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James A. Schrader, Diana R. Cochran, Paul A. Domoto and Gail R. Nonnecke

The popularity of grape (Vitis sp.) and wine production in the upper midwest region of the United States is increasing steadily. The development of several cold-climate, interspecific-hybrid grape cultivars (northern hybrids) since the 1980s has improved the probability of success for both new and established vineyards in this area of the country, but long-term data describing the performance of these cultivars in midwestern U.S. climates are needed to both aid growers in their choice of cultivars and to provide them with information about factors important in their management. We characterized the long-term winterhardiness and annual phenology of 12 cold-climate northern hybrid grape cultivars (two established cultivars, five newer cultivars, and five advanced selections) grown in a randomized and replicated field plot in central Iowa, an area that offers a warm growing season and very cold dormant season for grape culture. The established cultivars included in the study were Frontenac and St. Croix. The newer cultivars evaluated were Arandell, Corot noir, La Crescent, Marquette, and Petit Ami, and the advanced selections were MN 1189, MN 1200, MN 1220, MN 1235, and MN 1258. The grape trial was established in 2008, and vines were evaluated from 2011 through 2017 for annual timing of budbreak, bloom, veraison, and harvest, as well as winter survival of vines and primary buds. As a group, the northern hybrids in our trial showed good winterhardiness of vines but variable hardiness of primary buds across the six winters, which ranged from warmer than average to much colder than average. In Iowa climate, buds of northern hybrids were generally most vulnerable to cold temperature damage from late-winter (March) low-temperature events or from extreme midwinter low-temperature events. The bud hardiness of individual cultivars ranged from very hardy (Frontenac, Marquette, and MN 1235) to poor hardiness (Arandell, Corot noir, Petit Ami, and MN 1189), with all 12 cultivars showing good bud survival during Iowa winters that were warmer than average, but the less-hardy cultivars showing poor bud survival during winters that were colder than average. Evaluations of phenology revealed that heat accumulation measured in growing degree days with a threshold of 50 °F was not a reliable index for predicting the timing of annual developmental stages for the cultivars we tested. Our results indicate that northern hybrids rely on other factors in addition to heat accumulation for guiding annual development, and that factors such as photoperiod likely have a strong influence on phenological timing during seasons with unusual weather patterns. We determined that none of the cultivars were vulnerable to cold temperature damage to fruit before harvest in Iowa’s climate, but that three of the cultivars (Arandell, Marquette, and MN 1235) were highly vulnerable to shoot damage from spring freeze events, and four others (Corot noir, La Crescent, MN 1200, and MN 1220) were moderately vulnerable to cold damage to shoots in spring. An itemized summary of the relative hardiness, vulnerabilities, and timing of phenological stages of the 12 cultivars is provided to aid growers in selection and management of grape cultivars for Iowa climate. Based on hardiness and phenology, four of these cultivars (Frontenac, MN 1258, MN 1220, and MN 1200) have the lowest risk of issues related to cold temperatures.

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Travis Culpepper, Joseph Young, David T. Montague, Dana Sullivan and Benjamin Wherley

Lawns must be managed increasingly under less frequent or deficit irrigation. Deficit irrigation can reduce gas exchange, carbon assimilation, and physiological function in both warm- (C4) and cool- (C3) season turfgrasses, yet limited research has compared the physiological response to increasing levels of soil water deficit. The objectives of this greenhouse study were to compare three commonly used transition-zone turfgrasses—bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] (C4), buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.] (C4), and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) (C3)—and their ability to maintain quality and physiological function under water deficit stress. Visual turf quality, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), reflective canopy temperature, and gross photosynthesis were evaluated initially near field capacity (FC), and subsequent soil water deficit [48% (moderate) and 33% (severe) of plant-available water] conditions. Bermudagrass and tall fescue had similar quality ratings near FC, although the photosynthetic rate was greater for bermudagrass. Compared with other turfgrasses, bermudagrass maintained greater turf quality, NDVI, and photosynthetic rates further into water deficit stress. Tall fescue quality and photosynthetic rates declined most rapidly in both experiments as a result of the combined heat and drought stress. Buffalograss used less water compared with other species, and maintained consistent turf quality, NDVI, and photosynthetic rates under moderate and severe water deficit. These results support the notion that buffalograss and bermudagrass are better adapted than tall fescue at maintaining functional and ecosystem services with shallow soil depths in landscape situations under imposed summertime water restrictions.

Open access

Garrett A. Ridge, Natasha L. Bell, Andrew J. Gitto, Steven N. Jeffers and Sarah A. White

Constructed wetlands have been used for decades in agricultural settings to remediate nutrients and other agrichemicals from irrigation runoff and drainage; however, little is known about the presence and distribution of Phytophthora species within irrigation runoff water being treated in constructed wetlands. Therefore, we collected plant samples from within vegetated runoff collection channels and treatment stages of two constructed wetland systems receiving irrigation runoff at a commercial plant nursery in Cairo, GA, to determine if roots of wetland plants were infested by species of Phytophthora. Samples were collected 12 times, at 1- to 2-month intervals, over a 19-month period, from Mar. 2011 through Sept. 2012. The sample period covered all four seasons of the year, so we could determine if the association of Phytophthora species with roots of specific plant species varied with season. Approximately 340 samples from 14 wetland plant species were collected, and 22 isolates of Phytophthora species were recovered. Phytophthora species were typically isolated from plants in channels receiving runoff water directly from plant production areas; Phytophthora species were not detected on plants where water leaves the nursery. No seasonal patterns were observed in plant infestation or presence of species of Phytophthora. In fact, Phytophthora species were rarely found to be associated with the roots of the wetland plants collected; species of Phytophthora were found infesting roots of only 6.5% of the 336 plants sampled. Species of Phytophthora were not found to be associated with the roots of golden canna (Canna flaccida), lamp rush (Juncus effusus var. solutus), duckweed (Lemna valdiviana), or sedges (Carex sp.) during the study period. The exotic invasive plant species marsh dayflower [Murdannia keisak (33% of samples infested)] and alligatorweed [Alternanthera philoxeroides (15% of samples infested)] were found to have the first and third highest, respectively, incidences of infestation, with smooth beggartick (Bidens laevis) having the second highest incidence of samples infested (22%). Management of invasive species in drainage canals and constructed wetland systems may be critical because of their potential propensity toward infestation by Phytophthora species. Plant species recommended for further investigation for use in constructed wetlands to remediate irrigation runoff include golden canna, marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), and broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia). The results from this study provide an important first look at the associations between species of Phytophthora and wetland plants in constructed wetland systems treating irrigation runoff and will serve to further optimize the design of constructed wetlands and other vegetation-based treatment technologies for the removal of plant pathogens from irrigation runoff.

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Julia Charlotte Robinson, Guochen Yang, Sanjun Gu and Zhongge (Cindy) Lu

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.), a medicinal herb commonly used in herbal supplements for the treatment of various ailments, is a perennial herb that grows naturally under shade conditions in temperate forest regions. This project studied the growth and rhizome yield of Black cohosh under shade conditions of 0%, 40%, 60%, and 80% in a high tunnel (9.1 m wide × 29.3 m long) on the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University Farm. Seed rhizomes were planted in raised beds incorporated with 9070 kg/acre compost and preplant fertilizer on 29 May 2016. There was one row per bed, with in-row spacing at 45.7 cm, and one drip line per bed for irrigation. Fertigation was done weekly through the drip tapes with Multi-K 13–0–46 (27.2 kg N/acre) during the growing season. Beds were mulched after sprouting. Growth data of fully mature plants were collected on canopy width and length, total number of stems per plant, stem diameter, and length/height; and rhizome fresh and dry weight. Data were analyzed at the 0.05 level of significance. Plant canopy, stem diameter, and length/height were significantly greater in 40% shade (average, 504.7 × 472.6 mm, 3.7 mm, and 135.9 mm, respectively) than in other shade conditions, with the smallest sizes in 0% shade (average, 255.8 × 255.7 mm, 2.1 mm, and 95.4 mm, respectively). There were no significant differences between the 60% and 80% shade conditions in plant canopy, stem diameter, and length/height. However, the total number of stems per plant (4.9) in 0% shade was significantly more than those in other shade conditions, with the least of stems per plant (2.9) in 80% shade. Rhizome fresh and dry weight per plant were the greatest (164.6 and 48.1 g, respectively) in 40% shade, and the least (77.8 and 22.5 g, respectively) in 0% shade. The results indicate that optimum growing conditions for Black cohosh was in 40% shade with a Daily light integral (DLI) between 15 and 0 mol/m2/day, and a day- and nighttime temperature difference between 8.3 and 2.7 °C.

Open access

Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Diane M. Narem

We tested prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) using six different germination treatments and found the best results with cold (40 °F), dry storage followed by direct seeding into a commercial germination mix placed in a 75 °F glass-glazed greenhouse with intermittent mist (5 seconds of mist every 8 minutes), and 600-W high-pressure sodium lighting with a 16-hour daylength. We found commercial laboratory viability analysis from tetrazolium staining did not correspond to germination results. Cold (34 °F), moist (2.3 g seed moistened with 2.5 mL deionized water) treatment, also known as cold conditioning, produced significantly less germination and fewer transplantable seedlings, and is not recommended for prairie dropseed.

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Karen Mesa, Sara Serra, Andrea Masia, Federico Gagliardi, Daniele Bucci and Stefano Musacchi

Annual accumulation of starch is affected by carbon reserves stored in the organs during the growing season and is controlled mainly by sink strength gradients within the tree. However, unfavorable environmental conditions (e.g., hail events) or application of management practices (e.g., defoliation to enhance overcolor in bicolor apple) could influence the allocation of storage carbohydrates. This preliminary research was conducted to determine the effects of early defoliation on the dry matter, starch, and soluble carbohydrate dynamics in woody organs, roots, and mixed buds classified by age and two levels of crop-load for one growing season in ‘Abbé Fétel’ pear trees (Oct. 2012 to mid-Jan. 2013 in the northern hemisphere). Regardless of the organs evaluated (woody organs, roots, and mixed buds), an increase of soluble carbohydrate concentration was observed in these organs in the period between after harvest (October) and January (dormancy period). Among all organs, woody short-old spurs showed the highest increase (+93.5%) in soluble sugars. With respect to starch, woody organs showed a clear trend of decreasing in concentration between October and January. In this case, short-old spurs showed the smallest decline in starch concentrations, only 6.5%, whereas in other tree organs starch decreased by 34.5%. After harvest (October), leaves showed substantially higher starch and soluble sugar concentrations in trees with lower crop-loads. These results confirm that in the period between October and January, dynamic interconversions between starch and soluble carbohydrates occur at varying magnitudes among organs in pear trees.

Open access

Damon E. Abdi and R. Thomas Fernandez

Ornamental nurseries produce a large number of plants in a concentrated area, and aesthetics are a key component of the product. To produce crops in this manner, high inputs of water, nutrients, and pesticides are typically used. Container nursery production further increases the inputs, especially water, because container substrates are designed to quickly drain, and the most effective method of irrigating large numbers of plants in containers (up to a certain size) is the use of overhead irrigation. Because irrigation and pesticides are broadcast over the crop, and because the crop is limited to the container, a large proportion of water or pesticides may land on nontarget areas, creating runoff contaminant issues. Water is the primary means of pesticide movement in nursery production. This review discusses water and pesticide dynamics and management strategies to conserve water and reduce pesticide and water movement during container nursery production.

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W. Garrett Owen

Calceolaria (Calceolaria ×herbeohybrida) is a flowering potted greenhouse crop that often develops upper-leaf chlorosis, interveinal chlorosis, and marginal and leaf-tip necrosis (death) caused by cultural practices. The objectives of this research were to 1) determine the optimal incorporation rate of dolomitic and/or hydrated lime to increase substrate pH; 2) determine the influence of the liming material on substrate pH, plant growth, and leaf tissue nutrient concentrations; and 3) determine the optimal substrate pH to grow and maintain during calceolaria production. Sphagnum peatmoss was amended with 20% (by volume) perlite and incorporated with pulverized dolomitic carbonate limestone (DL) and/or hydrated limestone (HL) at the following concentrations: 48.1 kg·m−3 or 144.2 kg·m−3 DL, 17.6 kg·m−3 DL + 5.3 kg·m−3 HL, or 17.6 kg·m−3 DL + 10.6 kg·m−3 HL to achieve a target substrate pH of 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, and 7.5, respectively. Calceolaria ‘Orange’, ‘Orange Red Eye’, ‘Yellow’, and ‘Yellow Red Eye’ were grown in each of the prepared substrates. For all cultivars, substrate solution pH increased as limestone incorporation concentration and weeks after transplant (WAT) increased, although to different magnitudes. For example, as limestone incorporation increased from 48.1 kg·m−3 DL to 17.6 kg·m−3 DL + 10.6 kg·m−3 HL, substrate solution pH for ‘Orange’ calceolaria increased from 4.1 to 6.9 to 4.8 to 7.2 at 2 and 6 WAT, respectively. Substrate solution electrical conductivity (EC) and growth indices were not influenced by limestone incorporation, but total plant dry mass increased. Few macronutrients and most micronutrients were influenced by limestone incorporation. Leaf tissue iron concentrations for ‘Orange’, ‘Orange Red Eye’, ‘Yellow’, and ‘Yellow Red Eye’ calceolaria decreased by 146%, 91%, 71%, and 84%, respectively, when plants were grown in substrates incorporated with increasing limestone concentrations from 144.2 kg·m−3 DL to 17.6 kg·m−3 DL + 10.6 kg·m−3 HL (pH 6.5–6.9). Therefore, incorporating 144.2 kg·m−3 DL into peat-based substrates and maintaining a pH <6.5 will avoid high pH–induced Fe deficiency and prevent upper-leaf and interveinal chlorosis.

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Lauren M. Garcia Chance, Joseph P. Albano, Cindy M. Lee, Staci M. Wolfe and Sarah A. White

Floating treatment wetlands (FTWs), a modified constructed wetland technology, can be deployed in ponds for the treatment of nursery and greenhouse irrigation runoff. The pH of nursery and greenhouse operation irrigation water varies from 3.3 to 10.4 across the United States. Water flow rate, plant species selection, and variable nutrient inputs influence the remediation efficacy of FTWs and may interact with the pH of inflow water to change nutrient remediation dynamics. Therefore, an experiment was designed to quantify the effect of pH on the growth and nutrient uptake capacity of three macrophyte species using a mesocosm FTW system. ‘Rising Sun’ japanese iris (Iris ensata), bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), and maidencane (Panicum hemitomon) were grown for two 6-week periods and exposed to five pH treatment levels representing the range of nursery and greenhouse irrigation runoff, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 7.2, and 8.5, for a total of 15 plant and pH combinations. Water was treated with either hydrochloric acid to decrease the pH or sodium hydroxide to increase the pH. The pH-adjusted solutions were mixed with 12 mg·L−1 nitrogen (N) and 6 mg·L−1 phosphorus (P) fertilizer (64.8 g·m−3 N and 32.4 g·m−3 P). Differences in pH impacted both N and P removal from the FTW systems for two of the three species studied, maidencane and bushy bluestem. Higher pH treatments reduced nutrient removal efficacy, but plants were still capable of consistently removing nutrients across all pH treatments. Conversely, ‘Rising Sun’ japanese iris maintained similar remediation efficacies and removal rates across all pH treatments for both N and P, possibly due to the ability to acidify its rhizosphere and modify the pH of the system. Average N and P loads were reduced by 47.3 g·m−3 N (70%) and 16.6 g·m−3 P (56%). ‘Rising Sun’ japanese iris is a promising plant for use in highly variable conditions when the pH of irrigation runoff is outside the typical range (5.5–7.5). Results from model simulations poorly predict the nutrient availability of P and ammonium in effluent, most likely due to the inability to determine plant and biological contributions to the system, such as N-fixing bacteria.