‘Honeycrisp’ apple is susceptible to bitter pit, which is associated with fruit mineral nutrient composition. Rootstock genotypes can affect nutrient acquisition, distribution, and fruit yields, which all affect fruit nutrient composition and bitter pit susceptibility. However, the changes of these traits among different rootstock genotypes in response to abiotic stress under semiarid conditions are relatively unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of different rootstocks and irrigation on nutrient uptake and partitioning with ‘Honeycrisp’ apple grown in an irrigated, semiarid environment. ‘Honeycrisp’ apple trees were grafted on four different rootstocks, Geneva 41 (‘G.41’), Geneva 890 (‘G.890’), M.9-T337 (‘M.9’), and Budagovsky 9 (‘B.9’), and these were planted at high density (3000 trees/ha). Irrigation was applied as either a water-limited treatment where volumetric soil water content was maintained near 50% field capacity (FC) and a well-watered control where soil water content was maintained near 100% FC. ‘G.890’, the most vigorous rootstock, had lower nitrogen and higher potassium content in leaves, while ‘B.9’, the least vigorous rootstock, had lower potassium and higher nitrogen content. Rootstock genotype did not affect calcium uptake. Interestingly, water-limited conditions increased the nutrient content in root and stems but not in leaves. Water-limited trees partitioned more nitrogen and calcium to roots, while well-watered trees in the control partitioned more nutrients to the stems. Fruit size was the largest for ‘G.890’ and smallest for ‘B.9’. Both ‘G.41’ and ‘G.890’ had higher bitter pit incidence, which was associated with higher potassium content in leaves and fruit. These results suggest that rootstock-induced vigor and irrigation can both contribute to nutrient imbalances in leaves and fruit that could affect the development of physiological disorders in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple.
Nadia A. Valverdi and Lee Kalcsits
Huimin Zhang, Hongguang Yan, Cuixiang Lu, Hui Lin, and Quan Li
Solid-state 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR spectroscopy were used to investigate the chemical components of sweet cherry tree leaves under rain-shelter cultivation (RS) and open-field cultivation (CK). The 1H-NMR spectral chemical shifts of RS and CK showed differences in height and integral value. The δ 1–3, δ 3–4, δ 4–6, and δ 6–10 regions were attributed to the hydrogen signals of aliphatic compounds, unsaturated carbohydrate compounds, and aromatic compounds, respectively. Among the four regions, the percentage of signal strength and the integral value of hydrogen signals of RS and CK were 34.25% and 28.34%, 11.64% and 12.26%, 26.71% and 31.06%, 27.4% and 28.34%, respectively. The 13C-NMR results showed that the CK sample had slightly stronger spectral lines and contained slightly more carbon atoms than the RS sample. Sweet cherry leaves contain aromatic and carboxyl carbons, mainly from carboxylic acids, esters, and amides. The alkyl carbons exhibited the lowest ratio, whereas the alkyl and alkoxy carbons were mainly derived from carbohydrates (cellulose, polysaccharides).
Grady H. Zuiderveen, Eric P. Burkhart, and Joshua D. Lambert
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a medicinal forest herb native to Appalachia. Its roots and rhizomes are used as an antimicrobial and for the treatment of intestinal ailments. Three alkaloids–berberine, hydrastine, and canadine–are recognized as the major bioactive constituents in goldenseal. One important postharvest processing step for goldenseal is drying; however, it is not known how drying temperature influences the concentrations of these alkaloids. In this study, pre-emergent (dormant) goldenseal samples were freeze-dried or air-dried at six different temperatures (26.7 to 54.4 °C) to determine the relationship between drying temperature and alkaloid content in the rhizome and roots. High performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that berberine and hydrastine levels were unaffected by drying temperature, while canadine levels decreased as temperature increased (0.55% w/w on average when samples were freeze-dried, down to 0.27% w/w on average when dried at 54.4 °C). While canadine is the least abundant alkaloid of the three, it is known to have key antibacterial properties. Developing a more standardized drying protocol for goldenseal could lead to a more predictable phytochemical profile.
Sudip Kunwar, Jude Grosser, Fred G. Gmitter Jr., William S. Castle, and Ute Albrecht
Most of the commercially important citrus scion cultivars are susceptible to Huanglongbing (HLB), which is the most devastating disease the citrus industry has ever faced. Because the rootstock can influence the performance of the scion in various ways, including disease and pest tolerance, use of superior rootstocks can assist citrus growers with minimizing the negative effects of HLB. The objective of this study was to assess rootstock effects on the horticultural performance and early production potential of ‘Hamlin’ sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) trees in commercial field settings under HLB-endemic conditions. Two field trials were conducted in different locations in Central and Southeast Florida. The trials were established in 2015 and included 32 diverse diploid and tetraploid rootstock cultivars and advanced selections. One trial was performed in Highlands County, FL, on a poorly drained flatwoods-type site. Another trial was performed in Polk County, FL, on a well-drained sandy Central Florida Ridge site. Horticultural traits including tree height, canopy volume, trunk diameter, canopy health, leaf nutrient content, yield, and fruit quality were assessed during the 2018–19 and 2019–20 production years. Significant differences were found among trees on different rootstocks for most of the measured traits, particularly tree vigor and productivity, but rootstock effects also varied by location. Rootstocks that induced large tree sizes, such as the diploid mandarin × trifoliate orange hybrids ‘X-639’, ‘C-54’, ‘C-57’, and ‘C-146’, also induced higher yield, but with lower yield efficiency. Most of the tetraploid rootstocks significantly reduced tree size, among which ‘Changsha+Benton’, ‘Green-3’, ‘Amb+Czo’, ‘UFR-3’, and ‘UFR-5’ induced high yield efficiency. Therefore, these rootstocks have the potential to be used in high-density plantings. However, trees on some of these small size-inducing rootstocks had a higher mortality rate and were more vulnerable to tropical force winds. This study provides important information for the selection of rootstocks with the greatest production potential in an HLB-endemic environment, especially during the early years of production.
Triston Hooks, Genhua Niu, Joe Masabni, Youping Sun, and Girisha Ganjegunte
Pomegranate is a drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant crop. Its fruits contain high levels of phytochemicals that have many health benefits. Pomegranate has the potential to be an alternative crop in areas where water availability is limited, such as west Texas. However, more than 500 pomegranate varieties are estimated to exist worldwide, and little is known about which varieties are suitable for growing in the west Texas region. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the field performance of 22 pomegranate varieties, specifically based on phenology, resistance to sunburn, fruit split, fruit rot (resistance was calculated by subtracting the percent incidence by 100), yield, fruit phytochemicals, and Brix over the course of 3 years from 2016 to 2018. Cold damage, caused by below-freezing temperatures encountered from Nov. 2018 to Feb. 2019, was also evaluated in Apr. 2019. Our results showed significant varietal differences in nearly all response variables measured, indicating that varietal selection is important for pomegranate production for specific regions, such as west Texas. Leaf budding ranged from 47 to 62 days in 2016, 41 to 54 days in 2017, and 49 to 60 days in 2018. Anthesis ranged from 87 to 119 days in 2016, 80 to 94 days in 2017, and 92 to 114 days in 2018. Fruit resistance to split was broad and ranged from 7.3% to 79.1% in 2017 and from 14.2% to 99.7% in 2018. Fruit sunburn resistance ranged from 14.0% to 64.6% in 2017 and from 28.3% to 90.0% in 2018. Fruit heart rot incidence was nominal for all varieties. Total phenolic compound contents of the pomegranate fruit juice ranged from 0.81 to 1.52 mg GAE/mL, and the total antioxidant capacity ranged from 3.44 to 6.81 mg TE/mL. The yield per tree ranged from 1.00 to 7.96 kg in 2017 and from 0.81 to 10.26 kg in 2018. Brix ranged from 12.5% to 17.4% in 2017 and from 13.9% to 18.4% in 2018. Early winter below-freezing temperatures caused different degrees of cold damage; however, 5 of 22 varieties that originated from Russia did not show any cold damage. Results of a hierarchical cluster analysis based on the means of the key response variables of yield and Brix indicated that four varieties (Al-Sirin-Nar, Russian 8, Ben Ivey, and Salavatski) were notable for having both high yield and high Brix.
Jesse Puka-Beals and Greta Gamig
Direct seeding into strip-tilled zones (STZs) of living mulches may require weed suppression tactics for soil surfaces exposed within the STZ. Three surface mulch options (hydromulch, compost blanket, and a no-mulch control) were evaluated for their ability to suppress weeds and improve crop performance when applied in STZs seeded to carrot (Daucus carota). These STZs were located within one of five living mulch options [red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (Trifolium repens), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), a weed-free control, and a weedy control]. From measurements spanning 2 years at two North Dakota locations, dry weed biomass was lower in STZs where hydromulch or compost blankets were applied compared with the no-mulch control (12, 13, and 82 g·m−2, respectively). The presence of a living mulch adjacent to the STZ reduced carrot root biomass by 49% to 84% compared with the weed-free control. Further research should 1) investigate methods for reducing yield loss from living mulches, and 2) develop biodegradable alternatives to plastic mulches.
Kaitlyn M. Orde and Rebecca Grube Sideman
Day-neutral (DN) strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) cultivars have potential to produce high yields in New England and greatly extend the period of regional strawberry production each year. However, DN strawberries have primarily been evaluated as an annual crop in cold climates; thus, winter hardiness and subsequent second-year spring yields are not well understood. Separate DN plantings were established as dormant bare-rooted plants in Durham, NH (U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 5b) in 2017 and 2018. During their first year of growth and fruit production, plants were grown under one of two cover treatments: a plastic-covered low tunnel or the traditional open field environment (open beds). In November, plants were covered with either straw much (Winter 2017–18) or rowcover (Winter 2018–19) for low-temperature protection during the winter months. In the spring of the second year when winter protection was removed, the same cover treatments (low tunnel or open bed) were re-administered to plants. Plant survival was affected by year and cultivar, with average survival rates of 82% and 98% in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019, respectively. Plant survival ranged from 34% (‘Monterey’) to 99% (‘Aromas’) in 2018, and 92% (‘Albion’) to 100% (‘San Andreas’ and ‘Seascape’) in 2019. Cultivar significantly affected total and marketable yields in both years, and marketable yields ranged from 35.8 to 167.3 g/plant in 2018 and 121.6 to 298.6 g/plant in 2019. The greatest marketable yields were produced by ‘Aromas’, ‘Cabrillo’, ‘San Andreas’, ‘Seascape’, and low-tunnel ‘Sweet Ann’. In 2019, ‘Cabrillo’, ‘San Andreas’, and ‘Seascape’ produced greater marketable yields during the 6-week second-year season than they had during the plants’ first year of fruit production the previous year, which spanned 18 weeks. Low tunnels hastened fruit ripening in the spring and result in earlier fruit harvests, and in 2019, marketable yields were significantly greater under low tunnels for the first 1 to 3 weeks, depending on cultivar. Total and marketable yields were unaffected by low tunnels in 2018, but were significantly greater under low tunnels in 2019. For cultivars in the 2019 experiment, the increase in marketable yield under low tunnels (compared with open beds) ranged from 92.3 to 166.5 g/plant, except for Sweet Ann, for which marketable yields were 256.6 g/plant greater under low tunnels than on open beds. Using a conservative direct market rate of $4.50/lb, the second-year spring yields produced in the present study had a direct market value of between $3899/ha and $95,647/ha, depending on cultivar and year. We demonstrate that it is not only possible to overwinter DN strawberry plants in northern New England, but that the second-year yield may even exceed first-year production. The results from the present study indicate great potential for profitability from an overwintered DN crop.
Kevin Laskowski and Emily Merewitz
Annual bluegrass (Poa annua var. reptans), when grown as a putting green species, is sensitive to winter injury such as ice cover. Inhibiting plant ethylene production could be a way to improve annual bluegrass tolerance of ice encasement. The goals of this study were to determine how winter conditions and ethylene regulatory treatments affect the antioxidant system, fatty acid composition, and apoplastic proteins of annual bluegrass plant tissues. Ethylene-promotive (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid or ethephon) and ethylene inhibition treatments [aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG)] were applied to plants in the field during acclimation. Plant plugs were taken and subjected to low temperature (−4 °C) and ice-encasement treatments in growth chamber conditions. Antioxidant activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured along with malondialdehyde content (MDA) and apoplastic protein content in leaf and crown tissue. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acid contents were measured in leaf, crown, and root tissue. Higher unsaturated fatty acids are often associated with greater low-temperature tolerance. Compared with the untreated controls, ethephon-treated annual bluegrass had greater MDA contents, lower POD and SOD activity, and greater saturated and decreased unsaturated fatty acids. Ethylene inhibition treatments caused annual bluegrass to have less saturated fatty acid content and greater unsaturated fatty acid content, a greater content of apoplast proteins, and higher CAT activity when compared with the untreated controls. The activity of APX was greater in AVG-treated annual bluegrass than in controls. Ethylene may reduce physiological health overwinter, and inhibitory treatments may promote winter tolerance by promoting antioxidant activity, apoplast proteins, and the content of unsaturated fatty acids in plant tissues.
Nicola Dallabetta, Andrea Guerra, Jonathan Pasqualini, and Gennaro Fazio
In 2014, an intensive multileader apple rootstock orchard trial was established in Trento province, Northern Italy, using dwarf (‘M.9-T337’) and semidwarf rootstocks (‘G.935’, ‘G.969’, and ‘M.116’) and ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’, and ‘Fuji’ as the scion cultivars. Trees were trained to Biaxis (‘M.9-T337’) and Triaxis systems (‘G.935’, ‘G.969’, and ‘M.116’) with a tree density of 3175 trees and 2116 trees per hectare, respectively, and with a uniform axis (leader) density of 6348/ha. Comparisons across all training systems by cultivar system showed that after 6 years (2019), trees of ‘Fuji’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ on ‘M.116’ were the largest trees followed by ‘G.969’, ‘G.935’, and ‘M.9-T337’. With ‘Gala’, trees on ‘G.969’ were of similar size as trees on ‘M.116’ and ‘G.935’. Trees of ‘Fuji’ on ‘G.935’ produced the highest yield followed by ‘G.969’, ‘M.116’, and ‘M.9-T337’. For ‘Gala’, trees on ‘M.116’ produced similarly as the ‘M.9-T337’, whereas with ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘G.969’ and ‘G.935’ had higher yields than ‘M.9-T337’. When comparing production per ground surface area (hectare) ‘G935’ had higher yield than ‘M.9-T337’ for all the cultivars in this trial. In addition, yield efficiency of ‘Fuji’ trees on ‘G.935’ was similar or even higher than trees on ‘M.9-T337’. Rootstock did not affect fruit size with ‘Fuji’. For Gala, fruit from ‘G.969’ were significantly larger than those on ‘M.116’. ‘Golden Delicious’ on ‘G.969’ produced smaller fruit compared with those on ‘G.935’. Fruit from trees on ‘M.9-T337’ had the lowest percentage of red color with ‘Fuji’ and the highest with ‘Gala’. When yield and quality data were combined to produce marketable yield, rootstock had a dramatic effect on the cumulative gross crop value per hectare based on local farm gate values for each scion cultivar.
Brian J. Schutte, Adriana D. Sanchez, Leslie L. Beck, and Omololu John Idowu
This study evaluated false seedbeds, which are sequences of irrigation and tillage that eliminate weed seedlings before crop planting, to reduce requirements for hand hoeing in chile pepper (Capsicum annuum). To address this objective, a field study was conducted near Las Cruces, NM from July 2015 to Oct. 2016 (experimental run 1) and July 2016 to Oct. 2017 (experimental run 2). False seedbeds were designed to target weeds that typically emerge after chile pepper planting. This was done by implementing false seedbeds the summer before chile pepper seeding. During chile pepper seasons, data included repeated measures of weed seedling emergence, amounts of time required for individuals to hoe field sections (i.e., hoeing time), and yields of two chile products: early harvest of green fruit and late harvest of red fruit. Hoeing time and yield data were included in cost–benefit analyses that also incorporated expenses and revenues projected by crop budget models for the study region. Results indicated false seedbeds caused a 54% decrease in weed population density during the chile pepper season of experimental run 1; however, for experimental run 2, false seedbeds did not affect cumulative weed seedling emergence. For both experimental runs, false seedbeds reduced hoeing times, suggesting that false seedbeds affected hoeing by means other than reduced weed density. After accounting for costs for implementation, false seedbeds reduced hand hoeing costs by $262/acre to $440/acre. These reductions in hoeing costs coincided with improved profitability in all but one combination of year and product. Green fruit yield was lower in false seedbed plots in experimental run 1; however, false seedbeds did not affect green fruit yield in experimental run 2, or red fruit yield in both experimental runs. These results indicate that false seedbeds implemented the summer before planting are promising techniques for reducing labor requirements for weeding in chile pepper production.