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Michael J. Roll and Steven E. Newman

Rooting of cuttings from three cultivars of Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. was evaluated after regulating the photoperiod during the stock plant stage. One group of stock plants was exposed to a night break (4 hours) and another group was exposed to natural daylength during September. Cuttings harvested in late September from `Freedom Red' and `Monet' stock plants grown under the 4-hour night break rooted more rapidly and had greater root mass than `Freedom Red' and `Monet' grown under natural daylength, whereas rooting of cuttings from `V-17 Angelika Marble' was not influenced by the photoperiods tested. Using a night break to prevent flower initiation of stock plants produced a higher-quality cutting when propagation took place after the critical daylength for flowering had passed.

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Jesse R Quarrels and Steven E. Newman

A study was conducted to determine the effects of pine bark grind size and pine bark levels on the activity of two growth regulators on poinsettia Two bark grinds (≤ 6 mm and >10 mm) were used with four media combinations within each grind: vermiculite:bark:peat moss at 2:0:3, 2:1:2, 2:2:1, and 2:3:0 (by volume). Two growth regulators, paclobutrazol and uniconazole, were applied at 0, 0.125, and 0.250 mg/15 cm container in 250 ml water. Two poinsettia cultivars, `Freedom' and `Gutbier V-14 Glory', were planted September 2, 1993, pinched September 16, and growth regulators applied September 30. There were five single plant replications for each treatment. Stem length and bract area were effected by bark grind, bark level, growth regulator, and growth regulator rate. Plants treated with uniconazole had the shortest stems and the least bract area. Plants grown in the smaller grind and at higher bark levels were less effected. Plants treated with paclobutrazol had longer stems than those treated with uniconazole.

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Brad B. Hawcroft and Steven E. Newman

Kenaf is an alternative fiber crop being evaluated in Mississippi. Kenaf, primarily grown in Asia, can be used in the manufacture of paper, fiber board, acoustical tiles and compost. The bark is the source of the fiber used, leaving the fiber core or pith for use as a paper additive, poultry litter, or is discarded. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential use of kenaf fiber core as a vermiculite substitute in a sphagnum peat moss-based medium.

Plugs of Celosia argentea, Viola × wittrockiana, and Impatiens wallerana were transplanted into 10 cm pots containing 5 different sphagnum peat moss-based media modified with the milled fiber core (pith) of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) and/or vermiculite. The media were as follows: 5 peat: 0 kenaf : 5 vermiculite (v/v/v); 5 peat : 1 kenaf : 4 vermiculite (v/v/v); 5 peat : 2 kenaf : 3 vermiculite (v/v/v); 5 peat : 3 kenaf : 2 vermiculite (v/v/v); 5 peat : 4 kenaf : 1 vermiculite (v/v/v); and 5 peat : 5 kenaf: 0 vermiculite (v/v/v). Water holding capacity, pore space, pH and media shrinkage were monitored throughout the study along with plant growth and plant quality.

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C. Elizabeth Succop and Steven E. Newman

Fresh-market basil is becoming a viable greenhouse commodity in Colorado. Marketing pressures and profit advantages also encourage the production of certified organic produce. The research objectives were to determine the length of time basil plants were productive in the greenhouse and to compare the production of fresh-market basil grown with three root zone systems and two fertilizer treatments. The three systems were hydroponic rockwool slab culture, hydroponic perlite raised bed culture, and hydroponic peat/perlite/compost bag culture. The two types of hydroponic fertilizer treatments were an inorganically formulated nutrient solution and an organic solution consisting of fermented poultry compost, hydrolized fish emulsion, and soluble kelp. The plants were harvested once per week and fresh weight was determined. During the 2nd and 3rd months of harvest, productivity from the plants treated with the organic fertilizer was greatest in the perlite system. However, productivity from the plants treated with the traditional fertilizer was greatest in the bag mix and rockwool systems.

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Steven E. Newman' and Jesse R. Quarrels

The objective of this study was to determine the influence of uniconazole and calcium applied as a drench or foliar spray to `Gutbier V-14 Glory' poinsettias'. Uniconazole was drenched into half of the plants at 6 mg/pot. Calcium was applied weekly as either a spray, drench, or a combination of both at 350 ppm Ca. Uniconazole reduced plant height, bract dry weight, and plant dry weight. Bract dry weight from plants not treated with uniconazole and received calcium as a spray was less than from those plants that received either no supplemental calcium or calcium as a drench. Calcium improved the appearance of plants treated with uniconazole.

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D. Clay Collins and Steven E. Newman

The Leaf Wetness Data Logger (LWL) and accompanying Logbook software were designed by Spectrum Technologies Inc. as a low-maintenance tool to aid in disease prediction and spray scheduling for outdoor field-grown crops. The LWL mimics leaf surface moisture represented as a value between 0 (dry) and 15 (wet). We explored an expanded use of the LWL to large-scale commercial greenhouses for the purpose of humidity control and disease prevention. Data were collected over 15 days in a commercial hydroponic tomato production greenhouse and repeated. Results indicated that leaf wetness, as determined by the LWL, increased during irrigation periods, with cumulative effects dependent on daily irrigation requirements and climate. Irrigation was controlled by the climate control computer in response to cumulative radiation intensity. By analyzing leaf wetness in correlation with climatic conditions, more adequate irrigation scheduling may be implemented, reducing the risk of disease spread and infection.

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Jesse R. Quarrels and Steven E. Newman

Greenhouse studies of cut flower snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus L.) using two night air and two root-zone temperatures were conducted to determine the effects on growth and quality of four cultivars in two response groups [`Cheyenne' and `Rainier White' (group II) and `Tampico' and `Potomac' (group III)]. The group II cultivars were the earliest to harvest, but at the expense of quality. Grades of first, extra, and fancy only were harvested. Group III cultivars were harvested with all grades; first, extra, fancy and special. Group II cultivars generally had weaker stems and were of lower dry weight. Night air temperature had the greatest effect on days to harvest. Harvest date was reduced more than 14 days, but at the expense of quality and dry weight. Root-zone heating decreased quality of the group II cultivars at either night air temperature. but reduced quality of the group Ill cultivars only at high night temperatures. Root-zone heat and high night air temperature reduced the number of days to harvest, also at the expense of quality. The majority of high quality stems were from group Ill cultivars harvested from rooms with low night temperatures without root-zone heat.

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Jesse R. Quarrels and Steven E. Newman

A leaching frame was constructed to detect residual plant growth regulators in media. The table was 0.9 × 1.8 m and designed to hold 40 10-cm diameter by 30-cm PVC cylinders. Each cylinder was cut lengthwise in half and resealed with duct tape. Rooted cuttings of `Freedom' poinsettias were planted into each cylinder using two media combinations: 2 vermiculite: 2 peat moss: 1 pine bark and 2 vermiculite: 1 peat moss: 2 pine bark (by volume). Four growth regulator treatments were applied to the medium two weeks after transplanting: control, 0.25 mg paclobutrazol, 0.25 mg uniconazole, and 0.125 mg paclobutrazol applied as spike. After plant growth was recorded, the cylinders were removed and sliced lengthwise. Snapdragon plugs were then transplanted into the medium along the length of the cylinder to determine if any residual paclobutrazol remained. Paclobutrazol and uniconazole reduced stem length. The presence of pine bark in the media reduced the effect of the plant growth regulators.

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C. Elizabeth Succop and Steven E. Newman

Fresh-market sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is in high demand from specialty produce markets and commercial restauranteurs. Many consumers are also demanding produce that has been organically grown. Three hydroponic media systems were evaluated twice over two years, rockwool slabs, perlite frames, and commercial sphagnum peat/perlite/compost medium, where the bag was laid flat on the bench. Plants grown in these systems were fertilized with nutrient solutions derived from either organic or conventional, saltbased fertilizer sources. Few differences in yield were detected between basil plants grown in the commercial medium with either fertilizer source. Total yield from plants grown in perlite with the organic fertilizer was 22% greater in the first study and 100% greater in the second study than those for plants grown with the conventional fertilizer. Plants grown in rockwool with the conventional fertilizer were 17% more productive in the first study and 46% more productive in the second study than those grown with the organic fertilizer. Taste test panelists (69%) could discern differences between samples from organically and conventionally grown basil plants, yet no preferences were shown.

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Steven E. Newman and Jesse R. Quarrels

The objective of this study was to determine the influences of 8 commercial media, 4 peat-based and 4 pine bark-based, on the effects of uniconazole applied as a media drench to `Gutbier V-14 Glory' poinsettias. The peat-based media were Baccto Grower's Mix, Baccto High Porosity Professional, Baccto High Porosity Professional with Bacctite, and Baccto Rockwool Mix. The pine bark-based media were Metro 300, 360, 500, and 700. Uniconazole was applied to plants grown in each media at 5 rates (0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 mg · 15 cm por1).

Uniconazole effectively reduced plant height and width, bract dry weight, and bract number in all media. Plants grown in the Metro products, however, tended to be larger than those grown in the Baccto products. Bract size and number, plant weight, width and height were greatest in Metro 360. The rockwool mix produced the smallest plants. Plants grown in the peat-based media were more sensitive to uniconazole drenches. Plants grown in Metro 360 were the least sensitive to uniconazole drenches.