Spotlight

in HortTechnology

Drip Irrigation and Straw Mulch Affect Sweet Cherry Physiology

The impacts of switching from micro-sprinkler irrigation (MS) to double-lateral drip irrigation (DD) and from no ground cover (NC) to in-row straw mulching (ST) were evaluated on sweet cherry. Yin et al. (p. 484) found that DD reduced irrigation water use by 47.6% to 58.2% compared with MS. ST lowered irrigation water use by 9.7% relative to NC. Fruit yield and quality were comparable for the two irrigation treatments. The DD system increased marketable fruit by 8.6% relative to MS. Straw mulch markedly decreased the populations of flagellates, amoebae, and protozoa in the soil.

Dry Storage of Specialty Cut Flowers

Cut flowers are highly perishable products that need to be properly handled and stored to preserve their value and quality. Ahmad et al. (p. 463) report that while increasing storage duration up to 3 weeks reduced vase life, it declined less with dry storage for marigold and rose, but for not zinnia or lisianthus over wet storage. Marigold and rose (2 weeks storage) stems had longer vase life in dry storage. Zinnia stems did not tolerate either wet or dry storage. Lisianthus stems had a longer vase life when stored in water.

Height of ‘Hot Lips’ Hybrid Sage Controlled with Flurprimidol

Sages have become popular as landscape perennials. Fair et al. (p. 539) selected a new hybrid sage introduction, ‘Hot Lips’, to assess the efficacy of flurprimidol for controlling height. Substrate drenches of various rates were applied using 240 mL of solution per pot. Height was recorded at treatment, and at 27 and 48 days after treatment (DAT). Flurprimidol at 0.25 mg per pot and higher controlled plant height by 20% to 41% 27 DAT, and by 26% to 50% 48 DAT. Concentrations between 0.25 to 1 mg would provide growers options for controlling plant growth by 26% to 44%.

Master Gardeners Evaluate Do-It-Yourself Living Structures Kits

Pagliughi et al. (p. 446) conducted an online survey to investigate Master Gardener perceptions of and preferences for a novel product, Do-It-Yourself Living Structures Kits. The objective was to examine the likelihood of consumers’ interest in this product, and to evaluate preferred designs and potential price points. They found that there is potential for a niche market, as 74.1% of Master Gardeners responded positively that the kits had potential to become new horticultural products. The two most popular structures were the decorative fence and the arbor, and Master Gardeners indicated specific preferred price ranges for the products.

Elderberry Juice Has Market Potential in the U.S.

Mohebalian et al. (p. 556) identified niche markets in the U.S. based on their preferences for elderberry juice. Consumer preferences were elicited using conjoint analysis. They found that consumers who had previously purchased elderberry products were more likely to select elderberry juice than competing fruit juices and strongly preferred locally produced juices. The niche that had not purchased elderberry yet, preferred cranberry juice and were more price sensitive. Elderberry has the potential to compete in the U.S. juice market with other more-established products like cranberry or pomegranate, if correctly positioned in specific niche markets.

Trinexpac-ethyl Does Not Inhibit Node Vitality in Hybrid Bermudagrass

Volterrani et al. (p. 479) treated pots of ‘Tifway’ hybrid bermudagrass turf with increasing rates of the plant growth regulator trinexpac-ethyl. They found that only rates that exceeded labeled rates produced significant reductions in stolon length. The number of nodes per stolon was not affected by treatments and no effect was observed in node vitality, while daughter plants showed a post inhibition growth enhancement when nodes were excised at 4 weeks after treatment. This last effect of trinexpac-ethyl could be put to effective use when hybrid bermudagrass is to be established by sprigging.

Rooting Hardwood Cuttings of Confederate Rose

Confederate rose is an old-fashioned plant that often is seen flowering in the late summer and early fall in southern U.S. landscapes. Stems produced during the prior growing season may be used to prepare hardwood cuttings for propagation of this ornamental crop in a greenhouse environment during the winter. Blythe (p. 476) found that treatment of cuttings with a 1-second basal quick-dip in an auxin solution enhanced rooting percentage and total root length in comparison with nontreated cuttings. Auxin treatment produced no inhibitory effect on budbreak or shoot development on the rooted cuttings.

‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ Is the World's Hottest Chile Pepper

A habanero is hot, ‘Bhut Jolokia’ is hotter, but ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ is the hottest of them all. Bosland et al. (p. 534) identified this variety as the new hottest pepper on the planet. They planted the four hottest-known varieties and ‘Bhut Jolokia’, the previous world record holder. ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ produced fruit in excess of 2 million Scoville heat units (SHU). To put this in perspective, a jalapeno is about 10,000 SHU. This is the first scientific study of its kind to establish the average heat levels for “super-hot” chile pepper varieties.

Urban Watershed Regulations and Management

Carey et al. (p. 418) review the development of U.S. federal, state, and local regulations guiding resource management practices in urban watersheds. The regulatory and management framework associated with pollutant sources (e.g., stormwater runoff, leachate, atmospheric deposition, wastewater effluent, etc.) determines the overall impact of urban areas on adjacent water resources. Specific examples from Florida are emphasized in their review. Watershed management is particularly important in Florida, because natural characteristics facilitate pollutant transport. Population growth in Florida, and in other areas experiencing increased development, will stress water resources further. Opportunities for future research are identified to advance urban sustainability goals.

Gardening Increases Vegetable Consumption in Children

Langellotto and Gupta (p. 430) performed a meta-analysis of published studies, and found that garden-based nutrition education programs significantly increased children's preference for vegetables and consumption of fruit and vegetables. The increase in vegetable consumption was a particularly robust result that withstood a fail-safe analysis. Nutrition education programs without a gardening component increased nutrition knowledge, but not fruit or vegetable consumption. These results suggest that gardening should be an integral component of wellness programs and policies.

Measuring Leafy Crop Biomass with Digital Image Analysis

Measures of biomass are critical in crop production and science, but are often time-sensitive and resource-demanding. Bumgarner et al. (p. 547) experimented with digital image analysis to add efficiency and flexibility to the process. Overhead images of direct-seeded leaf lettuce grown in greenhouse, high tunnel, and outdoor settings were collected using a digital camera and analyzed with commercially available software. Paired physical samples were also processed using routine approaches. Direct and image-based measures of biomass were statistically similar, particularly before canopy closure in green-leaf varieties. The authors conclude that digital image analysis should be considered further.

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