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Hurricane Damage to Tomato Crop in Southern Florida

Hurricanes cause damage to crops and infrastructure, and displace labor and markets in Florida. Several experiments were conducted to understand the types of plant damage and potential yield reductions caused by hurricanes during 2004–06. Ozores-Hampton et al. (p. 498) concluded that tomato plants can sustain considerable wind injury and recover to produce commercially acceptable yields. Although yields may be reduced compared to undamaged plantings, the potential to capture high prices at a time of limited supply provides strong incentive to rescue hurricane-damaged plantings rather than abandon them or replant.

Longevity and Sensory Acceptability of 1-MCP-treated Avocados

The effects of aqueous 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on fruit ripening and sensory attributes of ‘Beta’ avocado, a Guatemalan–West Indian hybrid, were evaluated. Pereira et al. (p. 468) observed that treatment with aqueous 1-MCP at 150 ppm for 1 min extended the shelf-life to 14 d at 68 °F and 84% relative humidity, an increase of 6 d (75%) as compared with untreated fruit, without compromising sensory acceptability. This technology has the potential to permit shipment of these fruit to more distant markets than currently possible.

Master Gardener Projects Expand Extension Outreach

Projects in which Master Gardener volunteers take on leadership roles allow extension agents to reach a broader audience. Agents need to shift roles from being program implementers to program leaders, and allow volunteers to assume leadership roles in project management. The successful outreach efforts presented and discussed by Bennett et al. (p. 411) were the subject of a workshop at the 2012 ASHS Annual Conference and had three consistent characteristics that included volunteers’ continued learning and interaction with the public and their contributions recognized, and agents relinquishing the control of the project or research effort.

Converting a Tall Fescue Sward to Warm-season Turf

Three conversion methods were tested in coastal and inland climates of southern California to identify the best way to replace tall fescue with warm-season turfgrass species. Schiavon et al. (p. 442) found that the application of glyphosate was more effective than scalping or leaving the tall fescue turf intact prior to planting warm-season turf. Bermudagrass and seashore paspalum established faster than buffalograss, zoysiagrass, and st. augustinegrass regardless of seeding or plugging, and showed the highest adaptability to both environments.

Profitability of High Tunnel and Field-grown Lettuce and Tomato

Lettuce and tomato are popular fresh-market vegetable crops that commonly are produced in the field and in high tunnels. Galinato and Miles (p. 453) found that it was five times more costly to grow lettuce and eight times more costly to grow tomato in high tunnels than in the open field in western Washington. However, given the average yield and price for each crop, high tunnel-grown tomato was three times more profitable than open-field tomato production. In contrast, it was 43% more profitable to grow lettuce in the open field than in a high tunnel.

Supplying Zinc Improves Apple Fruit Quality

Zhang et al. (p. 490) report that zinc sprays were required to improve apple fruit quality if leaf zinc concentrations were less than 15 ppm dry weight, despite a lack of zinc deficiency symptoms. A single spray of sugar alcohol zinc was equally or more effective than zinc sulfate at improving quality. They recommend that apple growers spray zinc sulfate or sugar alcohol zinc, with 0.1% zinc and 0.04% nitrogen in the spraying solution, on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves at 4 weeks before harvest.

Modified Bale Unroller for Mulching between Plastic-covered Rows

Wilhoit and Coolong (p. 511) modified an existing round-bale unroller to make it offset, allowing round bales to be unrolled between planting rows with a tractor. They used the implement to apply hay and wheat-straw mulch to watermelon for two seasons. Hay and wheat-straw mulches were applied at two thicknesses, corresponding one and two layers of mulch from the round bale, respectively. All of the hay and wheat-straw mulch treatments controlled weeds significantly better than the non-treated controls in both years. This implement can help make it more efficient to mulch with round bales for weed control between plastic-covered rows.

Florida Agriculture Diversifies with Peach Production

Florida citrus crop acreage has been severely reduced by diseases like citrus bacterial canker and citrus greening. Many growers are seeking diversification of their agricultural enterprises; however, little is known about alternative specialty crops such as peaches regarding market potential, the current state of the industry, planted varieties, and production practices. In this article by Morgan and Olmstead (p. 482), a survey was conducted to gather data on peach acreage, preferred varieties, trusted information sources, and gaps in production and marketing risk assessment. Findings are expected to generate valuable information for research and extension program priorities and topic areas.

Use of Eye-tracking Technology in Retail Horticulture

Eye-tracking hardware and software allow direct measurement of what a consumer is looking at in a retail setting and to assess the link between visual stimuli and purchase. Researchers and practitioners can use that information to improve the sales efficacy of displays. Behe et al. (p. 517) present an approach to using this technology for applied consumer research in the field. Researchers outline equipment use, study construction, and data extraction as well as benefits and limitations of the technology collected from several pilot studies.

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