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Tolerance of Bermudagrass Varieties to Athletic Traffic

Six seeded bermudagrass varieties grown in native soils were evaluated for tolerance to simulated athletic traffic with and without applications of the plant growth regulator trinexapac-ethyl (TE). Williams et al. (p. 533) report that there were significant differences among the varieties tested in tolerance to traffic. Applications of TE at label rates and frequencies also had significant positive effects on improving traffic tolerance. There were no consistent interactions among varieties and applications of TE. Varieties with relatively higher turfgrass quality ratings (e.g., high density, fine leaf texture) were superior to varieties with lower turfgrass quality ratings in tolerance to simulated athletic traffic.

Growth, Flowering, and Cold Hardiness of Rockrose in Western Oregon

Rockroses (Cistus spp., Halimium spp., and ×Halimiocistus spp.) are evergreen, woody shrubs native to the Mediterranean basin. Bell and Altland (p. 652) evaluated 93 species, varieties, and hybrid selections of rockrose for growth, flowering, and cold hardiness in Aurora, OR. Some varieties suffered from cold injury, and the length of the flowering period and foliage quality varied widely among plants. Plant form and foliage quality declined drastically for some plants while others maintained good quality. Based on ratings of foliage, bloom time, and hardiness, several Cistus and Halimium species were recommended as drought-tolerant groundcovers or specimen shrubs.

Plant Parables Promote Spiritual Benefits from Horticultural Activities

Yu et al. (p. 568) report that plant parables promote an approach to interactions with plants via metaphysical imagination, resulting in greater improvements in spiritual health from horticultural activities. The study surveyed two groups of people with different horticultural backgrounds, and measured their opinions regarding the belief in the spiritual benefits of horticultural activities, both before and after reading the parables. Before reading the plant parables, neither group agreed with the spiritual benefits of horticultural activities; however, after reading the plant parables, the belief of participants with formal horticultural education backgrounds increased significantly.

Low-carbon Production of Winter Vegetables in China

Low-carbon production of winter vegetables is receiving increasing attention due to the energy crisis and global warming. Gao et al. (p. 626) report the successful use of single-slope energy-efficient solar greenhouses using sunlight as the only source of light and heat to produce thermophilic crops like cucumber and tomato during winter in China. This technology may be adopted by other countries and regions with climates similar to China.

Soil and Plant Water Status in Grape under Various Water Deficit Regimes

Seasonal trend of soil water potential, leaf water potential, and stomatal conductance of ‘Tempranillo’ grapevines were determined by Centeno et al. (p. 585) in two deficit irrigation treatments (replenishing 45% and 30% of the reference evapotranspiration) and in a third non-irrigated treatment. All relationships between soil matric potential and both leaf water potential and stomatal conductance were highly correlated. To avoid water stress conditions, the authors recommend that soil matric potential falling to –0.14 MPa should be avoided.

Planting Density and Harvest Date Affect Size of Table Beets

Small beet roots garner higher premiums than large roots for growers in the processing market. Kikkert et al. (p. 560) compared three in-row planting densities, three harvest dates, and four row widths for their impact on size. Higher plant densities within the row resulted in more small roots, but a lower total marketable yield. High plant densities also increased seed costs and the incidence of wirestem disease. The number of large roots increased as harvest date increased from 80 to 120 days after planting. Row widths between 18 and 24 inches had no effect on marketable yield.

Reliable Assays for Pathogen Detection in Drainage Water

Disease management of ginger wilt is difficult once the pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum race 4, becomes established in field soils. Bacteria survive for long periods and are carried to adjacent fields in irrigation water. Paret et al. (p. 539) used ELISA, Immunostrips, and PCR to compare pathogen survival in soil and potting medium in the presence or absence of plants that were inoculated by different methods and kept under different soil humidity levels. Immunostrips proved to be more sensitive than PCR in this application. Reported methods are valid for R. solanacearum race 1, which has broad host range and affects many crops.

Field-grown Cut Flowers at Four Planting Densities

Field-grown cut and dried flowers are excellent high-value crops for semi-arid conditions. Green et al. (p. 612) evaluated two species of globe amaranth and two species of celosia at four densities. Seasonally progressive increases in flowering stem length of both globe amaranth species and wheat celosia, and in flowering stem diameter of both globe amaranth species and cockscomb celosia were observed. Other measurable differences were number of stems harvested, flowering head size, and flower retention after mechanical impact. Despite the wide range in planting density, the density effect was largely limited to cockscomb celosia during the 4.5-month harvest season.

Physical Properties of Biocontainers for Greenhouse Crops Production

Evans et al. (p. 549) report that peat, Fertil (composed of cedar fiber), and Cowpot (composed of composted cow manure) biocontainers had wet punch strengths that made them problematic to handle. Fertil, Cowpot, coconut fiber, rice straw, and peat biocontainers lost water through their container walls at a higher rate than plastic containers, and crops grown in these biocontainers required more water and more frequent irrigations as compared to those grown in plastic containers. After 4 weeks, Fertil and peat biocontainers had the highest container wall surface area covered with algae or fungi.

Can We Reduce the Cost of Cherry and Grape Tomato Production?

This question arose from a recent Mississippi study of home garden tomato varieties. Evans et al. (p. 620) present yield data from a field evaluation of 10 varieties, along with information from the literature to suggest that a system could be developed to commercially produce grape and cherry tomatoes for the fresh market with techniques similar to those used for growing processing tomatoes. The authors suggest that breeders, farmers, and others in the industry may be able to develop a production system using determinate varieties with concentrated fruit set, raised on bare or mulched beds, without support, and once-over harvesting.

Nitrogen Fertilization and In-row Spacing for ‘Tasti-Lee’ Tomato

Santos et al. (p. 579) tested three nitrogen (N) fertilization programs and two in-row distances in ‘Tasti-Lee’ specialty tomato on a fine sandy soil in west-central Florida. Plots treated with the highest N fertilization program of 274 lb/acre (18% applied preplant) had the highest early and total marketable yield. When plants were transplanted 18 inches apart, there was a yield increase of 18%. The combination with the highest economic return was an in-row distance of 18 inches and 274 lb/acre of N.

Organic Growing Media Amended with Expanded Shale

Urban areas offer a variety of organic materials that could be used to replace peat moss in growing media. Sloan et al. (p. 594) found that wastewater biosolids or municipal yard waste compost compared well to a traditional pine bark plus peat moss growing media, whereas cottonseed hulls were not suitable. The addition of expanded shale to each growing media at rates of 0%, 15%, 30%, and 60% increased their bulk densities, but generally had negative effects on the ability of the growing media to support the growth of several ornamental plant species.

Citrus Sprayer Rodeos in Florida

Spraying for citrus psyllid control is an effective means of mitigating the spread of citrus greening. Hoffmann et al. (p. 632) conducted sprayer rodeos (i.e., sprayers were rounded up) to measure the droplet size generated by different sprayers and determine how to adjust the sprayers to meet a labeled droplet-size requirement. Reductions in engine speed or increases in flow rate were required to increase droplet sizes to meet the requirement. These results will provide applicators, growers, and extension agents with general guidelines to ensure that spray systems are operated in a manner that complies with label restrictions.

Nursery Management and Production Courses in the U.S.

Changes in the availability of nursery management and production (NMP) courses include the merging of NMP with other courses such as greenhouse or garden center management. A survey by Wright et al. (p. 646) revealed that for departments offering instruction in NMP, the number of departments with “horticulture” in the department name is similar to the number of departments with “plant science” in the department name. Most NMP instructors utilize multimedia resources in their other courses and indicate that DVDs and web-based videos would be valuable for supplementing instruction in NMP, particularly for aspects not observed during field trips.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Liners Respond to Silicon Fertilization

Vendrame et al. (p. 603) determined that hybrid phalaenopsis orchid liners accumulate silicon (Si), and that this element influences their growth. Potassium silicate was applied as a drench with three treatments (0.5%, 1.0%, and 2.0% Si) and a control (no Si fertilization). Overall, Si applied at 0.5% and 1.0% increased whole plant fresh and dry weight, and at 1.0% increased dry weight of root, shoot, and whole plant over the control. Reduced growth was observed when 2.0% Si was applied. The results warrant additional studies to address long-term effects of Si fertilization on the complete lifecycle of phalaenopsis hybrids.

Intercropping for Field Production of Peppers

Intercropping makes efficient use of limited arable land. Kahn (p. 530) reviewed the literature and found that peppers have been intercropped with many other plants ranging from onion to pineapple. While many factors can affect system recommendations, the reviewed studies offer several examples of successful combinations of peppers with other crops.

Boiling Water and Cold-moist Conditions Enhance Germination of New Jersey Tea

New jersey tea is an attractive woody shrub that shows promise for use in landscapes. The species can be found in prairie remnants and other natural areas throughout North America, but is very difficult to germinate from seed. Stewart and McGary (p. 623) report that 2 minutes of exposure to boiling water followed by 60 days of cold-moist stratification at 4 °C resulted in a germination percentage of 48%. Scarification with 98% sulfuric acid followed by 60 days of cold-moist stratification also resulted in significant, but lower levels of germination.

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