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Promalin (Valent BioSciences, Libertyville, IL, USA) is a proprietary mixture of gibberellin A4 + 7 and 6-benzyladenine that is widely used in apple production to improve the fruit shape, size, and skin quality. Promalin typically increases fruit size and length. However, the increased growth likely increases the strain in the fruit skin, which may exacerbate microcracking of the cuticle and, consequently, russeting. This study aimed to monitor the growth-stimulating effect of Promalin in three different regions of fruits and investigate whether Promalin affects cuticular microcracking via effects on the deposition of cuticular components or via the accumulation of strain in the cuticle. Four Promalin sprays (20 mg⋅L 1) were applied to runoff; the first was applied at full bloom, and the remaining sprays were applied at approximately weekly intervals thereafter. Fruit surface areas and fruit surface area growth rates of the Promalin-treated fruits were higher than those of the untreated control fruits. Promalin increased the fruit length, but it had no effect on the fruit equatorial diameter. In Promalin-treated fruits, the base of each sepal extended, thickened, and became fleshy as early as 15 days after full bloom (DAFB). Allometric growth analyses revealed higher constant differential growth ratios of the pedicel and calyx length (before 36 DAFB) in Promalin-treated fruits than in control fruits. After 36 DAFB, the difference in constant differential growth ratios between Promalin-treated fruits and control fruits decreased. Cuticle mass per unit area increased with time in all regions of the fruit surface and was slightly (+3.3%) but significantly higher in fruits treated with Promalin than in control fruits. Additionally, the biaxial strain release was slightly and significantly lower in Promalin-treated fruits than in control fruits. When the isolated, cuticle was ablated from the inner surface and dewaxed, strain relaxation in the control fruits was higher than that in the Promalin-treated fruits. It was concluded that Promalin treatment increases the length of the fruit by increasing the lengths of the pedicel and calyx regions early during fruit development. Promalin only slightly increased cuticle deposition and fixation of cuticular strain. Promalin had no effects on microcracking or russeting.

Open Access

Whitefly-transmitted viruses have emerged as a major threat to cucurbit production in the United States during the past several decades. Cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV), Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV), and Cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) are the main arthropod-borne plant viruses in cucurbit crops, including yellow squash (Cucurbita pepo). Symptoms of these viruses include interveinal chlorosis, chlorotic spots, yellowing, and curling of the leaves. The evaluation of specific viruses affecting a plant is challenging because of the prevalence of mixed infections in naturally infected fields. To devise an efficient breeding-based management approach, two PI lines (PI 171625 and PI 171627) were screened in a greenhouse to assess their resistance to individual infections of CCYV and CuLCrV. These lines were compared against a susceptible cultivar Gentry in two separate trials. PI 171627 displayed delayed symptoms, a reduced virus load, and a smaller area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) compared with PI 171625 and susceptible cultivar Gentry when the plants were infected with CCYV. However, the AUDPC for CuLCrV was the same for both genotypes and the commercial line. Accession PI 171627, which displayed delayed and milder symptoms, could potentially provide a source for resistance against CCYV for breeding program. Future research is needed to comprehend the underlaying mechanism to understand this response.

Open Access

We analyzed the floral morphology and nectar production of several cultivars and species of Monarda representing five cultivars and four species grown in Georgia Piedmont and Montane regions. Over the course of two seasons, we detected significant differences among the samples in terms of inflorescence size, petal lobe and corolla widths and lengths, and total sugar content. M. didyma had larger glomerules, longer corollas and petal lobes, and higher nectar volume and total sugar content per flower. M. fistulosa and M. punctata had smaller glomerules, corolla and petal lobe lengths, and total sugar content per flower. Petal lobe and corolla length strongly correlated with sucrose and nectar production. Combined with data on horticultural performance, these results could be valuable in informing breeding goals for conservation-oriented landscape plants.

Open Access

Rapid leaching of soluble nitrogen (N) sources in soil poses a significant challenge in agricultural practices. Therefore, gaining a comprehensive understanding of crop responses to slow-release N application rates has become crucial to contributing valuable insights to optimize N management strategies in agriculture. A field study was conducted to investigate the influence of preplant calcium cyanamide fertilizer on the growth, yield, quality, and shelf life of short-day onion. Six levels of calcium cyanamide (CaCN2, 19.8% N), 0, 90, 120, 200, 400, and 600 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2, which are equivalent to 0, 17.82, 23.76, 39.6, 79.2, and 118.8 kg⋅ha−1 N, respectively, replicated four times were broadcasted and incorporated into the top 5 to 10 cm of soil. Using 400 kg⋅ha−1 of CaCN2 yielded noteworthy improvements in various parameters of onion growth, such as plant height, leaf count, bulb weight per plant, bulb diameter, bulb length, and overall plant weight, as indicated by the study results. The application of different levels of CaCN2 as an N source exerted a significant influence on these growth factors. Moreover, the study revealed a direct correlation between CaCN2 application levels and the storage life of onions. Specifically, the findings demonstrated that the application of 400 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2 resulted in enhanced yield and overall onion plant growth. However, the application of 600 kg⋅ha−1 CaCN2 increased the incidences of bulb weight loss, rots, and sprouting during the 8-week storage period at room temperature. These findings provide valuable insights for onion investors and farmers in the region and offer practical recommendations for optimizing fertilizer use and storage practices to improve onion production and minimize postharvest losses.

Open Access

Both natural turfgrass and synthetic turf fields have distinct advantages and disadvantages and present unique challenges. The challenges evolve over time because of climate change, players’ ever-changing needs, and the development of technologies. It is imperative to identify these challenges and devise effective solutions to overcome them. We conducted a survey of 97 administrators and managers from various organizations in the United States who were responsible for managing community sports fields. Our findings identified budget constraints as the biggest challenge for natural turfgrass field management, followed by issues related to use/scheduling and weather/climate. For synthetic turf field management, the top three challenges included budget constraints, use/scheduling, and other challenges (mainly safety issues). Additionally, administrators and managers consistently indicated increased funding as a solution for addressing challenges of both natural turfgrass and synthetic turf field management. We discuss the implications of these findings and provide potential ways to address these challenges.

Open Access

Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia) is an important potted flowering plant or bedding plant widely used in tropical and subtropical regions. However, most Angelonia cultivars have relatively small flowers and demonstrate limited drought tolerance in root-restricted environments such as small containers. Polyploid plants often exhibit larger flowers and enhanced drought tolerance. In this study, Angelonia ‘Serena White’ seeds and ‘Serena Purple’ seedlings were treated with 0.1% and 0.2% colchicine to induce polyploid lines, respectively. The resulting tetraploids had larger pollen and flowers, along with thicker, greener leaves distinguished by serrated edges, longer stomata, and lower stomatal density compared with diploid ‘Serena White’ and ‘Serena Purple’ plants. Both diploid and tetraploid plants subjected to a 20% volumetric water content (VWC) treatment exhibited smaller leaves, higher SPAD-502 readings, and a decreased number of flowers compared with those subjected to 40% VWC treatment. Moreover, tetraploids had higher photosynthetic rates than diploids under both 20% and 40% VWC conditions. When grown in 0.8-L containers, tetraploid plants required fewer watering events and had thicker, erect stems with larger flowers than diploids, even under a 20% VWC treatment. Colchicine-induced polyploidization presents a promising method to potentially enhance drought tolerance in angelonia.

Open Access

Based on the International Camellia Register (ICR), an analysis of 1616 cultivars of Sasanqua that were registered in 2022 and earlier was conducted. This analysis focused on the resource and biological characteristics of the cultivars. Additionally, a trait diversity analysis, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis of 118 cultivars that had complete morphological records were performed. The findings revealed a rich diversity of Sasanqua cultivars, with Japan, the United States, and Australia being the main sources. The primary flower color was red, followed by multiple colors, white, and rare colors. The predominant flower forms were single-petal and semi-double-petal, with a limited number of formal double-petal forms. Elliptical leaf shapes were the most common, and the predominant leaf colors were green and deep green. The flowering period mainly corresponded to early flowering cultivars. The phenotypic diversity index (H) of the 118 cultivars ranged from 0.31 to 1.84. The flower diameter exhibited the highest H value (1.84), whereas leaf shape had the lowest H value (0.31). The coefficient of variation (CV) ranged from 21.67% to 71.81%, with the flower diameter having the smallest CV (21.67%) and petal number having the largest CV (71.81%). The first three principal components, which accounted for a cumulative contribution rate of 62.49%, effectively represented most of the information regarding the seven trait indicators of the different cultivars. Furthermore, a cluster analysis was conducted based on the flower form, diameter, petal numbers, and other characteristics of the various cultivars. The 118 cultivars were divided into three groups. The first group could be used for breeding single-petal flower cultivars, whereas the third group exhibited a larger number of petals and could be used for breeding double-petal flower cultivars.

Open Access

There is a growing trend toward planting native and pollinator-friendly plants in residential gardens and landscapes due to concerns about invasive plant species, water conservation, and urban land management. Yet, understanding consumer purchase behavior and how knowledge affects their purchase intent is largely unknown. In this analysis, we integrated national online and in-person surveys to determine the influence of consumers’ subjective and objective knowledge of native and pollinator-friendly ornamental plants on their purchase decisions. Factors influencing plant purchase decisions were measured using a 7-point Likert rating scale. We found that participants with relatively higher knowledge of native and pollinator-attractive plants placed more emphasis on sustainable production methods relative to the plant’s physical attributes (e.g., plant size, shape, etc.) and care-related characteristics (e.g., plant health, easiness of care, etc.). Plant lovers (i.e., frequent purchasers who spent relatively more money on plants than infrequent purchasers) were more likely to prioritize sustainable production methods over the plants’ physical attributes. In contrast, participants primarily buying plants from mass merchandisers/box stores tend to focus on visual appeal or aesthetic characteristics. Consumer marketing implications for the nursery and greenhouse industry stakeholders are discussed.

Open Access