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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Irradiating a ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (FeEDTA)-containing commercially available soluble fertilizer with ultraviolet (UV) and blue radiation from high intensity discharge (HID) lamps caused the photooxidation of the FeEDTA complex, resulting in the loss of 98% of soluble iron. The loss of soluble iron coincided with the development of a precipitate that was mostly composed of iron. The effects of using an irradiated FeEDTA-containing fertilizer solution on plant growth and nutrition under commercial conditions were studied. Application of the irradiated fertilizer solutions to greenhouse grown tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) resulted in lower levels of iron (6%) and zinc (9%), and higher levels of manganese (8%) and copper (25%) in leaf tissue compared to control plants that received a nonirradiated fertilizer solution. Leaf macronutrient levels (phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium), leaf dry weight, leaf number, and plant height was not affected by application of the irradiated fertilizer solution.

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Our objective was to determine the effects on plant growth and physiology that a photodegraded Fe-chelate containing lab-prepared nutrient solution would have when used in plant culture. Plants grown hydroponically in the irradiated Fe-DTPA containing nutrient solution had ferric reductase activity 2.2 times greater, foliar Fe level 0.77 times less, and foliar Mn level 1.9 times greater than in plants grown in an identical but non-irradiated solution, indicating that plants growing in the irradiated solution were responding to Fe deficiency stress with physiological reactions associated with Fe efficiency. The youngest leaves of plants that were grown in the irradiated solution had symptoms of Mn toxicity. Restoration of the irradiated solution by removing the precipitated Fe by centrifugation and adding fresh Fe-chelate resulted in plants that were, in general, not different from those grown in the non-irradiated solution (control).

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Irradiation of FeDTPA-containing nutrient solutions by a fluorescent plus incandescent light source resulted in the loss of both Fe-chelate and soluble Fe, the formation of a precipitate that was composed mostly of Fe, and a rise in pH. The rate of Fe-chelate photodegradation in solution increased with irradiance intensity and with solution temperature under irradiation, but irradiance had the greater effect. Fe-chelates absorb in the blue and UV regions of the spectrum. Removal of these wavelengths with a spectral filter eliminated photodegradation. Chemical name used: ferric diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (FeDTPA).

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Iron chelate photodegradation is a problem in tissue culture where limited soluble Fe in agar reduces callus tissue growth. Our objectives were to determine if Fe chelate photodegradation occurs in commercial fertilizers used in greenhouse plant production and, if so, the effects on plant Fe acquisition. Commercial 20N–10P–20K soluble fertilizers containing Fe-EDTA were prepared as 100x stocks based on a 100 mg N/liter (1x) concentration. A modified Hoagland's solution with Fe-DTPA was prepared as a 10x stock based on a 200 mg N/liter (1x) concentration. Samples then were kept in darkness or were irradiated with 500 μmol·m–2·s–1 from fluorescent and incandescent sources for ≤240 hours. Soluble Fe in the irradiated commercial fertilizer solutions decreased 85% in 240 h. Soluble Fe in the Hoagland's solution, prepared in the lab, decreased 97% in 72 h. There was no loss in soluble Fe in any dark-stored treatment; demonstrating photodegradation of Fe-chelates under commercial settings. Excised roots of marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), grown hydroponically in the irradiated solutions, had Fe(III)-DTPA reductase activity 2 to 6 times greater than roots of plants grown in solutions kept in darkness. Plants growing in irradiated solutions acidified the rhizosphere more than plants growing in solutions kept dark. The increase in Fe reductase activity and rhizosphere acidification are Fe-efficiency reactions of marigold responding to the photodegradation of Fe-chelates and subsequent decrease in soluble Fe in both commercial fertilizers and lab-prepared nutrient solution.

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Our objective was to assess the susceptibility of seven marigold varieties to Fe toxicity. Marigold varieties included were one hedge type, `Orange Jubilee'; five semi-dwarf types, `First Lady', `Gold Lady', `Orange Lady', `Marvel Gold', and `Yellow Galore'; and one dwarf type, `Discovery Orange'. Plants were grown in a greenhouse in a soilless medium and treatments consisted of 0.018 mm (low) and 0.36 mm (high) Fe-DTPA incorporated into a nutrient solution. Plant height was not affected by Fe treatment and ranged from 32 cm in `Orange Jubilee', 13 to 14 cm in the semi-dwarf varieties, and 7.0 cm in `Discovery Orange'. Leaf dry weight per plant was not affected by Fe treatment and ranged from 1.15 g in `Orange Jubilee', 0.68 to 0.95 g in the semi-dwarf varieties, and 0.56 g in `Discovery Orange'. Symptoms of Fe toxicity only developed in the high Fe treatment, and the percent leaf dry weight separated at harvest as symptomatic ranged from 97% in `Orange Jubilee', 55% to 85% in the semidwarf varieties, and 15% in `Discovery Orange'. The Fe concentration in leaves in the high Fe treatment was 5.7-times greater in `Orange Jubilee', 2 to 3-times greater in the semi-dwarf varieties, and 1.6-times greater in `Discovery Orange' than in the low Fe treatment. Based on these findings, `Orange Jubilee' and `Discovery Orange' were the most and least susceptible varieties, respectively, to Fe toxicity of the seven marigold varieties evaluated in this study.

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Cindy L. McKenzie and Joseph P. Albano

Tomato irregular ripening (TIR) disorder is associated with sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) biotype B feeding and is characterized by incomplete ripening of longitudinal sections of fruit. Our objective was to determine the effect of time of sweetpotato whitefly infestation on plant nutrition and the development of TIR disorder. Healthy tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Florida Lanai’) were introduced to sweetpotato whitefly infestations at different developmental stages of plant growth: 1) five to seven true leaves, 2) flower, 3) green fruit, and 4) breaking red fruit and were compared with noninfested control plants of the same age. Plants were fertilized every 7 to 14 days. Plant nutrition was monitored over time between the noninfested control and the longest infestation interval (five to seven true leaves) and between all infestation intervals at harvest. Sweetpotato whitefly (egg, nymph, and adult) and plant parameters (height, canopy diameter, number of leaves, flowers, and fruit per plant) were taken every 7 to 14 days after sweetpotato whitefly infestation. Almost all of the fruit (99%) produced by tomato plants infested with sweetpotato whitefly at stages 1 and 2 (78 and 56 days of sweetpotato whitefly exposure, respectively) developed TIR with fruit exhibiting internal and external symptoms. Plants infested at stage 3 (35 days of sweetpotato whitefly exposure) had 79% to 80% of the fruit develop TIR. Surprisingly, 58% of fruit from plants infested at stage 4 (14 days of sweetpotato whitefly exposure) also developed the disorder, indicating that tomatoes may need to be protected from sweetpotato whitefly until harvest to avoid this disorder. Seed germination was unaffected by TIR. Plants infested with sweetpotato whitefly had mean foliar levels of calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc that were greater than in noninfested control plants at final harvest for both studies, regardless of time of infestation.

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Joseph P. Albano and Donald J. Merhaut

The objectives of the study were to determine effects of iron (Fe) source on plant growth, plant nutrition, substrate chemistry, and runoff chemistry. Iron source (FS) treatments consisted of Fe-aminopolycarboxylic acid (APCA) complexones iron ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (FeEDTA), iron [S, S′]-ethylenediaminedisuccinic acid (FeEDDS), iron diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (FeDTPA), and iron ethylenediaminedi(o-hydroxyphenylacetic) acid (FeEDDHA) and non-chelated iron sulfate (FeSO4) added to a base nutrient solution at the rate of 1 mg·L−1 Fe final concentration. Marigold (Tagetes erecta) ‘First Lady' was grown in peat-based media fertilized with FS treatments over a period of 22 d. Iron source treatments were nonsignificant for foliar Fe, manganese (Mn), or zinc (Zn) averaging 162 μg·g−1 Fe, 228 μg·g−1 Mn, and 35 μg·g−1 Zn but were significant for foliar copper (Cu). Main effect of FS on pour-through (PT) leachate pH was statistically different but not practically significant, averaging 6.42. The FeDTPA treatment resulted in higher levels of Cu, Fe, and Zn in PT extracts. Leachate-runoff (LR) was collected and analyzed over the course of the study. Results of LR were similar to PT with levels of Cu, Fe, and Zn for the FeDTPA treatment resulting in higher concentrations of these metals. In both PT and LR, the highest concentration of Mn was associated with the FeEDTA treatment. Spectrophotometer analyses of PT and LR leachates determined the presence of all Fe chelates tested in those solutions.

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Joseph P. Albano*, P. Chris Wilson, and Sandra B. Wilson

Sources of irrigation water in South Florida typically contain high levels of dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates. Repeated application of high alkalinity water can cause substrate-solution pH to rise, thereby altering nutrient availability, and possibly leading to the development of nutrient disorders and a reduction in plant growth. The objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of neutralizing alkalinity of irrigation water on the nutritional status and growth of Thryallis (Galphimia glauca Cav.). Plants were grown in 11.4-L containers in a 5 peat: 4 pine bark: 1sand (v:v:v) mix. Treatments were prepared with water collected from a commercial nursery with inherent calcium carbonate levels in excess of 260 mg·L-1 and pH above 7.3. Treatments consisted of 0% (control), 40%, or 80% alkalinity neutralized with sulfuric acid. At harvest, 51 weeks after initiating treatments, foliar levels of Fe were 28% greater, Mn 55% greater, and Zn 27% greater in the 80% than 0% neutralized alkalinity treatment. Growth indices and leaf greenness averaged over the course of the study were significantly greater in the 40% than in the 0% or 80% alkalinity neutralized treatments. Over the course of the study, leachate pH averaged 7.5, 6.8, and 5.3; and electrical conductivity (EC) averaged 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 dS·m-1 in the 0%, 40%, and 80% alkalinity neutralized treatments, respectively.

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Jeff B. Million*, Thomas H. Yeager, and Joseph P. Albano

The influence of production practices on runoff from container nurseries was investigated in Spring 2003 (March to July) and Fall 2003 (August to January). Viburnum odoratissimum (Ker-Gawl.) liners were planted in 3.8-L containers with a 2 pine bark: 1 sand: 1 Canadian peat substrate and placed on 1.5 m2-platforms at one of two plant spacing densities: 16 or 32 plants/m2 [spaced to 16 plants/m2 after 13 weeks (spring) or 14 weeks (fall)]. Overhead sprinkler irrigation was applied daily (1 cm) and runoff collected weekly. Osmocote 18 N-2.6 P-10 K was surface-applied to each container (15 g) in the spring and surface-applied or incorporated in the fall. Cumulative runoff averaged 1240 L·m-1; in spring (19 weeks) and 1050 L·m-1; in fall (20 weeks), which represented 72% and 66% of applied irrigation plus rainfall, respectively. The lower density spacing resulted in a 19% increase in cumulative runoff in spring (1340 vs. 1130 L·m-1) but had no effect in fall (970 vs. 890 L·m-1). Weighted average ECwa of runoff decreased 10% (0.436 vs. 0.485 dS·m-1) and 12% (0.420 vs. 0.476 dS·m-1) with the lower density spacing in spring and fall, respectively. ECwa in fall was not affected by fertilizer method. Plant size index [(height + width)/2] was reduced 22% in both spring (38.7 vs. 49.7 cm) and fall (26.9 vs. 34.4 cm) when plants were grown at the lower density spacing throughout production. This reduction in plant size was attributed to container heat stress. Plant size was unaffected by fertilizer application method (fall) but fertilizer incorporation resulted in greener plants than surface-applied fertilizer (60 vs. 53 SPAD readings).

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Jeff B. Million, Thomas H. Yeager, and Joseph P. Albano

The capacity for evapotranspiration (ET)-based irrigation scheduling to reduce runoff volume and nutrient leaching was tested in Fall 2004 and Spring 2005. Runoff (container leachate plus unintercepted irrigation and precipitation) was collected continuously for 17 weeks during production of sweet viburnum [Viburnum odoratissimum (L.) Ker Gawl.] in 2.4-L (16-cm top diameter) containers fertilized with an 18N–2.6P–10K polymer-coated, controlled-release fertilizer. Treatments were a factorial arrangement of two irrigation rates (fixed rate of 1 cm·d−1 or a variable, ET-based rate) and two fertilizer rates (15 or 30 g/container in 2004 and 10 or 15 g/container in 2005). Averaged over the two experiments and compared with the 1-cm·d−1 rate, ET-based irrigation reduced the amount of irrigation water applied (L/container) by 39% and runoff volume (L/container) by 42% with greatest reductions observed during the second half of the 2004 experiment and the first half of the 2005 experiment. Compared with 1-cm·d−1 rate, ET-based irrigation reduced runoff nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) (mg/container) by 16%, 25%, and 22%, respectively, in 2004 and runoff K 15% in 2005 with irrigation effects varying on a weekly basis. Irrigation treatments did not affect the response of plants to fertilizer rate. Because shoot dry weight was unaffected by irrigation treatments, results indicate that compared with a fixed irrigation rate, ET-based irrigation can reduce irrigation and runoff volumes and to a lesser extent nutrient loss while providing adequate water for plant growth.