Many bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) and zoysiagrass (Zoysia sp.) cultivars are not available as seed and are commonly planted vegetatively using sprigs, especially for sod production or in sand-based systems. Sprig planting is typically done in late spring or early summer, but this can result in an extended grow-in period and delay the use of the turf in the first growing season. The objective of this study was to determine if sprigs of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass could be planted earlier in the year, during the dormancy phase, to hasten establishment. A field study was carried out in Fayetteville, AR, in 2014 and 2016 using ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × Cynodon transvaalensis) and ‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica), and in Guangzhou, China, in 2015, using ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass and ‘Lanyin III’ zoysiagrass (Z. japonica). Sprigs were planted in March (dormant), May (spring) and July (summer) in Fayetteville, and in January (dormant), March (spring) and May (summer) in Guangzhou. Sprigging rates of 30, 60, and 90 m3·ha−1 were tested at both locations and across all planting dates. Bermudagrass was less affected by planting date, with dormant, spring or summer plantings effectively establishing full cover in the first growing season. Zoysiagrass that was sprigged in the dormant season was successfully established by the end of the first growing season while a full zoysiagrass cover was not achieved with either spring or summer plantings in Arkansas. Dormant sprigging reached full coverage as fast or faster than traditional spring or summer planting dates at both locations, indicating that bermudagrass and zoysiagrass establishment can be achieved earlier in the growing season using dormant sprigging methods.
Juming Zhang, Michael Richardson, Douglas Karcher, John McCalla, Jingwen Mai, and Hanfu Luo
Cindy B.S. Tong, Hsueh-Yuan Chang, James J. Luby, David Bedford, Benham E.L. Lockhart, Roy G. Kiambi, and Dimitre Mollov
MN55 is an apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) cultivar recently released by the University of Minnesota apple breeding program, with fruit marketed in the U.S. as Rave®. When stored for 4 months at 0 to 4 °C, MN55 fruit can develop several storage disorders, including skin dimpling. Skin dimpling incidence was greater for fruit harvested 1 week later than those harvested earlier. Dimpling was not alleviated by prestorage treatments of 1-methylcyclopropene or diphenylamine or by holding fruit at room temperature for 1 day before long-term cold storage. However, dimpling incidence was very low when fruit were stored at 6 to 7 °C. Because viruses have been implicated in other fruit dimpling disorders, the presence of viruses in MN55 leaves and fruit was studied. Apple stem pitting virus (ASPV) was detected by microscopy, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methodology, and high throughput sequencing (HTS) in peel of fruit from MN55 trees that exhibited skin dimpling after 4 months of storage at 0 to 1 °C. ASPV was also detected in supermarket-purchased fruit of other cultivars with noticeable skin dimpling. Although ASPV was not conclusively demonstrated to cause skin dimpling in our work, its prevalence indicates that further investigations are warranted to determine the relationship between viruses and skin deformities in stored apples.
Chong Wang, Yang Song, Mingqian Wang, Jiajun Lei, Li Xue, and Shizhong He
Travis Wayne Shaddox and Joseph Bryan Unruh
Numerous nitrogen (N) sources are used in turfgrass management and vary from soluble to slow-release. Determining the least expensive N source can be confusing for consumers. Price per ton and price per pound N are common price comparison methods. An improved approach could use longevity of the N source to balance the price. The objective of this study was to determine the longevity of turfgrass response to N sources and to determine the cost to achieve such responses. This study was conducted in Ft. Lauderdale and Jay, FL, from 1 Jan. to 31 Dec. 2018 on ‘Riley’s Super Sport’ (Celebration®) bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon). Treatments included nontreated turfgrass, urea, ammonium sulfate, stabilized urea, methylene urea, ureaformaldehyde, two natural organics, sulfur-coated urea, and two polymer-coated urea fertilizers. Treatments were arranged in a split-plot design with N sources as whole plots and N rate (N applied at 49 and 98 kg·ha−1 every 4 months) as subplots. Turf quality was recorded on a scale of 1 to 9, where 1 = dead/brown turf and quality, 6 = minimal acceptable, and 9 = optimal healthy/green turf. Turf quality ratings were recorded weekly and used to determine response longevity (days quality ≥6.0) and area under the turfgrass response curve (AUTRC). Urea resulted in response longevity greater than or equal to other N sources during each season except when applied at 98 kg·ha−1 of N during the fall fertilizer cycle in Jay. Natural organics were ≈6-fold more expensive than urea in Jay and Ft. Lauderdale using turfgrass response longevity and AUTRC. Urea and sulfur-coated urea were the least expensive soluble and slow-release N source, respectively, using dollars per pound N, dollars per acre per day, and dollars per acre per quality-day during each fertilizer cycle and annual average in Jay and Ft. Lauderdale. No evidence was found supporting the use of turfgrass response as a more effective method of determining fertilizer cost than dollars per pound N.
Mary Lewis, Matthew Chappell, Paul A. Thomas, Rebekah C. Maynard, and Ockert Greyvenstein
Milkweed (Asclepias sp.) is an important pollinator genus across North America and is a host plant for many butterfly species, notably the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Commercial production of Asclepias is limited to a few species, because most species lack commercial traits, with minimal branching habit, excessive height, and minimal color variation. This study used a commercially viable Asclepias species, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.), as a maternal parent and trialed three different pollination methods in an attempt to create interspecific hybrids. Pollination methods included a traditional method, a pollen–solution-based method, and a novel inverted pollinia method. The inverted pollinia method increased pollination success rates 4-fold among intraspecific crosses of A. tuberosa. When pollination methods were optimized, A. tuberosa was used as the maternal parent, and one-way crosses were made to seven other Asclepias species using the inverted pollinia method. Of the seven species used as pollen donors, four developed hybrid seed successfully: green milkweed (Asclepias hirtella Woodson), purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens L.), showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa Torr.), and common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.). As germination methods vary significantly among Asclepias species, three methods of germination were trialed on seed developed via interspecific hybridizations: direct seeded, cold–moist stratification, and embryo rescue. Of the three methods, cold–moist stratification was superior to direct seeding and embryo rescue. This research is the first documented case of a controlled interspecific hybridization event among these species.
Wendy L. Zellner
Silicon (Si) absorption is highly variable among different plant types; however, few studies have examined variations among different cultivars within a single species. In this study, 10 different tomato cultivars, including determinants and indeterminants as well as hybrids and heirlooms, were hydroponically grown in the presence or absence of Si to determine the absorption and distribution of the nutrients in roots, stems, petioles, and leaves. A total elemental analysis revealed that Si concentrations significantly increased with Si treatment, and that root concentrations were significantly higher than those in leaves. Although a few species showed differences in carbon, nitrogen, and calcium concentrations in roots and leaves with Si treatment, many of the macronutrients and micronutrients were unaffected. These data suggest that tomato plants absorb Si within the macronutrient range and restrict its movement from roots to shoots.
Xia Qiu, Haonan Zhang, Huiyi Zhang, Changwen Duan, Bo Xiong, and Zhihui Wang
Fruit textural characteristics can affect the storage, transportation, and processing of plum (Prunus salicina Lindl) in commercial production. We analyzed 23 plum cultivars with marked differences in fruit traits. Basic physicochemical indicators and textural characteristics of the fruits were determined using puncture testing and texture profile analysis. Furthermore, through the combined application of cluster analysis and principal component analysis, the indexes were simplified to three relatively independent dimensions, comprehensively reflecting the hardness, size, and flexibility of plum fruit. Our results show a high positive correlation among textural characteristics such as hardness, springiness, gumminess, and chewiness, whereas toughness and brittleness were negatively correlated. In addition, physicochemical properties were correlated to the texture traits. The weight and size of the plum fruit were related to hardness, adhesiveness, and chewiness. The soluble solids and water content contributed to the hardness, cohesiveness, and resistance to chewing. Cluster analysis revealed three distinct clusters: Cluster I represented by ‘Meiguihong’ with high hardness and a chewable texture; Cluster II represented by ‘Siyuecui’, ‘Cuimi’, and ‘Qingcui’ with a hard and brittle texture; and Cluster III represented by ‘Jinmi’, ‘Taoli’, and ‘Oishiwase’ with a soft and tough texture. The results of this study provide a significant theoretical foundation for quality evaluation, and classification of plum fruit characteristics, thus providing insights for further breeding of plum varieties.
Fengfeng Du, Xiaojing Liu, Yajun Chang, Naiwei Li, Yuesheng Ding, and Dongrui Yao
Calen McKenzie, Ivette Guzman, Ciro Velasco-Cruz, and Paul W. Bosland
Lutescens, or lutescent, plant mutants produce leaves that are abnormally light yellow-green compared with normal plants, and are observed in multiple species of Capsicum as well as other genera such as Zea, Oryza, and Oenothera. Previous investigations into the lutescent phenotype in Capsicum have focused on genetic and transcriptomic analyses, and comparatively little is known about the phytochemical constituents of the lutescent leaf phenotype. Previous research in similar lutescent mutants in Capsicum and Oryza species has attributed their pale yellow-green leaf color and poor vigor to deficient chloroplast development. A total of 25 accessions of Capsicum lutescens mutants were phenotyped and analyzed based on a multivariate approach, using ‘Jupiter’ bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) with normal green leaves as a contextual benchmark. Photosynthetic pigments from mutant leaves were extracted and analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC); reflectance of the leaf material was measured with a chromameter using the L*a*b* color space. The chlorophyll a (Chl a)/b (Chl b) ratio was greater in leaves of lutescens mutants than in ‘Jupiter’. Multivariate statistical analyses revealed all lutescent mutant accessions could be distinguished from the ‘Jupiter’ contextual benchmark by variables indicating poor chloroplast development and increased photooxidative stress in lutescent mutant accessions. The lutescent leaf phenotype was not found to be caused by elevated xanthophyll or decreased chlorophyll concentrations. Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed the lutescent mutant phenotype to be variable, with a wide range of phenotypes clustered into four major groups.
Florence Breuillin-Sessoms, Dominic P. Petrella, Daniel Sandor, Samuel J. Bauer, and Brian P. Horgan
Consumers often have multiple choices when purchasing retail lawn products in stores. In this study, we evaluated the acute drought performance of locally available retail lawn seed products (mixtures or blends) at two mowing heights of 2.5 and 3 inches. We hypothesized that the species present in the products and the height-of-cut differentially influence the drought resistance and recovery of the mixtures and blends. In Fall 2016 and 2017, 28 different products consisting of 25 mixtures and 3 blends of turfgrass seeds were established under a fully automated rainout shelter at the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The drought treatments lasted for 67 days in 2017, and 52 days in 2018; both the 2017 and 2018 treatments were followed by a recovery period. Data were obtained during acute drought treatments and recovery periods for visual turfgrass quality and green turfgrass cover using digital images of the plots. During the first year, several products displayed higher green stability (or the ability to remain green) at the 3-inch height-of-cut compared with the 2.5-inch height-of-cut. Products with tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) and fine fescue (Festuca sp.) as dominant species generally performed better during the drought treatments, whereas an increasing presence of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) decreased the visual drought performance of the products. During the recovery period, an effect of the interaction between mowing height and the date of data collection on the percentage of green cover was observed: the lower mowing height improved the early recovery of green cover after acute drought. These findings suggest that consumers in the upper midwestern United States and areas with a climate similar climate to that of St. Paul, MN, who are challenged with multiple choices of lawn seed products should choose products containing a higher tall fescue content and adjust their mowing heights to optimize recovery.