Golf course superintendents are often under pressure to maintain high-quality turf. Such demand entails use of inputs, which can include biostimulants that are often marketed as a way of combating plant stress and improving turf quality. However, the extent of their use by superintendents and their level of efficacy are not well understood. This survey study was designed to better describe biostimulant use by the golf industry and to gain insights on the research needs of superintendents to address them effectively. A survey instrument was developed using online software and included a total of 13 questions relating to general familiarity with biostimulants and specific familiarity with five biological products. The instrument was disseminated electronically via the online survey tool to attendees (N = 80) during the annual conference of the Georgia Golf Environmental Summit in 2022. The respondents were from 62 golf courses, geographically representing the entire state of Georgia. The response rate was 62.5%. The majority of the respondents (86%) were familiar with biostimulants. The main reason for using biostimulants was predominantly agronomic, indicating a focus on turf performance and aesthetics. Of the respondents who used biostimulants, the overwhelming majority (93%) use humic acids and plant growth hormone-containing biostimulants. Respondents also indicated that research in microbial products would be the most relevant to the industry. This may be explained by the challenges in using such products (shelf life and microbial survival in soil). In conclusion, the survey indicated that Georgia golf course superintendents have high a level of familiarity with biostimulants. The survey yielded useful results to help formulate future research objectives to better serve the Georgia golf course industry.
Svoboda V. Pennisi, Mussie Habteselassie, Genti Kostandini, and Freddie C. Waltz Jr.
Asmita Paudel and Youping Sun
Albizia julibrissin (mimosa tree) and Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree) are drought-tolerant landscape plants; however, salinity responses of these two species are not well documented. The objective of this study was to investigate the morphological and physiological responses of these two species to three salinity levels in greenhouse conditions. Two studies were conducted in the summer/early fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021. In 2020, uniform plants were irrigated weekly for the first 2 weeks and every other day for the following 3 weeks with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dS·m−1 as a control or saline solution at ECs of 5.0 or 10.0 dS·m−1. In 2021, plants were irrigated weekly for 8 weeks with the same treatment solutions as described previously. Albizia julibrissin and S. japonica survived in both experiments with minimal foliar salt damage (leaf burn or necrosis). Irrigation water at ECs of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m−1 reduced plant height and dry weight (DW) of both species. In the fall experiment, A. julibrissin irrigated with a saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 had the highest reduction in plant height (61%) compared with the control. Albizia julibrissin and S. japonica irrigated with a saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 had 52% and 47% reductions in shoot DW compared with the control, respectively. In the spring experiment, compared with the control, there were 72% and 45% reductions in height of A. julibrissin and S. japonica, respectively, when irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. In addition, compared with the control, A. julibrissin and S. japonica had 58% and 64% reductions in shoot DW, respectively, when irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. Increasing salinity levels in the irrigation water also reduced leaf greenness [Soil Plant Analysis Development (SPAD)], leaf net photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate (E) of both species. Furthermore, sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl−) concentrations in leaves were affected by elevated salinity levels in the irrigation water. Visual score, Pn, g S, and E negatively correlated to Na+ and Cl− concentrations in leaves. But Cl− accumulation had more impact on the growth of A. julibrissin and S. japonica. In summary, both species were tolerant to saline solution irrigation up to 5.0 dS⋅m−1 and moderately tolerant to saline solution irrigation up to 10.0 dS⋅m−1.
Uttara C. Samarakoon and James E. Faust
Clematis (Clematis ×hybrida) has not traditionally fit into the standard production system for vegetatively propagated herbaceous perennials because of the lack of commercially available unrooted cuttings and relatively poor rooting success. We investigated strategies to improve stock plant production and propagation of clematis. The first experiment compared the propagation performance of four cultivars (H.F. Young, Reiman, Little Duckling, and Pinky). The second experiment examined cutting productivity and propagation performance of clematis cultivars when stock plants were grown at 21 or 27 °C and propagated with or without the application of rooting hormone. Stock plants grown at 27 °C resulted in greater cutting numbers and greater dry weights in the rooted cuttings after propagation. The third experiment demonstrated the effects of the origin of the cuttings of the stock plant on cutting productivity and propagation performance. When shoots emerged from underground buds, as compared with axillary buds, the numbers of cuttings and fresh and dry weights of the rooted cuttings were increased by nearly 50%. The promotion of shoot emergence from underground buds on the stock plants led to continuous cutting production for five cycles, with cutting number increasing from 67 to 128 cuttings/plant. Year-round cutting supplies can be achieved by trimming stock plants to the substrate surface to promote juvenile shoot development while maintaining stock plants under long-day photoperiods and warm temperatures (27 °C).
Haruna Kobayashi, Kiyomi Hashimoto, Erika Ohba, and Yohei Kurata
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are known to affect plant morphology. In this study, we examined the relationship between changes in stem and root morphology in Populus sieboldii × Populus grandidentata induced by irradiation with blue (450 nm), red (630 nm), and white (combination of red, blue, and green; 525 nm) LED lights. Populus samples were reared for 36–55 days in separate LED incubators, and changes in their appearance were observed. After rearing, the main stem of each seedling was cut, leaving a section of stem extending from the roots to ≈20 mm above the medium surface; this part was used for tensile testing. The tensile tests were performed to clarify the relationship between the tensile force and displacement until 100 mm. Irradiation with blue light produced the tallest seedlings. The highest dry weight (root and stem) and largest stem diameter were obtained under red light. The results of the tensile tests showed that the work required to displace seedlings 100 mm was highest in plants reared under red light, followed by white and blue light. Numerous root branches developed under red light, and taproots were longest in saplings reared under blue light. The observed differences in root system morphology that were induced by rearing under light of different wavelengths were reflected in the tensile force required to extract the trees from the medium. The morphological changes observed in roots are important given the role of roots in forests after landslides, earthquakes, and other disruptions.
Adam Karl, Whitney Knickerbocker, and Gregory Peck
Harvesting labor is the largest annual variable operating expense for apple (Malus ×domestica) orchard enterprises and is subject to escalating costs and shortages. In Europe, much of the cider apple harvesting is done with machinery, greatly reducing production costs. However, despite a rapid increase in hard cider production in North America over the past 15 years, mechanical cider apple harvesting has not been widely implemented. In this study, we compared mechanical with hand harvesting costs for model 5-, 15-, and 60-acre cider apple orchards located in New York using a partial budget model. Scale-appropriate harvesters were identified for use at each farm scale. Sensitivity analyses were used to test the cost differential for using each piece of machinery on varying orchard sizes and to model changes in labor costs. Across all orchard scales, we found that mechanically harvesting cider apples was more profitable than hand harvesting, with larger operations breaking even sooner and realizing greater returns than operations using hand harvesting. Mechanical harvesting costs broke even with hand harvesting in years 16, 7, and 5 and by year 30 reduced cumulative harvesting costs by 23%, 52%, and 53% in our 5-, 15-, and 60-acre model orchards, respectively. Increasing the orchard size resulted in greater returns from mechanical harvesting. Using the machinery in the 15-acre orchard scenario on a 30-acre farm resulted in costs breaking even with hand harvesting in year 3; by year 30, the cumulative costs resulted in 66% lower harvesting costs than hand labor. Mechanical harvesting remained profitable when labor wages were decreased and became more profitable in scenarios with increasing wages. For example, in the 60-acre orchard, mechanical harvesting cost 41% less than hand harvesting with a 2% annual compounding decrease in labor wages; with 2% annual compounding increase in labor wages, the mechanical harvesting cost was 63% less than hand harvesting. In addition to the cost savings, mechanical harvesting allows for harvesting cider apples with fewer logistical challenges, such as contracting, housing, and transporting migrant labor.
Jie Zeng, Ting Zhou, Donglin Zhang, and Wangxiang Zhang
Ornamental crabapple, a popular and well-known landscape plant, belongs to the genus
Giovani Rossi, Floyd M. Woods, and Courtney P. Leisner
Blueberries are an important fruit crop in the Ericaceae represented by multiple Vaccinium species and ecotypes. In addition to their economic value, blueberry fruit is known for an abundance of specialized metabolites with known human health benefits. Phenolic compounds, which include flavonoids and anthocyanins, are an important class of compounds found in blueberry that are known to contribute to fruit flavor and quality and for having health-promoting properties. Previous surveys of phenolic compounds in blueberry have demonstrated considerable variability in concentration of these metabolites, which is associated with differences in environmental factors and cultivars surveyed. This study expands this knowledge by surveying total phenolic, flavonoid, and anthocyanin content in ripe fruits of 71 blueberry cultivars from one growing season in Michigan. Included in this diversity panel are three ecotypes of blueberry (northern highbush, southern highbush, and half highbush). Rubel, Legacy, and Friendship were among the seven cultivars with the highest content of each compound. Total phenolic content showed a 5.03-fold difference among the lowest and highest cultivars, and total flavonoid content and total anthocyanin content demonstrated a 2.66-fold and 6.37-fold difference between the lowest and highest content across cultivars, respectively. There was no significant impact of ecotype on phytochemical composition of ripe fruits. This study also represents the first large-scale analysis of total phenolic content using the Fast Blue BB (FBBB) reagent. Data from this study have the potential to aid in future breeding efforts to enhance the human health benefits of this economically important fruit crop.
Qingyang Sun, Yue Zhao, Shusheng Zhu, Fei Du, Ruzhi Mao, Lijing Liu, Yifan Zhu, Su Li, Meng Sun, and Bin Tian
Rain-shelter cultivation could protect grape berries from many diseases and affect grape berry quality. However, there have been few studies of the effects of rain-shelter cultivation on the accumulation of volatiles in Shuijing grapes grown in Yunnan Province. Therefore, the goal of this research was to explore the effects of rain-shelter cultivation on the accumulation of volatiles in Shuijing grape berries during development. The Shuijing grapes used during this study were grown in the Yunnan Province of southwest China in two consecutive vintages (2018 and 2019). The results showed that rain-shelter cultivation promoted grape ripening and inhibited volatiles synthesis in Shuijing grape berries. However, the application of rain shelters did not affect the accumulation patterns of volatiles; instead, it affected the concentrations of volatiles in Shuijing grape berries, especially during the maturation phase [12–15 weeks after flowering (WAF)]. The concentrations of isoprenoid-derived volatiles (2019), fatty acid-derived volatiles, and amino acid-derived benzenoids in Shuijing grape berries were decreased by rain-shelter cultivation during the maturation phase. The concentration of 2,5-dimethyl-4-methoxy-3(2H)-furanone (mesifurane) was also decreased by rain-shelter cultivation during the late maturation phase (14 and 15 WAF). A principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that the vintage had a much greater influence on the physicochemical parameters and volatiles of the Shuijing grape berries than the cultivation method. This work reveals the formation and accumulation patterns of volatiles of Shuijing grape berries under rain-shelter cultivation during development and has significance for exploring the potential of rain-shelter cultivation in grape-producing regions with excessive rainfall.