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Terril A. Nell, James E. Barrett, and Ria T. Leonard

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Lori A. Black, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Dormant-budded `Gloria' azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) were used to observe the effect of forcing irradiance, temperature, and fertilization on postproduction performance after flower bud dormancy had been broken. Four experiments were conducted during forcing, the treatments for each experiment were: Expt. 1, three forcing irradiances (200,460, and 900 μmol·m-2·s-1) and three postproduction irradiances (4, 8, and 16 μmol·m-z·s-1); Expt. 2, three forcing irradiances (320, 560, and 1110 μmol·m-2s-l); Expt. 3, three controlled day/night temperatures (18/16C, 23/21C, and 29/27C); Expt. 4, fertilizer applied for 7, 14, or 28 days at either 150 or 300 mg N/liter (12% nitrate, 8% ammoniacal) 20N-4.8P-16K soluble fertilizer at every watering, control plants did not receive fertilizer. Days to harvest (time until plants had eight individual open flowers) was less at the high forcing irradiances and temperatures and when fertilizer was applied during forcing. Flower color was less intense at the low forcing irradiance levels, high temperatures, and when duration of fertilization was prolonged and concentration was high. There were more open flower inflorescences at week 2 of postproduction at high forcing irradiance levels, but their number was not affected by forcing temperature or fertilization. Postproduction longevity was shorter when forcing was at 29/27C (day/night) and when plants were fertilized for 28 days at 300 mg N/liter, but was not affected by forcing or postproduction irradiance.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, and James E. Barrett

Postproduction characteristics of the new poinsettia cultivar `Freedom', as influenced by production and postproduction treatments, were evaluated. In one study, plants were grown under three production irradiance levels consisting of 450, 675 or 900 μmol s-1m-2 at 18/24C or 22/28C night/day temperatures and moved at anthesis to postproduction conditions (10 μmol s-1m-2 for 12 hr/day, 21±2C). Anthesis was delayed, plant height and diameter decreased, and a reduction in the number and development of cyathia occurred when maintained at low production temperature and irradiance. Leaf drop, which was minimal after 30 days postproduction (< 25%), was unaffected by production treatments, while cyathia drop was accelerated by low production irradiance and temperature, but not reduced after 30 days.

Leaf retention and quality in postproduction conditions are excellent. Cyathia drop averages 40 to 50% after 2 weeks in postproduction conditions. Bracts and leaves maintain their color well, with only slight fading after 30 days. Plants exhibit slight epinasty after shipping, but recover within a couple of days. These characteristics of `Freedom' make it a promising variety for the future.

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Lori A. Black, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

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James E. Barrett, Carolyn A. Bartuska, and Terril A. Nell

Paclobutrazol drench treatments were evaluated for efficacy on Caladium ×hortulanum (Birdsey) cultivars Aaron, White Christmas, and Carolyn Wharton. Drenches at 2.0 mg/pot did not reduce height of `Aaron' and `White Christmas' plants when applied 1 week after planting, but 2.0 mg applied at 3 weeks after planting did result in shorter plants. The difference for time of application may be due to the amount of roots present to take up paclobutrazol when applied. In two factorial experiments, there were no interactions between cultivar and time of application or amount of chemical. Paclobutrazol at 0.5 mg/pot resulted in plants that were shorter than the controls. Higher amounts of paclobutrazol provided additional reductions in height, but there was variation between the experiments for degree of effect with amounts >1 mg. Generally, commercially acceptable height control was provided by paclobutrazol drench treatments at 0.5 and 1.0 mg/pot applied 3 weeks after planting. Chemical names used: (2RS,3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl-pentan-3-ol (paclobutrazol).

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Michelle H. Williams, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

It is generally accepted that ethylene production is centrally located in petal senescence, however, non-climacteric flowers senesce irrespective of the presence of ethylene. The regulation of flower senescence may well be linked to protein synthesis. Our objective was to develop a simple tool which can be used in breeding programmes and\or the market place to determine potential longevity of a flower. Here, SDS-PAGE protein profiles of both potted and cut chrysanthemum flowers were determined from flowering to senescence. Generally, only minor changes in both protein content and the proportion of the major polypeptides were observed in the potted flowers. However, polypeptides at 40, 45 and 65 kDa increased during flower senescence and are of particular interest because they could be linked to flower longevity. The apparent stability of the proteins may contribute to the long postharvest life of the potted chrysanthemum.

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Terril A. Nell, Ria T. Leonard, and James E. Barrett

Production irradiance levels on growth, light compensation point (LCP), dark respiration (DR), and interior longevity of potted chrysanthemum (Demfranthema grandiflora Tzvelev. cvs. Iridon and Mountain Peak) and poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind. cvs. Annette Hegg Dark Red and Gutbier V-10 Amy) were determined. LCP and DR were measured at anthesis and during acclimatization to interior conditions (10 μmol·s-1·m-2). Days to flowering, inflorescence diameter, total chlorophyll, and interior longevity of chrysanthemum increased when maintained at a mean maximum photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 500 μmol·s-1·m-2 compared to plants shifted to 300 or 100 μmol·s-1·m-2 8 weeks after planting. LCP and DR were highest at anthesis and were reduced 38% and 49%, respectively, for chrysanthemum and 19% and 42%, respectively, for poinsettia within 3 days in interior conditions. Chrysanthemum plants shifted to 300 μmol·s1·m-2 during production had lower LCP and DR rates at anthesis and throughout time in interior conditions compared to plants maintained at 500 μmol·s-1·m-2. The acclimatization of chrysanthemum to reduced production PPFD is of little significance because interior longevity is reduced. No differences were found in the LCP or DR of poinsettia or chrysanthemum cultivars that differ in interior performance, demonstrating that these physiological characteristics are not good indicators of interior longevity for chrysanthemum and poinsettia.

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Barbara C. Poole, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Premature flower bud abscission imposes a serious limitation on longevity of potted Hibiscus in interiorscape situations, Ethylene is known to be one causative factor. Past research has suggested that carbohydrate depletion of buds may also be involved,

A series of experiments was conducted to examine the relationship between carbohydrate levels and ethylene sensitivity of flower buds under low irradiance levels. Two cultivars were used: `Pink Versicolor', which is very susceptible to bud abscission, and the more resistant `Vista', In the first experiment, plants were harvested twice weekly after placement in interiorscape rooms (8.5 μmol m-2 s-1 for 12 hrs per day; 26.5°C day/night) until all buds had abscissed. At each harvest, buds from four size groups were collected for analysis. In the second experiment, source/sink strength of buds was manipulated by selective daily removal of certain sized buds. Remaining buds were collected just prior to abscission for analysis. In two additional experiments, `Pink Versicolor' plants were treated with either silver thiosulfate or ethephon prior to placement in interiorscape rooms. Plants were harvested twice weekly and buds collected. For all experiments, bud dry wt, total soluble sugars and starch content were determined.

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G.H. Pemberton, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Senescence of gladiolus flowers, like many geophytes, does not involve a climacteric burst of ethylene. Eleven gladiolus cultivars were screened and all were non-climacteric (NC) for both respiration and ethylene production. Average ethylene levels for individual flowers were 0.5 μl C2H4/kg per h or less. As in other NC flowers, protein synthesis may be linked to senescence. Our goal was to identify specific proteins that were involved in the senescence process that could be used as indicators of postharvest longevity. SDS-PAGE protein profiles of cut gladiolus flowers were determined from a tight bud stage to senescence. Both increases and decreases were observed in major polypeptides that may be connected to postharvest flower longevity. Total protein content of gladiolus flower petals decreased by ≈70% during the profile period. This could explain the relatively short postharvest life of 3 to 5 days for individual gladiolus flowers. Total protein profiles were probed with an ACC synthase antibody to establish the relationship of this enzyme in NC senescence.

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Richard K. Schoellhorn, James E. Barrett, and Terril A. Nell

`Improved Mefo' chrysanthemums were grown at 22C/18C and 34C/28C day/night temperature regimes to evaluate the failure of lateral bud development following pinching of this temperature sensitive cultivar. The number of viable buds on plants at the high temperatures was 40% of number at low temperature. Loss of bud viability was categorized as those buds that were: 1) absent, or 2) those in which growth was present, but inhibited. Inhibited buds were visible swellings surrounded by dense masses of secondary cell wall material. Anatomical studies were completed to verify the absence of lateral buds and determine what cellular changes imposed inhibition on those buds that did develop. A second group of experiments demonstrated that moving low-temperature plants to the high temperature caused production of viable buds to decline. Plants were moved from high temperatures to low, and reciprocally to high from low temperature. Anatomical sampling of apical meristems began at time of shift and at 1, 2, 4, and 8 days after temperature shift. High-temperature meristems possessed predominantly non-viable lateral buds, with few viable buds present.