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in HortTechnology

Plug transplants produce earlier strawberry yield and increase profits in Florida

Hochmuth et al. (p. 205) report that early strawberry yield from plants established using containerized (plug) transplants was greater than that from sprinkler-irrigated bare-root plants in one season, and equal in a second season. Total-season yields were similar in each season. In one of two seasons there was increased net income of $1142 per acre due to the greater early yield associated with the plug system. The plug planting system will help growers meet future restrictions on water availability in the urbanizing strawberry production areas of Florida.

Fungicide and variety impact anthracnose symptoms on wintercreeper euonymus

The effectiveness of chlorothalonil, mancozeb, and trifloxystrobin applied alone or in rotations of two or three fungicides to control anthracnose symptoms was tested using three varieties of winter-creeper euonymus (Schupbach-Ningen et al., p. 211). `Emerald Gaiety' had fewer disease symptoms than `Emerald 'n Gold' or `Emerald Surprise' grown in containers or in the field at one site, but no differences existed among varieties at a second site. Mancozeb or rotations of fungicides that included mancozeb helped to decrease anthracnose symptoms, but no fungicide or fungicide rotation eliminated symptoms.

Nursery crops respond to inoculation with Phytophthora ramorum

Ramorum blight and shoot dieback, caused by P. ramorum, is a significant emerging disease on nursery crops. Linderman et al. (p. 216) describe the responses (including pathogen virulence and host symptom development) of a wide range of nursery crop plants after inoculation with P. ramorum and several other Phytophthora species. Plant susceptibility was highly variable, but symptoms were the same for all the Phytophthora species on any given host. P. ramorum was among the most virulent of the Phytophthora species tested, and has high risk to the nursery industry because of its broad host range and high sporulation capacity.

Mulch combined with shallow cultivation controls weeds in organic bell peppers

Weeds remain a major concern of organic vegetable producers. Law et al. (p. 225) evaluated both early- and mid-season mulch application following shallow cultivation. Straw, wood chips, and compost were tested for 2 years in an organic bell pepper crop. These mulches provided adequate weed control only when combined with early-season shallow cultivation. High yields were obtained when this method of weed control was integrated in a management plan that utilized crop rotation, cover crops, and disease-resistant varieties. Mulch cost was the major factor influencing profitability of this system.

Balanced cropping of `Chambourcin' grapevines

Kurtural et al. (p. 233) evaluated the effects of three levels of balanced pruning and three levels of cluster thinning in two commercial `Chambourcin' vineyards. Balanced pruning alone did not control crop level. Increasing severity of cluster thinning reduced yield, but increased total soluble solids in juice. Yield compensation was achieved by increased cluster weight of 38% and 25% in response to cluster number reduction of 37% and 23% at Vineyards 1 and 2, respectively. Balanced pruning to 15-20 nodes per 1 lb of prunings and cluster thinning to 1-1.2 clusters/shoot optimized yield and fruit composition and maintained vine size.

Potassium leaf sufficiency levels for fresh-market tomatoes

Taber (p. 247) examined potassium (K) leaf sufficiency levels of tomato plants grown in the midwestern U.S. using black polyethylene mulch, drip irrigation, pruning, and stakes. He determined that the sufficiency whole-leaf K level at the flowering stage of growth should be 3.15%. The petiole sap values (measured on diluted sap) at mid-harvest should be about 2200 to 2800 ppm. Indeterminate and determinate growth habit varieties responded similarly to soil K applications.

School garden program benefits students in science education

Young children who participate in hands-on learning in science and math are more likely to be literate in these areas as adults. Pigg et al. (p. 262) found that third, fourth, and fifth graders participating in a school garden program as an additional method to learn science benefited similarly to those who learned using only traditional science classroom-based instruction. However, these same elementary school students, taught using traditional math instruction, learned math skills more effectively than those students taught using the school garden program.

Potassium fertilizer requirements for carrots on sandy soils

Carrots grown during Winter 1994-95 in Gainesville, Fla., were used to test the effects of potassium (K) fertilization on yield and quality on a sandy soil testing medium (38 ppm) in Mehlich-1 soil test K. Hochmuth et al. (p. 270) found that yields of U.S. No. 1 and total marketable carrots were not affected by K fertilization, nor were soluble sugar and carotenoid concentrations. The University of Florida Extension Service K recommendation for this soil (84 lb/acre) could be reduced and still maintain maximum carrot yield and root quality.

New cranberry flooding recommendations based on carbohydrate concentration study

Flooding is a common practice used in cranberry cultivation. Botelho and Vanden Heuvel (p. 277) observed that flooding during the winter and spring did not negatively affect the carbohydrate concentrations in the vine. However, many fall floods appeared to detrimentally impact the carbohydrate accumulation pattern. New grower recommendations based on this study include applying fall floods as late into the season as possible, keeping all fall floods brief, and maximizing flood water volume in order to maintain cooler water temperature.

Preplant and residual nitrogen effects on carrot yield

Yields of carrots grown in temperate regions rarely increase in response to applied nitrogen (N). Westerveld et al. (p. 286) examined the effects of preplant N and residual soil N on yield, quality, and storability of carrots on organic and mineral soils. Yields of carrots on mineral soil increased with increasing N application rate only when levels of residual soil N were low. Residual N had a major effect on yield. Nitrogen application rate did not affect carrot quality or storability, but high N rates decreased seedling survival. Accounting for the residual N could improve N management of carrot.

Gin on the rocks for paperwhite narcissus

The popular bulb paperwhite narcissus often suffers from excessive stem and leaf growth during forcing in the home. Miller and Finan (p. 294) observed that 4% to 5% ethanol, applied as the irrigation solution after plants are about 2-3 inches tall, yielded a compact plant with no adverse effects on flower size, scent, or longevity. A variety of ethanol sources, including gin, vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey, and schnapps, may be used, but beer and wine were unsuitable.

Alternative fumigants available for calla lily rhizome producers

Calla lily is highly susceptible to soilborne pathogens that incite diseases of roots and rhizomes, such as species of Pythium and Phytophthora. Preplant soil fumigations with methyl bromide and chloropicrin formulations routinely have been used by growers to control these diseases. Gerik et al. (p. 297) tested alternative formulations containing chloropicrin, iodomethane, metham sodium, and 1,3-dichloropropene applied through a drip irrigation system. They report that a successful calla lily rhizome crop could be produced using these preplant soil fumigants.

Gibberellic acid application increases juice content of freeze-damaged oranges

Juice content of orange fruit typically decreases following moderate to severe freezes in which air temperatures are below 26 °F. Foliar application of GA3 (18 floz/acre) at color break in the fall increased juice content of oranges and slowed the rate of decrease in juice content over time, following a freeze in some seasons (Davies and Zalman, p. 301). Increased juice content following a freeze allows more flexibility in harvesting and may increase grower returns, which are based on pounds-solids (juice content × soluble solids content).

Food irradiation demystified through experiential education

Laminack et al. (p. 318) tested the effectiveness of a professional development program on food irradiation that targeted food industry regulators and extension agents. The short course incorporated several experiential education components, such as presentations by food irradiation technology experts, food irradiation facility tours, group activities, and taste tests of irradiated produce. Participants' knowledge, perceptions, and concerns were assessed using Likert-type scales. The short course produced significant knowledge gains. Additionally, there was significant improvement in respondents' perceptions and in respondents' perceived knowledge and understanding of food safety and food irradiation.

Ultrasonic measurement provides rapid assessment of hurricane damage to citrus trees

Tree canopy volume loss measurement after hurricanes may be valuable for crop insurance and fruit yield estimation, but visual estimation of tree damage is laborious, time consuming, and difficult to quantify. Zaman et al. (p. 339) estimated citrus tree damage by comparing canopy volumes measured with automated ultrasonic equipment before and after the hurricanes of 2004 in Florida. More than 50% of trees in the grove were damaged. Generally, large trees were more affected than small or medium-size trees. The ultrasonic system rapidly identified missing trees and estimated partial tree canopy volume loss.

Fast-growing Green Industry impacts U.S. economy

The U.S. environmental horticulture industry (Green Industry) comprises wholesale nursery and greenhouse growers; landscape architects, contractors and maintenance firms; retail firms with lawn and garden departments; and marketing intermediaries, such as brokers and horticultural distribution centers (re-wholesalers). The Green Industry represents one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. agricultural economy. Hall et al. (p. 345) estimated the economic impacts of the Green Industry (expressed in 2004 dollars) to be $147.8 billion in output, 1,964,339 jobs, $95.1 billion in value added, $64.3 billion in labor income, and $6.9 billion in indirect business taxes.

Exacum growth controlled with flurprimidol substrate drenches and foliar sprays

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are needed to control excessive growth of `Blue Champion' exacum. Flurprimidol is a new PGR being introduced for greenhouse use in the U.S. Flurprimidol substrate drenches were more consistent in controlling plant growth than foliar sprays (Whipker et al., p. 354). Substrate drenches of 0.03 mg/pot a.i. or foliar sprays >50 ppm resulted in reduced plant heights and diameters vs. the untreated control. With the use of flurprimidol, exacum growers have another PGR available to control excessive growth.

Copper hydroxide improves root quality of container-grown plants

Root circling or malformation is an inherent problem in container-grown nursery crops. Elimination of root circling via application of copper hydroxide to interior surfaces of containers has proven to be effective with many species. It is generally accepted that root absorption of water and minerals is more directly related to root length than to root weight. Chang and Lin (p. 357) report that copper hydroxide treatment can improve the root quality of palimara alstonia seedlings, and increase the root length: leaf area ratio and the root surface: leaf area ratio.

U.S. chestnut producers hope for rapid market growth in the coming decade

A nationwide survey of U.S. chestnut producers (Gold et al., p. 360) revealed an emerging industry with a potentially bright future. Current demand for fresh chestnuts exceeds supply, with grower prices often greater than $3.50/lb. Over 60% of survey respondents indicated that demand will increase in the next 5 years. Chestnuts have many nutritional and health benefits (e.g., as a source of gluten-free flour) and are associated with positive feelings, such as tradition, holiday, and family, that help promote the product. Barriers to success include insufficient information for producers, retailers, and consumers and a lack of commercial varieties.

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