The availability of freshwater is a growing concern throughout the world as it is an increasingly valuable and limited resource. Alternative water resources such as recycled water low in quality and high in salinity are now frequently used to irrigate turfgrass. However, irrigating with highly saline water can affect the growth, performance, appearance, and quality of turfgrass. Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is the most commonly used turfgrass throughout the southern United States. In this study, the spectral reflectance and visual response of ‘Riviera’ common bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) were evaluated by consecutively irrigating with 12 salinity concentrations (4–48 dS·m−1) in increments of 4 dS·m−1 via manual overhead irrigation for 30 days. The experiment was replicated in time in a controlled environment with four replications for each salinity treatment and control. ‘Riviera’ maintained a leaf firing (LF) value above 5 (rated on a scale from 1 to 9) when irrigated with 28 dS·m−1 for 30 days. Also, the LF value did not fall below 2 when irrigated with a salinity concentration of 48 dS·m−1 for 30 days, suggesting high salinity tolerance of ‘Riviera’. However, in this study, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) had a lower ability to detect the increase in salinity stress due to the limited area measured by the NDVI measuring device used. An increase in sodium ion concentration was observed in the shoot with increasing salinity concentrations. The NDVI was highly correlated (r = 0.93) to LF, indicating the usefulness of NDVI as a tool to measure the magnitude of salinity stress. The multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the data showed a linear response to salinity stress with LF (r 2 = 0.86) and NDVI (r 2 = 0.76) decreasing linearly as the salinity concentration and days of treatment increased. This study provides an accurate depiction of the spectral and visual responses of ‘Riviera’ when exposed to multiple salinity concentrations with narrow increments.
Lakshmy Gopinath, Matthew Barton, and Justin Quetone Moss
Anna Marín, Elizabeth A. Baldwin, Jinhe Bai, David Wood, Christopher Ference, Xiuxiu Sun, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and Anne Plotto
Fresh-cut mango (Mangifera indica) slices and chunks garner an exotic image and are highly appreciated for their unique flavor and nutritional value. However, processors tend to use firm unripe mangoes to achieve shelf life of 10 to 14 days, which compromises eating quality. The post-processing life of ripe fresh-cut mangoes is limited by tissue softening, translucency, and browning. The current study was undertaken to investigate whether edible coatings can extend the shelf life of fresh-cut mangoes processed at an eating-ripe stage. Three edible coatings, carboxymethylcellulose (1% w/v), aloe (Aloe vera) powder (2% w/v), and whey protein isolate (2% w/v), supplemented with calcium ascorbate 2% w/v (firming agent) and the antioxidants citric acid (0.8% w/v) and acetyl-N-cysteine (0.4% w/v), were used. The mixture of antibrowning agents, whether applied alone or with the edible coatings, was the most effective at reducing slice browning up to 10 and 11 days at 5 °C for ‘Tommy Atkins’ and ‘Kent’, respectively. In general, there were no differences in firmness and flavor among the three edible coatings. Calcium ascorbate alone did not suppress browning consistently, whereas citric acid appeared to be the ingredient having the greatest antibrowning effect on slice quality. Citric acid can easily be used by processors of fresh-cut mangoes to prevent browning.
Janel L. Ohletz and J. Brent Loy
Melons (Cucumis melo var. reticulatis) are potentially a high value crop for New England, but production is limited by cool spring temperatures and sudden wilt. The sudden wilt syndrome in melon, attributed to both biotic and abiotic factors, is characterized by rapid wilting of vines either just preceding or during the harvest season, reducing melon quality and shortening the harvest period. We investigated the effects of grafting melons to rootstocks of interspecific hybrid squash (Cucurbita maxima × C. moschata), which have exhibited tolerance to soilborne diseases and cooler soil temperatures. In 2015, we compared the performance of ‘Halona’ melon grafted to two rootstocks, ‘Carnivor’ and ‘NH1320’, to that of nongrafted (NG) plants at two New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Research Farms, Woodman (WRF) and Kingman (KRF). Pistillate flowering and melon harvests were 3 to 9 days earlier in NG than grafted (GR) plants. By harvest period, GR plant growth exceeded that of NG plants, and GR plants did not display wilting symptoms observed in NG plants. Total marketable yields were 57% and 90% higher for GR/‘Carnivor’ (47.8 and 45.0 Mg·ha−1) and 44% and 89% higher for GR/‘NH1320’ (43.9 and 44.9 Mg·ha−1) compared with the NG treatment (30.5 and 23.7 Mg·ha−1) at WRF and KRF, respectively. There were no differences in fruit numbers per plot between treatments, but mean fruit weight was between 33% and 71% larger in GR than NG treatments. In 2016, GR (‘NH1320’ rootstock) and NG ‘Halona’ were compared at three transplantation dates, 12 and 21 May and 1 June, and with two irrigation frequencies, drip irrigation every 2 days (2-d Irr) or every 4 days (4-d Irr). NG plants exhibited symptoms of sudden wilt in early August compared with no symptoms on GR plants. Harvests of NG melons were 3 to 8 days earlier than GR plants for all three planting dates. The increase in yields of GR plants compared with NG plants for the 12 and 21 May and 1 June planting dates were, respectively, 131%, 123%, and 149% greater with the 2-day Irr, and 93%, 100%, and 78% greater with 4-d Irr. Irrigation frequency did not significantly affect fruit size or soluble solids content (SSC), whereas grafting increased both fruit number and fruit size but did not significantly affect SSC at all three planting dates.
Yongjun Yue and John M. Ruter
The genus Pavonia is one of the largest genera in the Malvaceae species; it is mainly distributed in South America. Three species of Pavonia were identified based on different flower colors and potential for landscape use in the southeastern United States. These species produce a large amount of seed at the end of the blooming season, which is not ideal for ornamental use. To reduce the seed set, gamma irradiation was used for mutation induction and propensity to induce compactness and sterility. A preliminary study indicated that the seed of Pavonia hastata would germinate at irradiation rates up to 2000 Gy. Seeds of three species were treated with six different dose rates ranging from 0 Gy to 1000 Gy to determine the ideal rate for Pavonia breeding and how gamma irradiation affected seed germination. M1 (the first mutant generation) P. lasiopetala and P. missionum were sown in 2018 and planted in the field at the University of Georgia Durham Horticulture Farm on 1 May 2019, as were M2 (the second mutant generation) seeds of P. hastata. Seed germination in 2019 showed no significance due to treatment but significance due to species and species by treatment interaction. Field evaluation performed in 2019 indicated that height was not influenced by irradiation for any of the three species but that the width index was. Flower diameter and leaf area of P. missionum became smaller as the irradiation rate increased, but the other two species showed no trends. Chlorophyll mutations were observed on P. hastata at the 1500 Gy level, which has attractive traits for ornamental use.
Kristine M. Lang, Ajay Nair, and Alexander G. Litvin
The use of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) grafting is gaining traction across the United States, but small-scale growers face the challenge of creating optimum postgrafting healing conditions. The practice of blocking light for a period of 2 to 4 days while maintaining high humidity is commonly recommended for healing grafted tomato transplants; however, research is exploring alternatives to this practice. The present study investigated a low-input healing method for grafted tomato transplants with a specific focus on light and the use of propagation heat mats to regulate substrate and healing chamber air temperatures during the 7-day healing process. We hypothesized that 4 days of light exclusion and the use of propagation heat mats would improve grafted tomato transplant survival and growth. ‘Cherokee Purple’ was used as the scion and ‘RST-04-106-T’ was used as the rootstock. The whole plot factor was heat [propagation mats set at 80 °F (heat) or no propagation mat (no heat)] and the subplot factor was light exclusion (0, 4, or 6 days of dark). The highest survival rate among treatments was 97% in 0 days of dark with no heat treatment; survival decreased to 84% in 4 and 6 days of dark with no heat treatments. The plant survival rate was 96% with 0 days of dark and heat treatment; however, the survival rates were 63% and 45% for the 4- and 6-day dark treatments, respectively. The scion stem diameter was largest for transplants grown in 0 days of dark, but there was no difference in stem diameter due to heat treatments. There were no differences among scion or rootstock biomasses due to heat or light treatments. These results demonstrate that propagation mats set at 80 °F to regulate the substrate temperature were detrimental to grafted transplant survival under extended periods of light exclusion. However, this finding creates the basis to explore lower levels of substrate temperature modification. Our work also indicates that light exclusion may not be necessary for healing grafted tomato plants regardless of root-zone temperature treatments. Future work should examine the interactions of various substrate and air temperatures under full light conditions and their effects on grafted tomato transplant survival and growth. This work contributes to the ongoing research of how to optimize low-input healing methods that may be readily adopted by small-scale tomato growers.
Job Teixeira de Oliveira, Rubens Alves de Oliveira, Domingos Sarvio Magalhães Valente, Isabela da Silva Ribeiro, and Paulo Eduardo Teodoro
The study aimed to analyze the distribution and spatial autocorrelation of irrigation concerning the other productive components of the garlic crop. The productive components were distributed in thematic maps, and the spatial autocorrelation was estimated by the Moran index, which quantifies the autocorrelation degree. Results show that irrigation contributes to higher yield, with bulbs of larger diameter and heavier cloves. Plants under drought stress conditions tend to develop wider and longer leaves with a higher shoot dry matter. The bivariate analysis revealed that irrigation in garlic is closely related to all explanatory variables.
Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Ravi Bika, Christina Jennings, Cristi Palmer, and Terri Simmons
Magnolia trees (Magnolia sp.) are a popular choice for consumers when choosing flowering woody plants for landscapes. Magnolia species grow in a wide variety of both temperate and tropical locations. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is one of the more popular magnolias due to its pleasing aesthetics: large showy flowers in a range of colors and evergreen foliage. However, magnolias can be affected by algal leaf spot. Algal leaf spot is caused by Cephaleuros virescens, which is a widespread plant parasitic green alga. There has been little research on how to treat algal leaf spot on magnolia plants. This study focuses on identifying effective biological- and chemical-based fungicides for the management of algal leaf spot disease of magnolia plants. Two experiments were conducted in a randomized complete block design with six replications per treatment and a total of 12 treatments, including a nontreated control. The first experiment (Expt. 1) was conducted in a shade house (56% shade) at McMinnville, TN, using southern magnolia plants. The second experiment (Expt. 2) was conducted at a commercial nursery in McMinnvillle, TN, in a field plot planted with ‘Jane’ magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ × Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’). The algal leaf spot disease severity, disease progression, plant marketability and growth parameters were evaluated. In both experiments, all treatments reduced algal leaf spot disease severity and disease progress in comparison with the nontreated control. In Expt. 1, copper octanoate, copper oxychloride, chlorothalonil water-dispersible granules, chlorothalonil suspension concentrate, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, hydrogen peroxide + peroxyacetic acid, and mono- and di-potassium salts of phosphorus acid + hydrogen peroxide reduced the disease severity and disease progress the most and were not statistically different from one another. In Expt. 2, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and copper oxychloride significantly reduced disease severity and disease progress (area under disease progress curve). Treatments had no deleterious effect on plant growth parameters such as height and width, and no phytotoxicity of applied treatments or defoliation was observed. Treated magnolia plants had better plant marketability compared with the nontreated control plants. The findings of this study will help growers to achieve better management of algal leaf spot disease on magnolia trees.
Ravi Bika, Cristi Palmer, Lisa Alexander, and Fulya Baysal-Gurel
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.