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Open access

Jennifer L. Parke, Neelam R. Redekar, Joyce L. Eberhart and Fumiaki Funahashi

Phytophthora species cause crop losses and reduce the quality of greenhouse and nursery plants. Phytophthora species can also be moved long distances by the plant trade, potentially spreading diseases to new hosts and habitats. Phytosanitary approaches based on quarantines and endpoint inspections have reduced, but not eliminated, the spread of Phytophthora species from nurseries. It is therefore important for plant production facilities to identify potential sources of contamination and to take corrective measures to prevent disease. We applied a systems approach to identify sources of contamination in three container nurseries in Oregon, California, and South Carolina. Surface water sources and recaptured runoff water were contaminated with plant pathogenic species at all three nurseries, but one nursery implemented an effective disinfestation treatment for recycled irrigation water. Other sources of contamination included cull piles and compost that were incorporated into potting media, infested soil and gravel beds, used containers, and plant returns. Management recommendations include preventing contact between containers and contaminated ground, improving drainage, pasteurizing potting media ingredients, steaming used containers, and quarantine and testing of incoming plants for Phytophthora species. These case studies illustrate how recycled irrigation water can contribute to the spread of waterborne pathogens and highlight the need to implement nursery management practices to reduce disease risk.

Open access

Shital Poudyal and Bert M. Cregg

Interest in capturing and reusing runoff from irrigation and rainfall in container nurseries is increasing due to water scarcity and water use regulations. However, grower concerns related to contaminants in runoff water and other issues related to water safety are potential barriers to the adoption of water capture and reuse technologies. In this review, we discuss some of the key concerns associated with potential phytotoxicity from irrigating container nursery crops with recycled runoff. The concentration of pesticides in runoff water and retention ponds is orders of magnitude lower than that of typical crop application rates; therefore, the risk of pesticide phytotoxicity from irrigation with runoff water is relatively low. Nonetheless, some pesticides, particularly certain herbicides and insecticides, can potentially affect crops due to prolonged chronic exposure. Pesticides with high solubility, low organic adsorption coefficients, and long persistence have the greatest potential for crop impact because they are the most likely to be transported with runoff from container pads. The potential impact on plant growth or disruption of physiological processes differs among pesticides and sensitivity of individual crop plants. Growers can reduce risks associated with residual pesticides in recycled irrigation water by adopting best management practices (e.g., managing irrigation to reduce pesticide runoff, reducing pots spacing during pesticide application, use of vegetative filter strips) that reduce the contaminant load reaching containment basins as well as adopting remediation strategies that can reduce pesticide concentrations in recycled water.

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.

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.

Open access

Joshua Knight, Dewayne L. Ingram and Charles R. Hall

The understanding, calculation, and comparison of water footprint (WF) among specialty crop growers are confounded by geography, species, and process. This study builds on published models of representative plant production systems developed using life cycle assessment. These models include container production using recycled water in the mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and Pacific northwestern regions of the United States and greenhouse production implementing rainfall capture and overhead and ebb/flood irrigation strategies. Production systems using recycled water compare favorably in consumptive water use (CWU) with those that do not, regardless of the water source. Production systems in geographic locations with high water availability compare favorably with production systems in locations with high water scarcity in WF, but not necessarily CWU.

Open access

Rachel Mack, James S. Owen Jr., Alex X. Niemiera and David J. Sample

Nursery and greenhouse growers use a variety of practices known as best management practices (BMPs) to reduce sediment, nutrient, and water losses from production beds and to improve efficiency. Although these BMPs are almost universally recommended in guidance manuals, or required by regulation in limited instances, little information is available that links specific BMPs to the scientific literature that supports their use and quantifies their effectiveness. A previous survey identified the most widely used water management, runoff, and fertilizer-related BMPs by Virginia nursery and greenhouse operators. Applicable literature was reviewed herein and assessed for factors that influence the efficacy of selected BMPs and metrics of BMP effectiveness, such as reduced water use and fertilizers to reduce sediment, nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) loads in runoff. BMPs investigated included vegetative zones (VZs), irrigation management strategies, and controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs). Use of vegetative buffers decreased average runoff N 41%, P 67%, and total suspended solids 91%. Nitrogen, P, and sediment removal efficacy increased with vegetative buffer width. Changes in production practices increased water application efficiency >20% and decreased leachate or runoff volume >40%, reducing average N and P loss by 28% and 14%, respectively. By linking BMPs to scientific articles and reports, individual BMPs can be validated and are thus legitimized from the perspective of growers and environmental regulators. With current and impending water use and runoff regulations, validating the use and performance of these BMPs could lead to increased adoption, helping growers to receive credit for actions that have been or will be taken, thus minimizing water use, nutrient loss, and potential pollution from nursery and greenhouse production sites.

Open access

Amalie B. Kurzer, Rose Bechtel and Jean-Xavier Guinard

To identify factors that may reduce mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and orange (Citrus sinensis) consumer acceptance and to acquire information on current consumer thoughts and perceptions, a series of eight focus groups were held in a college town in northern California: four with children and four with adults. Adults mentioned cost proportionately more (P ≤ 0.05) often than children, as well as farm to fork, purchasing preferences, and seasonality. Children mentioned eating preferences, social use, and healthiness more often (P ≤ 0.05). Flavor and taste were important to both age groups, as well as ease of peeling. Both ages viewed oranges as slightly too large and messier than mandarins. Adults felt frustration that oranges and mandarins lack flavor and that quality is not consistent. Many indicated they would be willing to pay more for consistent quality. Children reported relying on availability, appearance, and the basic tastes to guide their choices and did not express a clear preference between mandarins and oranges. Development of a fruit intermediate in size between an orange and a mandarin, either a small orange or a large mandarin, would potentially satisfy an untapped area of the market. Other potential areas of consumer interest are in fruits with edible peels, like kumquats (Citrus japonica) and in more unique, identifiable varieties such as Cara Cara oranges.

Restricted access

Peng Shi, Yong Wang, Dapeng Zhang, Yin Min Htwe and Leonard Osayande Ihase

Fruit oil content (FOC) is one of the most important commercial traits in oil palm; however, extensive study on related traits is still limited. The present study was conducted to analyze the relationship between FOC and fruit-related traits, as well as to predict the oil palm germplasm for potential improvement. In this study, a total of 11 traits, including fruit bunch number (FBN), average fruit weight (AFW), mesocarp-to-fruit ratio (M/F), kernel-to-fruit ratio (K/F), shell-to-fruit ratio (S/F), average fruit length (AFL), average fruit width (AFWD), average shell thickness (AST), mesocarp oil content (MOC), kernel oil content (KOC), and FOC were analyzed in 39 germplasms collected from seven different countries in Asia and Africa. Different statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate the relationship between FOC and fruit-related traits. Correlation analysis showed that FOC was positively and significantly correlated with M/F, MOC, and KOC, whereas negatively and significantly correlated with S/F and AST. Likewise, path analysis indicated that M/F and MOC have high positive direct effect on FOC, whereas S/F and AST have high negative direct and indirect effects on FOC. Furthermore, regression analysis showed significant correlation between predicted and observed FOC. In conclusion, FOC was mainly determined by M/F, MOC, S/F, and AST, and the FOC prediction in this study was reliable for germplasm evaluation. In addition, G39 (Tenera) and G2 (Parthenocarpy) have the highest FOC with 58.62% and 57.68%, respectively, indicating that they might be potential candidates for FOC improvement. These results could be applicable to oil palm breeding programs.

Open access

Thomas O. Green, Alexandra Kravchenko, John N. Rogers III and Joseph M. Vargas Jr.

A major concern with many creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting greens is annual bluegrass (Poa annua) invasion. The study was designed to garner data regarding the depth of soil removal needed to reduce annual bluegrass seedling emergence in a newly renovated putting green. Research was conducted in different seasons (summer and fall) to evaluate seedling emergence across five soil removal depths in four sampling sites. Cores were collected from four golf courses in southeastern Michigan, subdivided into different soil removal depths, potted in sterile soil media, and established in a growth chamber. Results suggest that excavating soil to a depth of 1.0 inch or, more prudently, to a 1.5-inch depth could minimize annual bluegrass competition in a creeping bentgrass putting green. Annual bluegrass emergence was observed to be greatest in the upper soil depths (0.5–1.5 inches) in both seasons, with minimal emergence (<1.1 plant/0.2 ft2) below the 2.0-inch soil removal depth treatment.