Irrigation Scheduling Calendar for Flood-irrigated Pecan Orchards
Pecan farmers typically schedule irrigations based on the calendar rather than soil moisture or climate-based measurements. Kallestad et al. (p. 714) developed a simple irrigation scheduling tool for flood-irrigated pecans using historic weather data. Farmers can estimate time between irrigations for any date during the growing season for a range of soil types. The tool is based on 45% allowable soil moisture depletion. Simulated irrigations scheduled with the tool resulted in less than 1% reduction annual consumptive water use. With this tool, pecan farmers should develop a better understanding of the relationship between climate variation and irrigation requirements.
Citrus Tree Removal Method Does Not Affect Performance of Reset Trees
Florida citrus groves experience an annual tree loss of 3% to 4% due to various causes of tree decline. Commonly used tree removal methods include “pushing,” which removes the entire tree, or “clipping” the tree above the soil line, leaving the root system in place. Horticultural, operational, and economic advantages and disadvantages exist for both methods. Futch et al. (p. 559) found that tree removal by either “pushing” or “clipping” appeared to have minimal effect on subsequent pest and pathogen status or perfor-mance of citrus resets. Therefore, the method of tree removal should depend primarily on operational and economic considerations.
Control of Weeds, Diseases, and Nematodes in Onions with Biofumigants and Metam Sodium
To grow quality onion bulbs, growers use fumigants and pesticides to control weed, pathogen, and nematode pests. Geary et al. (p. 569) evaluated biofumigant crops (mustard and oil-seed radish) as substitutes for commercial fumigants in controlling soilborne pests. Weed control was limited to a few weed species, and nematode populations were not high enough to inflict bulb damage. Pink root severity was significantly lower with metam sodium compared to most biofumigant treatments. The influence of the biofumigants on onion pest control was limited, and the authors concluded that their use in onion production is not warranted.
Performance of Muscadine Grape Varieties in Southern Mississippi
Stringer et al. (p. 726) evaluated a collection of muscadine grape varieties used commercially for fresh market grapes, juice, wine, and preserves in 2001, 2002, and 2006 for vigor, disease resistance, yield potential, and fruit quality. They identified varieties including Alachua, Black Beauty, Darlene, Fry, Ison, Janebell, Nesbit, Polyanna, Sweet Jenny, Summit, and Tara with good vigor, high yield potential, and high quality fruit for use in fresh market production, and other varieties including Carlos, Doreen, Magnolia, Regale, Sterling, and Welder with productivity and other attributes suitable for table wine production.
Socioeconomic Impact of Automation on Nurseries and Greenhouses
Nurseries and greenhouses in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama reported that 20% of all the identified major tasks were performed by workers with some form of mechanization or automation. Understanding the socioeconomic implications of mechanization/automation was the goal of a survey conducted by Posadas et al. (p. 697) They concluded that companies with higher annual gross sales utilized higher levels of automation/mechanization. Automation/mechanization had a neutral effect on employment, but resulted in higher workers' earnings.
Preharvest Lipophilic Coatings Reduce Lenticel Breakdown in ‘Gala’ Apples
Lenticel breakdown disorder (LB), prevalent on ‘Gala’ apples, usually appears poststorage as one or more round, darkened pits, centered on a lenticel, ranging in diameter from 1 to 8 mm. Although not visible at harvest or on unprocessed fruit after storage, symptoms are generally expressed 12–48 hours after typical processing and packing. Curry et al. (p. 690) applied lipophilic formulations to whole trees at various dosages and timings and reduced LB symptom expression in stored fruit by as much as 20%, 35%, and 70% in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively. Lipophilic treatments may cover microcracks to prevent moisture loss and desiccation-induced necrosis.
Clove Oil Does Not Suppress Root-knot Nematodes on Cucumber
Clove oil is active against various soilborne plant pathogens, and has potential for use as a bio-based pesticide. Meyer et al. (p. 631) found that a formulation toxic to the southern root-knot nematode could be phytotoxic to cucumber, muskmelon, pepper, and tomato seedlings, depending on the clove oil concentration and time of application. Clove oil concentrations selected for further study did not consistently affect root-knot nematode population numbers on greenhouse-grown cucumber.
Trailing Blackberries Grown Successfully in Eastern U.S.
Trailing blackberries are not grown commercially in areas with severe winters. Takeda et al. (p. 575) found that a combination of training canes on a rotating cross-arm trellis system and covering plants with floating rowcover in winter provided satisfactory winter protection for trailing ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry to produce >12 lb/plant in Kearneysville, WV (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6b). Trailing ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry produced high-quality fruit in early summer. Information on the trellis design, cane training technique, and rowcover application is provided for growing trailing blackberries in the eastern United States.
Bud Volume Index Used with Top-Stop Nipper to Control Leader Growth of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees
Top-Stop Nipper (TSN) can be used as a wounding device to reduce leader growth of fraser fir Christmas trees. Rutledge et al. (p. 583) used a bud volume index (BVI) to determine the number of nips to apply to each leader at budbreak. When the number of nips increased with increasing BVI, leader growth was similar among all treatments. Bud density on current-year leaders increased with the number of nips applied to the prior-year leader. TSN might be useful in producing 1) dense trees with minimal shearing or 2) more open “European-style” tree during shorter rotations.
Older Gardeners Meet Physical Activity Recommendations via Gardening
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity 5 days or more per week as part of a healthy lifestyle. Park et al. (p. 639) found that gardening by older adults is of moderate intensity (3.8 ± 1.4 metabolic equivalents), and that average gardening time was 53 minutes. They determined that older adults who identify themselves as gardeners successfully met the physical activity recommendations via gardening.
Does Calcium Fertigation Increase Fruit Yield and Quality of Honeydew and Muskmelon?
Melon growers commonly apply calcium fertilizer during fruit development to improve fruit firmness and storage life. Johnstone et al. (p. 685) investigated the value of this practice in drip-irrigated honeydew and muskmelon in California. They concluded that under conditions representative of the industry, calcium fertigation did not improve fruit yield or quality regardless of calcium source or application timing. High soil calcium availability is common in many soils in this region, and calcium movement into fruit tissue is physiologically limited. Variety selection and postharvest calcium treatments are more promising approaches to obtaining firmer fruit and extending storage life.
Water Volume and Nutrients Applied/leached Highly Variable among Propagation Greenhouses
Santos et al. (p. 597) reported that the quantity of water leached at eight greenhouses propagating herbaceous cuttings varied 10-fold among locations (4.5 to 46.1 L·m−2 over 4 weeks). Leachates contained up to 1.81 g·m−2 nitrogen, 0.45 g·m−2 phosphorus, and 2.86 g·m−2 potassium. Grower management of nitrogen concentrations applied ranged from 0.5 to 80 mg·L−1 in week 1, and 64 to 158 mg·L−1 in week 4. The variability in current commercial fertigation practices and leaching rates indicate considerable potential to improve efficiency of water and fertilization resources during propagation and reduce runoff.
Outdoor Cut-rose Varieties Evaluated in Mississippi
Seventeen varieties of outdoor cut-flower roses from W. Kordes Söhne and nine varieties from Meilland Star were planted in field beds to assess cut-flower stem production during the heat of a Mississippi summer. Sloan and Harkness (p. 734) report that the best performing Kordes varieties were Fantasia Mondiale, Masquerade, and Pinguin, which averaged 3–12 stems that were at least 30 cm long per plant monthly. The best Meilland Star varieties for outdoor cut-flower production were Frederic Mistral, Michelangelo, The McCartney Rose, and Traviata, which averaged 3–20 stems/plant per month.
New Biodegradable Mulch Films Maintain High Fresh-market Tomato Yields
Removal and disposal of used plastic mulches is a major challenge for the vegetable industry. The need to develop a mulch film that biodegrades over a specific time frame would represent a significant decrease in waste generation, and offer cost and time savings to growers. In field validation studies, Ngouajio et al. (p. 605) found aliphatic-aromatic copolyester biodegradable mulch films sustained tomato yield and quality equivalent to those obtained with conventional black polyethylene mulch. Film color was critical for weed management. White films resulted in high weed pressure, while black films provided excellent weed suppression.
Economic Evaluation of Methyl Bromide Alternatives for Tomato Production
Sydorovych et al. (p. 705) applied partial budget analysis to evaluate various soil treatment alternatives to methyl bromide based on their efficacy and cost-effectiveness in plasticulture production of tomatoes in the mountain region of North Carolina. The analysis was based on 6 years of field-test data collected at Fletcher, NC. Although technical issues currently associated with some of the alternatives may exist, their results indicated that there are economically feasible fumigation alternatives to methyl bromide for production of tomatoes in North Carolina.
Grape Varieties for Production of Dry-on-vine Raisins
Fidelibus et al. (p. 740) evaluated several early-ripening grape varieties for the production of dry-on-vine (DOV) raisins on open-gable trellises. ‘Fiesta’ produced high yields, but the grapes ripened too slowly to reliably produce high-quality raisins. ‘DOVine’ grapes produced high yields of good-quality raisins, but the grapes did not always dry well. ‘Diamond Muscat’ grapes ripened early, dried well, and produced good-quality raisins, but had relatively low yields. ‘Selma Pete’ grapes matured as early or earlier than the others with comparable or better production and quality, and were the best choice for making DOV raisins on an open-gable trellis.
Plant Responsibility Increases Health Indicators and Quality of Life in Assisted Living
Assisted living is a growing housing option as the population ages. Plant responsibility has improved the physical and emotional status of other institutionalized populations such as hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons; and could potentially optimize this elder-life transition. Collins and O'Callaghan (p. 611) report that the short-term introduction of indoor gardening, involving individual plant-care responsibility for assisted living residents, improved measures that are predictive of health and quality of life. Pre-post and post-post measures showed a significant increase in mastery, self-rated health, and happiness—three factors that are indicators of future health outcomes, sense of well-being, and life satisfaction.
Optimum Planting Dates for Intercropping Cucumber, Squash, and Muskmelon with Strawberry
Cucumber, summer squash, and muskmelon frequently are intercropped with strawberry to take advantage or the residual fertilizer, fumigated mulched-soil, and drip irrigation lines. Santos et al. (p. 656) studied the effect of planting dates on ‘Strawberry Festival’ strawberry yields. They found that the optimum planting dates were between 25 Jan. to 23 Feb. for cucumber, on 23 Feb. or later for summer squash, and between 25 Jan. and 9 Feb. for muskmelon. Cucumber and summer squash were favored under warmer temperatures, whereas muskmelon thrived under cooler weather.
Douglas Fir Bark Age Influences Growth of Potted Geraniums
Fresh and aged douglas fir bark commonly are used by west-coast U.S. nursery growers. It is thought that fresh bark requires additional nitrogen (N) fertilizer to accommodate greater N immobilization compared to aged bark. Buamscha et al. (p. 619) found that fresh and aged bark immobilized similar levels of N, and that carbon losses from both bark types were similar regardless of N level. However, geraniums were larger when grown in aged bark compared to fresh bark. They concluded that differences in plant growth between the two bark types were likely a function of the substrates' physical pro-p-erties.
Mechanical Thinning of Peach and Apple Trees Reduces Labor Inputs and Increases Fruit Size
Schupp et al. (p. 660) evaluated a USDA-designed spiked-drum shaker for thinning peach fruit and a German-designed string thinner for thinning peach or apple blossoms in orchards trained in narrow tree wall systems. Mechanical thinners reduced peach crop load, decreased follow-up hand-thinning time, and increased fruit size. The string thinner effectively thinned dwarf apple trees, resulting in reduced hand-thinning time and increased fruit size. Mechanical thinning appears to be a promising technique for supplementing hand thinning in apple and peach trees.
Pasteurized Poultry Litter Is an Effective Fertilizer in Container Production
Due to the high cost of controlled-release fertilizers and the need to dispose of litter from commercial broiler chicken production, Broschat (p. 671) replaced a portion of the controlled-release fertilizer that would normally be used in container production with an equivalent amount of nitrogen from pasteurized poultry litter (PPL). He found that downy jasmine and chinese hibiscus grew better with PPL than with an inorganic micronutrient blend or no micronutrients at all. Areca palm grew poorly with PPL compared to an inorganic micronutrient source.
1-MCP Concentration and Application Timing Alter Ripening of ‘McIntosh’ Apples
DeEll et al. (p. 624) evaluated the effects of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) concentration and treatment delays on ripening and incidence of storage disorders in ‘McIntosh’ apples from three harvest times. Apples treated with 1-MCP and held in air or controlled-atmosphere storage generally exhibited delayed ripening and fewer disorders. Effects were often less with later harvest, more delay before 1-MCP treatment, lower concentration, and longer storage times. This research provided the basis for the Canadian registration of SmartFreshSM use on apples at 1000 ppb 1-MCP, and for the requirement that treatment be within 3 days of harvest.
Pyraclostrobin Plus Boscalid Do Not Impact Peach Fruit Quality
In a multi-year, multi-variety study, the potential influ-ence of the quinone outside inhibitor fungicide pyraclostrobin on antioxidant activity and commercially impor-tant peach fruit quality attributes was examined. A pyra-clostrobin and boscalid mixture (Pristine) was applied up to five times per season starting 1 week after the physiological stage of “shuck off” until 1 to 2 weeks before harvest. Schnabel and Crisosto (p. 678) found no consistent impact of pyraclostrobin + boscalid on same-year fruit size development or other fruit quality attributes.