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Open access

Pedro Rojas-Barros, Jenny Bolivar-Medina, Beth Ann Workmaster, Juan Zalapa, and Amaya Atucha

Plant reserves play a key role in woody perennial plant winter survival and growth resumption in the spring. In fruit crops, reserves are critical for production in temperate climates when nutrient uptake is minimal and photosynthate production is limited in newly emerged leaves. Fall nitrogen (N) fertilization can be used to increase the availability of plant reserves to support and enhance vegetative growth and fruit production the following growing season. The objective of this study was to test the effect of fall N fertilization on fruit production by evaluating yield components and their relationships to vegetative growth. A split-plot design was established in three ‘HyRed’ cranberry production beds at a farm in central Wisconsin in a 3-year study. Fall N treatments were the main effect and consisted of plots receiving a single application of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 40% of the standard N application (67 kg⋅ha–1) used during the growing season. Summer N fertilization treatments were split in five weekly applications as subplots and consisted of a complete (100%) and a balance (60%, 80%, and 90%) of the standard N application (67 kg⋅ha–1) used during the growing season. Yield was unaffected by either the fall or summer fertilization treatments, but there was an increase in berry weight and a reduction in the number of fruit per unit area using the 40% fall N fertilization treatment. The lower number of fruit per unit area resulted from an increase in the proportion of vegetative uprights—a phenomenon related to an increased length of uprights. Prolonged growth may have affected the flower bud induction window, which occurs in early fall. The fall N fertilization effect of increased vegetative growth may have been the result of an increased availability of N in spring. This result could be advantageous in the establishment of new beds or the recovery of vines that have experienced stress.

Open access

Lushan Ghimire, Jude Grosser, and Tripti Vashisth

Huanglongbing {HLB [Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (C Las)]} has been one of the biggest challenges in citrus (Citrus sp.) production in Florida and wherever it is present. HLB-affected trees show significant shoot and root dieback, fruit drop, and reduction in yield. Currently, there is no cure for HLB, and there is no commercial HLB-resistant germplasm. Nonetheless, intensive nutrient management has been promising for citrus growers. The nutrient requirement of HLB-affected trees seems to be greater than that of healthy citrus trees. By understanding the nutrient uptake potential of rootstocks, fertilizer programs can be customized accordingly to enhance the performance of a rootstock in existing groves. Moreover, a reduction in the application of nutrients is possible by planting rootstocks with a high nutrient absorption capacity. Use of rootstocks with good nutrient uptake efficiency can take some burden off the growers who are intensively managing HLB-affected citrus groves. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate and understand the nutrient uptake potential of the citrus rootstocks. To achieve this objective, a 100% hydroponic greenhouse study was conducted with six rootstocks with a range of tolerance to HLB. Several physiological and molecular tools were applied to evaluate the rootstocks for their nutrient uptake potential. A+Volk × O-19 (HLB-tolerant) rootstock had greater nutrient uptake efficiency, whereas US-896 (HLB-susceptible) had lesser nutrient uptake efficiency. Swingle, one of the most popular pre-HLB rootstocks, had poor zinc uptake and the least expression of ZINC TRANSPORTER, suggesting that zinc applications should be emphasized in Swingle plantings. US-896 rootstock expressed the least level of nutrient transporter genes, such as IRON TRANSPORTER. UFR-4 (a good performer under HLB conditions) had a large root biomass, but the uptake efficiency for nutrients was poor, suggesting that the nutrient uptake potential is a complex process that is not solely dependent on root biomass. This study is unique because it is one of the first citrus studies to report nutrient uptake efficiency and the potential of rootstocks. The information presented can be used to improve performance or select better-performing rootstocks under HLB conditions.

Open access

Xiuxiu Sun, Marisa Wall, Peter Follett, Peishih Liang, Sai Xu, and Tian Zhong

Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.) (Sapinadeae) fruit, a nutritional staple in Hawaii, exhibits desiccation and physiological browning soon after harvest, and methods to prolong shelf life may be commercially advantageous. In this study, freshly harvested fruit were treated with pectin coatings with or without trans-cinnamaldehyde (TCIN) and stored at 10 °C or 20 °C (room temperature) to evaluate postharvest quality attributes. Control fruit were treated with deionized water only. To find the best formulation of the coatings, three concentrations of TCIN were incorporated into a pectin solution to get 0.05% TCIN, 0.1% TCIN, and 0.2% TCIN coatings. At 0, 2, 4, and 6 days postharvest, fruit stored at 20 °C were evaluated for weight loss, firmness, pericarp browning, sugar, acid, and taste. The results showed that the 0.1% TCIN coating exhibited significantly lower weight loss than both control and the 0.2% TCIN coating through the entire storage time at 20 °C. The 0.1% TCIN coating–treated fruit were significantly firmer than control after 4 days of storage at 20 °C. The 0.1% TCIN coating also significantly reduced the pericarp browning over the control. Therefore, we selected 0.1% TCIN coating for fruit storage at 10 °C for up to 15 days. At 10 °C, the control fruit showed significantly higher pericarp browning than all TCIN-containing coated fruit. The 0.1% TCIN-treated fruit showed a significantly higher overall quality value than control fruit. The results indicate that the 0.1% TCIN coating may extend the commercial shelf life of rambutans and other perishable fruits. By extending shelf life, this coating can reduce postharvest losses and facilitate expanded fruit exports in Hawaii.

Open access

Gökhan Baktemur

Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is an important plant species because of its nutritional and medical value. One of the important advantages of plant tissue culture is in vitro selection. The tolerance of garlic to some heavy metals under in vitro conditions was studied. In vitro experiments were carried out in Murashige and Skoog (MS) nutrient medium supplemented with different doses of cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb) at 100 µm, 200 µm, 300 µm, 400 µm, and 500 µm. During experiments, plant length, number of leaves, leaf length, root number, and root length parameters were considered. In the findings, there was a decrease in both leaf and root development as doses of heavy metals increased. In addition, it has been found that the decrease in plant development at doses of 400 µm and 500 µm was higher compared with other doses. There was no root formation at high doses of Cd, Co, Ni, and Cu (400 µm and 500 µm). As a recommendation, further research should be conducted under in vivo conditions to evaluate the level of tolerance to heavy metals in garlic.

Open access

Orlando F. Rodriguez Izaba, Aaron W. Thompson, Ariana P. Torres, and Maria I. Marshall

Value-added (VA) technologies can help farmers in the specialty crops industry generate new products, increase off-season income sources, expand market access, and improve overall profitability. The United States Department of Agriculture defines VA agricultural products as those that have been changed physically or produced in a manner that enhances their value. Drawing from this definition, we investigated the adoption of VA technologies, such as drying, physical cutting into customer-ready portions, and washing, by specialty crops farmers. The objectives of this study were two-fold. First, we analyzed how market access drives specialty crop farmers to adopt VA technologies. Second, we addressed key identification issues by investigating the potential endogeneity between the adoption of VA technologies (vertical diversification) and the number of crops (horizontal diversification), which have not been addressed in the VA technology adoption literature. Data for this study were from a 2019 Web-based survey of specialty crops farmers in the United States. The results suggest that market access, growers’ networks, and crop diversification are major drivers of VA technology adoption in the specialty crops industry. The results indicate that farmers who adopted VA technologies experienced economic growth relative to their counterparts.

Open access

Hiromu Yamaguchi, Daisuke Yasutake, Tomoyoshi Hirota, and Koichi Nomura

Because the leaf area index (LAI) is an essential parameter for understanding the structure and growth status of plant canopies, nondestructive and continuous estimation methods have been required. Recently, an LAI estimation method using the ratio of near-infrared radiation (NIR; 700–1000 nm) to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR; 400–700 nm) (NIRin/PARin) transmitted through a canopy has been proposed. However, because previous studies on this NIRin/PARin-based LAI estimation method are limited to tall plants (e.g., forest and rice canopies), in this study, we applied this method to a short canopy (i.e., spinach) and investigated its validity. NIRin/PARin and three other traditional indices for indirect LAI estimation—relative PPF density (rPPFD), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and simple ratio (SR)—were measured in 25 canopies with different LAI. NIRin/PARin showed better estimation sensitivity (R 2 = 0.88) to the observed LAI than the other three indices, particularly when LAI was greater than 3 m2·m−2. In addition, the LAI estimated from NIRin/PARin measured at 10-min intervals in the entire growth period could capture an increasing trend in the measured LAI throughout the entire growth stage (mean absolute error = 0.87 m2·m−2). Errors in long-term LAI estimations may be caused by the sensor location and insufficient data due to unsuitable weather conditions for measuring NIRin/PARin. The current study demonstrates the merits and limitations of the NIRin/PARin-based LAI estimation method applied to low height canopies, thereby contributing to its practical use in horticultural crops.

Open access

Kyle Brasier, Ingrid Zaragoza, Jacob Knecht, Rebecca Munster, Hope Coulter, Amanda Potter, Elizabeth Enke, Aaron Fox, Elizabeth Mosqueda, and Hossein Zakeri

Cover cropping has been strongly promoted, but few growers have realized the benefits of this practice due to challenges linked to economic returns and whole-system management. In the western United States, winter legumes including faba bean have the potential to add economic value while offering soil health benefits compared with fallow fields. This experiment assessed the potential of five vegetable faba bean varieties for fresh pod yield, fresh pod quality, and biomass N return under a single and multiple pod harvest scheme. Vegetable faba bean varieties were further compared with two popular cover crop faba bean varieties, ‘Bell bean’ and ‘Sweet Lorane’ for cover crop and biomass N return benefits. The experiment revealed significant (P ≤ 0.05) genotypic variation for vegetable fresh pod yield, dry biomass, fresh pod quality, pod N removal, biomass N return, and C:N in three testing environments under the single and multiple harvest schemes. Finally, the vegetable variety ‘Vroma’ produced high average fresh pod yield under the single (16,178 kg·ha−1) and multiple (38,928 kg·ha−1) harvest schemes while maintaining high biomass N return under the single (119 kg·ha−1 N) and multiple harvests (97 kg·ha−1 N) compared with the cover crop varieties (128 kg·ha−1 N). This experiment demonstrated that a single fresh pod harvest on an early and high yielding faba bean variety can generate economic returns while also providing cover crop benefits that are comparable to termination of a faba bean cover crop on the same date.

Open access

Asmita Nagila, Soum Sanogo, O. John Idowu, and Brian J. Schutte

Soil-borne diseases and weeds can be inhibited by mustard family (Brassicaceae) cover crops that are mowed and incorporated into the soil with tillage—a process referred to as biofumigation. To determine whether a fall-seeded mustard cover crop produces enough biomass to be a biofumigant in spring, this study measured the amount of biomass produced by a mixture of ‘Caliente Rojo’ brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and ‘Nemat’ arugula (Eruca sativa) grown in three commercial fields and a university research farm in southern New Mexico, USA. This study also determined whether the mustard biomass incorporated in the soil inhibits a weed [Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri)], but does not affect a cash crop adversely [chile pepper (Capsicum annuum)]. Results indicated that, if the mustard cover crop was seeded before the first frost in fall, mustard cover crops produced biomass in quantities sufficient for biofumigation in spring. Mustard biomass incorporated in the soil reduced the survival and germination of Palmer amaranth seeds. Under greenhouse conditions, chile pepper plants grown in soil with mustard cover crop biomass were larger than chile plants grown in soil without mustard biomass. Chile pepper plants in soil with mustard biomass did not show symptoms of Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), whereas such symptoms were found on about 33% of chile pepper plants in soil without mustard biomass. These results suggest that a fall-seeded mustard cover crop that is tilled into the soil in early spring is a potential pest management technique for chile pepper in New Mexico.

Open access

Brandon Miller and Nina Bassuk

Impressive ornamental features including exfoliating bark and golden fall color are among the reasons why hickories [Carya (Nutt.)] are sought after by horticulturists. Their potential for application in the green industry continues to grow as producers and consumers in the United States become more interested in adopting native plants; however, an absence of knowledge that defines which species are tolerant of abiotic stresses in the landscape limits their use. If production of stress-tolerant hickories increases, they could be used to diversify urban forests and may bolster the resiliency of managed landscapes. We examined the predicted leaf water potential at the turgor loss point to estimate drought tolerance among several species of hickories and pecans adapted to growing in northern climates in the United States. Our hypotheses were that because some bottomland habitats experience seasonal drought in addition to flooding, taxa adapted to these sites may be more drought tolerant than previously assumed, and that the degree of drought tolerance would be variable within species and populations. Predicted mean leaf turgor loss measured in summer across species was −3.38 MPa. Kingnut hickory [Carya laciniosa (F. Michx.) Loud.] exhibited the lowest mean summer leaf turgor loss point −3.64 MPa), whereas pignut hickory [Carya glabra (Mill.) Sweet.] exhibited the highest (−3.20 MPa). Provenance of trees studied influenced estimated drought tolerance of C. laciniosa. Variability between individual trees within each species was observed, suggesting clonal selections of each taxon can be made for drought-prone landscapes. The results of this work imply that all the species studied are at least moderately drought tolerant and should be considered for planting in managed landscapes. Further, species often associated with riparian habitats may exhibit substantial tolerance to drought and should not be excluded from use on drought-prone sites.