in HortTechnology

Modern and Old Garden Roses for Central Florida

Growing roses in central Florida requires regular care to suppress insects, control diseases, and maintain plant vigor and flowering. Careful selection of varieties can help by reducing maintenance and inputs. Mangandi et al. (p. 252) evaluated the performance of 11 own-root varieties of old garden and modern roses. Plants were provided with minimum rates of water and fertilizer, no routine grooming, and no pest control. Weekly evaluations of visual quality, flower coverage, and pest damage were performed over 2 years. Varieties recommended for central Florida maintained good plant shape, foliage health, and frequent flowering despite low inputs and pest pressure.

Economics of Growing Organic Heirloom Tomatoes in High Tunnels

The use of high tunnels is limited in the U.S., but ongoing research indicates that these structures may be viable for high-value crops. Sydorovych et al. (p. 227) conducted an economic analysis of high tunnel and open-field production of heirloom tomato in North Carolina. Production costs and returns were documented in each system. Sensitivity analysis was conducted using a range of market prices and marketability levels. The results indicated that high tunnels may become viable alternatives to field production. At $2.60/lb and depending on percent marketability levels, the payback period for high tunnels ranged from 2 to 5 years.

Design, Construction, and Operation of a Rainwater Harvesting System

A 2-year pilot project in Quebec, Canada, demonstrated that rainwater harvesting has the potential to decrease urban reliance on external water supplies, particularly for greenhouse and garden use. Islam et al. (p. 220) showed that harvesting rainwater from an area of 610 m2 was sufficient to meet the water needs of a greenhouse space of 300 m2, with sufficient water left over for exterior garden use. The selection of proper materials as well as light protection to prevent algal growth allowed use of the rainwater without any detrimental effects to plants.

Controlled-release Fertilizer Longevity Influences Impatiens Growth

Growers of containerized flowering crops should be aware that adjusting controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) application rates is necessary when using different CRF longevities. Andiru et al. (p. 157) found that the effect of CRF longevity on plant growth characteristics and consumer preferences was a function of fertilizer rate and environmental variables. Shoot dry weight and leaf canopy cover were more sensitive to fertilizer rates than flower cover. Consumer ratings indicated clear preferences for impatiens grown with some CRF longevity over others depending on the rate of application. In order to achieve maximum plant growth, slower release rates require higher application rates.

How to Reach Kids? Outdoor Lessons!

Researchers have found that young students need to be involved in discovering scientific concepts in order to be interested later in life. McFarland et al. (p. 187) investigated fourth grade students at elementary schools in Houston, TX with established School Yard Habitats put into place by the National Wildlife Federation. They found that the School Yard Habitat Program was equally effective as traditional curricula once participating teachers had become familiar with it, with the exception of male students performing significantly better.

Coffee Grounds Do Not Protect Cycads from Scale

Coffee has recently gained popularity as a treatment for cycad aulacaspis scale. Magellan et al. (p. 201) found no protective or curative effect for coffee-treated fadang and debao cycads when compared to untreated controls. Neem and orange oil also were tested as natural pest control alternatives, but they exhibited phytotoxicity. Spent coffee grounds decreased substrate pH by 0.48, but electrical conductivity was unchanged.

Cyclamen Growth in Biocontainers

Plastic is a significant source of greenhouse waste. Different materials have been used to create biocontainers to substitute for plastic containers, but little research has been conducted on long-term crops grown in these containers in subirrigation systems. Beeks and Evans (p. 173) found that cyclamen plants could be successfully grown in a subirrigation system by switching from plastic containers to bioplastic, solid ricehull, slotted ricehull, paper, peat, dairy manure, wood fiber, rice straw, or coconut fiber containers. All containers except the rice straw produced plants with more dry weight than plastic.

Provenance and Frost/disease Susceptiblity Impact Fir Tree Production

Barney et al. (p. 194) found that frost annually caused minor to moderate damage on 66% to 100% of 12-year-old corkbark and subalpine fir trees (2.1 to 2. 9 m and 1.3 to 2.3 m tall, respectively, depending on seed source). Neither species can be recommended for sites with frequent or severe spring frosts. Corkbark fir tolerated a fungal blight better than subalpine fir. Both firs produced some trees resistant to or tolerant of blight, but using seedlings in landscapes can be risky due to disease problems, although fungicides controlled the blight. Blight-resistant/tolerant trees were selected for variety testing.

GIS Application for Investigating the Winegrowing Regions of Texas

Climatic, soil, and topographic data relevant to winegrape production were obtained from multiple sources, then processed and assembled as layers of information within a geographic information system (GIS). Takow et al. (p. 165) interpreted the environmental data and produced narrative descriptions of the American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Texas on a publicly accessible website. The Winegrowing Regions of Texas website also serves as a portal to the GIS application that enables interactive visualization and in-depth examination of the spatial variation of environmental factors and their interrelationships within the AVAs.

Performance of Fresh-market Greens in an Organic Production System

Diversified organic farmers in the mid-southern U.S. typically grow a variety of crops for fresh greens in the spring and fall. Coolong et al. (p. 241) trialed 38 varieties of leafy greens in Kentucky using organic growing practices in spring and fall for 2 years. Some types of greens, such as arugula and mustard, were significantly affected by seasonal changes in growing conditions. Others, such as kale, produced consistently across all seasons and years. Large differences in total yields observed within and among crops reinforce the need for regional variety trials.

Measuring Moisture Content of Green Roof Substrates

The accuracy of two dielectric sensors based on different technologies in measuring water content was investigated in six coarse-textured green roof substrates. Calibration equations were developed for both sensors and the effect of electrical conductivity was determined. Kargas et al. (p. 177) observed that the most reliable results for water content determination were obtained by specific calibration for both dielectric sensors. For frequency domain sensor the relationship between dielectric permittivity square root and substrate water content was linear. In the case of time domain sensor the relationship between water content and period of time was quadratic for all substrates.

Steam as a Methyl Bromide Alternative for Cut Flower Nurseries

Steaming of cut flower nursery fields has been suggested as an alternative to preplant fumigation with methyl bromide. Rainbolt et al. (p. 207) report that steam was as effective as fumigation for control of weeds and Verticillium dahlia in field-grown calla lily. In greenhouse production of oriental lily, steam reduced Fusarium oxysporum more than the fumigant treatment, but was not as effective on Pythium species. If fuel and labor efficiency can be improved and no long-term effects on disease pressure or soil quality arise, steam disinfestation may have utility for pathogen and weed suppression in California cut flower nurseries.

Leaders Propose Learning Outcomes for a Four-year Horticulture Program

Twenty-nine horticulture department chairs and teaching coordinators from across the U.S. met in May 2012 to develop learning outcomes that could be modified for undergraduate programs of any size and at any location. Five outcomes with associated goals were identified that correspond with recognized taxonomies of learning: knowledge acquisition; knowledge integration; synthesis, creativity, and problem solving; communication; and demonstration of professionalism and proficiency. Pritts and Park (p. 237) suggest that universal adoption of these outcomes can provide students with guidance in choice of major, faculty with a tool for curriculum development and program assessment, and employers with expectations for new horticulture graduates.

Water Use Differs in Biocontainer Greenhouse Production

Water use and dry shoot weight differed for petunias grown in nine commercially available biocontainers (including two new bioplastic alternatives) and a conventional plastic control. Koeser et al. (p. 215) observed that more-porous containers generally produced smaller plants while requiring more water. In contrast, mean dry shoot weight was greatest in the newly marketed bioplastic sleeve, even though the container had one of the lowest water demands.

CropMAP Update Includes 2007 U.S. Agricultural Census Data

CropMAP is a site-specific retrieval system developed by Janick and Whipkey (p. 258) that is user friendly and can be accessed at <>. Crop statistics information from each of the 3033 counties in the 50 U.S. states has been updated by incorporating data from the agricultural census of 2007. In addition to production statistics, CropMAP provides links to extension offices, geopolitical maps, level III ecoregions, and hardiness zones for each county.

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