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Ultradwarf bermudagrass (UDB) putting greens grown in subtropical and temperate climates can face elevated risk of winter injury from cold temperatures. Trinexapac-ethyl (TE) inhibits UDB growth potentially reducing spring green-up and overexertion of carbohydrate reserves for UDB during the cold de-acclimation period. A field study was conducted to determine the effect of fall and winter TE applications on the visual quality and color of UDB putting greens in Virginia from the cold acclimation phase through the cold de-acclimation phase. A second controlled-environment study was conducted to determine how TE applications to UDB during cold acclimation affected UDB cold tolerance. In the first study, plots were treated with 0.026 kg⋅ha−1 a.i. every 14 days, 0.013 kg⋅ha−1 a.i. every 14 days, or 0.013 kg⋅ha−1 a.i. every 7 days either in the fall only or in the fall and winter. A nontreated control was included for comparison. For the second study, cup-cutter plugs (10.8-cm diameter) of UDB were treated with 0.026 kg⋅ha−1 a.i. every 14 days from the time growth resumed after green-up through cold acclimation or not treated with TE. Plugs were then exposed to −9.4 °C for 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours and placed into a greenhouse to green up. The GC50 values (exposure time to reduce bermudagrass green cover by 50% 6 days after exposure to −9.4 °C) for the treatments were then calculated based on exposure time and percent green-up. In the first study, TE applications improved UDB quality >3.8%. However, TE applications reduced UDB color, and trends exhibited this reduction in color particularly during the late cold acclimation, winter dormancy, and early cold de-acclimation phases. In the second study, TE applications reduced GC50 values by >10.9% compared with nontreated plugs, suggesting TE reduces UDB cold tolerance during the cold acclimation phase.

Open Access

Baby greens are becoming increasingly popular in the consumer market because of their desired flavor and leaf size. The short life cycles and fast response times to environmental stimuli make baby greens ideal for testing environmental conditions for space crop production. Additionally, far-red (FR) light has been used for microgreen and baby green research to enhance stem elongation, leaf expansion, and biomass; however, how it interacts with nutrient solution nitrogen (N) concentrations remains unclear. During this ground-based study, we characterized how FR light and N concentrations influenced the growth and morphology of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa var. chinensis cv. Tokyo Bekana) and kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica cv. Red Russian) baby greens under similar superelevated CO2 and low relative humidity to levels observed in spaceflight. Plants were subject to combinations of four sole-source light spectra and three N concentrations (75, 125, and 175 mg⋅L−1). At the same total photon flux density (PFD) of 200 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1, we maintained the same blue and green PFDs at 25 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 each; the remaining 150 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 comprised four red (R) and FR PFD combinations (FR: 0, 25, 50, and 75 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1). Increasing the FR PFD enhanced the typical shade-avoidance morphology of Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ and kale ‘Red Russian’, exhibiting leaf length increases of 20% to 26% and 31% to 61%, respectively. Edible biomass did not increase with increasing FR PFDs for either species, regardless of the N concentration. Increasing the N concentration increased the Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ fresh mass and dry mass by 32% to 59% and 37% to 74%, respectively, except under 25 μmol⋅m−2⋅s−1 of FR light, with which shoot fresh mass increased by 55% with an increasing N concentration from 75 to 125 mg⋅L−1; however, the shoot dry mass was unaffected. Increasing the N concentration did not affect kale ‘Red Russian’ growth under various FR PFDs. We conclude that partially substituting incremental FR light for R light elicits the shade-avoidance response, with little influence on the growth, of Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana’ and kale ‘Red Russian’ baby greens under superelevated CO2 and continuous light, and that the former, but not the latter, crop can benefit from increased N fertilization.

Open Access

Pulse irrigation, the practice of applying water in small doses over time, is known to reduce deep percolation and runoff and, relative to irrigating in single continuous applications, can increase plant growth and production by supplying water and nutrients at an optimal rate. The objective of the present study was to determine whether pulse irrigation was beneficial in red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L. ‘Wakefield’). Treatments included continuous or pulse drip irrigation and were evaluated for three growing seasons (2018–20) in a commercial field with silt loam soil. Continuous irrigation was applied up to 4 hours/day, whereas pulse irrigation was programmed to run for 30 minutes every 2 hours, up to eight times/day, using the same amount of water as the continuous treatment. Pulsing improved soil water availability relative to continuous irrigation and, by the second and third year, increased fruit production by 1210 to 1230 kg·ha−1, which, based on recent market prices, was equivalent to $2420 to $2460/ha per year. Much of this yield increase occurred during the latter 3 to 4 weeks of the harvest season and was primarily due to larger fruit size during the second year and more berries per plant during the third year. In 1 or both years, pulse irrigation also produced more canopy cover, larger cane diameters, and higher concentrations of Mg and S in the leaves than continuous irrigation, but it reduced K and B in the soil and had variable effects on sugar-to-acid ratio in the berries. On the basis of these results, pulsing appears to be an effective means of irrigating raspberry plants in sandy or silty loam soils, but more research is needed to determine whether it is useful technique in heavier soil types.

Open Access

Eutypa dieback of grapevine is a trunk disease that impacts vineyard productivity worldwide. Grape germplasm is typically evaluated for resistance to Eutypa dieback through controlled inoculations in the greenhouse, although the high level of replication required of this approach (40 plants per genotype) can limit the total number of genotypes evaluated. An alternative approach is to evaluate naturally infected genotypes in the field. We rated the incidence and severity of vines with the diagnostic leaf symptoms of Eutypa dieback and the incidence of mortality among such vines of 973 Vitis vinifera accessions (planted in duplicate) at the US Department of Agriculture, National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Davis, CA, USA, which is maintained as a living collection for grape research. Across 3 years and spanning a total of 5 years (2011, 2013, and 2015), 120 accessions had leaf symptoms in one or more years (“susceptible accessions”). Courbu blanc [Davis Vitis identification tag (DVIT) 2313], Frankenthal blanc (DVIT 2115), and Pinot gris (DVIT 0907) were the only accessions with leaf symptoms each year. Accessions with the most severe leaf symptoms (a rating of 5 points) were Chasselas Napoleon (DVIT 0375) and Queen of the Vineyard (DVIT 0496). We identified susceptible accessions—namely, those related to ‘Chasselas’ and ‘Muscat’—with a shared genetic background, based on a previous single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping effort of the collection. Especially for grapevine, a long-lived perennial that is meant to produce a crop for decades, knowledge of susceptible accessions and their pedigrees can help inform breeding programs and studies on the host response to infection.

Open Access

The formation of onion (Allium cepa) bulbs is affected by photoperiod length and onion germplasm is commonly classified as short- (SD), intermediate-, or long-day (LD) types. The objectives of this study were to develop a segregating family from a cross between doubled haploids (DHs) of LD and SD onions and complete genetic analyses of bulb shape and volume, as well as daylength effects on bulbing. DH parents and F1 and F2 progenies were grown in a greenhouse under lengthening days. The diameters of the neck constriction and pseudostems were measured weekly and their ratio was used as the determinant of bulbing. Bulbs were harvested when the foliage collapsed and the diameters and heights of individual bulbs were measured and used to calculate a shape index (diameter divided by height) and bulb volume. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped and a genetic map of 112 SNPs constructed. Genetic analysis revealed two highly significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) affected bulbing under increasing daylengths, and both QTL showed significant additive effects with no dominance. One highly significant QTL was detected for bulb-shape index and explained 30% of phenotypic variation for bulb shape. Three additional QTL were slightly above the significance threshold, and together these four QTL explained over 50% of the phenotypic variation for bulb shape. No significant QTL were detected for bulb volume. These results reveal that bulb-shape and daylength effects on bulbing are relatively simply inherited, and this research should facilitate introgression of traits between onion populations of different daylength sensitivities and efforts to modify bulb shape.

Open Access

The nutritional and medicinal significance of jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) has led to persistent efforts in genomics to accelerate the utilization of its germplasm resources. However, the absence of accurate genetic identity of existing germplasm limits these studies. In the United States, different names were frequently given to the same jujube cultivars because the pedigrees of the imported germplasm are unclear. The present study selected a panel of 147 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers distributed across the jujube genome to examine genetic identity, genetic diversity, and population structure in 177 jujube cultivars sampled from different locations in the United States. SNP profile multilocus matching reported a total of 23 synonymous groups including 116 samples that were identical to at least one other sample. This led to the detection of 74 unique genotypes for subsequent diversity analysis. Model-based genetic structure analysis divided the distinctive genotypes into three major groups, with some admixtures among the groups. The genetic differentiation among these groups was further validated by analysis of molecular variance (Fst = 0.199, P value < 0.001), principal coordinate analysis, and clustering analysis. Morphological traits were studied in some of the genetically identical commercial cultivar groups, (i.e., Li, Lang, and Jinsi). Results demonstrated significant morphological differences within genetically identical cultivars in the Jinsi group, indicating phenotypic variation resulting from mutations in these clones.

Open Access

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is an important vegetable crop and a valuable source of nutrients for the human diet. The southeast is the main fresh market tomato producer of the United States, with much of the production concentrated in Florida. However, production in this region is threatened by plant diseases such as target spot of tomato (TS) caused by Corynespora cassiicola, a multitrophic fungus widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. TS can infect foliage and fruit, often resulting in significant yield losses in conductive environments. There are no known TS-resistant cultivars, and control relies entirely on fungicidal sprays. However, several studies have demonstrated that the fungus is developing resistance to commonly used fungicides which further complicates disease management. The objective of this work was to identify sources of resistance to TS from wild Solanum accessions. Initial screens of 83 accessions informed the selection of 24 accessions for a more robust screening in which six diverse C. cassiicola isolates were used for single-isolate inoculation experiments. The results from a broad-sense mixed-model analysis including data from all six experiments demonstrated that all 24 accessions had significantly lower disease severities compared with the susceptible controls, suggesting that all accessions potentially harbor resistance quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Solanum cheesmaniae accession LA0524, S. galapagense accessions LA0483 and LA0532, and S. pimpinellifolium accession LA2093 were among the most resistant accessions tested and may be particularly useful for introgression of resistance into cultivated germplasm and for mapping of TS resistance QTLs.

Open Access

This study estimates the influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on consumer preferences for turfgrass attributes by analyzing data from two surveys conducted in Jan 2019 and Apr 2021. First, the study estimated a mixed logit model to account for individual heterogeneity in preferences. Subsequently, estimates of the willingness to pay (WTP) were compared between periods before and after the pandemic. To show the impact of consumers’ risk attitudes with respect to climate change on their preference for turfgrass attributes, we re-estimated the model according to the risk attitude groups (i.e., risk-seeking vs. risk-averse). Finally, to examine how consumers’ demographic characteristics and risk attitudes are related to their WTP for improved turfgrass attributes, we estimated a random-effect panel data model for each attribute. Our results showed that, overall, consumers’ WTP increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also found that the WTP of risk-averse consumers were mostly higher than those of risk-seeking consumers during both time periods. Furthermore, the increase in the WTP observed among the risk-averse group was greater than the increase of the WTP of the risk-seeking group. Our findings imply that the demand for drought-tolerant and stress-resistant turfgrasses would increase with possible future climate changes and infectious disease outbreaks.

Open Access

Rain cracking (hereinafter referred to as macrocracking) severely impacts the production of sweet cherry (Prunus avium). Calcium (Ca) sprays can reduce macrocracking, but the reported responses to Ca sprays are variable and inconsistent. The objective of this study was to establish the physiological mechanism through which Ca reduces macrocracking in sweet cherry fruit. Six spray applications of 50 mM CaCl2 had no effect on macrocracking (assessed using a standardized immersion assay) despite a 28% increase in the Ca-to-dry mass ratio. Similarly, during another experiment, there was no effect of up to nine Ca sprays on macrocracking, although the Ca-to-dry mass ratio increased as the number of applications increased. In contrast, CaCl2 spray applications during simulated rain (in a fog chamber) significantly reduced the proportion of macrocracked fruit. Additionally, immersion of fruit in CaCl2 decreased macrocracking in a concentration-dependent manner. Monitoring macrocrack extension using image analysis revealed that the rate of macrocrack extension decreased markedly as the CaCl2 concentration increased. This effect was significant at concentrations as low as 1 mM CaCl2. Decreased anthocyanin leakage, decreased epidermal cell wall swelling, and increased fruit skin stiffness and fracture force contributed to the decrease in macrocracking. There was no effect of CaCl2 on the cuticle deposition rate. Our results demonstrated that Ca decreased macrocracking when applied to a wet fruit surface either by spraying on wet fruit or by incubation in solutions containing CaCl2. Under these circumstances, Ca had direct access to the cell wall of an extending macrocrack. The mode of action of Ca in reducing macrocracking is primarily decreasing the rate of crack extension at the tip of a macrocrack.

Open Access