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Andrzej K. Noyszewski, Neil O. Anderson, Alan G. Smith, Andrzej Kilian, Diana Dalbotten, Emi Ito, Anne Timm and Holly Pellerin

In cases where invasive species are presumed to be strictly exotic, the discovery that the species is also native can be disconcerting for researchers and land managers responsible for eradicating an exotic invasive. Such is the case with reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), for which decades of misinformation led to the call for nationwide control of this species in the United States. However, native populations were first reported by LaVoie and then later confirmed by Casler with molecular analyses. This, coupled with the discovery by Anderson that this species has been used in weavings by Native Americans for centuries, also made the native forms of interest for protection. Identifying the native status of historic, herbarium specimens via molecular analyses is of great interest to determine localities of native populations for confirmation with extant specimens. Genetic-based methods describing DNA polymorphism of reed canary grass are not well developed. The goal of the presented research is to assess the utility of genomic DNA obtained from historic (herbaria) and extant (fresh) tissue of reed canarygrass and the application of using Diversity Arrays Technology sequencing low density for genetic population studies.

Open access

Ji Jhong Chen, Yuxiang Wang, Asmita Paudel and Youping Sun

Screening salinity-tolerant plants is usually time intensive and only applicable to a limited number of salinity levels. A near-continuous gradient dosing (NCGD) system allows researchers to evaluate a large number of plants for salinity tolerance with multiple treatments, more flexibility, and reduced efforts of irrigation. Rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), and japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica) were irrigated using an NCGD system with eight electrical conductivity (EC) levels ranging from 0.9 to 6.5 dS·m–1. At 11 weeks after irrigation was initiated, there were no significant differences among EC levels in terms of visual score, growth index [(Height + Width 1 + Width 2)/3], stem diameter, number of inflorescences, and shoot dry weight (DW) of rose of sharon. However, the root DW, relative chlorophyll content (SPAD), and net photosynthesis rate (Pn) of rose of sharon decreased linearly as EC levels increased. Ninebark and japanese spirea had increased foliar salt damage with increasing EC levels. The growth index, stem diameter, number of inflorescences, shoot and root DW, SPAD, and Pn of ninebark decreased linearly as EC levels increased. The growth index and SPAD of japanese spirea decreased quadratically with increasing EC levels, but its stem diameter, number of inflorescences, shoot and root DW, and Pn decreased linearly with increasing EC levels. The salinity threshold (50% loss of shoot DW) was 5.4 and 4.6 dS·m–1, respectively, for ninebark and japanese spirea. We were not able to define the salinity threshold for rose of sharon in this study. However, rose of sharon was the most salinity-tolerant species among the three landscape plants.

Open access

J. Harrison Ferebee IV, Charles W. Cahoon, Michael L. Flessner, David B. Langston, Ramon Arancibia, Thomas E. Hines, Hunter B. Blake and M. Carter Askew

Chemical desiccants are commonly used to regulate tuber size, strengthen skin, and facilitate harvest for potato (Solanum tuberosum) production. Glufosinate is labeled for potato vine desiccation; however, limited data are available. Saflufenacil, a protoporphyrinogen oxidase–inhibiting herbicide, is an effective desiccant in other crops. Field research was conducted to evaluate glufosinate and saflufenacil as desiccants applied to ‘Dark Red Norland’ potato. Desiccants consisted of diquat, glufosinate, saflufenacil, glufosinate plus carfentrazone, and glufosinate plus saflufenacil applied at three timings, DESIC-1, DESIC-2, and DESIC-3, when size B potatoes averaged 43%, 31%, and 17% of total potato weight. Potato vine desiccation was more difficult at DESIC-1 and DESIC-2 because of immature vines. Diquat was the most effective desiccant 7 days after treatment (DAT), desiccating potato vines 88% at DESIC-1 7 DAT. Glufosinate alone desiccated potato vines 65% at the same timing; however, carfentrazone and saflufenacil added to glufosinate increased vine desiccation 8% and 16% compared with glufosinate alone, respectively. Vine desiccation by all treatments ranged 99% to 100% at 14 DAT. Desiccant and timing effects on skin set were determined using a torque meter before harvest. Skin set resulting from all desiccants and timings ranged between 1.88 and 2 lb-inch, and no significant differences were observed. No significant differences in yield were noted among desiccants. This research indicates that glufosinate and saflufenacil are suitable alternatives to diquat for potato vine desiccation; however, safety of saflufenacil applied to potatoes before harvest has not been determined.

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Lance V. Stott, Brent Black and Bruce Bugbee

The Gisela® series of dwarfing rootstock are widely used because they enable high-density production, but they may be sensitive to drought. Drought tolerance may be associated with root-zone distribution and depth or with physiological adaptation to low water potential. Here we describe a novel technique for determining physiological tolerance to drought when root distribution is held constant. In two matching studies, we continuously measured transpiration of two groups of eight trees using a 16-container automated weighing lysimeter system in a greenhouse. With this system, Gisela® 3, 5, and 12 (G.3, G.5, and G.12) rootstocks were subjected to multiple, controlled drought cycles based on reductions in whole-tree transpiration. To provide an equivalent amount of stress for each tree, water was withheld until the daily transpiration rate had decreased to less than 250 g of water transpired per tree per day. Each tree was then drip-irrigated to bring the root-zone back to about field capacity. G.3 and G.12 rootstocks more rapidly recovered to maximum transpiration rates compared with G.5 (an indication of ability to resume normal growth after a drought). At harvest, G.3 and G.12 rootstocks also had greater leaf area and trunk diameter. Both transpiration data and harvest data indicate physiological differences among rootstocks. Because root-zone volume was constant, these differences are not associated with changes in root distribution or depth. These data indicate that G.5 is less adapted for regulated deficit irrigation strategies that include long irrigation intervals.

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Cinthia Nájera and Miguel Urrestarazu

At present, trends exist in the production of food for the benefit of human health. The negative effect of an excessive intake of nitrates accumulated in vegetables is well known, causing worldwide concern. Light plays an important role in the accumulation of this ion. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of light-emitting diode (LED) spectra used in artificial lighting for horticulture on the accumulation of nitrates in leafy and root vegetables compared with the effects with white LED lights. Two independent experiments were carried out in the culture chamber. In Expt. 1, six species of nitrate accumulators were used: arugula, spinach, lettuce, endive, radish, and beetroot. In Expt. 2, four lettuce cultivars were used. In both experiments, the treatments were two spectra—T1 = AP67 Valoya® and the control (T0) = white Roblan®—at two illumination intensities [high (H) and low (L)] with a 16/8-hour (day/night) photoperiod. The fresh biomass and the concentration of nitrates were measured at 35 days of treatment posttransplantation. An important and significant increase of 50% of the mean fresh weight was obtained in all the species when the light intensity increased. Except for spinach in the low-intensity treatment, all nitrate content values were less than the maximum limits of European regulation. The nitrate content generally decreased with increasing intensity, and this benefit was greater in the T1 treatment. T0 showed a reduction in the nitrate content compared with T1 in only one case, which was the H in beetroot. A large and significant reduction was observed in the nitrate content in T1. For L in Expt. 1, the nitrate decrease was 18%, whereas for H, it was 35%. In Expt. 2, the decrease in the nitrate content was 10% for L and 21% for H. A greater benefit was derived when using the photosynthetic spectrum in the growing chambers under low light intensity.

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Michele R. Warmund and Jeanne D. Mihail

Cane dieback and foliar necrosis caused by an unknown pathogen were observed in elderberry (Sambucus nigra subspecies) plantings in early Spring 2016. Studies were conducted to identify the causal organism and determine the effects of infection on vegetative growth and fruiting of selected elderberry cultivars under controlled conditions. A Heterophoma sp. was isolated from symptomatic ‘Ranch’ elderberry canes growing in a commercial planting in Missouri. In the subsequent 2017 experiments, all canes of ‘Bob Gordon’ plants inoculated with this Heterophoma isolate had reduced cane lengths, reduced numbers of leaves and leaflets, and failed to produce fruit. In a study using ‘Scotia’, none of the 32 inoculated canes had symptomatic tissue; but in a subsequent study, one of 16 inoculated canes had slight cane dieback, indicating a potential difference in cultivar susceptibility to the pathogen. In 2018, seven elderberry cultivars (‘Adams II’, ‘Bob Gordon’, ‘Marge’, ‘Ozark’, ‘Scotia’, ‘Wyldewood’, and ‘York’) were inoculated with the same Heterophoma isolate, which was subsequently reisolated from the boundary of symptomatic and asymptomatic tissue, thereby confirming pathogenicity of the fungus. The fungus was tentatively identified as H. novae-verbascicola (Aveskamp, Gruyter & Verkley) Q. Chen & L. Cai based on analysis of genomic DNA from the internal transcribed space (ITS) region. Only two of 16 ‘Scotia’ inoculated canes had cane dieback in 2018, whereas inoculated canes of all other cultivars developed symptoms. Cane and foliar growth of each inoculated cultivar was less than the associated noninoculated control at 14, 30, and 60 days after treatment (DAT). Among inoculated symptomatic plants, ‘Marge’ canes produced more vegetative growth than all other cultivars, and ‘Adams II’, ‘Ozark’, and ‘York’ canes generally produced the fewest number of leaves and leaflets at 60 DAT. Flowering was observed on canes of noninoculated control plants, but not on inoculated symptomatic canes by 60 DAT. Thus, the newly reported cane dieback disease of elderberry, caused by Heterophoma sp., adversely affected plant growth and fruiting of Sambucus nigra subspecies. However, ‘Scotia’ elderberry plants were less susceptible to the fungal infection than other cultivars, indicating that it may be possible to use ‘Scotia’ to develop new elderberry cultivars with improved resistance to infection by Heterophoma.

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Michelle M. Wisdom, Michael D. Richardson, Douglas E. Karcher, Donald C. Steinkraus and Garry V. McDonald

Early-spring flowering bulbs can increase biodiversity while adding color to lawns and other grassy areas. However, few studies have investigated whether bulbs can flower and persist in warm-season lawns or provide feeding habitat for pollinating insects. Thirty early-spring flowering bulbs, including species of Anemone, Chionodoxa, Crocus, Eranthis, Hyacinthus, Ipheion, Iris, Leucojum, Muscari, and Narcissus, were established in bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers) and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) J.T. Columbus] lawns in late autumn 2015 in Fayetteville AR. Bulbs were assessed over three growing seasons for flowering characteristics, persistence, and their ability to attract pollinating insects. A growing degree day model was also developed to predict peak flowering times in our region. Numerous bulb entries produced abundant flowers in bermudagrass and buffalograss lawns in the first year after planting, but persistence and flower production were reduced in both the second and third years of the trial. Five bulbs persisted for multiple years in both turfgrass species and continued to produce flowers, including Crocus flavus Weston ‘Golden Yellow’ (crocus), Leucojum aestivum L. (spring snowflake), Narcissus (daffodil) ‘Baby Moon’, Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’, and Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’. Several bulbs, primarily crocuses and Muscari spp. (grape hyacinth), were also observed to attract pollinating insects, principally honey bees (Apis mellifera). These results demonstrate that some early-spring bulbs can persist in competitive warm-season turfgrasses, while providing pollinator forage, but species and cultivar selection is critical for long-term success.

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Yuxiang Wang, Youping Sun, Genhua Niu, Chaoyi Deng, Yi Wang and Jorge Gardea-Torresdey

Ornamental grasses are commonly used in urban landscapes in Utah and the Intermountain West of the United States. The relative salt tolerance of Eragrostis spectabilis (Pursh) Steud. (purple love grass), Miscanthus sinensis Andersson ‘Gracillimus’ (maiden grass), Panicum virgatum L. ‘Northwind’ (switchgrass), and Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash (little bluestem) were evaluated in a greenhouse. Plants were irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.2 dS·m–1 (control), or saline solution at an EC of 5.0 or 10.0 dS·m–1. At harvest (65 days after the initiation of treatment), P. virgatum and S. scoparium exhibited no foliar salt damage, and E. spectabilis and M. sinensis had minimal foliar salt damage when irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m–1. At an EC of 10.0 dS·m–1, P. virgatum and S. scoparium still had no foliar salt damage, but E. spectabilis and M. sinensis displayed slight foliar salt damage, with visual scores greater than 3 (0 = dead; 5 = excellent). Compared with the control, saline solution at an EC of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m–1 reduced the shoot dry weight of all ornamental grasses by 25% and 46%, respectively. The leaf sodium (Na+) concentration of E. spectabilis, M. sinensis, P. virgatum, and S. scoparium irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m–1 increased 14.3, 52.6, 5.3, and 1.7 times, respectively, and the chloride (Cl) concentration increased by 9.4, 11.1, 2.8, and 2.7 times, respectively. As a result of the salt-induced water deficit, plant height, leaf area, number of inflorescences and tillers, net photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate of four tested ornamental grasses decreased to some extent. Although high Na+ and Cl accumulated in the leaf tissue, all ornamental grass species still had a good visual quality, with average visual scores greater than 3. In conclusion, all ornamental grasses showed a very strong tolerance to the salinity levels used in this research.

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Zhengnan Yan, Dongxian He, Genhua Niu, Qing Zhou and Yinghua Qu

Few researchers examined different red light amounts added in white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with varied daily light integrals (DLIs) for hydroponic lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). In this study, effects of DLI and LED light quality (LQ) on growth, nutritional quality, and energy use efficiency of hydroponic lettuce were investigated in a plant factory with artificial lighting (PFAL). Hydroponic lettuce plants (cv. Ziwei) were grown for 20 days under 20 combinations of five levels of DLIs at 5.04, 7.56, 10.08, 12.60, and 15.12 mol·m−2·d−1 and four LQs: two kinds of white LEDs with red to blue ratio (R:B ratio) of 0.9 and 1.8, and two white LEDs plus red chips with R:B ratio of 2.7 and 3.6, respectively. Results showed that leaf and root weights and power consumption based on fresh and dry weights increased linearly with increasing DLI, and light and electrical energy use efficiency (LUE and EUE) decreased linearly as DLI increased. However, no statistically significant differences were found in leaf fresh and dry weights and nitrate and vitamin C contents between DLI at 12.60 and 15.12 mol·m−2·d−1. Also, no effects of LQ on leaf dry weight of hydroponic lettuce were observed at a DLI of 5.04 mol·m−2·d−1. White plus red LEDs with an R:B ratio of 2.7 resulted in higher leaf fresh weight than the two white LEDs. LUE increased by more than 20% when red light fraction increased from 24.2% to 48.6%. In summary, white plus red LEDs with an R:B ratio of 2.7 at DLI at 12.60 mol·m−2·d−1 were recommended for commercial hydroponic lettuce (cv. Ziwei) production in PFALs.

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Neo Edwin Nyakane, Moosa Mahmood Sedibe and Elisha Markus

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the Ca:Mg ratio, magnetic field (MF), and mycorrhizal amendment on the yield and mineral composition of rose geranium. The experiment was structured as a 3 × 2 factorial experimental design, with three levels of the Ca:Mg ratio (2.40:6.78, 4.31:4.39, and 6.78:2.40 meq·L−1), 6.78 Ca:2.40 Mg meq·L−1 denoted by “High-Ca:Low-Mg,” equal proportion of Ca and Mg (4.31 Ca:4.39 Mg meq·L−1) represented by “EP-Ca:Mg,” and 2.32 Ca:6.38 Mg meq·L−1 denoted by “Low-Ca:High-Mg,” two levels of MF (no MF, denoted by “0 MF,” and 110 mT, denoted by “1 MF”) and split treatments of mycorrhizae (zero mycorrhizae denoted by “0 Myco,” and 20 mL mycorrhizae denoted by “1 Myco”) were used in this study. The results show that the plant height and branch dry mass were significantly (P < 0.05) affected by the Ca:Mg ratio. No significant effect of Ca:Mg ratio, MF, or mycorrhizae on the number of leaves, foliar mass, leaf dry mass, or yield was detected. Phosphorus, K, S, Fe, and B accumulation in the stem were unaffected, as were leaf N, P, K, Ca, S, Fe, B, and Cu. However, some agronomic attributes (plant height, number of branches, root length, and chlorophyll content) and mineral composition (Stem-N) were optimized when the 1 MF exposed nutrient solution was used with about equal proportions of Ca and Mg. This Ca:Mg ratio in the nutrient solution, together with the exposure of rose geranium plants to 1 MF, yielded positive results. The findings of this study can be applied to improve the production of rose geranium by enhancing the growth and mineral concentration of this crop.