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Open access

Mark K. Ehlenfeldt and James L. Luteyn

Vaccinium meridionale (section Pyxothamnus), a tetraploid species native to higher altitude locations in Jamaica, Colombia, and Venezuela, is of considerable interest to blueberry breeders for its profuse, concentrated flowering and monopodial plant structure, both of which may be useful in breeding for mechanical harvest. In this study, tetraploid V. meridionale was successfully hybridized as a male with 4x V. corymbosum (section Cyanococcus, highbush blueberry). The first-generation hybrids with highbush blueberry selections were intermediate in morphology and notably vigorous. The 4x F1 hybrids displayed variable branching structure, dormancy, prolificacy, fruit wax, etc.; however, most appear to be deciduous to semi-evergreen, with small, dark-colored fruit. The F1 hybrids displayed good fertility as females in backcrosses to 4x highbush and these crosses have produced numerous offspring morphologically indistinguishable from 4x highbush at the seedling stage. Evaluations of male fertility found variation for pollen production and quality but, significantly, found some clones with very good shed, high stainability, and almost complete tetrad production. The fertility suggests that these hybrids, despite being derived from intersectional crosses, might be conventionally used without significant difficulty. These hybrids also have potential value for the nascent V. meridionale breeding efforts occurring in Colombia, South America.

Open access

Jennifer K. Boldt and James E. Altland

Silicon (Si) is a plant-beneficial element that can alleviate the effects of abiotic and biotic stress. Plants are typically classified as Si accumulators based on foliar Si concentrations (≥1% Si on a dry weight basis for accumulators). By this definition, most greenhouse-grown ornamentals are low Si accumulators. However, plants that accumulate low foliar Si concentrations may still accumulate high Si concentrations elsewhere in the plant. Additionally, screening cultivars for variability in Si uptake has not been investigated for low Si accumulator species. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess cultivar variability in Si accumulation and distribution in petunia (Petunia ×hybrida). Eight cultivars (Supertunia Black Cherry, Supertunia Limoncello, Supertunia Priscilla, Supertunia Raspberry Blast, Supertunia Royal Velvet, Supertunia Sangria Charm, Supertunia Vista Silverberry, and Supertunia White Improved) were grown in a commercial peat-based soilless substrate under typical greenhouse conditions. They were supplemented with either 2 mm potassium silicate (+Si) or potassium sulfate (-Si) at every irrigation. Silicon supplementation increased leaf dry mass (4.5%) but did not affect total dry mass. In plants not receiving Si supplementation, leaf Si ranged from 243 to 1295 mg·kg−1, stem Si ranged from 48 to 380 mg·kg−1, flower Si ranged from 97 to 437 mg·kg−1, and root Si ranged from 103 to 653 mg·kg−1. Silicon supplementation increased Si throughout the plant, but most predominantly in the roots. Leaf Si in the 2 mm Si treatment ranged from 1248 to 3541 mg·kg−1 (173% to 534% increase), stem Si ranged from 195 to 654 mg·kg−1 (72% to 376% increase), flower Si ranged from 253 to 1383 mg·kg−1 (74% to 1082% increase), and root Si ranged from 4018 to 10,457 mg·kg−1 (593% to 9161% increase). The large increase in root Si following supplementation shifted Si distribution within plants. In nonsupplemented plants, it ranged from 51.2% to 76.8% in leaves, 8.2% to 40.2% in stems, 2.8% to 23.8% in flowers, and 1.2% to 13.8% in roots. In Si-supplemented plants, it ranged from 63.5% to 67.7% in leaves, 10.5% to 22.6% in roots, 9.4% to 17.7% in stems, and 1.6% to 9.6% in flowers. This study indicates that petunia, a low foliar Si accumulator, can accumulate appreciable quantities of Si in roots when provided supplemental Si.

Open access

Ravneet K. Sandhu, Nathan S. Boyd, Lincoln Zotarelli, Shinsuke Agehara, and Natalia Peres

Florida vegetable growers are facing high production costs due to high input costs, lower profitability, and competition from foreign markets. Multi/intercropping allows growers to increase the yields and profits per unit area by producing multiple crops on the same beds. Experiments determining the effects of intercropping and plant spacing was conducted in Fall 2018 and 2019 at Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm. Tomato and bell pepper were intercropped at low and high planting density on plastic-covered beds. Bell pepper shoot biomass was significantly (P < 0.001) reduced when intercropped with tomato, compared with monocropped bell pepper. However, tomato shoot biomass was significantly reduced when tomato plant density increased, but it was unaffected by bell pepper intercropping. Biomass of both crops was unaffected by relay cropping. Bell pepper yields when intercropped with tomato at low density (60 cm tomato-tomato and 38 cm pepper-pepper) had similar yields to bell pepper planted alone in low and high planting density. We concluded that bell pepper plants were more sensitive to interspecific competition, whereas tomato plants were more sensitive to intraspecific competition. Intercropping may be a viable option for growers at recommended plant densities used for monocrops. However, high plant density is not recommended.

Open access

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

When applied before crop emergence, soil amendments with mustard seed meal (MSM) control some weeds and soilborne pathogens. MSM applications after crop emergence (herein “postemergence applications”) might be useful components of agricultural pest management programs, but research on postemergence applications of MSM is limited. The overall objective of this investigation was to develop a method for postemergence application of MSM that does not cause irrecoverable injury or yield loss in chile pepper (Capsicum annuum). To accomplish this objective, we conducted a sequence of studies that evaluated different MSM rates and application methods in the greenhouse and field. For the greenhouse study, we measured chile plant photosynthetic and growth responses to MSM applied postemergence on the soil surface or incorporated into soil. For the field study, we determined chile pepper fruit yield responses to MSM applied postemergence using a technique based on the method developed in greenhouse, and we confirmed that the MSM rates used in our study (4400 kg·ha−1 and 2200 kg·ha−1) inhibited the emergence of the weed Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and the growth of the pathogen Phytophthora capsici, which are common problems in chile pepper production in New Mexico. Greenhouse study results indicated that MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface caused irrecoverable injury to chile pepper plants; however, chile pepper plants were not permanently injured by the following three treatments: 1) MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil, 2) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 spread on the soil surface, and 3) MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 incorporated into soil. For the field study, postemergence, soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 4400 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 89% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 96%. Soil-incorporated applications of MSM at 2200 kg·ha−1 suppressed emergence of Palmer amaranth by 41.5% and reduced mycelial growth of Phytophthora capsica by 71%. Postemergence soil-incorporated applications of MSM did not reduce chile pepper yield compared with the control. The results of this study indicated that MSM applied after crop emergence and incorporated into soil can be a component of pest management programs for chile pepper.

Open access

Mary Hockenberry Meyer, Cydnee Van Zeeland, and Katherine Brewer

Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis) is native to East Asia and South Africa and has been grown as an ornamental in the United States for over 100 years. Chinese silvergrass is on the invasive species list for 12 states in the United States and is regulated for sale in New York state. It is often found along roadsides in middle-Atlantic states and Long Island, NY. In 2019 and 2020, we sowed chinese silvergrass seed harvested in Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 from several locations in North Carolina where it had naturalized and from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN. The seed had been stored in a seed storage vault (4 °C) from 2002 to 2020. Germination in 2003 showed variation between 53% to 95% from 19 different individual plants. This same seed when resown in 2019 and 2020 had much lower germination that could be divided into three categories: no germination (five plants), germination of 1% or less (seven plants), and germination of more than 2% (seven plants). Results from this study show that seed viability may be a long-term problem in locations where chinese silvergrass has naturalized.

Open access

Yuru Chang, Lorenzo Rossi, Lincoln Zotarelli, Bin Gao, and Ali Sarkhosh

Muscadine grape is a perennial crop that is highly responsive to local environmental factors and viticulture practices. Biochar is a promising soil amendment used to improve soil water and nutrient retention and promote plant growth. The present study aimed to assess the effects of different pinewood biochar rates on nutrient status and vegetative parameters of muscadine grape cv. Alachua grown on a nutrient-poor sandy soil, Ultisols (97.2% sand, 2.4% silt, and 0.4% clay), and mixed with five different rates (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%) of biochar based on weight. Variations in soil moisture, temperature, and leaf greenness value [soil plant analysis development (SPAD) reading], net photosynthesis rate, and plant root and shoot dry weights were measured. In addition, the nutrient status of the soil, plant root, and shoot were determined. The results indicated that the higher rate of biochar could significantly (P < 0.05) improve soil moisture. Biochar can also decrease soil temperature, although there were no significant differences among treatments. Regarding the nutrient status, the biochar amendment increased the nutrient content of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca), as well as the soil organic matter content and cation exchange capacity. Higher nutrient contents in soil lead to increased P and Mg in both aboveground and belowground muscadine plant tissues and decreased nitrogen (N), iron (Fe), and copper (Cu) in the root part. There were no significant differences observed in SPAD values, net photosynthesis, or dry weights of the root and shoot. This study demonstrates that the addition of biochar may enhance the soil water and nutrient status as well as improve plant P and Mg uptake; however, it showed no significant differences in the physiological performance of muscadine grape plants.

Open access

Nadia A. Valverdi and Lee Kalcsits

‘Honeycrisp’ apple is susceptible to bitter pit, which is associated with fruit mineral nutrient composition. Rootstock genotypes can affect nutrient acquisition, distribution, and fruit yields, which all affect fruit nutrient composition and bitter pit susceptibility. However, the changes of these traits among different rootstock genotypes in response to abiotic stress under semiarid conditions are relatively unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of different rootstocks and irrigation on nutrient uptake and partitioning with ‘Honeycrisp’ apple grown in an irrigated, semiarid environment. ‘Honeycrisp’ apple trees were grafted on four different rootstocks, Geneva 41 (‘G.41’), Geneva 890 (‘G.890’), M.9-T337 (‘M.9’), and Budagovsky 9 (‘B.9’), and these were planted at high density (3000 trees/ha). Irrigation was applied as either a water-limited treatment where volumetric soil water content was maintained near 50% field capacity (FC) and a well-watered control where soil water content was maintained near 100% FC. ‘G.890’, the most vigorous rootstock, had lower nitrogen and higher potassium content in leaves, while ‘B.9’, the least vigorous rootstock, had lower potassium and higher nitrogen content. Rootstock genotype did not affect calcium uptake. Interestingly, water-limited conditions increased the nutrient content in root and stems but not in leaves. Water-limited trees partitioned more nitrogen and calcium to roots, while well-watered trees in the control partitioned more nutrients to the stems. Fruit size was the largest for ‘G.890’ and smallest for ‘B.9’. Both ‘G.41’ and ‘G.890’ had higher bitter pit incidence, which was associated with higher potassium content in leaves and fruit. These results suggest that rootstock-induced vigor and irrigation can both contribute to nutrient imbalances in leaves and fruit that could affect the development of physiological disorders in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple.

Open access

Huimin Zhang, Hongguang Yan, Cuixiang Lu, Hui Lin, and Quan Li

Solid-state 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR spectroscopy were used to investigate the chemical components of sweet cherry tree leaves under rain-shelter cultivation (RS) and open-field cultivation (CK). The 1H-NMR spectral chemical shifts of RS and CK showed differences in height and integral value. The δ 1–3, δ 3–4, δ 4–6, and δ 6–10 regions were attributed to the hydrogen signals of aliphatic compounds, unsaturated carbohydrate compounds, and aromatic compounds, respectively. Among the four regions, the percentage of signal strength and the integral value of hydrogen signals of RS and CK were 34.25% and 28.34%, 11.64% and 12.26%, 26.71% and 31.06%, 27.4% and 28.34%, respectively. The 13C-NMR results showed that the CK sample had slightly stronger spectral lines and contained slightly more carbon atoms than the RS sample. Sweet cherry leaves contain aromatic and carboxyl carbons, mainly from carboxylic acids, esters, and amides. The alkyl carbons exhibited the lowest ratio, whereas the alkyl and alkoxy carbons were mainly derived from carbohydrates (cellulose, polysaccharides).

Open access

Grady H. Zuiderveen, Eric P. Burkhart, and Joshua D. Lambert

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a medicinal forest herb native to Appalachia. Its roots and rhizomes are used as an antimicrobial and for the treatment of intestinal ailments. Three alkaloids–berberine, hydrastine, and canadine–are recognized as the major bioactive constituents in goldenseal. One important postharvest processing step for goldenseal is drying; however, it is not known how drying temperature influences the concentrations of these alkaloids. In this study, pre-emergent (dormant) goldenseal samples were freeze-dried or air-dried at six different temperatures (26.7 to 54.4 °C) to determine the relationship between drying temperature and alkaloid content in the rhizome and roots. High performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that berberine and hydrastine levels were unaffected by drying temperature, while canadine levels decreased as temperature increased (0.55% w/w on average when samples were freeze-dried, down to 0.27% w/w on average when dried at 54.4 °C). While canadine is the least abundant alkaloid of the three, it is known to have key antibacterial properties. Developing a more standardized drying protocol for goldenseal could lead to a more predictable phytochemical profile.