The use of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) grafting is gaining traction across the United States, but small-scale growers face the challenge of creating optimum postgrafting healing conditions. The practice of blocking light for a period of 2 to 4 days while maintaining high humidity is commonly recommended for healing grafted tomato transplants; however, research is exploring alternatives to this practice. The present study investigated a low-input healing method for grafted tomato transplants with a specific focus on light and the use of propagation heat mats to regulate substrate and healing chamber air temperatures during the 7-day healing process. We hypothesized that 4 days of light exclusion and the use of propagation heat mats would improve grafted tomato transplant survival and growth. ‘Cherokee Purple’ was used as the scion and ‘RST-04-106-T’ was used as the rootstock. The whole plot factor was heat [propagation mats set at 80 °F (heat) or no propagation mat (no heat)] and the subplot factor was light exclusion (0, 4, or 6 days of dark). The highest survival rate among treatments was 97% in 0 days of dark with no heat treatment; survival decreased to 84% in 4 and 6 days of dark with no heat treatments. The plant survival rate was 96% with 0 days of dark and heat treatment; however, the survival rates were 63% and 45% for the 4- and 6-day dark treatments, respectively. The scion stem diameter was largest for transplants grown in 0 days of dark, but there was no difference in stem diameter due to heat treatments. There were no differences among scion or rootstock biomasses due to heat or light treatments. These results demonstrate that propagation mats set at 80 °F to regulate the substrate temperature were detrimental to grafted transplant survival under extended periods of light exclusion. However, this finding creates the basis to explore lower levels of substrate temperature modification. Our work also indicates that light exclusion may not be necessary for healing grafted tomato plants regardless of root-zone temperature treatments. Future work should examine the interactions of various substrate and air temperatures under full light conditions and their effects on grafted tomato transplant survival and growth. This work contributes to the ongoing research of how to optimize low-input healing methods that may be readily adopted by small-scale tomato growers.
Kristine M. Lang, Ajay Nair, and Alexander G. Litvin
Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Ravi Bika, Christina Jennings, Cristi Palmer, and Terri Simmons
Magnolia trees (Magnolia sp.) are a popular choice for consumers when choosing flowering woody plants for landscapes. Magnolia species grow in a wide variety of both temperate and tropical locations. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is one of the more popular magnolias due to its pleasing aesthetics: large showy flowers in a range of colors and evergreen foliage. However, magnolias can be affected by algal leaf spot. Algal leaf spot is caused by Cephaleuros virescens, which is a widespread plant parasitic green alga. There has been little research on how to treat algal leaf spot on magnolia plants. This study focuses on identifying effective biological- and chemical-based fungicides for the management of algal leaf spot disease of magnolia plants. Two experiments were conducted in a randomized complete block design with six replications per treatment and a total of 12 treatments, including a nontreated control. The first experiment (Expt. 1) was conducted in a shade house (56% shade) at McMinnville, TN, using southern magnolia plants. The second experiment (Expt. 2) was conducted at a commercial nursery in McMinnvillle, TN, in a field plot planted with ‘Jane’ magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ × Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’). The algal leaf spot disease severity, disease progression, plant marketability and growth parameters were evaluated. In both experiments, all treatments reduced algal leaf spot disease severity and disease progress in comparison with the nontreated control. In Expt. 1, copper octanoate, copper oxychloride, chlorothalonil water-dispersible granules, chlorothalonil suspension concentrate, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, hydrogen peroxide + peroxyacetic acid, and mono- and di-potassium salts of phosphorus acid + hydrogen peroxide reduced the disease severity and disease progress the most and were not statistically different from one another. In Expt. 2, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and copper oxychloride significantly reduced disease severity and disease progress (area under disease progress curve). Treatments had no deleterious effect on plant growth parameters such as height and width, and no phytotoxicity of applied treatments or defoliation was observed. Treated magnolia plants had better plant marketability compared with the nontreated control plants. The findings of this study will help growers to achieve better management of algal leaf spot disease on magnolia trees.
Ravi Bika, Cristi Palmer, Lisa Alexander, and Fulya Baysal-Gurel
Botrytis cinerea is one of the problematic and notorious postharvest pathogens of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) cut flowers. It causes flower blight, leaf blight, and stem rot, reducing the ornamental value (such as longevity, color, and texture) of flowers, ultimately making them unsalable. The objective of this study was to identify effective conventional fungicides and biorational products for botrytis blight management on bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers that can be easily and readily adopted by growers of ornamentals. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip treatment applications were used in this study. For the whole-plant spray applications, bigleaf hydrangea plants were sprayed with treatment solution 3 days before harvesting flowers. For the dip applications, cut flowers were dipped in treatment solutions after harvest. For both application types, flowers were inoculated with B. cinerea spores once treatment solutions dried. Flowers were stored in cold storage for 3 days and then displayed in conditions similar to retail stores. Botrytis blight disease severity, marketability of flower (postharvest vase life), phytotoxicity, and application residue were assessed in the study. Treatments showed variable efficacy in managing postharvest B. cinerea infection in bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip applications of isofetamid and fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin significantly reduced the postharvest botrytis blight disease severity and area under disease progress curve (AUDPC) compared with the positive control (nontreated, inoculated with B. cinerea). When applied as a postharvest dip, the fungicide fludioxonil and biofungicide Aureobasidium pullulans strains DSM 14940 and DSM 14941 effectively lowered the disease severity and disease progress (AUDPC). These effective treatments also maintained a significantly longer postharvest vase life of bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers compared with the nontreated, inoculated control. The longer vase life may be attributed to lowered botrytis blight disease severity and the resultant proper physiological functioning of flowers.
Mun Wye Chng and Kimberly A. Moore
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea sp.) plant inflorescence number will vary in response to multiple cues such as changes in temperature, water, light intensity, pruning, and photoperiod. Previous research reports that the application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) to bougainvillea grown under varying photoperiods improved inflorescence number, probably as a result of changes in gibberellic acid (GA) levels. There are many bioactive plant GAs, but we chose to investigate differences in gibberellic acid 3 (GA3) levels and inflorescence number in response to the application of ethephon (2-cholorethylphosponic acid) or abscisic acid (ABA) to ‘Afterglow’ bougainvillea (Bougainvillea ×buttiana) grown under 14-hour photoperiod [long-day (LD)] conditions. Plants were 5 inches tall with seven visible lateral nodes and were grown in a greenhouse in 4-inch pots filled with 5-mm coarse aquarium zeolite. Ethephon was applied as a foliar spray at 0.05, 0.07, 0.10, 0.15, or 0.20 mg/plant. ABA was applied as a soil drench at 1, 1.5, 3, 6, 8, or 10 mg/plant. Endogenous levels of GA3 were measured 1 and 48 days after treatment to calculate the change in GA3 (∆GA3). A short day (SD) control of 8 hours was included to measure differences in inflorescence number and ∆GA3 between photoperiods. ‘Afterglow’ plants grown under SD conditions had the greatest decrease in ∆GA3 (–1.09 µg·g–1) over 48 days and the most inflorescences (10.6) compared with LD control plants with a decrease in ∆GA3 of –0.09 µg·g–1 and fewer inflorescences (1.0). Plants grown under LD conditions and treated with 0.05 mg/plant ethephon had inflorescence numbers (9.6) and levels of ∆GA3 (–0.74 µg·g–1) similar to the SD control. As ethephon rate increased to more than 0.05 mg/plant, inflorescence number on LD plants decreased and ∆GA3 increased. Exogenous ABA rates of 1 mg/plant produced inflorescence numbers (1.4) and ∆GA3 (–0.10 µg·g–1) similar to the LD control. As the rate increased, ∆GA3 increased and inflorescence number decreased. Plants treated with ABA rates of 3 mg/plant and more were defoliated and had no inflorescences.
Rahmatallah Gheshm and Rebecca Nelson Brown
Annually, Americans consume an average of 24.5 lb of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) per capita, more than half of which is head lettuce. This study examined the impacts of using black and white-on-black polyethylene mulches on three crisphead lettuce cultivars for spring production in the open field, with data collected on the soil temperature and lettuce yields. Black polyethylene, white-on-black polyethylene, and bare ground were compared for effects on soil temperature, lettuce yields, and lettuce head height and diameter. Mean soil temperatures at a 5 cm depth were 18.9 °C under black polyethylene, 17.7 °C under white-on-black polyethylene, and 17.1 °C in bare ground plots. Changes in the lettuce canopy size presented a similar trend over the growing season in all treatments. Both mulch type and cultivar significantly (P < 0.01) affected the canopy growth in head lettuce. Lettuce on black polyethylene mulch grew significantly (P < 0.01) faster than lettuce on white-on-black polyethylene or bare ground. However, the black and white-on-black mulches produced similar yields, averaging 5.76 and 5.71 kg·mˉ2, respectively. Meanwhile, bare ground plot yields were significantly (P < 0.01) lower at 4.57 kg·mˉ2. Cultivar rank order was consistent across treatments, and Crispino and Garmsir at 5.82 and 5.47 kg·mˉ2 fresh weight had significantly higher yields than Nevada at 4.75 kg·mˉ2 (P < 0.01).
Elisa Solis-Toapanta, Paul R. Fisher, and Celina Gómez
Interest in hydroponic home gardening has increased in recent years. However, research is lacking on minimum inputs required to consistently produce fresh produce using small-scale hydroponic systems for noncommercial purposes. Our objectives were to 1) evaluate the effect of biweekly nutrient solution replacements (W) vs. biweekly fertilizer addition without a nutrient solution replacement (W/O) on final growth, yield, and nutrient uptake of hydroponic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants grown in a greenhouse, and 2) characterize growth over time in a greenhouse or an indoor environment using W. For each environment, ‘Bush Goliath’ tomato plants were grown for 12 weeks in 6.5-gal hydroponic systems. The experiment was replicated twice over time. In the greenhouse, plants were exposed to the following day/night temperature, relative humidity (RH), and daily light integral (DLI) in 2018 (mean ± SD): 31 ± 6/22 ± 2 °C, 67% ± 8%, and 32.4 ± 7 mol·m‒2·d‒1; and in 2019: 28 ± 6/22 ± 3 °C, 68% ± 5%, and 27.7 ± 6 mol·m‒2·d‒1. For both experimental runs indoors, the day/night temperature, RH, and DLI were 21 ± 2 °C, 60% ± 4%, and 20 ± 2 mol·m‒2·d‒1 provided by broadband white light-emitting diode lamps. The W/O treatment resulted in a higher-than-desired electrical conductivity (EC) and total nutrient concentration by the end of the experiment. In addition, compared with the W treatment, W/O resulted in less leaf area, more shoot growth, less water uptake, and similar fruit number—but increased blossom-end-rot incidence, delayed fruit ripening, and lower fruit fresh weight. Nonetheless, the final concentration of all nutrients was almost completely depleted at week 12 under W, suggesting that the applied fertilizer concentration could be increased as fruiting occurs. Surprisingly, shoot biomass, leaf area, and leaf number followed a linear trend over time in both environments. Nonetheless, given the higher DLI and temperature, greenhouse-grown plants produced 4 to 5 kg more of fruit than those grown indoors, but fruit from plants grown indoors were unaffected by blossom-end-rot. Our findings indicate that recommendations for nutrient solution management strategies should consider specific crop needs, growing environments, and production goals by home gardeners.
Soon Li Teh, Lisa Brutcher, Bonnie Schonberg, and Kate Evans
Fruit texture is a major target of apple (Malus domestica) breeding programs due to its influence on consumer preference. This multitrait feature is typically rated using sensory assessment, which is subjective and prone to biases. Instrumental measurements have predominantly targeted firmness of the outer region of fruit cortex using industry standard Magness–Taylor-type penetrometers, while other metrics remain largely unused. Additionally, there have been limited reports on correlating sensory attributes with instrumental metrics on many diverse apple selections. This report is the first to correlate multiyear historical fruit texture information of instrumental metrics and sensory assessment in an apple breeding program. Through 11 years of routine fruit quality evaluation at the Washington State University apple breeding program, physical textural data of 84,552 fruit acquired from computerized penetrometers were correlated with sensory assessment. Correlations among various instrumental metrics are high (0.63 ≤ r ≤ 1.00; P < 0.0001). In correlating instrumental outputs with sensory data, there is a significant correlation (r = 0.43; P < 0.0001) between the instrumental crispness value and sensory crispness. Additionally, instrumental hardness traits are significantly correlated (0.61 ≤ r ≤ 0.69; P < 0.0001) with sensory hardness. Outputs from two versions of computerized penetrometers were tested and shown to have no statistical differences. Overall, this report demonstrates potential use of instrumental metrics as firmness and crispness estimates for selecting apples of diverse backgrounds in a breeding program. However, in testing a large number and diversity of fruit, experimenters should perform data curation and account for lower limits/thresholds of the instrument.
Esther McGinnis, Alicia Rihn, Natalie Bumgarner, Sarada Krishnan, Jourdan Cole, Casey Sclar, and Hayk Khachatryan
The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, is the largest demographic age group in the United States. This generation of plant enthusiasts has experienced financial setbacks; nevertheless, they collectively wield immense economic power. In 2018, this generation made one-quarter of all horticulture purchases. Consumer horticulture (CH) is challenged to develop targeted programming and outreach methods to connect with this influential and information-hungry generation. To examine the possibilities, the CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group held a workshop on 23 July 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) annual conference. The workshop first actively engaged participants to build points of connection by discussing nontraditional terminology that resonates with younger audiences. Suggested terminology included plant parent, plant enthusiast, plant babies, apartment-friendly, sustainable, and urban agriculture. After the opening discussion, three presentations explored innovative content, marketing and outreach in the areas of social media, retail promotions, and public gardens. The social media presentation focused on building a two-way partnership with millennials on Instagram that emphasized shared values of sustainability, local foods, and wellness. During the second presentation, the speaker highlighted retail point-of-sale promotions that appeal to younger audiences. The final presentation described creative programming used by botanical gardens to engage younger visitors. A facilitated discussion followed the presentations to identify and evaluate techniques and content that could be incorporated into CH research, teaching, and extension to reach and interact with new millennial audiences. Based on the workshop presentations and the facilitated discussions, the ASHS CH and Master Gardener Professional Interest Group concluded that more CH professionals should engage in social media outreach tailored to the needs and preferences of younger generations. To support this valuable outreach, research of consumer behavior and retail marketing should be encouraged to identify the preferred terminology and subject matter that appeal to millennials. Finally, CH can learn from and partner with public gardens as they implement multidisciplinary programming and exhibitions.
Scott Neil White and Linshan Zhang
Hair fescue (Festuca filiformis) is a tuft-forming perennial grass that reduces yields in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) fields. Nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications suppress hair fescue, but there is interest in increasing suppression through foramsulfuron use in conjunction with fall-applied herbicides. The objective of this research was to determine the main and interactive effects of fall-bearing year herbicide applications and spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications on hair fescue. The experiment was a 5 × 2 factorial arrangement of fall-bearing year herbicide (none, terbacil, pronamide, glufosinate, dichlobenil) and spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron application (0, 35 g·ha−1) arranged in a randomized complete block design at lowbush blueberry fields in Portapique and Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, Canada. Spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications did not reduce total tuft density or consistently reduce flowering tuft density, flowering tuft inflorescence number, or flowering tuft seed production. Fall-bearing year pronamide applications reduced hair fescue density for the 2-year production cycle, although additional bearing year density reductions occurred when pronamide was followed by spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications at Stewiacke. Fall-bearing year dichlobenil applications reduced total and flowering tuft density at each site, although reductions in flowering tuft inflorescence number and seed production were most consistent when followed by spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications at Stewiacke. Suppression extended into the bearing year at each site, and dichlobenil should be examined further for hair fescue control. Fall-bearing year glufosinate applications reduced hair fescue total tuft density at each site and flowering tuft density and flowering tuft seed production at Stewiacke. Fall-bearing year glufosinate applications followed by spring-nonbearing year foramsulfuron applications also reduced nonbearing year flowering tuft inflorescence number and bearing year hair fescue seedling density at Stewiacke, indicating that this treatment may reduce hair fescue seedling recruitment at some sites. Fall-bearing year terbacil applications did not suppress hair fescue and are not recommended for hair fescue management in lowbush blueberry.
Paweł Petelewicz, Paweł M. Orliński, Marco Schiavon, Manuel Mundo-Ocampo, J. Ole Becker, and James H. Baird
Golf courses in coastal regions of northern California are often faced with severe injury caused by pacific shoot-gall nematodes (Anguina pacificae) on their annual bluegrass (Poa annua) host in putting greens. For years, fenamiphos was used for mitigating disease outbreaks until its registration was withdrawn in 2008. An alternative product containing azadirachtin was intended for nematode suppression. Still, it required repeated applications throughout the year with questionable efficacy, making attempts to lessen the impact of the pathogen costly. This study evaluated fluopyram as a novel nematicide for control of pacific shoot-gall disease. Various application frequencies and rates were tested at several golf courses affected by the nematode. Results revealed that fluopyram applied once at 0.22 lb/acre reduced the number of new shoot-galls and improved annual bluegrass appearance for several months. Increased rates and application frequency occasionally improved the efficacy further. Although the visual quality of turf treated with this plant protection compound was tremendously enhanced, and the number of new shoot-galls was reduced, rarely a significant effect was observed on the population density of several soil-dwelling plant-parasitic nematodes, including pacific shoot-gall nematode. It is hypothesized that fluopyram did not move significantly past the thatch layer and into the soil. However, it effectively reduced the ability of pacific shoot-gall nematode juveniles to induce new shoot galls. Due to its long half-life, it likely protected against both new nematode infections and dissemination of pacific shoot-gall nematode when the shoot-galls decomposed.