in HortTechnology

Altering Pear Tree Nitrogen without Increasing Susceptibility to Phytophthora syringae

Laywisadkul et al. (p. 331) observed that increasing nitrogen (N) fertilizer rate in summer increased pear tree N and susceptibility to P. syringae. In contrast, spraying trees with urea, defoliants, or phosphonate-fungicides in autumn effected tree N, but was not directly related to susceptibility. Spraying trees with urea and defoliants in early autumn may be more beneficial than later in the autumn when the pathogen is more active and trees are less able to heal wounds caused by chemical treatments and handling.

Extension Survey to Determine the Needs of Utah's Green Industry

Green industries in many states are service- rather than production-oriented. Kratsch et al. (p. 381) conducted a mail survey to assess the learning preferences and perspectives on the future of the service-oriented Utah industry.They found industry members favored extension short courses that could be used to provide targeted education to specific industry groups. Drought/water issues and skilled labor shortages were viewed as challenges to the future of the industry. These issues may be used as a foundation for building strategic alliances between extension and the Utah green industry.

Propagation and Commercial Availability of Stewartia

Stewartia is an excellent landscape tree with ornamental features for all four seasons. However, stewartia is not readily available for landscaping in the horticultural trade due to problems with propagation and overwintering. Nair and Zhang (p. 277) summarize and highlight past research on stewartia propagation, and discuss factors and approaches that need to be considered to increase the commercial availability of Stewartia species.

Cost-effective Automated System for Real-time Slope Mapping

Accelerometers with differential-GPS are better options than expensive real-time kinematics-GPS for developing a cost-effective slope measurement and mapping system (SMMS) to quantify and map slopes (real-time) in commercial fields. Zaman et al. (p. 431) developed an automated SMMS consisting of low-cost accelerometers used as tilt sensor, differential GPS, laptop and custom software, and mounted it on an ATV. The SMMS rapidly and reliably mapped slope variability in real-time within wild blueberry fields. Slope maps along with fertility and yield maps could be used to develop site-specific nutrition programs to improve crop productivity and reduce environmental risks.

Protocol for Preparing Preserved Flowers with Natural Color and Texture

Ito et al. (p. 445) developed a protocol for the preparation of preserved flowers retaining natural color and texture. The three-step process consists of soaking flowers in ethyl alcohol, then soaking them in polypropylene glycol, followed by rinsing with ethyl alcohol. Some kinds of flowers processed in this manner retained their natural color and texture for at least 6 months. This protocol adds a new dimension to postharvest techniques for cut flowers.

Peel Injury on Apples from Hypochlorite Solutions

Sodium or calcium hypochlorite solutions are commonly used in raw and processed fruit production for disinfestation and sanitation as well as reduction of pesticides, mycotoxins, and enzymatic processes. Because chemical injury occurs sporadically, Curry (p. 343) conducted experiments over a wide dosage range using ‘Gala’ or ‘Golden Delicious’ apples to evaluate factors implicated in hypochlorite-induced peel injury. Injury incidence and severity were related to hypochlorite ion concentration, duration of treatment, fruit temperature vs. temperature of the treatment solution, fruit maturity, interval between harvest and treatment, and cultivar.

Survey of Willow Cut-stem Growers

Saska et al. (p. 351) polled 52 participants in North America to assess the current state of willow cultivation for specialty cut flower production. For the majority of respondents willow was a supplemental source of income, complementing a larger product selection of cut flowers. The majority of growers had a generally positive outlook on this crop. The non-scientific nature of willow production was revealed by the wide variations in basic cultural practices, limited use of scientific plant names by the growers, inability to accurately identify their selections, and the identification of growers' own personal experiences as a main source of knowledge.

Dipping Easter Lily Bulbs in Paclobutrazol Reduces Final Height

To produce aesthetically appealing and commercially acceptable easter lilies, plant height often must be suppressed. Although environmental and cultural methods may be used to produce shorter plants, plant growth regulators are frequently employed for reducing elongation. Dipping easter lily bulbs in ancymidol and uniconazole is a successful strategy, yet there have been no reports of using paclobutrazol. Currey and Lopez (p. 357) have demonstrated that dipping ‘Nellie White’ easter lily bulbs in paclobutrazol solutions reduces height at flowering while not impacting flower bud number or days to flowering.

Compost Substrates for Production of Tomato Seedlings

Studies of the use of composts in horticultural nurseries as an alternative to substrates of peat do not specify the optimal ratio of the parameters according to the physicochemical characteristics of the compost. Díaz-Pérez and Camacho-Ferre (p. 361) found that vegetable waste compost and vine pomace could partially substitute for peat in the mixture of substrates that were used in nurseries for the production of tomato seedlings. The dose of compost used in the mixture depended on its initial salinity, provided that the final mix with peat did not exceed an electrical conductivity of 3.5 dS·m−1.

Soil-applied Imazapic Inhibits Pecan Production

A persistent problem was identified in pecan orchards throughout southern Georgia in which pecan trees growing in rows immediately adjacent to peanut fields developed hollow pecans. In-shell nut size and appearance was normal; however, the kernels failed to develop. Research was conducted to evaluate the influence of imazapic on pecan nut development. Wells and Prostko (p. 427) observed that imazapic application near pecan roots resulted in inhibition of kernel development and shuck dehiscence.

Phenyl Isothiocyanate Performance as a Methyl Bromide Alternative

Purple nutsedge control in vegetable crops is challenging in the absence of methyl bromide. Bangarwa et al. (p. 402) evaluated the efficacy of phenyl isothiocyanate on purple nutsedge and its persistence under plastic mulches. In green-house and lab trials, they found that phenyl isothiocyanate was highly effective on purple nutsedge and persists longer under VIF mulch than LDPE mulch. However, in field trials, phenyl isothiocyanate under VIF mulch did not provide purple nutsedge control equivalent to methyl bromide. Therefore, phenyl isothiocyanate needs to be supplemented with other weed control strategies to become as effective as methyl bromide against purple nutsedge.

College Students Want to See, Experience, and Learn More about Native Wildflowers

Using a web-based survey, Pérez et al. (p. 368) found that Florida college students enrolled in plant-related disciplines have a low awareness of native wildflowers. However, students expressed high levels of interest in learning about the cultivation, identification, and various uses of wildflowers. Students were particularly interested in seeing wildflowers on their campuses. Additionally, students would prefer purchasing wildflower seeds or finished plants from local retailers rather than via the Internet.

High Nitrogen Fertilizers Improve Color and Growth of Transplanted Container-grown Plants

Ornamental plants grown in containers using pine bark-based substrates typically show nitrogen (N) deficiency symptoms during the first 6 months after transplanting into a landscape, yet long-term use of high-N fertilizers can induce or exacerbate potassium or magnesium deficiencies in palms. Broschat and Moore (p. 389) showed that use of high-N fertilizer during the first 6 months followed by a lower-N landscape palm maintenance fertilizer for subsequent applications resulted in good color in areca palms and chinese hibiscus without exacerbating magnesium deficiencies.

String Blossom Thinner Evaluated in Four U.S. Peach Growing Regions

A new string thinner designed to adjust crop load in either vase or angled tree canopies was evaluated by Baugher et al. (p. 409) in four U.S. peach growing regions. Uniformly designed trials with variable tree forms demonstrated reduced labor costs compared to hand-thinned controls and increased crop value due to a larger distribution of fruit in higher market value sizes. Blossom removal ranged from 17% to 56%, hand thinning requirement was reduced by 19% to 100%, and net economic impact at optimum spindle speeds was $462 to $1490 per acre and $264 to $934 per acre for processing and fresh market peaches, respectively.

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