Effective nutrient and irrigation management practices are critical for optimum growth and yield in open-field fresh-market tomato production. Although nutrient and irrigation management practices have been well-studied for tomato production in Florida, more studies of the current highly efficient production systems would be considered essential. Therefore, a two-season (Fall 2016 and Spring 2017) study was conducted in Immokalee, FL, to evaluate the effects of the nitrogen (N) rates under different irrigation regimes and to determine the optimum N requirement for open-field fresh-market tomato production. To evaluate productivity, the study investigated the effects of N rates and irrigation regimes on plant and root growth, yield, and production efficiency of fresh-market tomato. The study demonstrated that deficit irrigation (DI) targeting 66% daily evapotranspiration (ET) replacement significantly increased tomato root growth compared with full irrigation (FI) at 100% ET. Similarly, DI application increased tomato growth early in the season compared with FI. Therefore, irrigation applications may be adjusted downward from FI, especially early during a wet season, thereby potentially improving irrigation water use efficiency (iWUE) and reducing leaching potential of Florida sandy soils. However, total marketable yield significantly increased under FI compared with DI. This suggests that although DI may increase early plant growth, the application of DI throughout the season may result in yield reduction. Although N application rates had no significant effects on biomass production, tomato marketable yield with an application rate of 134 kg·ha−1 N was significantly lower compared with other N application rates (179, 224, and 269 kg·ha−1). It was also observed that there were no significant yield benefits with N application rates higher than 179 kg·ha−1. During the fall, iWUE was higher under DI (33.57 kg·m−3) than under FI (25.57 kg·m−3); however, iWUE was similar for both irrigation treatments during spring (FI = 14.04 kg·m−3; DI = 15.29 kg·m−3). The N recovery (REC-N) rate was highest with 134 kg·ha−1 N; however, REC-N was similar with 179, 224, and 269 kg·ha−1 N rates during both fall and spring. Therefore, these study results could suggest that DI could be beneficial to tomato production only when applied during early growth stages, but not throughout the growing season. Both yield and efficiency results indicated that the optimum N requirement for open-field fresh-market tomato production in Florida may not exceed 179 kg·ha−1 N.
Ibukun T. Ayankojo, Kelly T. Morgan, Davie M. Kadyampakeni, and Guodong D. Liu
David C. Zlesak, Darcy Ballantyne, Matthew Holen, Andrea Clark, Stan C. Hokanson, Kristen Smith, Jason D. Zurn, Nahla V. Bassil, and James M. Bradeen
The fungal pathogen, Diplocarpon rosae, infects only roses (Rosa spp.) and leads to rose black spot disease. Rose black spot is the most problematic disease of outdoor-grown roses worldwide due to the potential for rapid leaf chlorosis and defoliation. Eleven races of the pathogen were previously characterized from isolates collected in North America and Europe. Isolates of D. rosae obtained from infected leaves of the roses Brite EyesTM (‘RADbrite’; isolate BEP; collected in West Grove, PA) and Oso Easy® Paprika (‘CHEwmaytime’; isolate PAP; collected in Minneapolis, MN) proved to have unique infection patterns using the established host differential with the addition of Lemon FizzTM (‘KORlem’). The new races are designated race 12 (BEP) and race 13 (PAP), respectively, and Lemon FizzTM should be included in the updated host differential because it distinguishes races 7 and 12. Additionally, inconsistent infections and limited sporulation were found in the host differential Knock Out® (‘RADrazz’) for races 7 and 12. Expanding the collection of D. rosae races supports ongoing research efforts, including host resistance gene discovery and breeding new rose cultivars with increased and potentially durable resistance.
Priyanka Sharad Mahangade, Indra Mani, Randolph Beaudry, Norbert Müller, and Sangeeta Chopra
Some storages have limited control over their internal environment and undergo daily and seasonal fluctuations in both temperature and humidity, which cause variation in the metabolic activity of stored products. As a result, it is difficult to assess and compare the performance of these imperfect storages using measures of environmental control. We propose using measures of plant senescence as a proxy for estimating storage performance of these “imperfect” storages based on the premise that physiological processes integrate changes of temperature and/or humidity in a predictable, mathematically describable manner. We evaluated amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor L.) as a model plant for evaluating imperfect storages using a red-leaf cultivar Pusa lal chaulai and a green-leaf cultivar Pusa kiran. Amaranth is a leafy vegetable grown worldwide and is a highly nutritious and versatile food. Cumulative respiration, a measure of integrated metabolic activity, was regressed against leaf abscission, chlorophyll loss, and leaf yellowing of amaranth stems for four storages having different, variable, temperature profiles. Storages included 1) an evaporatively cooled (EC) structure; 2) a solar-refrigerated and evaporatively cooled (SREC) structure; 3) an uncooled laboratory (UL); and 4) a household refrigerator (REF). We found that the rate of abscission, chlorophyll loss, and leaf yellowing differed markedly for the four storages; however, these measures of senescence were linearly related to estimates of cumulative respiration. The ease of measuring leaf abscission, chlorophyll loss, and leaf yellowing permits data collection even with minimal resources. We propose that amaranth would make an effective model plant for comparing the performance of storages differing dramatically in temperature control. A 10% leaf abscission in amaranth is proposed as a target for comparing storages.
Jinxin Wang, Tao Luo, He Zhang, Jianzhu Shao, Jianying Peng, and Jianshe Sun
Hormones have an important role in apple flower bud differentiation; therefore, it is necessary to systematically explore the dynamic changes of endogenous hormones during flower and leaf bud development to elucidate the potential hormone regulation mechanism. In this study, we first observed the buds of ‘Tianhong 2’ apple during their differentiation stage using an anatomical method and divided them into physiologically differentiated stages of spur terminal buds, flower buds, and leaf buds. Then, we determined the contents of zeatin riboside (ZR), abscisic acid (ABA), auxin (IAA), and gibberellin (GA3) in these various types of buds using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed that the content of ZR and the ratio of ZR to IAA in spur terminal buds decreased significantly during physiological differentiation. The contents of ZR, IAA, and GA3 in leaf buds culminated at the initial differentiation stage. The content of ZR in flower buds was significantly higher than that in leaf buds after formation of the inflorescence primordium and sepal primordium. Before the appearance of stamen primordium, the content of GA3 in flower buds was remarkably lower than that in leaf buds. The ratios of ABA/IAA and ZR/IAA in flower buds were significantly higher than those in leaf buds before the appearance of flower organ primordium. Moreover, ABA content, ABA/ZR, and ABA/GA3 in flower buds were higher than those in leaf buds throughout the whole flower bud morphological differentiation process. Therefore, the reduced ZR content was beneficial to floral induction. The low content of GA3, and high ratios of ABA/IAA and ZR/IAA were conducive to early morphological differentiation. In addition, high ratios of ABA/GA3 and ABA/ZR were beneficial to the morphological differentiation of flower buds. Moreover, the high ABA content was beneficial to floral induction and morphological differentiation of flower buds. Our results shed light on the mechanisms of hormonal regulation of apple flower bud differentiation and could potentially strengthen the theoretical basis for artificial regulation of apple flower bud development using exogenous plant hormones.
Zhenyu Huang, Fei Shen, Lehan Xia, Long Chen, Zexuan Cui, and Yuling Chen
Francisco E. Loayza, Michael T. Masarirambi, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, and Charles A. Sims
This study investigated the effect of ethylene treatment at high temperatures of 30 to 40 °C for up to 72 hours on subsequent ripening-associated processes in mature green ‘Sunny’ and ‘Agriset 761’ tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum). Compared with ethylene-treated fruit at 20 °C, ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C stimulated ripening in terms of ethylene biosynthesis and color development, but the ethylene effect was only apparent after transfer to air at 20 °C. There were no negative effects on ripe tomato quality related to ethylene exposure at 30 or 35 °C. However, ethylene production of tomatoes was permanently impaired by ethylene exposure at 40 °C for 48 or 72 hours even after transferring fruit to air at 20 °C; these fruit exhibited slow softening and color development. Our results suggest that tomatoes perceive ethylene at 30 to 35 °C despite impairment of ripening at those temperatures, with the accelerated ripening response becoming apparent only after transferring the tomatoes to air at lower temperature.
Chyun-Chien Liang, Tzu-Yao Wei, and Der-Ming Yeh
Neoregelia cultivars have been used in many areas for landscaping and indoors in a variety of creative ways, but scientific reports of their pollination and hybridization are presently limited. Cross-combinations of Neoregelia cultivars were created to define conditions for pollination timing and to evaluate cross-compatibility. Neoregelia cultivars have short-lived flowers. Hybrid seeds were obtained only when cross-pollination was performed before 1200 hr. Results of 19 cross-combinations including six reciprocal crosses revealed that hybrid seeds were obtained in the female parents with a 1.9- to 2.0-cm style length, but not in those with a 2.6- to 3.0-cm style length. The pollen tube penetrated the ovule as early as 1 day after pollination in the compatible cross, whereas swollen pollen tubes were observed at half and two-thirds of the style in the incompatible cross. Removal of 50% of the style length of the female parents could overcome the fertilization barrier for those incompatible crosses and hybrid seeds could be successfully obtained.
Uttara C. Samarakoon and James E. Faust
Clematis (Clematis ×hybrida) is among the flowering plants well-recognized by the retail consumer; however, production has not traditionally fit into standard greenhouse production systems. One reason is the relatively long 2-year production cycle from propagation to flowering. Four experiments were conducted with clematis ‘H.F. Young’ to understand the factors that influence shoot development and flowering of clematis so that strategies could be developed for bulking, providing a cold treatment, and flowering the plants with a shortened production time. The first experiment showed an increase in shoot and flower numbers and a decrease in time to flower as the duration of cold treatment increased from 0 to 9 weeks and the photoperiod increased from 9 to 16 hours. The second experiment resulted in greater shoot and flower numbers when plants were forced at 21 °C as compared with 27 °C. The third experiment showed that the application of ethephon (500 or 1000 mg·L−1) during bulking increased shoot formation (branching) as compared with the control or 500 mg·L−1 benzylaminopurine treatments. The fourth experiment showed that applications of 500 mg·L−1 ethephon along with a 16-hour photoperiod during the bulking period improved shoot number and flowering of the finished crop. The combined results provide guidelines for producing a well-branched, flowering clematis crop within 1 year from the start of propagation to the time of the first open flower.
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.
Ved Parkash and Sukhbir Singh
Salinity stress is among the major abiotic stresses prevailing in arid and semiarid areas such as the southern high plains of the United States. In these areas, both declining quality of groundwater and cultivation practices have resulted in increased accumulation of salts in the root zone. The occurrence of excessive salts in the root zone is detrimental for plant growth and economic yield. Recently, biochar has received a great consideration as a soil amendment to mitigate the detrimental impacts of salinity stress. However, the effectiveness of biochar to mitigate the salinity stress depends on the feedstock type, pyrolysis temperature and time, soil type and properties, and plant species. Therefore, a pot experiment in a greenhouse was conducted to 1) examine the effects of salinity stress on physiology, shoot and root growth, and yield of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), and 2) evaluate the potential of hardwood biochar and softwood biochar to mitigate the damaging effects of salinity stress on eggplant. The experiment was conducted in a split-plot design with three salinity levels of irrigation water [S0 (control, 0.04 dS·m−1), S1 (2 dS·m−1), and S2 (4 dS·m−1)] as main-plot factor and three biochar treatments [B0 (control, non-biochar), Bh (hardwood biochar), and Bs (softwood biochar)] as subplot factor with four replications. Results showed that stomatal conductance (g S) and photosynthesis rate decreased significantly, while leaf temperature and electrolyte leakage increased significantly with increase in irrigation water salinity levels. Root growth (root length density and root surface area density), shoot growth (plant height, stem diameter, and leaf area), and yield of eggplant declined with increase in levels of salinity stress. Biochar application helped to enhance g S and photosynthesis rate, and to decrease leaf temperature and electrolyte leakage in leaf tissues of plants. This resulted in better root growth, shoot growth, and fruit yield of eggplant in treatments amended with biochar than non-biochar (control) treatment. There was no significant difference in the effect of two types of biochars (hardwood and softwood biochar) on physiology, root growth, shoot growth, and yield of eggplant. Therefore, it can be concluded that softwood and hardwood biochars could be used to minimize the detrimental impacts of salinity stress in eggplant.