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Open access

Kim S. Lewers and John M. Enns

Open access

Sarada Krishnan, Heather Kirk-Ballard, Esther McGinnis, and Lauren Garcia Chance

The retail gardening industry in the United States is expected to reach $50 billion by 2023, and it is a significant driver of the agricultural economy. To meet the corresponding demand for information, consumer horticulture (CH) professionals will need to develop innovative digital outreach, research-based solutions, a concerted recruitment of youth, and enhanced collaborations. To understand the current gaps in CH research and the extent of the involvement of public gardens in CH, surveys were conducted among the two groups, CH/extension researchers and staff of public gardens. The results of the surveys were presented at the virtual conference of the American Society for Horticultural Science on 12 Aug. 2020 during a workshop hosted by the Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group. The workshop included four presentations, and two of those are discussed in this paper: 1) research gaps in CH and 2) bridging the divide between CH and public gardens. Among researchers, even though there was a general understanding of CH, there was a disconnect in participants’ perceptions of the roles of CH in the economy and recreation. The greatest knowledge gap was in basic horticultural practices. Regarding public garden professionals, there needs to be a concerted effort to educate them about CH so they can provide a consistent message to their audiences and the general public.

Open access

Michael Alden and James E. Faust

The effect of night length (NL) on the flower development of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) ‘Prestige Red’ was evaluated. Flower initiation occurred by subjecting plants to a 14-hour NL for 10 or 17 days, termed short-day (SD) treatments, and then transferring the plants to each of four NL treatments (11, 12, 13, or 14 hours) to observe the effects of NL on flower development. The plants grown continuously with the 14-h NL treatment were the control group. The timing of first color, visible bud, and anthesis were recorded during flower development, and bract and leaf data were collected at anthesis. Leaf number was unaffected by the SD or NL treatments, suggesting that flower initiation occurred during the 10-day SD treatment before the start of NL treatments; thus, the NL treatments only affected flower development. The timing of first color and visible bud were significantly delayed with the 10-day SD × 11-hour NL treatment relative to the 14-hour NL control; however, first color and visible bud were not delayed with the 17-day SD × 11-hour NL treatment. The 11-hour NL treatment resulted in fewer plants reaching anthesis, and these plants had fewer stem bracts and less bract color development compared with the 12-hour, 13-hour, and 14-hour NL treatments. Therefore, an 11-hour NL is suboptimal for flower development; nonetheless, significant development did occur. The 12-hour NL resulted in less color development than the 13-hour and 14-hour NL treatments in the lowest stem bract positions, but the plants had a commercially acceptable appearance. These results demonstrate that minimal differences in flower development occur with NL ≥12 hours, but that optimal development required NL ≥13 hours.

Open access

Juan Yang, Fengyi Li, Sheng Zhou, Lijuan Fan, and Ling Wang

Open access

Osama Mohawesh, Ammar Albalasmeh, Sanjit Deb, Sukhbir Singh, Catherine Simpson, Nour AlKafaween, and Atif Mahadeen

Colored shading nets have been increasingly studied in semi-arid crop production systems, primarily because of their ability to reduce solar radiation with the attendant reductions in air, plant, and soil temperatures. However, there is a paucity of research concerning the impact of colored shading nets on various crops grown under semi-arid environments, particularly the sweet pepper (Capsicum annum) production system. This study aimed to investigate the effects of three colored shading net treatments (i.e., white, green, and black shading nets with 50% shading intensity and control with unshaded conditions) on the growth and instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE) of sweet pepper. The results showed that all colored shading nets exhibited significantly lower daytime air temperatures and light intensity (22 to 28 °C and 9992 lx, respectively) compared with the control (32 to 37 °C and 24,973 lx, respectively). There were significant differences in sweet pepper growth performance among treatments, including plant height, shoot dry weight, leaf area, leaf chlorophyll content, and vitamin C in ripened fruit. The enhanced photosynthetic rates were observed in sweet pepper plants under the colored shading nets compared with control plants. WUE increased among the colored shading net treatments in the following order: control ≤ white < black < green. Overall, the application of green and black shading nets to sweet pepper production systems under semi-arid environments significantly enhanced plant growth responses and WUE.

Open access

Bin Wu, Runshi Xie, Gary W. Knox, Hongmin Qin, and Mengmeng Gu

Crapemyrtle bark scale [CMBS (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae)], a newly emerged pest in the United States, has spread to 16 U.S. states and unexpectedly spread on a native species american beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) in Texas and Louisiana in 2016 since it was initially reported on crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia sp.) in Texas in 2004. The infestation of CMBS negatively impacted the flowering of crapemyrtles. We observed the infestation on the two most commercially available edible fig (Ficus carica) cultivars Beer’s Black and Chicago Hardy in a preliminary trial in 2018. To help estimate CMBS potential in aggravating risks to the ecosystem stability and the green industry, we conducted a host range and suitability test using ‘Bok Tower’ american beautyberry as a positive control with other eight beautyberry (Callicarpa) species [mexican beautyberry (C. acuminata), ‘Profusion’ bodinieri beautyberry (C. bodinieri), ‘Issai’ purple beautyberry (C. dichotoma), japanese beautyberry (C. japonica var. luxurians), ‘Alba’ white-fruited asian beautyberry (C. longissima), taiwan beautyberry (C. pilosissima), luanta beautyberry (C. randaiensis), and willow-leaf beautyberry (C. salicifolia)] and three fig (Ficus) species [creeping fig (F. pumila), roxburgh fig (F. auriculata), and waipahu fig (F. tikoua)] over 25 weeks. All the tested beautyberry species and waipahu fig sustainably supported the development and reproduction of nymphal CMBS and were confirmed as CMBS hosts. Furthermore, comparing with the control, mexican beautyberry, ‘Profusion’ bodinieri beautyberry, taiwan beautyberry, and willow-leaf beautyberry were significantly less suitable, while ‘Issai’ purple beautyberry, japanese beautyberry, ‘Alba’ white-fruited asian beautyberry, and luanta beautyberry were as suitable as ‘Bok Tower’ american beautyberry. Thus, when using beautyberries in landscapes, their different potential to host CMBS should be considered to minimize spreading CMBS through the native ecosystems.

Open access

Ravneet K. Sandhu, Laura E. Reuss, and Nathan S. Boyd

Sulfentrazone was recently registered for use in tomato and strawberry in Florida. Field experiments were conducted at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma, FL, to evaluate PRE sulfentrazone applications when applied on flat soil 30 days before bed formation (PRE-f), on the bed top immediately before laying plastic mulch (PRE-t), applied PRE-t as a tank mix with other PRE herbicides, or PRE-t followed by POST halosulfuron or rimusulfuron (POST). Sulfentrazone did not damage the tomato and strawberry crop and had no effect on strawberry and tomato fruit yield. It was as effective as the industry standards but none of the evaluated herbicide treatments provided adequate weed control. POST halosulfuron in tomato resulted in significantly greater nutsedge control at 11 (14%) and 13 (27%) weeks after initial treatment (WAIT) compared with other treatments in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, respectively. However, in tomato, tank-mixing sulfentrazone with S-metolachlor or metribuzin did not enhance nutsedge control. Weed control did not improve with increased rates or with the use of PRE-f followed by (fb) PRE-t applications in tomato. PRE-t sulfentrazone fb POST halosulfuron was an efficient nutsedge management option in tomato. Sulfentrazone alone did not effectively control weeds in tomato or strawberry. Increased rates of sulfentrazone with the use of PRE-f fb PRE-t sulfentrazone applications did reduce (34%) total weed density in strawberry.

Open access

Elizabeth A. Perkus, Julie M. Grossman, Anne Pfeiffer, Mary A. Rogers, and Carl J. Rosen

High tunnels are an important season extension tool for horticultural production in cold climates, however maintaining soil health in these intensively managed spaces is challenging. Cover crops are an attractive management tool to address issues such as decreased organic matter, degraded soil structure, increased salinity, and high nitrogen needs. We explored the effect of winter cover crops on soil nutrients, soil health and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) crop yield in high tunnels for 2 years in three locations across Minnesota. Cover crop treatments included red clover (Trifolium pratense) monoculture, Austrian winter pea/winter rye biculture (Pisum sativum/Secale cereale), hairy vetch/winter rye/tillage radish (Vicia villosa/S. cereale/Raphanus sativus) polyculture, and a bare-ground, weeded control. Cover crop treatments were seeded in two planting date treatments: early planted treatments were seeded into a standing bell pepper crop in late Aug/early September and late planted treatments were seeded after bell peppers were removed in mid-September At termination time in early May, all cover crops had successfully overwintered and produced biomass in three Minnesota locations except for Austrian winter pea at the coldest location, zone 3b. Data collected include cover crop and weed biomass, biomass carbon and nitrogen, extractable soil nitrogen, potentially mineralizable nitrogen, microbial biomass carbon, permanganate oxidizable carbon, soil pH, soluble salts (EC), and pepper yield. Despite poor legume performance, increases in extractable soil nitrogen and potentially mineralizable nitrogen in the weeks following cover crop residue incorporation were observed. Biomass nitrogen contributions averaged 100 kg·ha−1 N with an observed high of 365 kg·ha−1 N. Cover crops also reduced extractable soil N in a spring sampling relative to the bare ground control, suggesting provision of nitrogen retention ecosystem services.

Open access

Rachel A. Itle, Eileen A. Kabelka, and James W. Olmstead

Carotenoids serve as protective antioxidants, and function in normal vision, bone growth, cell division and differentiation, and reproduction. Winter squash (Cucurbita spp.) is an excellent dietary source of carotenoids. The range of colors from yellow to red in Cucurbita species indicates that increasing carotenoid levels through plant breeding is possible. The objective of this research was to determine the heritability of flesh color in winter squash in both Cucurbita moschata Duchesne and Cucurbita pepo L. Segregating families representing F2, BC1P1 and BC1P2 populations were created in two families of C. pepo (‘Table Gold Acorn’ × PI 314806 and ‘Table King Bush’ × PI 314806) and one family of C. moschata (‘Butterbush’ × ‘Sucrine DuBerry’). Broad-sense heritabilities were calculated for the F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2 populations within each of the three families. Heritabilities ranged from 0.19 to 0.82 for L*, 0.28 to 0.97 for chroma, and 0.12 to 0.87 for hue across all families. Transgressive segregation for color space values L* was identified in the ‘Table King Bush’ × PI 314806 C. pepo population. Our results indicate that it is possible to breed for improved flesh color in Cucurbita, but the population size and number of test locations for evaluation need to be increased to provide better heritability estimates. Cucurbita species are grown throughout the world and their availability and low price makes them an important potential source of carotenoids for human nutrition and health for all ages.

Open access

Kelly M. Gude, Eleni D. Pliakoni, Brianna Cunningham, Kanwal Ayub, Qing Kang, Channa B. Rajashekar, and Cary L. Rivard

The implementation of high tunnels has shown to increase marketability and/or yield of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa) crops compared with open-field systems. These structures provide the opportunity to alter light intensity and spectral quality by using specific polyethylene (poly) films and/or shadecloth, which may affect microclimate and subsequent crop productivity. However, little is known about how specific high tunnel coverings affect these parameters. The overall goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of various high tunnel coverings on the microclimate and crop productivity of tomato and lettuce. The coverings included standard, ultraviolet (UV)-stabilized poly film (standard); diffuse poly (diffuse); full-spectrum clear poly (clear); UV-A/B blocking poly (block); standard + 55% shadecloth (shade); and removal of standard poly 2 weeks before initial harvest to simulate a movable tunnel (movable). Microclimate parameters that were observed included canopy and soil temperatures, canopy growing degree-days (GDD), and photosynthetic active radiation (PAR), and crop productivity included yield and net photosynthetic rate. Hybrid red ‘BHN 589’ tomatoes were grown during the summer, and red ‘New Red Fire’ and green ‘Two Star’ leaf lettuce were grown in both spring and fall in 2017 and 2018. Increased temperature, GDD, and PAR were observed during the spring and summer compared with the fall. The soil temperatures during the summer increased more under the clear covering compared with the others. For tomato, the shade produced lower total fruit yield and net photosynthetic rate (Pn) compared with the other treatments, which were similar (P < 0.001 and <0.001, respectively). The greatest yield was 7.39 kg/plant, which was produced under the clear covering. For red leaf lettuce grown in the spring, the plants under the clear, standard, and diffuse coverings had significantly greater yield than the movable and shade coverings (P < 0.001). The coverings had less effect on the yield during the fall lettuce trials, which may have been attributed to the decrease in PAR and environmental temperatures. The findings of this study suggest that high tunnel coverings affect both microclimate and yield of lettuce and tomato.