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James W. Olmstead, Gregory A. Lang, and Gary G. Grove

Most sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars grown commercially in the Pacific Northwest U.S. are susceptible to powdery mildew caused by the fungus Podosphaera clandestina (Wall.:Fr.) Lev. The disease is prevalent in the irrigated arid region east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Little is known about genetic resistance to powdery mildew in sweet cherry, although a selection (`PMR-1') was identified at the Washington State Unive. Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center that exhibits apparent foliar immunity to the disease. The objective of this research was to characterize the inheritance of powdery mildew resistance from `PMR-1'. Reciprocal crosses between `PMR-1' and three high-quality, widely-grown susceptible cultivars (`Bing', `Rainier', and ëVaní) were made to generate segregating progenies for determining the mode of inheritance of `PMR-1' resistance. Progenies were screened for susceptibility to powdery mildew colonization using a laboratory leaf disk assay. Assay results were verified by natural spread of powdery mildew among the progeny seedlings in a greenhouse and later by placement among infected trees in a cherry orchard. Progenies from these crosses were not significantly different (P > 0.05) when tested for a 1:1 resistant to susceptible segregation ratio, indicating that `PMR-1' resistance is conferred by a single gene, which we propose to designate as PMR-1.

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Charlotte M. Guimond, Preston K. Andrews, and Gregory A. Lang

Flower initiation and development in `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) was examined using scanning electron microscopy. There was a 1- to 2-week difference in the time of initiation of flower buds on summer pruned current season shoots (P) compared to buds borne on unpruned shoots (U) or spurs (S). By late July, this difference was obvious in morphological development. The P buds had already formed floral primordia, while the S and U buds showed little differentiation in the meristem until early August. In general, buds from unpruned shoots were similar developmentally to spur buds. By late August, primordial differentiation was similar in the buds from all the wood types; however, buds from pruned shoots were significantly larger (838 μm) than buds from spurs (535 μm) and unpruned shoots (663 μm). Early summer pruning may shift allocation of resources from terminal shoot elongation to reproductive meristem development at the base of current season shoots. The similarity in reproductive bud development between spurs and unpruned shoots, given the difference in active terminal growth, might suggest that developmental resources are inherently more limiting in reproductive buds on spurs.

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Charlotte M. Guimond, Gregory A. Lang, and Preston K. Andrews

To examine the effect of timing and severity of summer pruning on flower bud initiation and vegetative growth, 4-year-old `Bing' cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) were pruned at 31, 34, 37, 38, or 45 days after full bloom (DAFB) with heading cuts 20 cm from the base of current-season lateral shoot growth, or at 38 DAFB by heading current-season lateral shoot growth at 15, 20, 25, or 30 cm from the base of the shoot. The influence of heading cut position between nodes also was examined by cutting at a point (≈20 cm from the shoot base) just above or below a node, or in the middle of an internode. Summer pruning influenced the number of both flower buds and lateral shoots subsequently formed on the shoots. All of the timings and pruning lengths significantly increased the number of both flower buds and lateral shoots, but differences between pruning times were not significant. There was significantly less regrowth when shoots were pruned just below a node or in the center of an internode, rather than just above a node, suggesting that the length of the remaining stub may inhibit regrowth somewhat. The coefficient of determination (r 2) between flower bud number and regrowth ranged from -0.34 to -0.45. In young high-density sweet cherry plantings, summer pruning may be useful for increasing flower bud formation on current-season shoots. The time of pruning, length of the shoots after pruning, and location of the pruning cut can influence subsequent flower bud formation and vegetative regrowth.

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Robyn McConchie, N. Suzanne Lang, Alan R. Lax, and Gregory A. Lang

Premature leaf blackening in Protea severely reduces vase life and market value. The current hypothesis suggests that leaf blackening is induced by a sequence of events related to metabolic reactions associated with senescence, beginning with total depletion of leaf carbohydrates. It is thought that this carbohydrate depletion may induce hydrolysis of intercellular membranes to supply respiratory substrate, and subsequently allow vacuole-sequestered phenols to be oxidized by polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD) (Whitehead and de Swardt, 1982). To more thoroughly examine this hypothesis, leaf carbohydrate depletion and the activities of PPO and POD in cut flower Protea susannae × P. compacta stems held under light and dark conditions were examined in relationship to postharvest leaf blackening. Leaf blackening proceeded rapidly on dark-held stems, approaching 100% by day 8, and was temporally coincident with a rapid decline in starch concentration. Blackening of leaves on light-held stems did not occur until after day 7, and a higher concentration of starch was maintained earlier in the postharvest period for stems held in light than those held in dark. A large concentration of the sugar alcohol, polygalatol, was maintained in dark- and light-held stems over the postharvest period, suggesting that it is not involved in growth or maintenance metabolism. Polyphenol oxidase activity in light- and dark-held stems was not related to appearance of blackening symptoms. Activity of PPO at pH 7.2 in light-held stems resulted in a 10-fold increase over the 8-day period. Activity in dark-held stems increased initially, but declined at the onset of leaf blackening. There was no significant difference in POD activity for dark- or light-held stems during the postharvest period. Total chlorophyll and protein concentrations did not decline over the 8-day period or differ between light- and dark-held stems. Total phenolics in the dark-held stems increased to concentrations ≈30% higher than light-held stems. Consequently, the lack of association between membrane collapse, leaf senescence, or activities of oxidative enzymes (PPO or POD) with leaf blackening does not support the hypothesis currently accepted by many Protea researchers. An alternative scenario may be that the rapid rate of leaf starch hydrolysis imposes an osmotic stress resulting in cleavage of glycosylated phenolic compounds to release glucose for carbohydrate metabolism and coincidentally increase the pool of free phenolics available for nonenzymatic oxidation. The physiology of such a carbohydrate-related cellular stress and its manifestation in cellular blackening remains to be elucidated.

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Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, David Ophardt, Matthew D. Whiting, Gregory A. Lang, and Lynn E. Long

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James W. Olmstead, Matthew D. Whiting, David Ophardt, Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, and Gregory A. Lang

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James W. Olmstead, Matthew D. Whiting, David Ophardt, Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, and Gregory A. Lang

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Nnadozie C. Oraguzie, D. Ophardt, Matthew D. Whiting, Gregory A. Lang, and Lynn E. Long