Ian K. Atkins and Jennifer K. Boldt
Supplemental lighting, temperature control, and CO2 enrichment can improve the productivity of greenhouse crops, but operating costs for greenhouse control systems to maintain environmental parameters at desired setpoints can be expensive. To balance operating costs with productivity, growers need to be able to predict how a crop will perform as a function of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), CO2 concentration, and temperature. The objective of this study was to explore the response of net photosynthetic rate (Pn) to PPFD and CO2 concentration, for plants acclimated to different growth environment temperatures or light intensities. We measured Pn at all combinations of 14 irradiances and four CO2 concentrations of calibrachoa (Calibrachoa ×hybrida ‘Superbells Lemon Slice’), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida ‘Supertunia Mini Strawberry Pink Veined’), and verbena (Verbena ×hybrida ‘Superbena Royale Whitecap’) grown at three light intensities, and of geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum ‘Maverick Red’), pepper (Capsicum annuum ‘California Wonder’), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus ‘Pacino Gold’) grown at three different temperatures. Sunflower, pepper, and geranium were fit to a model representing Pn as a function of PPFD, CO2 concentration, and leaf temperature. Photosynthetic light response curves, at each CO2 concentration, were fit for each species and growth environment using a nonrectangular hyperbola. These models can be used to identify multiple combinations of PPFD, CO2 concentration, and leaf temperature that would result in equivalent rates of photosynthesis, allowing the most cost-effective combination to be chosen.
Zanzan Li, Jinyu Hu, Hang Tang, Liping Cao, Yuhang Chen, Qiaosheng Guo, and Changlin Wang
The spicas of Prunella vulgaris are widely used in the medical, beverage, and ornamental fields. Temperature and photoperiod are the two main ecological factors that determine the transformation of many plants from vegetative growth to reproductive growth. To explore the response of P. vulgaris flowering to temperature and photoperiod induction, we adopted vernalization long-day, vernalization short-day, nonvernalization long-day, and nonvernalization short-day treatments. The results showed that the morphology (total number of leaves, number of branches, number of leaves per branch, and branch length) of the vernalization treatment groups was significantly different from that of other nonvernalization groups, and the photosynthetic pigments, net photosynthetic rate, water use efficiency, stomatal conductance, intercellular CO2 concentration, and transpiration rate increased in the vernalization treatment group. However, the gibberellin 3 (GA3), indole-3-acetic acid and zeatin riboside (ZR) contents were significantly increased under the short-day treatments groups, and the results were the same for the expression of endogenous hormone synthesis genes, except for abscisic acid (ABA). The flowering-related genes soc1, elf3, svp, ga20ox, and cry1 were highly expressed under the vernalization short-day. Therefore, the induction of vernalization is more conducive to the increase in the photosynthetic rate. Temperature and photoperiod synergistically induced the synthesis and accumulation of starch, sugar, amino acids, and protein and affected the content of endogenous hormones and the expression of genes involved in their synthesis. GA3 and ZR had thresholds for their regulation of the flowering process in P. vulgaris, and high concentrations of ABA promoted flowering. Temperature and photoperiod coordinate the expression of the flowering-related genes soc1, elf3, svp, ga20ox, and cry1, thereby affecting the flowering process in P. vulgaris.
Dan Wang, Yang Yang, Fengyi Li, Sheng Zhou, Guiling Liu, Juan Yang, Wangbin Ye, and Ling Wang
Bryan K. Sales, David R. Bryla, Kristin M. Trippe, Carolyn F. Scagel, Bernadine C. Strik, and Dan M. Sullivan
Biochar, as a soil amendment, has been reported to improve plant growth by increasing soil moisture and retaining nutrients. In a previous 12-week greenhouse study with highbush blueberry (Vaccinium hybrid), we found that amending soil with biochar alone or in combination with bokashi (fermented wheat bran) increased plant growth relative to unamended soil. The biochar was produced from mixed conifer species during conversion of wood to energy. In the current study, we aimed to validate the greenhouse findings under field conditions in western Oregon. The specific objectives of this 2-year study were to determine the effect of amending soil with biochar or a combination of biochar and bokashi on growth and early fruit production during establishment of northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). To achieve these objectives, we transplanted ‘Duke’ blueberry plants into soil that was either unamended or amended with biochar or 4:1 (v/v) mixtures of biochar and bokashi or biochar and douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] sawdust. Each amendment was either applied in the planting hole or incorporated into the row. A treatment with douglas fir sawdust incorporated into the row was also included and represented the industry standard for the region. Plants grown in soil amended with biochar (in the planting hole or row) had 40% to 74% greater total dry weight at the end of the first growing season and 70% to 82% greater fruit yield in the second season than those grown with no amendments or in soil amended with sawdust. However, leaf Mg concentrations were lower with biochar, suggesting it could limit Mg uptake in blueberry. Soil amended with sawdust, on the other hand, was higher in organic matter, microbial activity, and wet stable aggregates than the other soil treatments but resulted in lower leaf N concentrations during the second year after planting. Unlike in the greenhouse study, biochar had no effect on root colonization by mycorrhizal fungi, and there was no benefit to using biochar with bokashi. Adding 4 L of biochar to the planting hole was considerably more economical than applying it to the row and cost $1320/ha less than the industry standard of incorporating sawdust in the row. These findings indicate that biochar is a promising soil amendment for commercial production of highbush blueberry.
Kim S. Lewers and John M. Enns
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.
Wendell J. Hutchens, Jordan C. Booth, J. Michael Goatley, and David S. McCall
Spring dead spot (SDS), caused by Ophiosphaerella spp., is among the most damaging diseases to hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × transvaalensis) in areas where winter dormancy occurs. Management strategies that aid in turfgrass recovery from SDS damage have not been widely studied. An experiment was conducted in Blacksburg, VA, in 2019 and 2020, to determine the influence of various cultural practices on bermudagrass recovery from SDS damage. Fertility and cultivation were applied in the late spring/early summer, which is earlier than normal for cultivation practices for bermudagrass, to test their effectiveness in aiding bermudagrass recovery from SDS damage. The main effects of fertility and cultivation were arranged in a 2 × 3 factorial design with vertical mowing, solid-tine aerification, and no cultivation applied with urea (48.8 kg⋅ha−1 N) sprayed at trial initiation and 2 weeks later or without urea. Plots were assessed for the percent of SDS throughout the study. Data were analyzed as the percent change relative to the initial assessment to measure bermudagrass recovery. The main effect of fertility increased bermudagrass recovery from SDS damage in both 2019 and 2020. The main effects of vertical mowing and solid-tine aerification reduced bermudagrass recovery from SDS damage in 2020. These data suggest that two properly timed nitrogen fertilization applications at 48.8 kg⋅ha−1 optimized bermudagrass recovery from SDS damage, whereas late spring/early summer cultivation without fertility may inhibit bermudagrass recovery.
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.
Kristin E. Neill and Ryan N. Contreras
Vaccinium ovatum (evergreen huckleberry) is an evergreen shrub native to the Pacific Northwest. Evergreen huckleberry is diploid (2n = 2x = 24), but unreduced gametes have been reported that facilitated in interspecific tetraploids. To our knowledge, tetraploid forms of evergreen huckleberry have not previously been evaluated. There is interest in this species as a native, edible, evergreen landscape shrub, but it requires improvement of the fruit and plant qualities for an eventual cultivar release. To obtain variation in plant qualities, we induced polyploidy in a collection of plants in 2013. The purpose of this study was to assess the impacts of polyploidy on the fruit and plant qualities of V. ovatum. This fruit and plant quality study provides a contribution to the scientific knowledge base that is currently lacking for evergreen huckleberries. Plant qualities were determined by measuring plant height and width, obtained in Fall 2017. The fruit volume (mm3) and for soluble solids content (SSC, °Brix) were measured using a digital caliper and a digital refractometer, respectively. Measurements were taken on diploid, mixoploid, and tetraploid (2x, 2x + 4x, 4x) cytotypes, once in 2017, five times over 9 weeks in 2018, and three times over 9 weeks in 2019. Tetraploids had larger fruit than diploids in 2017 (P < 0.0001), suggesting there was a gigas effect from polyploidy in evergreen huckleberries. However, during 2018 and 2019, tetraploid fruit was smaller than that of diploid and mixoploid genotypes. Differences were observed in diploid fruit volume among all years (P < 0.0001) such that 2019 was largest and 2017 was smallest. It is unclear what led to this variation. In tetraploids, SSC was statistically significant among years (P = 0.0002) such that 2017 was highest and 2019 was lowest. Although our preliminary data suggested that induced polyploidy may result in larger fruit, this was not observed in subsequent years, and it does not appear that tetraploids necessarily will have larger or sweeter fruit. However, these tetraploids may facilitate crossing with other species at the tetraploid level as a means for improvement of various traits.