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Open access

Annie R. Vogel, Rachael S. White, Clark MacAllister, and Cain C. Hickey

Fruit zone leaf removal is a vineyard management practice used to manage bunch rots, fruit composition, and crop yield. We were interested in evaluating fruit zone leaf removal effects on bunch rot, fruit composition, and crop yield in ‘Chardonnay’ grown in the U.S. state of Georgia. The experiment consisted of seven treatments: no leaf removal (NO); prebloom removal of four or six leaves (PB-4, PB-6), post–fruit set removal of four or six leaves (PFS-4, PFS-6), and prebloom removal of two or three leaves followed by post–fruit set removal of two or three leaves (PB-2/PFS-2, PB-3/PFS-3). Although leaf removal reduced botrytis bunch rot and sour rot compared with NO, effects were inconsistent across the two seasons. Fruit zone leaf removal treatments reduced titratable acidity (TA) and increased soluble solids compared with NO. PB-6 consistently reduced berry number per cluster, cluster weight, and thus crop yield relative to PFS-4. Our results show that post–fruit set fruit zone leaf removal to zero leaf layers aids in rot management, reduces TA, increases soluble solids, and maintains crop yield compared with no leaf removal. We therefore recommend post–fruit set leaf removal to zero leaf layers over no leaf removal if crops characterized by relatively greater soluble solids-to-TA ratio and reduced bunch rot are desirable for winemaking goals.

Open access

Fernanda Trientini and Paul R. Fisher

Small-scale hydroponics is a growing urban horticulture trend, but nutrient solution management remains a challenge for small growers. The objective was to investigate the potential to use controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) to simplify nutrient management in small-scale hydroponic systems. Three experiments were conducted with the goal of a single fertilizer application during the crop cycle of basil (Ocimum basilicum). Nutrient release curves were quantified by adding prills to water and measuring nutrient content weekly in the solution for CRF products without plants. In all seven products tested (Osmocote Bloom 2–3M, Osmocote Plus 3–4M, E-Max Calcium Nitrate 2–3M, Agrocote MAP 3–4M, E-Max Keiserite 3–4M, E-Max K-Mag 2–3M, and Agrocote SOP 3–4M) an initial rapid release was followed by a plateau, but release rates differed between products varying from 100% (MgSO4) to 60% release [(NH4).(H2PO4)] over an 11-week evaluation period. Total nutrient content in two commercial N–P–K CRF products (3–4 months 15N–3P–10K and 2–3 months 12N–3.1P–14.9K) provided lower Ca and Mg compared with a typical hydroponic solution based on water-soluble fertilizer (WSF). A subsequent experiment evaluated plant growth response using the same two commercial CRF products (single application) or a WSF (replaced weekly) in growth chamber environment. Plants grown for 4 weeks under CRF treatments yielded less than half the shoot fresh weight of plants grown with WSF and exhibited symptoms of Ca deficiency and micronutrient toxicity (confirmed with tissue analysis). Electrical conductivity (EC) of CRF solutions increased over time indicating excess dose compared with plant uptake, reaching a maximum of 5.4 dS·m−1. Nutrient release curves from the first experiment were then used to estimate product release and create a single-application nutritional program based on a customized “Blend” developed from CRF macronutrients plus WSF micronutrients. Plants were grown hydroponically with two dosages of Blend (1X and 2X) and compared with a commercial WSF with weekly replacement of solution. Blend 2X and WSF treatments had similar shoot fresh weight (241 and 244 g/four plants, respectively) with healthy plant appearance and tissue nutrient levels generally within published survey ranges for basil. Commercial CRF products designed for soil or container production were unsuitable for hydroponics, but acceptable plant performance with the customized CRF Blend demonstrated proof-of-concept for a single CRF application.

Open access

Claudia A. Espinosa-Leal and Silverio Garcia-Lara

Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens) is one of two aloe species currently used for the extraction of active ingredients that can be useful in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. However, krantz aloe plants have been frequently collected from the wild, which is threatening wild populations. In vitro tissue culture would allow the growth of krantz aloe under controlled conditions, optimizing the production of active ingredients without risk to wild populations. The establishment of cultures from krantz aloe plant explants has proved difficult as a result of the long response times of the explants and their release of polyphenols. Krantz aloe seeds are not commonly used as a means of propagation because of their low germination percentages. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of seed imbibition (SI) with water and the addition of smoke-saturated water (SSW) to the culture medium on the in vitro germination and initial seedling development of krantz aloe. Seeds were germinated in vitro in axenic conditions. The treatments used were the addition of 10% SSW to the culture media, SI, and a combination of both (10% SSW + SI). Daily germination was recorded and gross morphology was measured after 1 month of culture establishment. The maximum germination percentage (GP) was achieved when 10% SSW was in the medium (97.2%), followed by the combined application of 10% SSW + SI (96.6%), both of which were almost 30% greater and significantly different from that of the control (69.4%). SI had an 83.3% GP. No significant differences were observed among treatments in any of the observed development parameters (leaf and root length and number). Taken together, these findings show that the use of SSW improves the in vitro germination of krantz aloe without affecting seedling development, indicating preliminarily that SSW represents a useful in vitro germination promoter for this species.

Open access

Bernadine C. Strik, Amanda J. Davis, and David R. Bryla

A 2-year trial was established in Oct. 2016 in western Oregon to evaluate the effects of various in-row mulch treatments on establishment of northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. ‘Duke’). The treatments included douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] sawdust, black weed mat (woven polypropylene groundcover), green weed mat, and sawdust covered with black or green weed mat. For the most part, plant nutrient concentration and content were unaffected by the color of the weed mat. In both years, mulching with weed mat over sawdust reduced soil NO3-N compared with weed mat alone. The only other soil nutrient affected by mulch was K, which was highest with sawdust mulch and intermediate with black weed mat alone in year 2. There were inconsistent effects of mulch on leaf nutrient concentration during the study. In 2018, leaf N concentration was lowest with black weed mat over sawdust. There were few mulch effects on nutrient concentrations in senescent leaves in both years and in harvested fruit in year 2. Mulch had greater effect on nutrient concentration in dormant plant parts after the second growing season than after the first, with the addition of sawdust under weed mat leading to significant differences for many nutrients in various plant parts compared with weed mat alone. Total uptake of N ranged from 12 kg·ha−1 (black weed mat) to 17 kg·ha−1 (black weed mat over sawdust) in year 1 and averaged 33 kg·ha−1 in year 2, with no effect of mulch. Fertilizer use efficiency for N was 8% to 12% in year 1 and 42% in year 2. Uptake of other nutrients was unaffected by mulch and, depending on the year, ranged from 1.3 to 4.3 kg·ha−1 P, 4.0 to 8.0 kg·ha−1 K, 2.1 to 4.9 kg·ha−1 Ca, and 1.0 to 1.5 kg·ha−1 Mg. Each of these other nutrients was derived from the soil or decomposing roots.

Open access

Karla Gabrielle Dutra Pinto, Sônia Maria Figueiredo Albertino, Bruna Nogueira Leite, Daniel Oscar Pereira Soares, Francisco Martins de Castro, Laís Alves da Gama, Débora Clivati, and André Luiz Atroch

The economic potential of guarana relies on the energetic and medicinal properties of its seeds, which can be used to produce soft drinks, sticks, powder, and syrup. Brazil is the only guarana producer on a commercial scale, and the guarana crop system is the main agricultural activity in Maués, Amazonas. Although several types of technology have been developed to reduce costs and increase guarana productivity, the most important optimization of seedling production by cutting still needs to improve the rooting percentage and reduce mortality rates. However, the use of rooting inducers for guarana is still unestablished. Therefore, we evaluated the rooting potential of herbaceous cuttings from three guarana cultivars under different indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) concentrations. We recorded qualitative data from the roots of the cuttings. The IBA doses did not increase the percentage of rooted cuttings; however, they increased the root system quality of the guarana cuttings. We present this rooting method for the guarana plant as the most appropriate and least costly for small producers.

Open access

Yanjiao Zheng, Zaiqiang Yang, Chao Xu, Lin Wang, Haijing Huang, and Shiqiong Yang

High temperature and high relative humidity (RH) are one of the most serious agricultural meteorological disasters that limit the production capacity of agricultural facilities. However, little information is available on the precise interaction between these factors on tomato growth. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of high temperature under different RH levels on tomato growth and endogenous hormones and to determine the optimal RH for tomato seedling growth under high temperature environment. Two high temperature (38/18 °C, 41/18 °C) and three relative humidity (50 ± 5%, 70 ± 5%, 90 ± 5%) orthogonal experiments were conducted, with 28/18 °C, 50 ± 5% (CK) as control. The results showed that the dry matter accumulation of tomato plants under high temperature environment was significantly lower than that of CK. At 38 °C, the dry matter accumulation with 70% relative humidity was not significantly different from that of CK; at 41 °C, dry matter accumulation with 70% and 90% relative air humidity was significantly greater than that of 50%. The concentrations of soluble sugar and free amino acids in all organs in high temperature-treated plants were significantly higher than that in CK. As relative humidity increased, soluble sugar concentrations of each organ decreased, and the free amino acid concentrations increased. Cytokinin (ZT) and indole acetic acid (IAA) concentrations in tomato buds were significantly lower than in CK under high temperature conditions. The lower the RH, the lower the content of ZT and IAA. The gibberellin (GA3) and abscisic acid (ABA) concentrations were higher than in CK under high temperatures. GA3 concentrations decreased and ABA concentrations were augmented with increased humidity. The differences of tomato seedling growth indices and apical bud endogenous hormone concentrations between RHs under high temperature conditions were significant. Raising RH to 70% or higher under high temperature conditions could be beneficial to the growth of tomato plants. The results contribute to a better understanding of the interactions between microclimate parameters inside a Venlo-type glass greenhouse environment, in a specific climate condition, and their effects on the growth of tomato.

Open access

Gemma Reig, Jaume Lordan, Stephen Hoying, Michael Fargione, Daniel J. Donahue, Poliana Francescatto, Dana Acimovic, Gennaro Fazio, and Terence Robinson

We conducted a large (0.8 ha) field experiment of system × rootstock, using Super Chief Delicious apple as cultivar at Yonder farm in Hudson, NY, between 2007 and 2017. In this study, we compared six Geneva® rootstocks (‘G.11’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.210’, ‘G.30’, ‘G.41’, and ‘G.935’) with one Budagovsky (‘B.118’) and three Malling rootstocks (‘M.7EMLA’, ‘M.9T337’ and ‘M.26EMLA’). Trees on each rootstock were trained to four high-density systems: Super Spindle (SS) (5382 apple trees/ha), Tall Spindle (TS) (3262 apple trees/ha), Triple Axis Spindle (TAS) (2243 apple trees/ha), and Vertical Axis (VA) (1656 apple trees/ha). Rootstock and training system interacted to influence growth, production, and fruit quality. When comparing systems, SS trees were the least vigorous but much more productive on a per hectare basis. Among the rootstocks we evaluated, ‘B.118’ had the largest trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), followed by ‘G.30’ and ‘M.7EMLA’, which were similar in size but they did not differ statistically from ‘G.935’. ‘M.9T337’ was the smallest and was significantly smaller than most of the other rootstocks but it did not differ statistically from ‘G.11’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.210’, ‘G.41’, and ‘M.26EMLA’. Although ‘B.118’ trees were the largest, they had low productivity, whereas the second largest rootstock ‘G.30’ was the most productive on a per hectare basis. ‘M.9’ was the smallest rootstock and failed to adequately fill the space in all systems except the SS, and had low cumulative yield. The highest values for cumulative yield efficiency (CYE) were with ‘G.210’ for all training systems except for VA, where ‘M.9T337’ had the highest value. The lowest values were for all training systems with ‘B.118’ and ‘M.7EMLA’. Regardless of the training system, ‘M.7EMLA’ trees had the highest number of root suckers. Some fruit quality traits were affected by training system, rootstock or system × rootstock combination.

Open access

Claudia Elkins and Marc W. van Iersel

Supplemental light can increase growth and accelerate production of greenhouse crops, but it can be expensive if not provided in a way that promotes efficient use of the light. Dimmable light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures have the potential to reduce lighting costs because the output can be precisely controlled to meet crop needs. Because light is used more efficiently to drive photosynthesis at lower photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs), we hypothesized that providing Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ seedlings with the same daily light integral (DLI), spread out over a longer photoperiod and at lower PPFDs, should improve growth. A DLI of 12 mol·m−2·d−1 was provided in a greenhouse over 12, 15, 18, or 21-hour photoperiods from a combination of sunlight and supplemental light from LEDs, using adaptive lighting control. Plants grown without supplemental light had an ≈12-hour photoperiod and received an average DLI of 5 mol·m−2·d−1, ≈58% less light than the four lighting treatments. Lengthening the photoperiod from 12 to 21 hours increased shoot dry mass (30%), root dry mass (24%), plant height (14%), leaf area (16%), and chlorophyll content index (48%), and decreased specific leaf area (26%). There was no significant effect of photoperiod on root mass fraction or compactness. Growth parameters of plants without supplemental light were 26% to 90% smaller compared with those in the 12-hour photoperiod treatment. Treatment effects on canopy size, seen as early as 2 weeks into the study, were correlated with final shoot dry mass. Longer photoperiods did not induce a shade-avoidance response, based on specific leaf area and compactness data. The 24% increase in root dry mass for the plants in the 21-hour photoperiod suggests that cropping cycles can be shortened by 1 to 2 weeks compared with the 12-hour photoperiod. This could result in more crop turns per year and increased profits. In addition, fewer lights would be needed for adequate growth, reducing the capital cost of the lighting system.

Open access

Grecia Hurtado, Patrick Lüdeke, and Moritz Knoche

Estimates of fruit surface area are often required in physiological and technological studies. The objective was to establish a procedure to accurately quantify the fruit surface area based on Archimedean buoyancy measurements. The setup comprised a fixed, linear stepper motor mounted with its spindle vertical and aligned directly above the pan of an electronic balance. A fruit was clamped to the motor spindle and a beaker of water rested on the balance pan. When the motor was activated, the fruit was progressively immersed, stepwise, in the water. Each vertical displacement step increased the buoyant upthrust on the fruit, which was opposed by a corresponding increase in the downthrust on the balance. Pairs of the step displacement length (mm) and corresponding buoyancy increment (g) values were recorded in an MS Excel (Microsoft, Redmond, WA) spreadsheet using Arduino components. Each displacement step immersed another “virtual slice” of the fruit in the water. From each pair of known displacement–buoyancy measurements, the volume (mL) of that slice could be calculated with high precision based on the known density of the liquid (g·mL−1). With the fruit orientated so that its morphological “long” axis was vertical, for most fruitcrop species, the slice can be assumed to have a circular cross-section. Hence, the slice can be analyzed geometrically as a truncated cone of known height (mm) and known volume (mL). Therefore, the surface area of its outer face is calculable. The surface area of the whole fruit was calculated as the cumulative total of the surface areas of all steps (virtual slices). The procedure was evaluated and calibrated using stainless-steel spheres in place of the fruit. However, the measured surface area was slightly greater than that calculated for a sphere. The calculated and measured areas did not differ by more than 1.7%. The surface area determinations were highly reproducible (cv = 0.95%). The magnitude of the displacement steps affected the variability of the surface area measurements. Increasing the step displacements decreased the measurement variability, but there were no significant effects on the surface area measurements of the surface tension of the liquid or of the wettability of the surface of the fruit or the stainless-steel subject. Using stainless-steel spheres (diameter, 5–60 mm) or rubber truncated cones (mean diameter, 8–45 mm) revealed an excellent agreement between the measured and calculated surface areas. Using tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries, the measured surface areas were in excellent agreement with those calculated from the fruit dimensions and appropriate geometrical assumptions. The results demonstrate that the surface areas of fruit with approximately circular cross-sections normal to their morphological axes can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility using Archimedean buoyancy.

Open access

McKenzie Thomas, Kimberly Jensen, Margarita Velandia, Christopher Clark, Burton English, Dayton Lambert, and Forbes Walker

Home gardeners’ concerns for the environment are expressed both in the ecofriendly gardening practices they use and in environmental attributes they prefer in the gardening products they purchase. This study uses data from a 2018 survey of 601 Tennessee outdoor home gardeners and a multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) model to illustrate how outdoor home gardener demographics, expenditures, information use, and attitudes influence use of ecofriendly gardening practices and preferences for environmental attributes in home gardening supplies. Practices considered include planting pollinator plants, using rainwater collectors, composting, recycling gardening supplies packaging, using organic gardening methods, and use of soil testing. Gardening supply product attributes include decreased need for fertilizer, pesticides, and water; native plant species; organically produced products; and recyclable packaging. The most widely used practice is recycling gardening supplies packaging, and the least used is soil testing. Gardeners with a greater propensity to use the six gardening practices include male, college graduates, who spend relatively more of their income on gardening supplies, and consider themselves as being knowledgeable about environmental issues. The gardening supply product attribute most widely considered as important is decreased need for pesticides, and least widely considered as important are native species and organically produced. Gardeners more likely to prefer the six gardening supply product attributes include older gardeners, who seek other gardeners for information, and who perceived themselves as being knowledgeable about the environment. This same group likes to grow their own food and feels responsibility for protecting the environment for future generations.