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Open access

Bryan J. Peterson, Gregory J.R. Melcher, Ailish K. Scott, Rebecca A. Tkacs and Andrew J. Chase

Sweetgale (Myrica gale), rhodora (Rhododendron canadense), and catberry (Ilex mucronata) are shrubs of eastern North America that may have potential for broader use in horticultural landscapes. Because information on their vegetative propagation is scarce, we conducted experiments over 2 years to evaluate the effects of cutting collection date, wounding, substrate composition, and the concentration of applied potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) on rooting of each species. In 2015, we collected cuttings of each species on three dates to obtain both softwood and semihardwood cuttings. Cuttings were unwounded or wounded with a razor blade, and treated by dipping into water containing K-IBA at concentrations ranging from 0 to 15,000 mg·L−1, after which they were inserted into a substrate of 3:1 perlite:peat (by volume) and placed under intermittent mist. In 2016, semihardwood cuttings of each species were all wounded, treated with K-IBA from 0 to 15,000 mg·L−1, and inserted into substrates of 100%, 75%, or 50% perlite, with the remaining volume occupied by peat. In both years, the greatest percentage of sweetgale cuttings rooted when no K-IBA was applied. K-IBA application also reduced root ratings, root dry weights, and root lengths of sweetgale. For rhodora and catberry, maximal responses for all measures of rooting occurred when 5000 to 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA was applied. We recommend that growers use no exogenous auxin to propagate sweetgale, and 5000 to 10,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA to propagate rhodora and catberry. Cuttings of all three species can be collected from softwood or semihardwood shoots. Finally, sweetgale can be rooted in perlite alone, whereas rhodora and catberry required the addition of peatmoss for satisfactory root development.

Open access

Katherine Bennett, Jared Jent, Uttara C. Samarakoon, Guido Schnabel and James E. Faust

Botrytis blight on petunia flowers causes significant losses in the postharvest environment. Infection occurs during greenhouse production, and symptoms are expressed during transport. This phenomenon is termed petunia flower meltdown because of the rapid collapse of flower petal tissue as the plants are transported from the production greenhouse to the retail store. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of calcium (Ca) spray applications on botrytis blight severity in petunia flowers. For the first experiment, petunia ‘Pretty Grand Red’ plants were sprayed twice per week for 2 weeks with calcium chloride (CaCl2) at rates of 0, 400, 800, and 1200 mg·L−1 Ca. A fungicide (cyprodinil, 37.5%; fludioxonil, 25%) was used as an additional control treatment. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, freshly opened flowers were harvested, placed into a humidity chamber with 99% relative humidity, and inoculated with a Botrytis cinerea spore suspension (1 × 104 conidia/mL). Disease progression was recorded every 12 hours for 72 hours. The results showed a 96% reduction in botrytis blight severity as Ca concentration increased from 0 to 1200 mg·L−1 Ca. The Ca treatments provided better disease control than the fungicide treatment because of the fungicide resistance of the isolate used in the study. A second experiment was performed to determine whether the beneficial response to CaCl2 application was influenced by chlorine (Cl) or the electrical conductivity (EC) of the spray solutions, and no significant responses were observed. These studies prove Ca is the sole source of the reduction in botrytis blight severity following treatment with CaCl2 sprays, and demonstrate the benefit of using Ca as a tool for the management of botrytis blight on petunia flowers.

Open access

Ruying Wang, James W. Hempfling, Bruce B. Clarke and James A. Murphy

Sand size can affect the ability to incorporate topdressing into the turf canopy and thatch on golf course putting greens; unincorporated sand interferes with mowing and play. This 3-year field trial was initiated to determine the effects of sand size on sand incorporation, surface wetness, and anthracnose (caused by Colletotrichum cereale Manns sensu lato Crouch, Clarke, and Hillman) of annual bluegrass [Poa annua L. f. reptans (Hausskn) T. Koyama] maintained as a putting green. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications; treatments included a non-topdressed control and three topdressing sands (medium-coarse, medium, or medium-fine) applied every 2 weeks at 0.15 L·m−2 during the summer. Topdressing with medium-coarse sand was more difficult to incorporate than the medium and medium-fine sands, resulting in a greater quantity of sand collected with mower clippings. Analyzing the particle distribution of sand removed by mowing confirmed that coarser sand particles were more likely to be removed in mower clippings. Surface wetness measured as volumetric water content (VWC) at the 0- to 38-mm depth zone was greater in non-topdressed plots than topdressed plots on 35% of observations. Few differences in VWC were found among sand size treatments. Turf responses to topdressing were not immediate; however, as sand accumulated in the turf canopy, topdressed plots typically had lower anthracnose severity than non-topdressed turf after the first year. Additionally, topdressing with medium and medium-fine sands produced similar or occasionally lower disease severity than topdressing with medium-coarse sand. The lack of negative effects of medium and medium-fine sands combined with better incorporation after topdressing and less disruption to the putting surface should allow golf course superintendents to apply topdressing at frequencies and/or quantities needed during the summer to maintain high-quality turf and playing conditions.

Open access

Roland Ebel, Esmaeil Fallahi, John L. Griffis Jr., Dilip Nandwani, Donielle Nolan, Ross H. Penhallegon and Mary Rogers

Urban horticulture describes economically viable horticultural production activities conducted in a city or suburb. It is a growing segment of horticulture in the United States as well as in developing countries, where the enormous growth of megalopolis is not backed by a simultaneous increase of farmland or agricultural productivity. Today, urban horticulture includes food sovereignty in underprivileged neighborhoods, increased availability of vegetables and fruits in big cities, healthy and diverse diets, improved food safety, low transportation costs, efficient resource use, and the mitigation of environmental impacts of horticultural production such as the emission of greenhouse gases. The workshop “Urban horticulture: From local initiatives to global success stories,” held at the 2018 American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) conference in Washington, DC, featured present and historical success stories of urban horticulture from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States.

Open access

Gerardo H. Nunez

Hands-on activities enhance learning and increase student satisfaction in horticulture courses. Nevertheless, hands-on activities can have widely different impacts on student learning. To achieve and maintain educational quality, instructors need to evaluate and improve activities. This research used text mining and sentiment analysis to gauge student sentiments about hands-on activities in a protected agriculture course. Students participated in five hands-on activities and submitted short reflective essays about them. Essay texts were separated into single-word (unigram) or three-word (trigram) objects. Unigrams were compared with general-use emotion lexica to extract student sentiments from the texts. Trigrams were used to assess essay content. All activities elicited positive sentiments among students. Trust, anticipation, and joy were the most prominent emotions identified. The activity focused on freeze protection was preferred over the other activities. Although other activities were also well received, they should be refined for future offerings. The presented method could be used to assess hands-on activities, leading to continuous improvement and successful implementation of experiential learning in horticulture courses.

Open access

Isaac T. Mertz, Nick E. Christians and Adam W. Thoms

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine (L), isoleucine (IL), and valine (V) are synthesized in plants and are essential to growth in most organisms. These compounds can be absorbed by the plant when foliarly applied, but plant catabolism of BCAA is not completely understood. A recent study observed that BCAA applied in a 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 ratio (L:IL:V) increased creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) shoot density compared with applications of equal urea nitrogen (N) at 3.03 lb/acre N. The present study investigated whether those increases could translate to a quicker establishment rate of creeping bentgrass grown from seed in standard greenhouse pots. The BCAA applications were compared with equal N applications using urea and a commercially available amino acid product. All N treatments were applied at 3.03 lb/acre N, per application and applied a total of four times on a 14-day interval starting 14 days after seeding. Measurements included final shoot density counts and root and shoot weights, as well as digital image analysis of percent green cover for each greenhouse pot every 7 days. No differences were observed after 70 days in shoot weight, or percent green cover between BCAA treatments and urea; however, BCAA 2:1:1 and 4:1:1 increased shoot density 21% and 30%, respectively, compared with urea, and were equal to the commercially available amino acid product. Applications of BCAA 4:1:1 also increased creeping bentgrass rooting weight by a factor of 7 compared with urea N.

Open access

Ting Zhou, Hao Jiang, Wangxiang Zhang, Donglin Zhang, Junjun Fan, Quanquan Zhang, Guibin Wang and Fuliang Cao

Open access

Liming Chen, Matthew Wallhead, Michael Reding, Leona Horst and Heping Zhu

Laser-guided variable-rate intelligent spray technology is designed to significantly reduce pesticide use with a positive impact on the environment. However, there have been no reports on applying this technology to commercial fruit farms. Comparative experiments of intelligent variable-rate and conventional constant-rate spray applications for pesticide use and pest control were conducted at a fruit farm in Ohio during two consecutive growing seasons. Apple (Malus pumila), peach (Prunus persica), blueberry (Vaccinium section Cyanococcus), and black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) were used for the tests. Pest severity of codling moth (Cydia pomonella), oriental fruit moth (Grapholitha molesta), scab (Venturia inaequalis), and powdery mildew (Podosphaera leucotricha) in apple; oriental fruit moth, brown rot (Monilinia fructicola), and powdery mildew (Podosphaera pannosa) in peach; spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), mummy berry (Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi), and phomopsis (Phomopsis vaccinii) in blueberry; and anthracnose (Elsinoe veneta) in black raspberry were assessed. There was equal severity of pests between intelligent and conventional spray applications, whereas the intelligent spray reduced pesticide use by 58.7%, 30.6%, 47.9%, and 52.5% on average for apple, peach, blueberry, and black raspberry, respectively. These results illustrate that intelligent spray technology is more environmentally friendly than conventional standard spray technology and equally or more effective for control of insect and disease pests in fruit production.

Open access

Zhibin Fan, Kai Zhang, Fengyun Wang, Xiaodan Zhao, Ruiqin Bai and Boling Liu

Salvia miltiorrhiza, known as danshen, is one of most valued medicinal plants in China. Although it has been cultivated since ancient times, an optimal culture system needs to be standardized for this important species. Here, we explored the phytochemical properties of S. miltiorrhiza with the treatments of rare earth elements (REEs) to develop an optimal tissue culture system. Four-week-old in vitro-grown S. miltiorrhiza plantlets were used as explants. The experiment was conducted in a randomized block design on a Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing 0.2 mg·L−1 naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) to induce rooting at four different concentrations (50, 100, 200, and 300 μM) of REEs such as cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), or praseodymium (Pr), respectively. Compared with all REEs at different concentrations, 100 μM Pr induced greater root length than Ce or La at any concentrations. Concomitantly, 0.38 μg tanshinone IIA/mg dry weight (DW) was observed, which was 54.84% higher than in the control. Similarly, chlorophyll content, antioxidant enzyme activity, and secondary metabolite were enhanced in rooting medium supplemented with 100 μM Pr. Therefore, this study showed that 100 μM Pr is an adequate concentration in the optimal culture system for promoting plant growth as well as enhancing secondary metabolite content in S. miltiorrhiza.

Open access

Jasmine Jenji Mah, David Llewellyn and Youbin Zheng

One principle for reducing undesirable stem extension in greenhouse production is to counteract the decrease in red-to-far red ratio that occurs naturally during twilight periods. This study evaluated three lighting treatments on the morphology of easter lily (Lilium longiflorum): 1) a 1-hour end-of-day treatment providing 20 μmol·m−2·s−1 of monochromatic red light (EOD R), 2) blackout curtains closed 45 to 75 minutes before sunset and kept closed until 0 to 60 minutes after sunrise (BO), and 3) a control with natural twilight (CTRL). Plants under the BO treatment were 11% shorter than CTRL, while plants exposed to EOD R did not differ in height compared with BO or CTRL. There were no treatment effects on any other measured parameters, including aspects of flowering.