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Open access

Ronald S. Revord, J. Michael Nave, Ronald S. Revord, J. Michael Nave, Gregory Miller, Nicholas Meier, J. Bryan Webber, Michael A. Gold, and Tom Wahl

The Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima Blume) and other Castanea species (Castanea spp. Mill.) have been imported and circulated among growers and scientists in the United States for more than a century. Initially, importations of C. mollissima after 1914 were motivated by efforts to restore the American chestnut [Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.], with interests in timber-type characters and chestnut blight resistance. Chestnut for orchard nut production spun off from these early works. Starting in the early 20th century, open-pollinated seeds from seedlings of Chinese chestnut and other Castanea species were distributed widely to interested growers throughout much of the eastern United States to plant and evaluate. Germplasm curation and sharing increased quite robustly through grower networks over the 20th century and continues today. More than 100 cultivars have been named in the United States, although a smaller subset remains relevant for commercial production and breeding. The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry curates and maintains a repository of more than 60 cultivars, and open-pollinated seed from this collection has been provided to growers since 2008. Currently, more than 1000 farms cultivate seedlings or grafted trees of the cultivars in this collection, and interest in participatory on-farm research is high. Here, we report descriptions of 57 of the collection’s cultivars as a comprehensive, readily accessible resource to support continued participatory research.

Open access

Rachel Leisso, Bridgid Jarrett, and Zachariah Miller

Haskap (Lonicera caerulea), also known as honeyberry, is a relatively new fruit crop in North America. To date, most academic activity and research in North America involving haskap has focused on cultivar development and health benefits, with relatively few field experiments providing information to guide field planning and harvest management for the recently released cultivars. In 2020, we documented preharvest fruit drop (PHFD) rates for 15 haskap cultivars planted in a randomized block design at our research center in western Montana with the aim of preliminarily determining whether certain cultivars may be prone to this phenomenon. Additionally, we evaluated two plant growth regulators (PGRs) to reduce PHFD in two cultivars previously observed to have high rates of PHFD. Results suggest cultivar-specific variations in PHFD near berry maturation. Because haskap harvest indices are not well-defined and may be cultivar-specific, we share our 1-year study results as preliminary information and as a call for further research. Cultivars Aurora, Boreal Blizzard, Borealis, Indigo Gem, Kapu, and Tana all had PHFD rates less than 12% of yield, where yield is the weight of berries lost to PHFD plus marketable yield and marketable yield is fruit remaining on the shrub at harvest. Cultivars Chito, Kawai, and Taka had the highest rates of PHFD, although marketable yields were still relatively high, especially for Kawai. We note that ease of fruit detachment is an important consideration in mechanical harvest, and this characteristic could be advantageous if managed appropriately. The PGRs evaluated (1-napthaleneacetic acid and aminoethoxyvinylglycine) did not influence PHFD rates; however, our study was limited by the sample size and by the lack of information regarding haskap abscission physiology. In summary, the haskap cultivars evaluated exhibited variable PHFD rates in the year of the study, and further research is needed to understand haskap fruit maturation, harvest indices, and abscission.

Open access

Dalyn McCauley, Alexander Levin, and Lloyd Nackley

This study reviews how mini-lysimeters have been used effectively to optimize irrigation control in container horticulture production. Lysimeters are devices that measure evapotranspiration (ET) from the water balance of a fixed soil volume. The primary components of lysimeter-controlled irrigation are load cell sensors, a multiplexer, a data logger, a controller, and solenoid valves. The two common mini-lysimeter systems are platform lysimeters and suspension lysimeters. In these systems, a bending-beam single-point load cell is fastened between two plates, and a container is placed directly on the top platform. Platform lysimeters are commonly used for smaller pot sizes, and suspension lysimeters have been used for large shade trees up to 2.8 m tall and weighing 225 kg. Mini-lysimeters have been used for decades to calibrate ET models and create on-demand irrigation control programs that replenish plant daily water use or maintain deficit conditions. Research has demonstrated that lysimeter-based irrigation can respond more effectively to seasonal and diurnal variations in water demand, increasing irrigation cycles when evaporative demand is high, and decreasing irrigation cycles when demand is low. A strength of these systems is that for containerized plants, such as nursery production systems, mini-lysimeters capture whole-plant water use, which presents a more holistic measure compared with soil moisture sensors or leaf moisture sensors.

Open access

Arthur Villordon and Jeffrey C. Gregorie

The primary objective of this work was to generate species-specific information about root architectural adaptation to variation in boron (B) availability at the onset of storage root formation among three sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] cultivars (Beauregard = BX; Murasaki = MU; Okinawa = OK). Three B levels were used: 0B (B was omitted in the nutrient solution, substrate B = 0.1 mg·kg−1), 1XB (sufficient B; 0.5 mg·kg−1), and 2XB (high B; 1 mg·kg−1). The check cultivar BX showed evidence of storage root formation at 15 days in 0B and 1XB, whereas cultivars MU and OK failed to show evidence of root swelling. The 1XB and 2XB levels were associated with 736% and 2269% increase in leaf tissue B in BX, respectively, relative to plants grown in 0B. Similar magnitudes of increase were observed in MU and OK cultivars. There were no differences in adventitious root (AR) count within cultivars but OK showed 25% fewer AR numbers relative to BX across all B levels. 0B was associated with 20% and 48% reduction in main root length in BX and OK, respectively, relative to plants grown in 1XB and 2XB. 2XB was associated with a 10% increase in main root length in MU relative to plants grown in 0B and 1XB. 0B was associated with reduced lateral root length in all cultivars but the magnitude of responses varied with cultivars. These data corroborate findings in model systems and well-studied crop species that B deficiency is associated with reduced root growth. These data can be used to further understand the role of cultivar-specific responses to variation in B availability in sweetpotato.

Open access

Ricardo Goenaga, Brian Irish, and Angel Marrero

Banana (Musa acuminata AAA) is the most exported fruit worldwide and represents a major source of revenue for Central American and South American countries as well as the Caribbean region, among others. Black leaf streak disease (BLSD) or black sigatoka, caused by Pseudocercospora fijiensis (formerly Mycosphaerella fijiensis), is responsible for significant losses to this crop due to the high susceptibility of the most economically important cultivars. BLSD does not immediately kill banana plants, but it causes severe leaf necrosis that results in reduced photosynthetic area, thereby adversely impacting bunch weight and fruit production. Without cultural and chemical control, yields can be reduced by 20% to 80%, depending on severity. This study evaluated ‘FHIA-17’, a BLSD-resistant synthetic hybrid (AAAA), against ‘Grand Nain’, a standard commercial cultivar with no BLSD tolerance, at two locations in Puerto Rico on Ultisol (Corozal site) and Oxisol (Isabela site) soils where BLSD was not managed. Significantly lower bunch yield (45,990 kg·ha−1) and significantly fewer fruit (220,671 fruit/ha) were obtained at Corozal than at Isabela (53,755 kg·ha−1; 380,241 fruit/ha). Lower production at Corozal was the result of higher severity of BLSD at this location than at Isabela and to soil factors interfering with optimum nutrient uptake. Average fruit production of ‘FHIA-17’ was significantly higher than that of ‘Grand Nain’ at both locations, with bunch yields of 68,105 and 72, 634 kg·ha−1 at Corozal and Isabela, respectively. Fruit of the third-upper hand was significantly longer for ‘FHIA-17’ at Corozal but not different at Isabela; however, ‘FHIA-17’ fruit in this hand were of significantly greater diameter. Fruit in the last hand of ‘FHIA-17’ were significantly longer than in ‘Grand Nain’ at Corozal, but of significantly greater diameter at both locations. At both locations, the mean fruit weight was significantly higher in ‘FHIA-17’ than in ‘Grand Nain’. The number of functional leaves present at flowering and at harvest was significantly higher in ‘FHIA-17’ than in ‘Grand Nain’ at both locations, indicating more availability of photosynthetic area in ‘FHIA-17’ during the fruit-filling period. The harvest cycle of ‘FHIA-17’ was significantly longer than for ‘Grand Nain’. It took 315 and 204 more days in Corozal and Isabela, respectively, to harvest three cycles (mother crop and two ratoon crops) of ‘FHIA-17’ than for ‘Grand Nain’. No significant differences were found for starch and soluble sugars in green unripe or fully mature fruit among cultivars. In this long-term study, ‘FHIA-17’ showed to have good production and resistance against BLSD and is a viable alternative to current commercial cultivars. Its relative advantage of reduced production costs by not needing fungicide applications should be weighed against its longer harvest cycle to produce a fruit bunch.

Open access

Andrey Vega-Alfaro, Carlos Ramírez-Vargas, Germán Chávez, Fernando Lacayo, Paul C. Bethke, and James Nienhuis

The production of sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) is often constrained in tropical environments by susceptibility to persistent soil-borne diseases, including bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum). However, the production of sweet peppers in high tunnels using sterile soilless media irrigated with nutrient solution offers the potential to reduce the incidence of bacterial wilt. An additional strategy for disease management is the use of sweet pepper scions grafted onto rootstocks that are resistant to soil-borne pathogens. Two sweet pepper cultivars grown extensively in the tropics, Nathalie and 4212, were used as scions and grafted onto the habanero pepper cultivar Habanero TEC (Capsicum chinense) and the aji pepper cultivar Baccatum TEC (Capsicum baccatum). Two cultivars related to the two rootstocks were prescreened for susceptibility to two virulent strains of bacterial wilt. Graft combinations were grown in two environments, a high tunnel with automatic nutrient solution irrigation of containers filled with sterile coconut fiber and an open field with known high levels of bacterial wilt inoculum. Self-grafted and nongrafted plants of scions were included as checks. The disease susceptibility screening showed that the area under the disease progress curve was consistently low for ‘Habanero TEC’ and ‘Baccatum TEC’ when inoculated with two virulent strains of bacterial wilt, suggesting that habanero pepper cultivars and, to a lesser degree, aji pepper cultivars may be useful as rootstocks in soils with bacterial wilt inoculum. Significant increases in yield, fruit number, and reduced time to flowering were observed in the high tunnel compared with the open-field environment. Individual fruit weight was reduced in the high tunnel compared with the field. Yield, fruit number, fruit weight, and time to flowering were consistent between scions regardless of rootstock. No differences were observed for yield, fruit number, fruit weight, or time to flowering of self-grafted and nongrafted scion checks. In the high tunnel, yield was higher in scions grafted onto ‘Habanero TEC’ compared with self-grafted and nongrafted checks. In the open field, yield and fruit number were highest on scions grafted onto ‘Habanero TEC’. Regardless of graft treatment, high-tunnel production in tropical environments can result in significant increases in yield and fruit number compared with open-field production. No advantage of grafted plants was observed in the high-tunnel production environment. In contrast, in the open-field environment, grafting sweet pepper scions onto pungent habanero rootstocks resulted in a significant increase in yield, fruit number, and fruit size compared with self-grafted and nongrafted checks. The increase was likely attributable to the resistance of habanero pepper cultivars to soil-borne diseases, including bacterial wilt.

Open access

Samantha R. Nobes, Karen L. Panter, and Randa Jabbour

The objective of this study was to determine best production practices for five different specialty cut flower species at an altitude of 7200 ft. Region-specific information about cut flower production is important because of unique environmental conditions. We grew five specialty cut flower species in two different growing environments: a greenhouse and a high tunnel. Flowers were grown year-round in the greenhouse and during late spring through fall in the high tunnels. We also used pinching as another production method for the potential increase in branching. The goals were to test the effects of species, growing environment, and pinching on the days from sowing to harvest, stem length, number of stems cut per plant, and marketable yield. Experiments were conducted at the University of Wyoming Laramie Research and Extension Center in Laramie, WY, to assess the potential for producing specialty cut flowers for local consumption. The species used in this study included ‘Princess Golden’ pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), ‘Lucinda Mix’ stock (Matthiola incana), ‘Double Mix’ strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum), ‘Dara’ ornamental carrot (Daucus carota), and ‘Celway Mix’ cockscomb (Celosia argentea). Results showed significant species × environment and season interactions, indicating the importance of species and production practice selections. We successfully sold the cut flowers to the university student farm for community-supported agriculture shares and farm market sales, as well as to a local florist for use in floral arrangements. This study concluded that careful species selection for season and growing environment is essential for the successful integration of these niche cut flowers into current or future greenhouse and high-tunnel production in Wyoming.

Open access

Huihui Zhang, Ping Yu, Min Song, Dalu Li, Qianqian Sheng, Fuliang Cao, and Zunling Zhu

Ginkgo biloba, a relict plant, has been popularized and planted in most areas of China for its leaves, timber, and fruits. In the present study, the dynamic changes in leaf color, leaf pigment content during the color change period, and photosynthetic characteristics in different growth periods were studied to explore the coloring mechanism and adaptability of five late-deciduous superior Beijing G. biloba cultivars (LD1–LD5). The results showed that the leaf color change of each superior cultivar was relatively stable, and the discoloration period of LD3 and LD5 was later than that of others. From September to November, the chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and total chlorophyll content in all superior cultivars showed a downward trend, except in LD3, in which the pigment content was slightly higher in October than in September. Except in LD3 and LD4, the ratio of carotene content to total chlorophyll content in other cultivars slightly decreased in October. In May, the photosynthetic capacity of LD5 was stronger than that of other cultivars. The photosynthetic capacity of LD3 was strong in July and October. Our results imply that LD3 and LD5 are suitable for mixed planting with common G. biloba to increase the overall leaf color viewing period. Ginkgo biloba leaves turn yellow in autumn because of both a decrease in the chlorophyll content after leaf senescence and an increase in the Car content during leaf senescence. Although LD5 presented rapid seedling emergence, LD3 grew faster during the vigorous and late growth stages and is thus suitable for agricultural production.

Open access

Haoran Fu, Qingxu Ma, Zhengbo Ma, Yingzhao Hu, Fan Liu, Kaijun Chen, Wankun Pan, Sheng Tang, Xin Zhang, and Lianghuan Wu

Pear (Pyrus spp.) is the third-largest economic crop in China after apples (Malus pumila Mill.) and citrus (Citrus reticulata Blanco), and it is mainly cultivated by smallholders. Currently, the yield of Chinese pear ranks midlevel globally, with only 17.9 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1, which is lower than that of the United States (36.0 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1). However, the factors limiting pear production dominated by smallholders are unclear. We interviewed 75 smallholders about 18 yield-related indicators for pear-typical planting areas. The boundary line model was used to analyze the contribution of internal factors and dominant external factors affecting yield and to simulate strategies for increasing yield through the scenario analysis. The results showed that the average gap between the average and highest attainable yields for smallholders was 10.5 t⋅ha−1⋅year−1 in Luniao County. Among individual yield-limiting factors, chemical fertilizer nitrogen (N) input (13.3%) was the most significant, followed by the soil-available N content (12.0%) and leaf magnesium content (12.0%). Overall, the contribution of all soil factors (42.7%) was the largest compared with the other factor categories. However, the contribution of internal factors could not be ignored and accounted for 25.3% of the total. A scenario analysis showed that comprehensive strategies considering soil, management, and internal factors achieved the largest yield improvement (14%), as did reducing the fertilizer application rate (66%) compared with only using soil or leaf diagnosis methods. Therefore, integrated methods should be considered when developing pear orchard management measures and include soil, management, and internal factors.

Open access

Gunbharpur Singh Gill and Juang Horng Chong

Management of sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), one of the most economically important pests of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), relies heavily on neonicotinoid insecticides. Growers are seeking insecticide alternatives to neonicotinoids due to market demands. Although several systemic and translaminar insecticides have been suggested as alternatives to neonicotinoids, no published study has simultaneously compared their efficacies against sweetpotato whiteflies. This study compared the efficacies of 10 systemic and translaminar alternative insecticides with those of two systemic neonicotinoids, when all products were applied as foliar spray (twice at 14 d) or substrate drench (once) against sweetpotato whiteflies on poinsettia plants. Sweetpotato whitefly nymph and adult densities were examined 2 weeks before the first application (pretreatment), and weekly after the application for 8 weeks. Results showed that insecticides varied greatly in their efficacy, particularly against adults, and that spray application provided more effective suppression of nymphs than drench application. Spray and drench applications of imidacloprid and dinotefuran were consistently the most effective against sweetpotato whitefly nymphs and adults. Among the neonicotinoid alternatives, cyantraniliprole was the most effective insecticide in reducing sweetpotato whitefly nymph densities by both spray and drench application methods, with efficacy comparable to those of imidacloprid and dinotefuran. Although less effective than cyantraniliprole, foliar sprays of afidopyropen, chloratraniliprole, cyclaniliprole, flonicamid, flupyradifurone, pyrifluquinazon, spirotetramat, and sulfoxaflor + spinetoram were also effective against nymphs and could serve as partners in an insecticide rotation program.