The prevalence of Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, also known as citrus greening, has compelled the citrus industry to change management practices to increase production. However, these changes, such as enhanced nutrition and irrigation programs, have caused weed proliferation, subsequently leading to increased use of herbicides. Thus, our study evaluated a popular preemergence herbicide active ingredient, diuron, for nontarget impacts on young Hamlin and Valencia sweet orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbek) trees in two commercial orchards in southwest Florida. The treatments included the preemergence application of diuron at three rates (1.8, 3.6, and 7.3 kg a.i./ha), a weed-checked control (using postemergence herbicides: glufosinate ammonium + saflufenacil), and a nontreated control. The treatments were applied twice (in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022) in a randomized complete block with four replicates. Results indicate that over a 5-month period, the application of diuron generally had no significant impact on citrus root growth. Further, over a 2-month observation period for Hamlin and a 4-month observation period for Valencia, it was found that diuron application had no notable effect on fruit detachment force. Valencia trees treated with diuron high showed higher HLB disease severity at location 1. In addition, Hamlin trees treated with diuron low and medium showed higher fruit drop (∼19% more) than the untreated control at location 1. However, this trend was inconsistent across the locations and cultivars. This result suggests that increased disease severity and fruit drop were not associated with diuron treatment. Thus, our study finds diuron as a tree-safe option for preemergence weed suppression in citrus production, as long as it is used in accordance with the recommended dosage and restrictions stated on the herbicide label.
US nurseries are experiencing a workforce shortage that is expected to intensify. A mixed-mode survey of decision-makers representing the US nursery industry was conducted in 2021. The survey assessed practices used in 2020 to elicit a better understanding of nursery approaches to the challenges presented by persistent labor scarcity. We compare our results with survey data collected ∼15 years earlier at container nurseries. Survey responses revealed that nurseries were undertaking strategies that aimed to improve production efficiency, better recruit and retain employees, and secure other sources of labor to overcome this shortage. Specifically, more than 65% of surveyed US nurseries increased worker wages, and more than 55% of respondents adopted automation to address the labor shortage. Strategies in use by ≥23% of respondents may limit future growth or jeopardize long-term nursery survival. These include diversifying tasks of current employees, reducing production of labor-intensive plants, or delaying expansion plans. Survey results suggested that production tasks excluding irrigation were on average 31% automated or mechanized at container nurseries, an increase from 16% during the prior survey. Field nurseries were 35% automated or mechanized in 2020. Newly developed or yet-to-be developed automated and mechanized technology (AMT) that decision-makers perceive as being helpful were reported. This article explores linkages between nursery characteristics and AMT adoption and highlights research and extension programming initiatives that are needed to help growers make informed decisions regarding adopting automation.
Our objective was to quantify the efficacy of paclobutrazol substrate drenches on growth of nine black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) cultivars. Liners of ‘Autumn Colors’, ‘Cherokee Sunset’, ‘Cherry Brandy’, ‘Denver Daisy’, ‘Glowing’, ‘Happy’, ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Prairie Sun’, and ‘Sunny’ black-eyed Susan were transplanted into 6.5-inch-diameter plastic containers (2 qt) filled with a commercial soilless peat-based substrate. After 16 days, six single-plant replicates received a substrate drench of 5-fl-oz aliquots of solutions containing deionized water [0 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol (control)] or 2.5, 5, 10, or 20 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol (0, 0.375, 0.75, 1.5, and 3.0 mg/pot). Paclobutrazol drenches of 2.5 to 20 mg·L−1 significantly influenced plant height, plant diameter, growth index (GI), and shoot dry weight (SDW) of all black-eyed Susan cultivars, although the magnitude of response to paclobutrazol substrate drench concentration varied with cultivar. For most cultivars, GI, an integrated measurement of height and diameter, was suppressed as paclobutrazol substrate drench concentrations increased from 2.5 to 20 mg·L−1, resulting in plants that were 30% to 43% smaller than untreated plants. Increasing paclobutrazol substrate drench concentrations from 2.5 to 20 mg·L−1 limited SDW of each cultivar differently, although plants were 5% to 59% smaller at 20 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol than untreated plants. Time to flower for ‘Autumn Colors’, ‘Cherry Brandy’, ‘Happy’, ‘Indian Summer’, and ‘Prairie Sunset’ was unaffected by any paclobutrazol substrate drench concentration; however, concentrations of ≤10 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol are suggested for ‘Cherokee Sunset’, ‘Denver Daisy’, ‘Glowing’, and ‘Sunny’, as higher concentrations delay flowering. Our results indicate that growers can attain growth control with substrate drenches containing 5 to 10 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol during greenhouse black-eyed Susan production without delaying flowering.
The art of pressed flowers is a method of artistic expression involving the pressing of flowers, leaves, and other plant organs for artistic creative purposes. However, the pressing process often results in color variation of the plant material, which significantly diminishes the quality of artistic works and must be solved using appropriate techniques. During this research, phenylalanine (10 mmol⋅L−1) was used to treat the petals of postharvest Petunia flowers to investigate the impact of phenylalanine on mitigating color variation, and the effect of phenylalanine on inhibiting the color variation of Petunia petals during the pressing process was evaluated by color measurement, physicochemical indices, and gene expression level analyses. Using the CIEL*a*b* color measurements, the samples from the test group had significantly higher brightness (L*) and red coloration (a*) at the final stage (S4) than the control group. In addition, phenylalanine had a significant inhibitory effect on malondialdehyde and superoxide anion accumulations in Petunia petals during pressing and reduced the enzymatic activities of superoxide dismutase, polyphenol oxidase, and catalase. The quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that the transcript levels of CHS, DFR, F3′5′H, and UFGT genes in the petals of the treatment group continued to increase during the pressing process, and the transcript levels of key genes in the anthocyanin metabolic pathway of the treated samples were higher than those of the control group at the final stage (S4). These results indicated that phenylalanine can effectively diminish the color variation of Petunia petals in the pressing process, which could serve as a theoretical basis for the development of a comprehensive technology system aimed at preserving the color of pressed horticultural plants.
To reveal the applicability of sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) and target region amplification polymorphism (TRAP) markers to mutant genotyping and marker identification for resistance to black rot (Phytophthora palmivora) in orchids (Dendrobium sp. ‘Earsakul’), we fingerprinted four nonmutagenized controls and 12 black rot-resistant mutants obtained with in vitro sodium azide (NaN3) and ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutagenesis and in vitro selection using culture filtrate of P. palmivora. Each of the 20 SRAP and TRAP primer combinations yielded 375 and 384 scorable DNA bands, respectively, of which 94 (24.42%) and 88 (22.91%) were polymorphic, respectively. Mantel’s test cophenetic correlation coefficients of SRAP, TRAP, and SRAP/TRAP were 0.750, 0.921, and 0.861, respectively, indicating the efficiency of these markers, especially TRAP and SRAP/TRAP, for Dendrobium sp. ‘Earsakul’ mutant characterization. Moreover, the correlations between the matrices of cophenetic correlation values for the dendrograms of SRAP with TRAP, SRAP with SRAP/TRAP, and TRAP with SRAP/TRAP were 0.399, 0.566, and 0.793, respectively, and the dendrograms based on SRAP vs. TRAP and SRAP vs. SRAP/TRAP, with lower correlations, had more variations, i.e., the number of clusters, the members of clusters, and the placement of the materials, than the ones based on TRAP vs. SRAP/TRAP. Among the three dendrograms, all nonmutagenized controls were clustered together, whereas all the highly resistant and the most resistant mutants were distributed separately as individuals. Interestingly, the four SRAP and TRAP markers were significantly associated with black rot resistance. Overall, our results will be useful for facilitating future Dendrobium sp. ‘Earsakul’ breeding programs.
Dry farming has been defined as rainfed crop production in a climate with more than 20 inches of annual precipitation, but where most precipitation falls outside the growing season. Dry farming is garnering interest in the western United States because it allows farmers to produce crops despite a lack of access to irrigation or water rights or to eliminate the infrastructure, labor, and energy costs of irrigation systems. Sites have differing suitability for dry farming, and some sites that can be farmed with irrigation will perform poorly when dry-farmed. To determine site factors associated with dry farm yield and fruit quality, trials of ‘Early Girl’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and ‘North Georgia Candy Roaster’ winter squash (Cucurbita maxima) were conducted at 17 participant farms in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, USA, in 2018 and 2019. The mean blossom-end rot (BER) incidence was higher in the Willamette Valley than in coastal California; this was probably because of the Willamette Valley’s hotter and drier climate. Increasing the available water-holding capacity of soil, total available water (available water-holding capacity of the soil plus in-season rainfall), native productivity rating, soil pH (0–6 inches and 24–36 inches), soil nutrient concentrations (0–6 inches and 24–36 inches), and in-season rainfall were positively associated with at least one measure of tomato or winter squash yield, fruit number, or average fruit weight. An earlier planting date was positively associated with winter squash total yield and total fruit number in 2019. The water-limited yield potential (the total yield potential if water was the only limiting factor) for 20-ft2/plant plots was estimated to be 2.2 tons/acre per inch for tomato and 2.8 tons/acre per inch for winter squash. In 2019, high-density plantings (20 ft2/plant) had higher tomato and winter squash mean total yields, mean total fruit numbers, and mean tomato unblemished yield than low-density plantings (40 ft2/plant). In 2019, planting tomato at 20 ft2/plant decreased the mean BER incidence by 15.6% when compared with planting tomato at 40 ft2/plant.
The majority of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production in Florida, USA, uses bare-root transplants that require large volumes of water via sprinkler irrigation for establishment. Although plug transplants can be established without sprinkler irrigation, they generally are more than double the cost of bare-root transplants. We hypothesized that the use of early-planted (September) plug transplants on white-on-black mulch without impact sprinkler irrigation (WP system) would be more profitable and conserve water compared with the typical grower standard practice of black plastic mulch and bare-root transplants planted in mid-October that were established using impact sprinkler irrigation for heat mitigation for 12 d after transplanting (BB system). ‘Florida Radiance’ plug transplants and bare-root transplants were used in the 2-year study that was conducted at Citra and Balm, FL, USA. Water use and early and total strawberry yield of the two systems were compared. Water use in both locations was lower with the WP system than the BB system. Early yield was higher by 683 and 346 8-lb flats/acre with the WP system at Citra and Balm, respectively, compared with the BB system. The total marketable yield with the WP system was 2062 flats/acre and 1917 flats/acre greater at Citra and Balm, respectively, than with the BB system. Partial budget analysis indicated that the WP system at Citra increased the net profit by $14,657/acre, whereas a net profit of $13,765/acre was obtained at Balm. These results will inform decision-making about cropping system modification that can be adopted by Florida strawberry growers to considerably reduce water use in an economically feasible manner.