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Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is a drought-resistant warm-season turfgrass adapted to the southern and transitional zones in the United States. Multiple hybrid cultivars have been developed and released for use as turfgrass, and others are still undergoing development. Increasing genetic diversity of commercial cultivars is vital to stress tolerance. A DNA profiling study of 21 experimental selections from the Oklahoma State University turfgrass breeding program and 11 cultivars was conducted using 51 simple sequence repeat primer pairs across the bermudagrass genome. A pairwise genetic relationship analysis of the genotypes using 352 polymorphic bands showed genetic similarity coefficients ranging from 0.59 to 0.89. The average pairwise population differentiation values were 0.012 for the 11 cultivars and 0.169 for the 21 selections. A cluster analysis using the unweighted paired group with the arithmetic average method grouped the entries into six clusters. A correlation analysis identified different levels of pairwise genetic relationships among the entries that largely reflected parental relationship. Directional breeding and selection for cold hardiness or drought resistance created progeny that had distinct genetic diversity in the tested bermudagrasses. It is evident that an increase in genetic diversity of the existing cultivar pool with the release of one or more experimental selections for commercial use will strengthen and improve bermudagrass systems.

Open Access

Irrigation decision support systems evolving in the domestic temperate tree fruit production industry incorporate measures of soil moisture status, which diverges from classic physiological indicators of edaphic stress. This study used an autonomous sensor-based irrigation system to impose a water deficit (soil matric potential targets of –25, –40, –60, and –80 kPa) on ‘Autumn Gala’, ‘CrimsonCrisp’, and ‘Golden Delicious’ apple (Malus domestica) cultivars grafted to ‘Budagovsky 9’ rootstock in the greenhouse (n = 60). It was hypothesized that relationships between physiological plant function, assessed via infrared gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence, and the soil matric potential may be used to advance emerging irrigation decision support systems. Complications arising from defoliation by day 11 at –60 and –80 kPa indicate the generation of substrate-specific soil–water relationships in research applications of autonomous sensor-based irrigation systems. ‘Autumn Gala’ carbon assimilation rates at –80 kPa declined from day 0 to day 8 (9.93 and 5.86 μmol⋅m–2⋅s–1 carbon dioxide), whereas the transpiration rate was maintained, potentially reducing observed defoliation as other cultivars increased transpiration to maintain carbon assimilation. Correlation matrices revealed Pearson’s r ≤ |0.43| for all physiological metrics considered with soil matric potential. Nevertheless, exploratory regression analysis on predawn leaf water potential, carbon assimilation, transpiration, stomatal conductance, and nonphotochemical quenching exposed speculatively useful data and data shapes that warrant additional study. Nonlinear piecewise regression suggested soil matric potential may useful as a predictor for the rate of change in predawn leaf water potential upon exposure to a water deficit. The critical point bridging the linear spans, –30.6 kPa, could be useful for incorporating in emerging irrigation decision support systems.

Open Access

This research study evaluated the suitability of controlled-release urea (CRU) as an alternate nitrogen (N) fertilizer source to conventional soluble urea (U) for tomato production under a humid, warm climate in coastal plain soils. Tomatoes are typically produced on raised plastic-mulched beds, where U is fertigated through multiple applications. On the other hand, CRU is applied once at planting, incorporated into soil before the raised beds are covered with plastic mulch. N source and management will likely impact tomato yield, N use efficiency (NUE), and apparent recovery of N fertilizer (APR). A 2-year field study was conducted on fall and spring tomato crops in north Florida to determine the crop N requirement and NUE in tomatoes (var. HM 1823) grown in sandy soils under a plastic-mulched bed system. In addition to a no N fertilizer treatment, three urea N sources [one soluble source and two polymer-coated CRU sources with different N release durations of 60 (CRU-60) and 75 (CRU-75) days] were applied at three N rates (140, 168, and 224 kg⋅ha−1). Across all N sources and N rates, fall yields were at least 20% higher than spring seasons. At the 140 kg⋅ha−1 N rate, APR and NUE were improved, especially when U was applied in fall tomato, whereas preplant CRUs improved N efficiency in spring tomato. Based on the lower APR values found in spring production seasons (0% to 16%) when compared with fall (57.1% to 72.6%), it can be concluded that residual soil N was an important source for tomatoes. In addition, the mean whole-plant N accumulation of tomato was 102.5 kg⋅ha−1, further indicating that reducing the N rate closer to crop N demand would greatly improve conventional vegetable production systems on sandy soils in north Florida. In conclusion, polymer-coated CRU and fertigation U applications were able to supply the N requirement of spring and fall tomato at a 38% reduction of the recommended N rate for tomato in Florida (224 kg⋅ha−1). Preliminary results show that adoption of CRU fertilizers can be considered a low-risk alternative N source for tomato production and the ease of applying CRU once during the bed preparation period for tomato may be an additional incentive.

Open Access

Boris Timofeevich Matienko (1929–2004) was a respected plant anatomist and physiologist in Soviet Moldova. Matienko’s research was primarily on the growth, development, and senescence of cucurbits, as well as apples, plums, and other vegetable crops. His studies provided a wealth of information to those interested in the anatomic structure of pumpkins, squash, gourds, watermelon, and minor Cucurbitaceae. Using insightful and detailed descriptions, he depicted cellular changes of the fruit during development, aging, and senescence. Practical experiments on storage corroborated his detailed microscope studies. Matienko worked during a time when the problems of the agriculture sector in Moldova were immense and varied, and he faced structural and societal challenges that underscore his scientific accomplishments. The quality of cucurbits grown in Moldova and the region improved as a result of this research. He was widely respected by colleagues and the scientific community, and his work continues to provide insight to researchers of these important crops.

Open Access

Oncidesa Gower Ramsey ‘Honey Angel’ is a cut flower crop of high economic value worldwide. The regulation of flowering is important for cut flower production scheduling. However, its flowering transition mechanism is still unclear. Oncidesa usually flowers at the end of the growth cycle for each pseudobulb; this timing is probably related to carbohydrate accumulation. During this study, we investigated the carbohydrates in the pseudobulbs from juvenile plants to adult plants and compared the carbohydrates in flowering and nonflowering adult plants. The current pseudobulb and back pseudobulbs of the plants at 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 years after having been moved out of the tissue culture flask were collected. The first pseudobulb formed at 0.5 years, and plants had fulfilled four growth cycles and flowered at 2.0 years. Each successive current shoot grew larger and the back shoot number progressively increased after each new growth cycle. The concentration of total soluble sugars in the current shoot increased from 5.5% of dry weight at 0.5 years to 20.2% of dry weight at 1.5 years. Conversely, the starch concentration decreased in the current pseudobulb as the plants matured. The starch concentration in the back pseudobulbs did not change when the plant grew a new shoot. The starch concentrations in the back pseudobulbs ranged from 33.2% to 57.5% of dry weight, but the combined content of starch in all of the back pseudobulbs increased significantly from 168 mg at 0.5 years to 4608 mg at 2.0 years because of the increasing number of back shoots. The starch in the first back pseudobulb of the nonflowering adult plants accounted for 18.0% of dry weight, which was lower than that of the flowering plants (48.3%). There was no significant difference in total soluble sugars in the current pseudobulb of the nonflowering and flowering plants. Overall, we revealed that the increase in the back shoot number increased the total amount of reserve carbohydrates as the plant reached reproductive maturity. A low starch level was observed in nonflowering adult plants. In both cases, flowering plants had higher starch storage in the back pseudobulbs, suggesting that carbohydrates might regulate the flowering of Oncidesa Gower Ramsey ‘Honey Angel’.

Open Access

The production of melons (Cucumis melo L.) in greenhouses relies on pollination. Extreme temperature and insufficient light reduce not only flower visitation by pollinators but also pollen viability, resulting in inefficient pollination. In this study, we investigated the effects of forchlorfenuron [(N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-N′-phenylurea (CPPU)] on the fruit setting and growth of oriental melons (C. melo L. var. makuwa Makino). The primary objective was to devise a new strategy for the management of oriental melons. Treatment with 5 mg·L−1 CPPU a day before flowering (T1), on the day of flowering (T2), and a day after flowering (T3) increased the fruit setting rate (by 20.1% to 30%) in melons subjected to artificial pollination (AP) or no pollination (NP) compared with the rate in those subjected to only artificial pollination without CPPU (CK). CPPU treatment induced unfertilized seeds; in addition, a tendency toward parthenocarpy was noted. The highest fruit setting rate (∼95%) was noted in plants subjected to the following treatments: AP+T1 and NP+T3. The rates of abnormal fruit formation decreased from 45.2% of CK group to 9.4% in plants subjected to AP+T1 and to 19.4% in those subjected to NP+T3. Elevated exogenous concentrations of CPPU markedly increased fruit weight. Plants subjected to NP+10 mg·L−1 CPPU bore the heaviest fruits (541.0 g), which were heavier than those borne by plants subjected to AP+10 mg·L−1 CPPU. CPPU treatment reduced the fruit cavity ratio in a concentration-dependent manner from 47.3% to 33.6% and increased the pulp thickness from 1.5 to 2.5 cm. Notably, supplementary CPPU treatment exerted no significant effects on fruit traits. Regarding taste, inconsistent results were obtained for sugar accumulation. Although the content of cucurbitacin B increased immediately after the initial CPPU treatment, it markedly decreased after 15 days of CPPU treatment. Therefore, mature melons did not have a bitter taste.

Open Access

In the absence of controlled sufficiency studies, foliar interpretations for many horticultural crops are based on survey concentrations from small data sets. In addition, both survey and sufficiency ranges provide little interpretation regarding zones that are above or below the concentration range deemed “sufficient.” While providing a critical initial set of ranges, it was based on a limited set of data and therefore improvements in interpretation of data are needed. This study presents a novel method based on 1950 data points to create data-driven nutrient interpretation ranges by fitting models to provide more refined ranges of deficient (lowest 2.5%), low (2.5% to 25%), sufficient (25% to 75%), high (75% to 97.5%), and excessive (highest 2.5%). Data were analyzed by fitting Normal, Gamma, and Weibull distributions. Corresponding P values were calculated based on the Shapiro-Wilk test for normality for the Normal and Gamma distributions, and the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used for the Weibull distribution. The optimal distribution was selected based on the lowest Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) value and visual fitness. The Weibull distribution best represented nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc, and copper, and the Gamma distribution best represented magnesium, sulfur, iron, and boron. Using the selected distributions, we propose a refined set of nutrient evaluation ranges for greenhouse-grown lettuce. These refined standards will aid growers and technical specialists in more accurately interpreting leaf tissue sample data.

Open Access