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Thomas G. Beckman, Philip A. Rollins, James Pitts, Dario J. Chavez and Jose X. Chaparro

The primary focus of the stone fruit rootstock program at Byron, GA, has been the development of disease-resistant rootstocks for peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch). Historically peach tree short life (PTSL), aka bacterial canker complex, and Armillaria root rot (ARR) have been the two most important causes of premature mortality of commercial peach trees in the southeastern United States. Guardian®, a seedling peach rootstock, was cooperatively released in 1993 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Clemson University. It has since been widely adopted by the southeastern peach industry. As a result, trees losses to PTSL have declined sharply. However, Guardian, like most other peach seedling rootstocks, is susceptible to ARR. ARR has now moved to the forefront as the primary cause of premature peach tree death in the Southeast. In response to this threat, the USDA-ARS in cooperation with the University of Florida, released ‘Sharpe’, a plum hybrid rootstock in 2007. Despite its broad disease resistance, ‘Sharpe’ proved unsuited for widespread commercial utilization due to its relatively poor cropping performance. In 2011, ‘MP-29’, a semidwarf, clonal, plum × peach hybrid, was released for commercial trial. ‘MP-29’s broad disease and nematode resistance, in combination with its dwarfing ability and excellent productivity, offered great promise for use in this production area and in others suffering from similar issues. Since its release, testing of ‘MP-29’ has continued both in researcher and grower trials. To date, performance has exceeded all expectations.

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Abby ShalekBriski, B. Wade Brorsen, Jon T. Biermacher, Charles T. Rohla and Will Chaney

Although irrigation is a common practice in pecan (Carya illinoinensis) orchards, the effects of different methods of irrigation on young tree growth, nut quality, and nutrient uptake have not been estimated. Five irrigation systems and one nonirrigated control system were established. Tree performance was characterized by change in trunk diameter, weight per nut, average kernel percentage, and total trunk diameter growth. Nutrient uptake was determined by foliar levels. The five irrigation systems were a microsprinkler with a 35-ft diameter, a microsprinkler with a 70-ft diameter, two subsurface driplines irrigating for 2 days/week alternating between water for 2 hours and no water for 2 hours, two subsurface driplines irrigating 1 day/week for 20 hours continuously (LI2), and four subsurface driplines irrigating for 10 hours continuously for 1 day/week (LI4). Irrigation systems affected foliar levels of potassium (K), boron (B), and manganese (Mn) levels. Irrigation system did not affect change in trunk diameter or kernel percentage. A spatial Durbin error model was estimated to use trunk diameter estimates from all trees in the orchard. This model found the trunk diameters of nonirrigated and LI4 system trees to be significantly less than those trees that were irrigated by the LI2 system. When observations were pooled over all years, LI4 trees had individual pecan nut weights that were significantly less than all other systems.

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Ashley K. Brantley, James D. Spiers, Andrew B. Thompson, James A. Pitts, J. Raymond Kessler Jr., Amy N. Wright and Elina D. Coneva

Commercial kiwifruit production often requires substantial inputs for successful pollination. Determining the length of time that female flowers can be successfully pollinated can aid management decisions concerning pollination enhancement. The purpose of this research was to determine the effective pollination period (EPP) for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and ‘AU Fitzgerald’. Either 30 (2013) or 32 (2014, 2015) flowers of ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ were hand pollinated each day for 1 to 5 (2013) days after anthesis (DAA) or 1 to 7 DAA (2014, 2015), and then isolated to prevent open pollination. Anthesis was considered the day the flower opened. Similarly, ‘AU Fitzgerald’ flowers were pollinated and then isolated 1 to 6 DAA in 2013 and 1 to 7 DAA in 2015. For ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ in 2013, fruit set was consistent over the 5-day period, but fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreased between 1 and 3 and 4 and 5 DAA. In 2014, fruit set decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number each decreased in a linear trend. In 2015, fruit set also decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas all other responses decreased linearly. Based on fruit set in 2014 and 2015, the EPP for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ was 6 DAA. The EPP for ‘AU Fitzgerald’, however, was more variable. In 2013, fruit weight, fruit size index and seed number decreased between 1 and 4 and 5 and 6 DAA, suggesting that the EPP was 4 DAA. In 2015, fruit set remained consistent over the 7-day period with fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreasing linearly. Differences in temperature and the alternate bearing tendency of kiwifruit species likely contributed to the discrepancies between the years for the EPP. For each cultivar, reductions in fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed before an observed decrease in fruit set. Greater fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed when flowers were pollinated within the first few DAA, with results varying thereafter.

Open access

Yu-Wei Liu and Chen-Kang Huang

Hydroponic systems in plant factories can be categorized into recirculating or noncirculating systems. In this study, the effects of various commercially available circulation pumps, including a centrifugal magnetic drive pump, a regenerative self-priming pump, and a submersible pump, were experimentally explored. In addition, the effects of an ultraviolet sterilization system on the ion concentrations in nutrient solutions were examined. The concentrations of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, nitrate, sulfate, and ferric (Fe3+) ions in the nutrient solution were measured. For all three types of pumps, the results indicated that there was no significant effect on the concentrations of ions in the nutrient solution. However, the concentration of Fe3+ ions decreased significantly after the nutrient solution was treated by a ultraviolet sterilization system for 48 hours. In addition, the effects of the three types of pumps on the growth of butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were examined. The temperature records during the pump circulation tests showed that the nutrient solution temperature of the regenerative self-priming pump increased by 15.5 °C (from 20.5 to 36 °C), which caused yellow seedling, scorching on the leaves, and browning of the roots. The ion concentration in the nutrient solutions and total fresh weight of butterhead lettuce did not show any noticeable difference between the centrifugal magnetic drive pump and the submersible pump. In this paper, we clarify the cause of the decreasing iron concentration and provide a guideline for selecting the pump for circulating hydroponic systems in plant factories.

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Zhaohui Li, Yan Ma, Wanyuan Yin, Dekui Zang and Xianfeng Guo

Pteroceltis tatarinowii Maxim, the only species of the genus Pteroceltis (family Ulmaceae), is an endemic rare tree species in China. This study was performed to explore vegetative propagation techniques for P. tatarinowii using stem cuttings. First, the effects of exogenous indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and cutting positions on rooting performance were investigated to screen the appropriate exogenous auxin treatment and to determine the proper cuttings type. The results showed that the control cuttings pretreated with no exogenous IBA, irrespective of whether the stem cuttings were terminal, middle, or basal, rooted in a manner significantly inferior to that of cuttings pretreated with IBA. Their rooting percentage was less than 50%. Among the IBA-treated cuttings, the middle cuttings pretreated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA rooted best, with the shortest number of days until rooting emergence (20 days), the highest rooting percentage (84.0%), the lowest mortality rate (4.0%), the greatest root number (average of 6.7 per cutting), and the longest roots per cutting (44.4 cm per cutting). Terminal cuttings pretreated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA acquired satisfactory rooting traits and had the same shortest rooting duration (20 days) and the following parameters: rooting, 70.7%; mortality, 10.7%; average roots per cutting, 5.2; and longest root, 29.1 cm. To further determine the optimum cutting propagation time for this plant, a second experiment was performed and the cuttings were collected beginning in early June, when the growth of the current season was feasible for harvesting cuttings. Stem cuttings collected in late June and middle July had significantly higher rooting percentages (≥80%) compared with those collected in early June (66.7%). The other three rooting parameters were not significantly affected by the collection date. However, according to the overall rooting traits, the cuttings collected in both late June and middle July remarkably outperformed those collected in early June regarding the number of roots and the total root length per cutting. The initial nutrient reserves in the cuttings were also determined. A significant difference in the soluble carbohydrate level was found among collection times, but the nitrogen level in the cuttings was similar. The study revealed that stem cutting propagation of P. tatarinowii was achievable, and it was best achieved with cuttings collected from the terminal and middle positions of the branches of the current season from late June to middle July and treated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA using the quick dip method.

Open access

Timothy Coolong, Andre Luiz Biscaia Ribeiro da Silva and Justin Shealey

High-value vegetable crops such as bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) are heavily fertilized by growers who seek to maximize yields. Field experiments were conducted in Spring 2016 and 2017 evaluating two liquid fertilizers with and without calcium (Ca), applied at three nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) levels in two varieties of bell pepper to determine whether current fertilizer recommendations were adequate and whether fertilizer source impacted fruit yield and quality. Plants were grown using plastic mulch and drip irrigation following standard production practices for the region. Two liquid fertilizer programs [7N–0P–5.8 (7–0–7) and 4N–0P–6.6K/9N–0P–0K–11Ca (4–0–8/CN9)] were applied twice weekly at three N rates (175, 200, and 225 lb/acre N). Yield, cull rate, and foliar nutrient concentrations were measured. In 2016, total marketable yields were greatest [910 boxes/acre (28 lb/box)] and blossom end rot (BER) incidence (14.4%) lowest in plants grown with the supplemental Ca (4–0–8/C9 fertilizer) at 175 lb/acre N. Cull rates increased in plants grown without supplemental Ca during the season (7–0–7 fertilizer), with BER incidence ranging from 22.9% to 27.2%. Yields ranged from 590 to 740 boxes/acre in plants grown without supplemental Ca in 2016. In 2017, yields ranged from 530 to 790 boxes/acre in plants grown with supplemental Ca at 200 and 175 lb/acre N, respectively. Culls due to BER were lower in 2017 than in 2016. In 2016, BER incidence was greater in ‘PSO9979325’ compared with ‘Antebellum’, despite no differences in total yield. Foliar nutrient levels were largely unaffected by fertilizer program; however, foliar N and K concentrations increased with the rate of N and K fertilization. The results of this study suggest that using liquid fertilizer program containing some Ca may benefit bell pepper growers in some, but not all, growing seasons.

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Kellie J. Walters, Allison A. Hurt and Roberto G. Lopez

Foliage annuals are primarily grown for the aesthetic appeal of their brightly colored, variegated, or patterned leaves rather than for their flowers. Once foliage annuals become reproductive, vegetative growth of many species diminishes or completely ceases and plants can become unappealing. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to quantify how growth and development during production and stock plant cutting yield of bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii), Joseph’s coat (Alternanthera sp.) ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), and variegated potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) are influenced by photoperiod and night interruption (NI) lighting with or without far-red (FR) radiation. Photoperiods consisted of a 9-hour short day (SD) or a 9-hour SD extended to 10, 12, 13, 14, or 16 hours with red (R):white (W):FR light-emitting diode (LED) lamps (R:FR = 0.8) providing a total photon flux density (TPFD) of ≈2 µmol·m−2·s–1 of radiation. In addition, two treatments consisted of a 9-hour SD with a 4-hour NI from lamps containing the same R:W:FR or R:W LEDs (R:FR = 37.4). Bloodleaf plant and Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ developed inflorescences or flowers under photoperiods ≤12 to 13 hours and were classified as obligate SD plants. Under LEDs providing R:W:FR radiation, stem elongation of reproductive bloodleaf and Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ increased as photoperiod increased from 9 to 12 hours. In addition, stem elongation of bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’, and Persian shield and growth index (GI = {plant height + [(diameter 1 + diameter 2)/2]}/2) of bloodleaf and Persian shield was significantly greater under NI with FR radiation than without FR radiation. Fewer or no cuttings were harvested from Joseph’s coat ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ and ‘Red Threads’ under photoperiods ≤12 or ≤13 hours, respectively. To prevent unwanted flowering of bloodleaf plant and Joseph’s coat, a photoperiod ≥14 hours or 4-hour NI must be maintained with LEDs providing either R:W or R:W:FR radiation, however; stem elongation is significantly reduced under R:W LEDs.

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William B. Miller

Experiments conducted over 3 years have indicated the efficacy of preplant paclobutrazol or flurprimidol corm soaks for leaf and scape growth control in potted freesia (Freesia hybrida). A range of cultivars subjected to 30- to 60-min soaks in 60 to 120 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol and 10- to 30-min soaks in 10 to 30 mg·L−1 flurprimidol resulted in significant and commercially relevant height control without reducing the number of flowering scapes. Cultivars varied in their response to the plant growth regulators (PGRs), suggesting that individual grower trials will be necessary to develop an optimum treatment for each location.

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Lav K. Yadav, Edward V. McAssey and H. Dayton Wilde

Rhododendron canescens is a deciduous azalea native to the southeastern United States that is used in landscaping due to its ornamental qualities. A genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) approach was taken to characterize the genetic structure and diversity of a R. canescens germplasm collection. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified by two software platforms, STACKS and GBS-SNP-CROP. Three distinct R. canescens populations were detected by STRUCTURE analysis with GBS-SNP-CROP data, whereas two populations were distinguished using STACKS data. Principal component analysis (PCA) with data from both SNP pipelines supported the presence of three populations. Statistical results indicated that there was low genetic differentiation between the populations, but relatively high genetic diversity within populations. The inbreeding coefficient of the R. canescens accessions was low, which would be expected with an outcrossing species. These results suggest that there may be a significant level of gene flow between populations of R. canescens.

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Craig M. Hardner, Marisa Wall and Alyssa Cho

Macadamia is a rapidly developing global crop; however, limited cultivation history and size of the industry means many challenges remain to support sustained productivity and profitability of this industry. This paper summarizes oral and poster presentations, and subsequent papers included in this volume, delivered at the 2017 International Macadamia Research Symposium, held in Hilo, HI, in September of that year. This was the first international meeting of macadamia researchers since 1992. The 28 oral and seven poster presentations covered propagation technology, tree physiology, soils and nutrition, pollination, pest and disease, orchard management, genetics and breeding, product development, and new production regions. Notable messages were that micrografting of macadamias is commercially viable; planting density and girdling could increase early yield per hectare; resource availability may limit cross-pollination yield; and yield production of individual branches is not independent. Integrated pest management was described to develop pest-resilient farming systems and manage felted coccid; an international collaborative approach was proposed for effective disease management and early detection; and the concept of integrated orchard management was used to translate research outputs into a common language for grower adoption. In the areas of breeding and genetic resources, research demonstrated that modern macadamia cultivars are two to four generations from wild but do not capture all wild diversity; progress was reported on the Macadamia Genome Project to produce the first macadamia reference genome; and advances in phenotypic selection and cultivar development were described.