top half (top 8.5 cm) over nonamended substrate in the bottom half of the container profile (+A/−A); nonamended substrate in the top half over amended substrate in the bottom half (−A/+A); and nonamended substrate throughout the profile (−A/−A). An additional four treatments were created by intentionally stratifying (STRAT) a fine pine bark substrate (FINE) over a coarse pine bark substrate (CRSE) with the same amendment combinations of +A or −A. On 0 and 42 d after potting, substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC) were determined on samples collected by the pour-through procedure and 1:1 water extracts of the top and bottom layers in the container. At 42 d after potting, nutrient ions (NO3 , PO4 2−, K, Ca, Mg, and SO4 2−) were also measured in both pour-through and 1:1 water extracts of the top and bottom layers. At both dates and in both CONV and STRAT containers, pour-through substrate pH and EC more closely reflected those measurements in the bottom half of the container as determined by the 1:1 water extract. At 42 d after potting, nutrient ions determined by the pour-through procedure were more highly correlated to the 1:1 water extracts from the bottom half of the container compared with the top half of the container in both CONV and STRAT substrates. Evidence herein demonstrates that the pour-through procedure is more reflective of the lower half of the container than the upper half for both CONV and stratified substrates.

Open Access

Stunted vegetative growth and delayed or absent flowering are commonly observed in eustoma (Eustoma grandiflorum) when cultivated continuously in the same greenhouse soil. These effects are likely caused by the excessive accumulation of soluble salts and/or phytotoxic organic acids in the soil. This study aimed to clarify the mechanism of continuous cropping obstacles and formulate prevention measures of eustoma. Seedlings of eustoma ‘Croma III White’ were grown hydroponically with 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% (full), 125%, 150%, 175%, or 200% strength of Johnson’s solution. Plant height, leaf area, and shoot dry weight increased steadily as solution strength increased from 25% to 125% [solution electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.4 dS⋅m−1] and then gradually decreased as solution strength further increased from 125% to 200% (solution EC of 3.8 dS⋅m−1). When grown hydroponically in 200% strength Johnson’s solution, plant height, leaf area, and root length increased with increasing equimolar mixtures of organic acids, including maleic acid, benzoic acid, malic acid, and hydroxybenzoic acid, up to 1.2 to 1.6 mM and decreased thereafter. Node number and the percentage of flower bud visibility declined beyond 1.6 mM organic acid mixtures. Plants with 2.0 and 2.4 mM organic acid mixtures had the lowest net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration, and intercellular carbon dioxide concentration. Plants had normal growth and produced flower buds when the continuously cropped soil was preconditioned with 100 °C reverse-osmosis water before planting.

Open Access

Maple syrup is a well-known natural sweetener made from the sap harvested from maple trees (Acer sp.). The North American scientific literature regarding maple syrup has predominantly originated in the Northeastern United States and Canada. However, the range of this Holarctic genus extends across the continent and all species produce sap with the potential for syrup production. This study focuses on two maple species commonly found in Northern Utah, namely the native boxelder (Acer negundo) and the introduced Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Thirty trees of each species were tapped in Cache Valley, UT, USA, on 19 Feb 2022, and measured for daily sap yield and sugar content until the season ended 37 days later on 27 Mar 2022. The same trees were re-tapped on 1 Mar 2023 and taps were removed 41 days later on 10 Apr 2023. Average 2022 sap yields were 22.1 L for boxelder and 7.5 L for Norway maple per tree. In 2023, average sap yields were 26.4 L for boxelder and 9.3 L for Norway maple per tree. Boxelder trees produced an average sap yield more than double that of Norway maple in both years. Sugar content was similar for both species ranging from 2.2% to 2.8%. Air temperatures were analyzed using data from Utah AgWeather System weather stations nearest to the trees, and air temperature had a significant impact on sap yield. It was found that an average daily air temperature of 0.5 °C and a daily air temperature difference of ∼10 °C with a minimum air temperature close to −5 °C and a maximum air temperature of ∼6 °C was the optimal condition for production. An analysis of the mineral nutrient concentrations in the sap and soil showed no correlation. These findings indicate that there is potential for using Utah’s maple species for syrup production.

Open Access
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To explore the falling morphology of multiscale fresh tea leaves at different speeds, this study evaluated the multiscale fresh tea leaves (one bud with two leaves, one bud with one leaf, single leaf, and damaged leaf) at different heights (0.7 m, 0.5 m, 0.3 m, and 0.1 m from the ground) during the process of dropping on the conveyor belt at different speeds (0.6 m/s and 1.2 m/s). The motion morphology of fresh tea leaves on multiple scales was analyzed by discrete element simulation, the results showed that the movement patterns of multiscale fresh tea leaves at different positions from the ground were different when the conveyor was dropping at different speeds, and that the multiscale fresh tea leaves all rotated around the long axis, short axis, and root of the fresh tea leaves. When the conveying speed of the conveyor belt was 0.6 m/s, the movement patterns of one bud with two leaves and of one bud with one leaf of fresh tea were near the ground, and the movement patterns of the fresh tea leaves were mostly oriented toward the ground. The leaf tips of the fresh tea leaves were mostly on the side near the ground, the damaged leaves were near the ground, and the movement patterns of the fresh tea leaves were mostly parallel to the ground. When the conveyor belt throwing speed was 1.2 m/s, the roots of one bud with two leaves moved toward the ground when they were close to the ground. When one bud with one leaf was close to the ground, the leaf tip moved toward the ground, and the single leaf and damaged leaf rotated around the root because of the inertia of the conveyor belt throwing.

Open Access

Healthy transplants are critical to productivity in the field. For certified organic production in the United States, seedlings must be grown in media that meet the standards of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. Many commercial organic media options are available, they vary substantially in composition, and it is unknown to what extent this influences seedling performance. This project compared tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) seedling emergence and growth in seven commercially available media for organic production and evaluated posttransplant performance. Tomato seedlings were grown in greenhouses at Wanatah, West Lafayette, and Vincennes, IN, USA. Chemical characteristics of the media measured in saturated media extract ranged as follows: pH 5.2–7.5; electrical conductivity (EC) 0.79–4.68 dS·m−1; 1–332 ppm nitrate-nitrogen, 5–69 ppm phosphorus, 41–451 ppm potassium, 78–714 ppm calcium, and 25–121 ppm magnesium. Higher media EC was associated with slower and less uniform seedling emergence and reduced total emergence. Seedling aboveground dry weights were significantly greater in media that contained compost. Relative performance in media containing compost varied across trials. The aboveground dry weight of tomato seedlings 4 weeks after transplanting did not differ for seedlings started in the five compost-based media, and those plants were significantly larger than plants started in the two media without compost. Larger plants tended to flower and set fruit earlier. Media testing protocols that predict nutrient supply over the production cycle could likely improve management in organic transplant production.

Open Access