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Fan-Hsuan Yang, David R. Bryla and Bernadine C. Strik

Over-canopy sprinkler systems are used to cool northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) fields and maintain fruit quality in the northwestern United States, but more information is needed to determine exactly when cooling is needed. The objective of this study was to identify the critical temperatures for heat damage to berries and for effective evaporative cooling. An initial study conducted in western Oregon in a mature planting of late-season ‘Elliott’ blueberry revealed that heat damage was typically observed within 1 to 3 days after an extreme heat event. Fruit damage, including softening, shriveling, and necrosis, occurred during both green and blue stages of development and was found primarily on sun-exposed berries, which on hot, sunny days (>35 °C) were 7 to 11 °C warmer than the ambient air temperature. A subsequent study was conducted to determine whether the critical temperature for heat damage differed between the green and blue fruit stages. In this case, ‘Aurora’ was compared with ‘Elliott’ blueberry. Berries were heated using a chamber-free convective unit and were exposed for up to 4 hours to berry temperatures of 42, 44, 46, and 48 °C. When the berries were green, significant damage was visible at each temperature within 1.5 to 2 hours in ‘Aurora’ and 3 to 3.5 hours in ‘Elliott’. Damage of green berries increased with time and temperature, and after 4 hours, ranged from 17% to 59% of the total berry number in the cluster in ‘Aurora’ and 10% to 24% in ‘Elliott’. Fruit damage at the blue stage was less than at the green stage and was only significant at 46 and 48 °C (within 3.5 to 2 hours, respectively) in ‘Aurora’ and at 48 °C (within 2 hours) in ‘Elliott’. Wax and cutin layers thickened on the berries as they progressed from green to blue, which perhaps increased their tolerance to heat at later stages of development. Based on these results, northern highbush blueberry fields should be cooled at air temperatures >32 °C during the green stages of fruit development and >35 °C during ripening.

Open access

Christopher D. Ryan, J. Bryan Unruh, Kevin E. Kenworthy, Alexa J. Lamm, John E. Erickson and Laurie E. Trenholm

Every county and municipality in Florida can adopt its own unique ordinance regulating the fertilization of lawns and landscapes. With increased concern for eutrophication to state waterbodies, many have chosen to implement seasonal fertilizer restrictive periods prohibiting the application of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, typically during the rainy summer months. These fertilizer “blackout” policies have been the subject of controversy among environmental activists, university scientists, and policy decision makers, with their efficacy being called into question. A Foucauldian discourse analysis was undertaken to trace the dynamics of the controversy, and survey research was conducted with Florida residents and with Florida decision makers to compare their lawncare maintenance practices, sentiments surrounding turfgrass, their trust in landscape science, as well as their awareness of policy in the city or county in which they reside. Differences were found between the two populations in terms of how many respondents fertilized, used automated irrigation systems and hand-pulled weeds. Although both populations had very neutral sentiments around turfgrass with no significant differences, Florida decision-maker respondents had a higher mean response for trust in landscape science. Only 32% of Florida resident respondents were able to accurately identify if their city or county had a blackout ordinance, compared with 81% of decision-maker respondents. Increasing civic science may be the best way for reducing this discrepancy, while also giving power to citizens in environmental policy adoption.

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Kathleen G. Haynes, Lincoln Zotarelli, Christian T. Christensen and Stephanie Walker

Consumer demand for specialty market potatoes has been growing. Cultivated South American diploid potatoes possess great variation for skin and flesh colors, shape, and taste. A long-day adapted population of Solanum tuberosum groups Phureja and Stenotomum (phu-stn) was evaluated for characteristics associated with the type known as papa criolla or papa amarilla in South America. Tubers have intense yellow flesh and may be fried or roasted and eaten whole. A U.S. northern location (Maine), representative of a seed growing region, and two southern locations (Florida and New Mexico), representative of potato growing regions near large Hispanic populations, evaluated yellow-fleshed clones selected within a phu-stn population. Agreement between selectors at two locations was greater than 50%. Tuber skin color and shape were highly correlated between locations; flesh color and tuber dormancy moderately so; eye depth had low correlation between locations; and appearance and skin texture had low or no correlation between locations. Tuber dormancy was generally short, but a few longer dormant clones were identified. There were significant differences among clones for yields, with the highest yields occurring in Maine. More intense evaluations are planned for a subset of these clones before possible release as new varieties. Future breeding efforts will be undertaken to lengthen tuber dormancy in this population.

Open access

Lijia Shi, Jinghui Wang, Zhifeng Gao, Xin Zhao, Francesco Di Gioia, Haichao Guo, Jason Hong, Monica Ozores-Hampton and Erin Rosskopf

With the phase-out of methyl bromide due to its impact on ozone depletion, research has focused on developing alternative chemical and biologically based soil disinfestation methods. Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) was developed to control plant-parasitic nematodes, weeds, and soilborne pathogens. However, whether farmers will adopt ASD methods on a large scale is unknown. This study evaluates the economic viability of using ASD in open-field, fresh-market tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production, drawing on data from field experiments conducted in 2015 in Immokalee, FL, and Citra, FL. The experiment included three treatments: chemical soil fumigation (CSF), ASD1 [the standard ASD treatment with 1482 gal/acre molasses and 9 tons/acre composted poultry litter (CPL)], and ASD0.5 (the reduced rate ASD treatment with 741 gal/acre molasses and 4.5 tons/acre CPL). Results from the economic analysis show that ASD treatments require higher labor costs than CSF regarding land preparation and treatment application. However, yields from ASD treatments are higher than those resulting from CSF, and the improvement in yield was enough to offset the increased labor costs. Relative to CSF, ASD0.5, and ASD1 achieved additional net returns of $630.38/acre and $2770.13/acre, respectively, in Immokalee, FL. However, due to unexpected conditions unrelated to soil treatments, the net return of ASD1 was lower than that of CSF in Citra, FL. Breakeven analysis indicates that ASD treatments would remain favorable even with an increase in the molasses price. However, when the tomato price is low, ASD could potentially lose its advantage over CSF.

Open access

Wenlei Guo, Li Feng, Dandan Wu, Chun Zhang and Xingshan Tian

Widespread herbicide-resistant weeds and severe insect pest infestations pose a challenge to the preplant pest management (PPPM) strategy currently in use in leaf vegetable fields in southern China. The aim of this study was to develop a new weed and insect control method for use before planting leaf vegetables in southern China. Two flaming machines (a tractor mounted and a trolley flaming machine) were designed, and their efficacies for the control of insect and weed pests were evaluated and compared in two field trials. With liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at 101 kg·ha−1, flaming machines reduced plant numbers by 86.7% to 98.8% 2 days after treatment (DAT), which was equal to or higher than the reduction after application of paraquat at 900 g·ha−1. Some weed species, especially awnless barnyard grass (Echinochloa colona) and goosegrass (Eleusine indica), regrew at 7 DAT, resulting in a decrease in control efficacy. Flaming machines also reduced the number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) larvae by 83.0% to 88.2% and the number of adult striped flea beetles (Phyllotreta striolata) by 64.9% to 80.9%. This is the first report on flaming treatment in China to show that this method is a promising alternative to chemical pesticides for PPPM in leaf vegetable fields.

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Haiyan Zhao, Haiying Liang, Yibing Chu, Congcong Sun, Ning Wei, Mengnan Yang and Caixia Zheng

Ginkgo biloba L. (ginkgo) is generally regarded as a tolerant species to environmental stresses. However, its tolerance mechanisms are not well understood, particularly for salt stress. To evaluate the species’ physiological responses to salt stress, 3-year-old ginkgo seedlings were exposed to a range of salinity levels (0% to 1.0% NaCl). A significant reduction in maximum (F v/F m) and actual (ΦPSII) quantum yields of photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry and the nonphotochemical quenching (qN) coefficient only occurred in late treatment stages at the salinity levels of 0.6% to 1.0%. As salt concentration increased, the response time and chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence indices decreased. Overall, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD); contents of catalase (CAT), reduced glutathione (GSH), and flavonoids; and scavenging rate of free radicals enhanced under salinity stress. These data indicate that ginkgo seedlings are tolerant to low salt stress, and enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant systems seem to work synergistically to reduce lipid oxidation under NaCl stress because malondialdehyde (MDA) content did not increase. Correlation and principal component analyses determined that water potential, Chl fluorescence parameters, activities of POD and SOD, contents of CAT and flavonoids, and hydroxyl (•OH) and diphenyl picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging capability were sensitive to salt stress. These parameters can be used for in vitro or rapid and nondestructive monitoring of the responses of ginkgo seedlings to salinity stress. It is of significance to understand the tolerance mechanisms of ginkgo to salt stress, reduce the harm of NaCl and other snow-melting agents to ginkgo as shade trees, and develop new salt-tolerant varieties.

Open access

Melinda A. Miller-Butler, Barbara J. Smith, Kenneth J. Curry and Eugene K. Blythe

Inoculation of detached strawberry leaves with Colletotrichum species may provide an accurate, rapid, nondestructive method of identifying anthracnose-resistant germplasm. The purpose of this study was to statistically compare two methods (visual and image analysis) of evaluating disease severity of strawberry germplasm screened for anthracnose resistance. Detached leaves of 77 susceptible and resistant strawberry clones were inoculated with one Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc. and two C. fragariae A. N. Brooks isolates. Anthracnose disease symptoms on each leaf were assessed quantitatively via computer-based image analysis to determine percentage lesion area and qualitatively by two independent raters using a visual disease severity rating scale (0 = no symptoms to 5 = entire leaf dead). The two visual raters’ average disease severity ratings (n = 3413) were in substantial agreement with a weighted Cohen’s kappa coefficient (k) of 0.80 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.82]. There was a strong positive correlation between percent lesion area determined by image analysis and the visual disease scores of the two raters (r p = 0.79). Image analysis provided a precise measurement of percent lesion area of infected leaves while visual assessment provided more rapid results. Our results indicate that detached leaf inoculations can be used as a rapid preliminary screen to separate anthracnose-susceptible from -resistant germplasm in large populations within breeding programs. It also may be used for assessing the resistance/susceptibility of parental breeding lines to various Colletotrichum species and isolates, for mapping germplasm for resistance genes, and in pesticide development studies.

Open access

Kayla R. Sanders and Jeffrey S. Beasley

Controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) provide an extended period of nutrient availability for turfgrass growth and may limit offsite nutrient losses compared with water-soluble fertilizers (WSFs). However, increasing temperatures and soil moisture accelerate nutrient release from many CRFs. As a result, turfgrass managers growing turfgrass in warm, humid climates with high rainfall question how effective CRFs are in reducing nutrient runoff losses while maintaining aesthetic quality. A study was conducted to examine the effect of three fertilizer treatments—an unfertilized control, a CRF applied at 87 lb/acre nitrogen (N), and a WSF applied at 87 lb/acre N as a split application (43.5 lb/acre N) at 0 and 45 d after initial fertilization (DAIF)—on nutrient losses from ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) during surface runoff events. Rainfall simulations were conducted 3, 28, 56, and 84 DAIF at an intensity of 3 inches per hour to induce 30 minutes of runoff. Water samples were analyzed for inorganic N and dissolved total phosphorus (DTP). Hybrid bermudagrass quality was similar among fertilizer treatments with CRF application, resulting in slightly higher quality. Across all fertilizer treatments, hybrid bermudagrass exhibited similar runoff initiation time and volumes within each rainfall simulation event. Nutrient losses from fertilized hybrid bermudagrass were greatest at the first runoff event at 3 DAIF, with WSF having the greatest losses. The subsequent application of WSF 45 DAIF did not result in greater N and DTP losses compared with CRF application, most likely a result of water incorporation applied to prevent wilting. Hybrid bermudagrass fertilized with a single application of CRF resulted in 23.6% and 55.6% reductions in cumulative inorganic N and DTP losses, respectively, compared with hybrid bermudagrass fertilized with the a split application of WSF.

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Harbans L. Bhardwaj and Anwar A. Hamama

Lablab [Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet], which is one of the most ancient crops among cultivated plants, is a relatively unknown crop in the United States. Lablab is a major source of protein in the human diet in many parts of the world. Even though lablab is a potential alternative food and feed crop in other areas of the United States, it is expected to produce seed in southern United States (Florida, Georgia, and Texas). However, there is a lack of information about production potential of lablab in Virginia and adjoining states. We report the results of a replicated field study that was conducted for 2 years with 17 lablab lines in Virginia. The seed yield varied from 559 to 1678, with a mean yield of 1012 kg·ha−1. The seed protein concentration varied from 20.6 to 28.8, with a mean concentration of 25.4%. Lablab seed contained small amounts of oil (0.54% to 1.13%). Total sugars in lablab seed meal varied from 4.2% to 10.1%. Based on seed yields from other parts of the world and concentrations of protein, oil, and total sugars reported in literature regarding other food legumes, we concluded that lablab is a potential alternative summer crop in Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states.

Open access

Elisa Solis-Toapanta and Celina Gómez

In the quest to identify minimum daily light integrals (DLIs) that can sustain indoor gardening, we evaluated DLIs less than the recommended ranges for commercial production of basil (Ocimum basilicum). Experiments were conducted for 8 weeks to evaluate the effect of providing a constant vs. an increasing DLI over time (DLIInc) on growth and photosynthetic capacity of green (‘Genovese Compact’) and purple (‘Red Rubin’) basil grown hydroponically under a constant ambient temperature of 21 °C. Plants were grown under a 14 h·d–1 photoperiod and were subjected to the following DLI treatments: 4 (DLI4), 6 (DLI6), 8 (DLI8), or 10 (DLI10) mol·m–2·d‒1 (80, 119, 159, and 197 µmol·m‒2·s‒1, respectively); DLIInc was used as a fifth treatment and was achieved by transitioning hydroponic systems systematically to treatments with greater DLIs every 2 weeks. In general, regardless of cultivar, leaf area, leaf number, and overall growth [shoot fresh weight (SFW) and shoot dry weight (SDW)] were similar for plants grown under DLIInc to DLI4 and DLI6 during weeks 2, 4, and 6. However, plants grown under DLIInc produced the same leaf area as those grown under DLI10 at week 8. Nonetheless, across weeks, growth was significantly less under DLIInc compared with DLI10, but similar to that produced by DLI8 at week 8. Photosynthetic responses were significant only at week 8, for which leaves of plants grown under DLI8, DLI10, and DLIInc had 15% to 25% greater maximum gross carbon dioxide (CO2) assimilation (A max) than plants grown under DLI4. The light saturation point of photosynthesis was unaffected by DLI, but showed a general increasing trend with greater DLIs. Overall, our results suggest that providing a constantly high DLI results in greater growth and yield than increasing the DLI over time. In addition, we found that changes in A max and the light saturation point are not good indicators of the capacity of whole plants to make use of the available light for photosynthesis and growth. Instead, morphological and developmental traits regulated by DLI during the initial stages of production are most likely responsible for the growth responses measured in our study.