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Due to the widespread use of the pour-through extraction procedure in horticultural production and research, the objective of this study was to determine if the method is biased by preferentially extracting substrate solution near the bottom of the container in both conventionally filled containers as well as intentionally stratified containers. Eight treatments were created using 2.5-L, 17.5-cm tall plastic nursery containers. The first four treatments were created by layering a conventional pine bark substrate (CONV) that was either amended (+A) or nonamended (−A) with fertilizer and lime with the following layers: amended substrate throughout the entire container profile (+A/+A); amended substrate in the top half (top 8.5 cm) over nonamended substrate in the bottom half of the container profile (+A/−A); nonamended substrate in the top half over amended substrate in the bottom half (−A/+A); and nonamended substrate throughout the profile (−A/−A). An additional four treatments were created by intentionally stratifying (STRAT) a fine pine bark substrate (FINE) over a coarse pine bark substrate (CRSE) with the same amendment combinations of +A or −A. On 0 and 42 d after potting, substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC) were determined on samples collected by the pour-through procedure and 1:1 water extracts of the top and bottom layers in the container. At 42 d after potting, nutrient ions (NO3 , PO4 2−, K, Ca, Mg, and SO4 2−) were also measured in both pour-through and 1:1 water extracts of the top and bottom layers. At both dates and in both CONV and STRAT containers, pour-through substrate pH and EC more closely reflected those measurements in the bottom half of the container as determined by the 1:1 water extract. At 42 d after potting, nutrient ions determined by the pour-through procedure were more highly correlated to the 1:1 water extracts from the bottom half of the container compared with the top half of the container in both CONV and STRAT substrates. Evidence herein demonstrates that the pour-through procedure is more reflective of the lower half of the container than the upper half for both CONV and stratified substrates.

Open Access

Stunted vegetative growth and delayed or absent flowering are commonly observed in eustoma (Eustoma grandiflorum) when cultivated continuously in the same greenhouse soil. These effects are likely caused by the excessive accumulation of soluble salts and/or phytotoxic organic acids in the soil. This study aimed to clarify the mechanism of continuous cropping obstacles and formulate prevention measures of eustoma. Seedlings of eustoma ‘Croma III White’ were grown hydroponically with 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% (full), 125%, 150%, 175%, or 200% strength of Johnson’s solution. Plant height, leaf area, and shoot dry weight increased steadily as solution strength increased from 25% to 125% [solution electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.4 dS⋅m−1] and then gradually decreased as solution strength further increased from 125% to 200% (solution EC of 3.8 dS⋅m−1). When grown hydroponically in 200% strength Johnson’s solution, plant height, leaf area, and root length increased with increasing equimolar mixtures of organic acids, including maleic acid, benzoic acid, malic acid, and hydroxybenzoic acid, up to 1.2 to 1.6 mM and decreased thereafter. Node number and the percentage of flower bud visibility declined beyond 1.6 mM organic acid mixtures. Plants with 2.0 and 2.4 mM organic acid mixtures had the lowest net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration, and intercellular carbon dioxide concentration. Plants had normal growth and produced flower buds when the continuously cropped soil was preconditioned with 100 °C reverse-osmosis water before planting.

Open Access

Maple syrup is a well-known natural sweetener made from the sap harvested from maple trees (Acer sp.). The North American scientific literature regarding maple syrup has predominantly originated in the Northeastern United States and Canada. However, the range of this Holarctic genus extends across the continent and all species produce sap with the potential for syrup production. This study focuses on two maple species commonly found in Northern Utah, namely the native boxelder (Acer negundo) and the introduced Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Thirty trees of each species were tapped in Cache Valley, UT, USA, on 19 Feb 2022, and measured for daily sap yield and sugar content until the season ended 37 days later on 27 Mar 2022. The same trees were re-tapped on 1 Mar 2023 and taps were removed 41 days later on 10 Apr 2023. Average 2022 sap yields were 22.1 L for boxelder and 7.5 L for Norway maple per tree. In 2023, average sap yields were 26.4 L for boxelder and 9.3 L for Norway maple per tree. Boxelder trees produced an average sap yield more than double that of Norway maple in both years. Sugar content was similar for both species ranging from 2.2% to 2.8%. Air temperatures were analyzed using data from Utah AgWeather System weather stations nearest to the trees, and air temperature had a significant impact on sap yield. It was found that an average daily air temperature of 0.5 °C and a daily air temperature difference of ∼10 °C with a minimum air temperature close to −5 °C and a maximum air temperature of ∼6 °C was the optimal condition for production. An analysis of the mineral nutrient concentrations in the sap and soil showed no correlation. These findings indicate that there is potential for using Utah’s maple species for syrup production.

Open Access
Authors: , , and

To explore the falling morphology of multiscale fresh tea leaves at different speeds, this study evaluated the multiscale fresh tea leaves (one bud with two leaves, one bud with one leaf, single leaf, and damaged leaf) at different heights (0.7 m, 0.5 m, 0.3 m, and 0.1 m from the ground) during the process of dropping on the conveyor belt at different speeds (0.6 m/s and 1.2 m/s). The motion morphology of fresh tea leaves on multiple scales was analyzed by discrete element simulation, the results showed that the movement patterns of multiscale fresh tea leaves at different positions from the ground were different when the conveyor was dropping at different speeds, and that the multiscale fresh tea leaves all rotated around the long axis, short axis, and root of the fresh tea leaves. When the conveying speed of the conveyor belt was 0.6 m/s, the movement patterns of one bud with two leaves and of one bud with one leaf of fresh tea were near the ground, and the movement patterns of the fresh tea leaves were mostly oriented toward the ground. The leaf tips of the fresh tea leaves were mostly on the side near the ground, the damaged leaves were near the ground, and the movement patterns of the fresh tea leaves were mostly parallel to the ground. When the conveyor belt throwing speed was 1.2 m/s, the roots of one bud with two leaves moved toward the ground when they were close to the ground. When one bud with one leaf was close to the ground, the leaf tip moved toward the ground, and the single leaf and damaged leaf rotated around the root because of the inertia of the conveyor belt throwing.

Open Access

Healthy transplants are critical to productivity in the field. For certified organic production in the United States, seedlings must be grown in media that meet the standards of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. Many commercial organic media options are available, they vary substantially in composition, and it is unknown to what extent this influences seedling performance. This project compared tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) seedling emergence and growth in seven commercially available media for organic production and evaluated posttransplant performance. Tomato seedlings were grown in greenhouses at Wanatah, West Lafayette, and Vincennes, IN, USA. Chemical characteristics of the media measured in saturated media extract ranged as follows: pH 5.2–7.5; electrical conductivity (EC) 0.79–4.68 dS·m−1; 1–332 ppm nitrate-nitrogen, 5–69 ppm phosphorus, 41–451 ppm potassium, 78–714 ppm calcium, and 25–121 ppm magnesium. Higher media EC was associated with slower and less uniform seedling emergence and reduced total emergence. Seedling aboveground dry weights were significantly greater in media that contained compost. Relative performance in media containing compost varied across trials. The aboveground dry weight of tomato seedlings 4 weeks after transplanting did not differ for seedlings started in the five compost-based media, and those plants were significantly larger than plants started in the two media without compost. Larger plants tended to flower and set fruit earlier. Media testing protocols that predict nutrient supply over the production cycle could likely improve management in organic transplant production.

Open Access

Research suggests consumers are willing to pay a premium for goods from industries that design products using environmentally sound practices and that these practices lead to customer loyalty. Using environmentally friendly practices can differentiate a business from competitors through branding, which has been known to help increase profit margins and stimulate demand in a saturated market. The main purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of consumer perceptions and willingness to pay as they relate to retail floral providers’ sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. A total of 2172 people responded to an online survey. The sample used in this study was a random selection of individuals 18 years and older living in the United States. Survey responses were collected from 21 Dec 2022 to 27 Jan 2023. Respondents indicated the use of locally sourced flowers followed by the recycling of flower waste through composting as the two sustainable attributes that would increase their willingness to make purchases the most. Respondents indicated the strongest willingness to pay 10% or more for locally sourced flowers (61.7%), followed by flower providers composting their floral waste (59.5%). In addition, 50% or more of all respondents indicated a willingness to pay 10% or more for all the sustainable attributes for which they were asked. The methods in which retail floral providers source floral material, create floral designs, and market and brand their company are important considerations when promoting their services toward environmentally conscious consumers and in creating a valuable repeat customer base.

Open Access