Botrytis cinerea is one of the problematic and notorious postharvest pathogens of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) cut flowers. It causes flower blight, leaf blight, and stem rot, reducing the ornamental value (such as longevity, color, and texture) of flowers, ultimately making them unsalable. The objective of this study was to identify effective conventional fungicides and biorational products for botrytis blight management on bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers that can be easily and readily adopted by growers of ornamentals. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip treatment applications were used in this study. For the whole-plant spray applications, bigleaf hydrangea plants were sprayed with treatment solution 3 days before harvesting flowers. For the dip applications, cut flowers were dipped in treatment solutions after harvest. For both application types, flowers were inoculated with B. cinerea spores once treatment solutions dried. Flowers were stored in cold storage for 3 days and then displayed in conditions similar to retail stores. Botrytis blight disease severity, marketability of flower (postharvest vase life), phytotoxicity, and application residue were assessed in the study. Treatments showed variable efficacy in managing postharvest B. cinerea infection in bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip applications of isofetamid and fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin significantly reduced the postharvest botrytis blight disease severity and area under disease progress curve (AUDPC) compared with the positive control (nontreated, inoculated with B. cinerea). When applied as a postharvest dip, the fungicide fludioxonil and biofungicide Aureobasidium pullulans strains DSM 14940 and DSM 14941 effectively lowered the disease severity and disease progress (AUDPC). These effective treatments also maintained a significantly longer postharvest vase life of bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers compared with the nontreated, inoculated control. The longer vase life may be attributed to lowered botrytis blight disease severity and the resultant proper physiological functioning of flowers.
Ravi Bika, Cristi Palmer, Lisa Alexander, and Fulya Baysal-Gurel
Jessica D. Lubell-Brand and Mark H. Brand
Mary C. Stevens, Rui Yang, and Joshua H. Freeman
A novel methyl bromide alternative, ethanedinitrile (EDN), has been reported to be efficacious against soil-borne pathogens, weeds, and plant-parasitic nematodes. Degradation products of EDN include NH4 +and NH3, but it is currently unknown at what quantities these degradation products are being released into the soil at a given use rate of EDN. To address this issue, field studies were performed using the raised-bed plasticulture system. Deposition of NH4 + and NO3 − in top 0–15-, 15–30-, and 30–45-cm soils were evaluated 3 weeks after fumigation with EDN applied at 336, 448, and 560 kg·ha−1. Change of pH and transformation of NH4 + to NO3 − in top 0–15- and 15–30-cm soils were tracked weekly after fumigation with EDN at 448 kg·ha−1 for 10 weeks. This study found that fumigation with EDN significantly increased soil pH of the top 0–15-cm soil and soil NH4 + in top 0–15- and 15–30-cm soils, but soil NO3 − was unaffected. Nitrification process in top 0–15-cm soil was inhibited by fumigation with EDN for at least 7 weeks. These results indicate that N deposited by fumigation with EDN could be an important preplant N source for crop production, and the inhibition of nitrification could help mitigate nitrate leaching. This study provides helpful information for quantification of N deposited from fumigation with EDN.
Mun Wye Chng and Kimberly A. Moore
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea sp.) plant inflorescence number will vary in response to multiple cues such as changes in temperature, water, light intensity, pruning, and photoperiod. Previous research reports that the application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) to bougainvillea grown under varying photoperiods improved inflorescence number, probably as a result of changes in gibberellic acid (GA) levels. There are many bioactive plant GAs, but we chose to investigate differences in gibberellic acid 3 (GA3) levels and inflorescence number in response to the application of ethephon (2-cholorethylphosponic acid) or abscisic acid (ABA) to ‘Afterglow’ bougainvillea (Bougainvillea ×buttiana) grown under 14-hour photoperiod [long-day (LD)] conditions. Plants were 5 inches tall with seven visible lateral nodes and were grown in a greenhouse in 4-inch pots filled with 5-mm coarse aquarium zeolite. Ethephon was applied as a foliar spray at 0.05, 0.07, 0.10, 0.15, or 0.20 mg/plant. ABA was applied as a soil drench at 1, 1.5, 3, 6, 8, or 10 mg/plant. Endogenous levels of GA3 were measured 1 and 48 days after treatment to calculate the change in GA3 (∆GA3). A short day (SD) control of 8 hours was included to measure differences in inflorescence number and ∆GA3 between photoperiods. ‘Afterglow’ plants grown under SD conditions had the greatest decrease in ∆GA3 (–1.09 µg·g–1) over 48 days and the most inflorescences (10.6) compared with LD control plants with a decrease in ∆GA3 of –0.09 µg·g–1 and fewer inflorescences (1.0). Plants grown under LD conditions and treated with 0.05 mg/plant ethephon had inflorescence numbers (9.6) and levels of ∆GA3 (–0.74 µg·g–1) similar to the SD control. As ethephon rate increased to more than 0.05 mg/plant, inflorescence number on LD plants decreased and ∆GA3 increased. Exogenous ABA rates of 1 mg/plant produced inflorescence numbers (1.4) and ∆GA3 (–0.10 µg·g–1) similar to the LD control. As the rate increased, ∆GA3 increased and inflorescence number decreased. Plants treated with ABA rates of 3 mg/plant and more were defoliated and had no inflorescences.
Rahmatallah Gheshm and Rebecca Nelson Brown
Annually, Americans consume an average of 24.5 lb of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) per capita, more than half of which is head lettuce. This study examined the impacts of using black and white-on-black polyethylene mulches on three crisphead lettuce cultivars for spring production in the open field, with data collected on the soil temperature and lettuce yields. Black polyethylene, white-on-black polyethylene, and bare ground were compared for effects on soil temperature, lettuce yields, and lettuce head height and diameter. Mean soil temperatures at a 5 cm depth were 18.9 °C under black polyethylene, 17.7 °C under white-on-black polyethylene, and 17.1 °C in bare ground plots. Changes in the lettuce canopy size presented a similar trend over the growing season in all treatments. Both mulch type and cultivar significantly (P < 0.01) affected the canopy growth in head lettuce. Lettuce on black polyethylene mulch grew significantly (P < 0.01) faster than lettuce on white-on-black polyethylene or bare ground. However, the black and white-on-black mulches produced similar yields, averaging 5.76 and 5.71 kg·mˉ2, respectively. Meanwhile, bare ground plot yields were significantly (P < 0.01) lower at 4.57 kg·mˉ2. Cultivar rank order was consistent across treatments, and Crispino and Garmsir at 5.82 and 5.47 kg·mˉ2 fresh weight had significantly higher yields than Nevada at 4.75 kg·mˉ2 (P < 0.01).
Elisa Solis-Toapanta, Paul R. Fisher, and Celina Gómez
Interest in hydroponic home gardening has increased in recent years. However, research is lacking on minimum inputs required to consistently produce fresh produce using small-scale hydroponic systems for noncommercial purposes. Our objectives were to 1) evaluate the effect of biweekly nutrient solution replacements (W) vs. biweekly fertilizer addition without a nutrient solution replacement (W/O) on final growth, yield, and nutrient uptake of hydroponic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants grown in a greenhouse, and 2) characterize growth over time in a greenhouse or an indoor environment using W. For each environment, ‘Bush Goliath’ tomato plants were grown for 12 weeks in 6.5-gal hydroponic systems. The experiment was replicated twice over time. In the greenhouse, plants were exposed to the following day/night temperature, relative humidity (RH), and daily light integral (DLI) in 2018 (mean ± SD): 31 ± 6/22 ± 2 °C, 67% ± 8%, and 32.4 ± 7 mol·m‒2·d‒1; and in 2019: 28 ± 6/22 ± 3 °C, 68% ± 5%, and 27.7 ± 6 mol·m‒2·d‒1. For both experimental runs indoors, the day/night temperature, RH, and DLI were 21 ± 2 °C, 60% ± 4%, and 20 ± 2 mol·m‒2·d‒1 provided by broadband white light-emitting diode lamps. The W/O treatment resulted in a higher-than-desired electrical conductivity (EC) and total nutrient concentration by the end of the experiment. In addition, compared with the W treatment, W/O resulted in less leaf area, more shoot growth, less water uptake, and similar fruit number—but increased blossom-end-rot incidence, delayed fruit ripening, and lower fruit fresh weight. Nonetheless, the final concentration of all nutrients was almost completely depleted at week 12 under W, suggesting that the applied fertilizer concentration could be increased as fruiting occurs. Surprisingly, shoot biomass, leaf area, and leaf number followed a linear trend over time in both environments. Nonetheless, given the higher DLI and temperature, greenhouse-grown plants produced 4 to 5 kg more of fruit than those grown indoors, but fruit from plants grown indoors were unaffected by blossom-end-rot. Our findings indicate that recommendations for nutrient solution management strategies should consider specific crop needs, growing environments, and production goals by home gardeners.
Soon Li Teh, Lisa Brutcher, Bonnie Schonberg, and Kate Evans
Fruit texture is a major target of apple (Malus domestica) breeding programs due to its influence on consumer preference. This multitrait feature is typically rated using sensory assessment, which is subjective and prone to biases. Instrumental measurements have predominantly targeted firmness of the outer region of fruit cortex using industry standard Magness–Taylor-type penetrometers, while other metrics remain largely unused. Additionally, there have been limited reports on correlating sensory attributes with instrumental metrics on many diverse apple selections. This report is the first to correlate multiyear historical fruit texture information of instrumental metrics and sensory assessment in an apple breeding program. Through 11 years of routine fruit quality evaluation at the Washington State University apple breeding program, physical textural data of 84,552 fruit acquired from computerized penetrometers were correlated with sensory assessment. Correlations among various instrumental metrics are high (0.63 ≤ r ≤ 1.00; P < 0.0001). In correlating instrumental outputs with sensory data, there is a significant correlation (r = 0.43; P < 0.0001) between the instrumental crispness value and sensory crispness. Additionally, instrumental hardness traits are significantly correlated (0.61 ≤ r ≤ 0.69; P < 0.0001) with sensory hardness. Outputs from two versions of computerized penetrometers were tested and shown to have no statistical differences. Overall, this report demonstrates potential use of instrumental metrics as firmness and crispness estimates for selecting apples of diverse backgrounds in a breeding program. However, in testing a large number and diversity of fruit, experimenters should perform data curation and account for lower limits/thresholds of the instrument.
Esther McGinnis, Alicia Rihn, Natalie Bumgarner, Sarada Krishnan, Jourdan Cole, Casey Sclar, and Hayk Khachatryan
The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, is the largest demographic age group in the United States. This generation of plant enthusiasts has experienced financial setbacks; nevertheless, they collectively wield immense economic power. In 2018, this generation made one-quarter of all horticulture purchases. Consumer horticulture (CH) is challenged to develop targeted programming and outreach methods to connect with this influential and information-hungry generation. To examine the possibilities, the CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group held a workshop on 23 July 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) annual conference. The workshop first actively engaged participants to build points of connection by discussing nontraditional terminology that resonates with younger audiences. Suggested terminology included plant parent, plant enthusiast, plant babies, apartment-friendly, sustainable, and urban agriculture. After the opening discussion, three presentations explored innovative content, marketing and outreach in the areas of social media, retail promotions, and public gardens. The social media presentation focused on building a two-way partnership with millennials on Instagram that emphasized shared values of sustainability, local foods, and wellness. During the second presentation, the speaker highlighted retail point-of-sale promotions that appeal to younger audiences. The final presentation described creative programming used by botanical gardens to engage younger visitors. A facilitated discussion followed the presentations to identify and evaluate techniques and content that could be incorporated into CH research, teaching, and extension to reach and interact with new millennial audiences. Based on the workshop presentations and the facilitated discussions, the ASHS CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group concluded that more CH professionals should engage in social media outreach tailored to the needs and preferences of younger generations. To support this valuable outreach, research of consumer behavior and retail marketing should be encouraged to identify the preferred terminology and subject matter that appeal to millennials. Finally, CH can learn from and partner with public gardens as they implement multidisciplinary programming and exhibitions.
Syuan-You Lin and Shinsuke Agehara
In subtropical climates, inadequate winter chill limits blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) production by causing poor and erratic floral budbreak. To compensate for a lack of chilling, bud dormancy-breaking agents must be developed for subtropical blackberry production. Our previous study showed that gibberellic acid (GA3) promotes budbreak in three blackberry cultivars but has potential negative side effects on floral development in ‘Natchez’. 6-benzyladenine (6-BA) is a synthetic cytokinin that can act as an antagonist of gibberellins during floral transition. The objectives of this study were to evaluate cultivar × exogenous GA3 interactions, characterize dose effects of exogenous GA3, and examine synergistic effects of GA3 and 6-BA. Three field experiments were conducted in west central Florida. All spray treatments were applied at the end of the chilling period. In the first experiment, ‘Natchez’, ‘Navaho’, and ‘Ouachita’ were treated with GA3 at 0 or 99 g·ha−1. Budbreak was promoted by exogenous GA3 in all three cultivars (0.9% to 4.5% vs. 42.9% to 69.4%), but yield responses varied considerably. Exogenous GA3 increased the yield of ‘Navaho’ and ‘Ouachita’ by 560% to 931%, whereas it induced flower abortion and caused a 15% yield reduction in ‘Natchez’. In the second experiment, ‘Natchez’ was treated with GA3 at 0, 25, 99, or 198 g·ha−1. Budbreak increased linearly with GA3, but yield decreased exponentially with GA3 because of dose-dependent flower abortion. In the third experiment, ‘Natchez’ was subjected to five treatments: 1) water control; 2) GA3 spray application; 3) 6-BA spray application; 4) combined spray application of GA3 and 6-BA; and 5) sequential spray application of 6-BA at 9 days after GA3 application. Application rates were 99 and 47 g·ha−1 for GA3 and 6-BA, respectively. Exogenous 6-BA suppressed GA3-induced flower abortion only to a limited extent. As a result, GA3-containing treatments caused 65% to 83% yield reductions compared with the control (2382 vs. 410–823 g/plant). These results demonstrate that GA3 is a highly effective bud dormancy-breaking agent for blackberry. However, the drawback of GA3 is cultivar-dependent flower abortion, which cannot be fully mitigated by 6-BA. The use of GA3 can be an important management practice for subtropical blackberry production, but its practical implementation must consider cultivar-dependent responses.