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Tanya J. Hall, Jennifer H. Dennis, Roberto G. Lopez, and Maria I. Marshall

In June to Oct. 2008, a U.S. floriculture survey was conducted to examine the factors affecting growers' willingness to adopt sustainable practices. The factors affecting adoption of sustainable practices were evaluated in five areas: environmental regulations, customer value, growers' attitudes toward sustainability, age, and operation size. A logistic regression model was used to examine factors affecting growers' adoption of sustainable practices. Nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of respondents thought sustainability was very important to the environment. Similarly, more than half (63%) of the respondents had sustainable practices in their operations. Although respondents had positive attitudes toward sustainability and the environment, these positive attitudes alone were unable to predict adoption behaviors. The two most important factors that affected adoption of sustainable practices were the concerns about implementation and the risk perceived by growers. Neither perceived customer value nor the stringency of state regulations affected the adoption of sustainable practices. The results from this study provide original insight into growers' views of sustainability and identify the educational assistance needed by growers to overcome the factors affecting their adoption of sustainable practices.

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Victor Medina-Urrutia, Karla Fabiola, Lopez Madera, Patricia Serrano, G. Ananthakrishnan, Jude W. Grosser, and Wenwu Guo

No presently available rootstock combines all the available rootstock attributes necessary for efficient long-term citriculture (production and harvesting) of Mexican limes and other commercially important scions. In the present study, somatic hybridization techniques were used to combine the widely adapted Amblycarpa mandarin (also known as Nasnaran mandarin) with six different trifoliate/trifoliate hybrid selections: Benton, Carrizo, and C-35 citranges; Flying Dragon and Rubidoux trifoliate oranges; and a somatic hybrid of sour orange + Flying Dragon. The ultimate goal of this research is to generate polyploid somatic hybrids that express the complementary horticultural and disease resistance attributes of the corresponding parents, and have direct potential as improved tree-size controlling rootstocks. Somatic hybrids from all six parental combinations were confirmed by a combination of leaf morphology, flow cytometry, and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) (for nuclear hybridity) and cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) analyses (for mtDNA and cpDNA). This is the first report of citrus somatic hybridization using Amblycarpa mandarin. Unexpected hexaploid somatic hybrid plants were recovered from the fusion of Amblycarpa mandarin + C-35 citrange. Hexaploid hybrids should be very dwarfing and may have potential for producing potted ornamental citrus. Resulting somatic hybrid plants from all six combinations have been propagated by tissue culture and/or rooted cuttings and are being prepared for commercial field evaluation for their potential as improved rootstocks for Mexican lime and other important scions.

Free access

J.G. Lopez-Aguirre, J. Molina-Ochoa, J. Farias-Larios, S. Guzman-Gonzalez, and A. Michel-Rosales

Amelioration and/or reclamation of saline and non-saline soils is based on the application of high quantities of agrochemical products or high volumes of water, which causes an injury in soil or downward displacement of nutrients to the lower layers in soils. Research was conducted to evaluate the effect of application of citric industry waste on saline and non-saline soil. The waste has an electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.7 dS/m and pH of 3–4.2, 35% is organic material that is readily decomposed. This experiment was carried out on field conditions using applications of three different volumes, T1 = 3200, T2 = 6400, and T3 = 9600 m3·ha–1·m–1 and a control, no-waste, (T0), using just irrigation water (EC = 2.5 dS·m–1). The same treatments were added to non-saline soil. Effect of citric industry waste application in both saline and non-saline soils was similar. In all the treatments, EC was decreased with respect to T0 and soil before application (BA), the largest decrease was found in T3. pH decreased in the top soil layer much more than in the bottom layers. Ions were decreased in all soil profile. Organic matter (OM) was increased in the profile in treatment T1 with respect to treatment T0, as well as in the top soil layers in T2 and T3, but no changes were detected in the remainder of the layers in treatments T2 and T3. We can suggest that the waste studied can be used in the amelioration of saline and non-saline soils.

Free access

J. Farías-Larios, J.G. López-Aguirre, J.L. Miranda, and L.A. Bayardo-Vizcaino

Acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) is a small, red fruit that is native to the West Indies, but is also grown in South and Central America. In western Mexico, this crop is very important because acerola is the richest known natural source of vitamin C, with a content of 1000 to 4500 mg/100 g of fruit. In nursery and field conditions, acerola growth is severely affected by root-knot nematode. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of commercial formulations of Bacillus spp. on root-knot nematode management. This study was carried out in the Farm Santa Clara Maria in Colima State. Acerola plants, 60 days old were used. They were grown in 3-L pots with soil, compost, and pumice stone mixture as substrate. Treatments evaluated were: 5, 10, 15 and 30 mL/pot of Activate 2001, Tri-Mat (5 mL/pot) and control, without application. Activate 2001® is a concentrated liquid in water suspension of Bacillus chitinosporus, B. laterosporus, and B. licheniformis. Initial nematode population was of 3,305 in 50 g of roots. Acerola plants were harvested at 30, 60, and 90 days after application. Results show that Activate 2001 at 10 and 30 mL rates reduce significantly root-knot populations in acerola plants 60 days after application with 135 and 178 nematodes/50 g of roots, respectively. Diameter stem, shoot fresh and dry weight and root production were also increased by rhizobacteria application. These results are promising and confirmed the potential of Bacillus as a biological agent for nematode management.

Full access

Christopher J. Currey, Roberto G. Lopez, Brian A. Krug, Ingram McCall, and Brian E. Whipker

The objective of this research was to quantify how flurprimidol substrate drenches applied to ‘Nellie White’ easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) affected height at flowering, time to flower, and flower number. In Expt. 1, size 9/10 ‘Nellie White’ easter lilies were treated with a 4-fl oz drench applied to the surface of the substrate when shoots were ≈3 inches tall providing 0.0, 0.02, 0.04, 0.08, 0.16, or 0.24 mg flurprimidol per pot or 0.03 or 0.06 mg uniconazole per pot. In Expt. 2, size 10/12 ‘Nellie White’ easter lilies were treated with 4-fl oz drenches applied to the surface of the substrate when shoots were ≈3 inches tall providing 0.0, 0.01, 0.02, 0.04, 0.06, or 0.08 mg flurprimidol per pot. In Expt. 1, plants treated with flurprimidol or uniconazole were up to 38.9 cm (59%) shorter than untreated plants, while time to flower and flower number remained unaffected by plant growth retardant (PGR) treatments. In Expt. 2, as the amount of flurprimidol increased from 0.01 to 0.08 mg/pot, plant height was suppressed linearly (r2 = 0.63), by up to 23.2 cm (28%), while time to flower and flower number remained unaffected. Additionally, the chemical cost for drenches containing flurprimidol is less than the cost of uniconazole required to achieve comparable height control. Flurprimidol substrate drenches appear to be an effective and economical alternative to control easter lily height.

Free access

Christopher J. Currey, Roberto G. Lopez, Vijay K. Rapaka, James E. Faust, and Erik S. Runkle

After postharvest shipping, the lower leaves of zonal geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum) cuttings often turn chlorotic and necrotic during rooting in a propagation environment. Our objective was to quantify the efficacy of spray applications of the plant growth regulators (PGRs) benzyladenine (BA) and/or gibberellic acid (GA) at various stages in propagation to reduce lower-leaf senescence and evaluate effects on subsequent rooting. In Expt. 1, cuttings of ‘Patriot White’ geraniums were harvested and treated with BA (2.5 or 5.0 mg·L−1), BA + GA4+7 (2.5 or 5.0 mg·L−1 each), or GA3 (0.5 or 2.0 mg·L−1) either before or after a 2-day storage period simulating commercial shipping. Post-shipment application of all PGRs eliminated leaf yellowing compared with cuttings treated pre-shipment, but rooting was inhibited. In Expt. 2, the promotion of rooting from a rooting hormone preceding treatment with BA (1.25 to 5.0 mg·L−1), BA+GA4+7 (1.25 to 5.0 mg·L−1 each), or GA3 (0.25 to 2.0 mg·L−1) was evaluated on ‘Patriot White’ geranium cuttings after a 2-day simulated shipping. Applying rooting hormones increased the percentage of fully rooted cuttings treated with BA and/or GA from 16.4% to 51.8%. In Expt. 3, cuttings of different geranium cultivars from a commercial producer varied in susceptibility and suppression of leaf yellowing after BA + GA4+7 applications. We conclude that foliar applications of BA + GA4+7 can suppress lower-leaf senescence and rooting during propagation of some geranium cultivars, and the inhibition of rooting can be at least partially overcome with an application of rooting hormone.

Open access

Kellie J. Walters, Bridget K. Behe, Christopher J. Currey, and Roberto G. Lopez

Controlled environment (CE) food crop production has existed in the United States for many years, but recent improvements in technology and increasing production warranted a closer examination of the industry. Therefore, our objectives were to characterize historical trends in CE production, understand the current state of the U.S. hydroponics industry, and use historical and current trends to inform future perspectives. In the 1800s, CE food production emerged and increased in popularity until 1929. After 1929, when adjusted for inflation (AFI), CE food production stagnated and decreased until 1988. From 1988 to 2014, the wholesale value of CE food production increased from $64.2 million to $796.7 million AFI. With the recent increase in demand for locally grown food spurring an increase in CE production, both growers and researchers have been interested in using hydroponic CE technologies to improve production and quality. Therefore, we surveyed U.S. hydroponic food crop producers to identify current hydroponic production technology adoption and potential areas for research needs. Producers cited a wide range of technology utilization; more than half employed solely hydroponic production techniques, 56% monitored light intensity, and more than 80% monitored air temperature and nutrient solution pH and electrical conductivity. Additionally, the growing environments varied from greenhouses (64%), indoors in multilayer (31%) or single-layer (7%) facilities, to hoop houses or high tunnels (29%). Overall, producers reported managing the growing environment to improve crop flavor and the development of production strategies as the most beneficial research areas, with 90% stating their customers would pay more for crops with increased flavor. Lastly, taking historical data and current practices into account, perspectives on future hydroponic CE production are discussed. These include the importance of research on multiple environmental parameters instead of single parameters in isolation and the emphasis on not only increasing productivity but improving crop quality including flavor, sensory attributes, and postharvest longevity.

Full access

Christopher J. Currey, Diane M. Camberato, Ariana P. Torres, and Roberto G. Lopez

Parboiled rice hulls have become a more common component of soilless growing substrates. While there have been reports that some organic substrate components reduce the efficacy of plant growth retardant (PGR) drenches, the influence of rice hulls on PGR drenches is unknown. ‘Callie Deep Yellow’ calibrachoa (Calibrachoa ×hybrid) and ‘Delta Orange Blotch’ pansy (Viola wittrockiana) were planted in containers filled with substrate containing (v/v) 80% peat and 20% perlite or parboiled rice hulls. After planting, 2.5-fl oz drenches containing deionized water or ancymidol, paclobutrazol, or uniconazole were applied to plants grown in each substrate. Plant growth retardants, but not substrate, affected growth rate, and final stem length of calibrachoa and plant height of pansy. There were no differences in regression model coefficients between substrates within PGR applications for plant height (pansy) or stem length (calibrachoa) over the course of the experiment. Paclobutrazol (2.0 or 4.0 ppm) and uniconazole (1.0 or 2.0 ppm), but not ancymidol (1.0 or 2.0 ppm) suppressed final stem length of calibrachoa. Final height of pansy was suppressed by each concentration of paclobutrazol and uniconazole and 2.0 ppm ancymidol, but not 1.0 ppm ancymidol. Based on these results, rice hulls did not reduce PGR drench efficacy when included as a substrate component comprising (v/v) 20% of a substrate.

Open access

Manjot Kaur Sidhu, Roberto G. Lopez, Sushila Chaudhari, and Debalina Saha

Common liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) is a primitive, spore-bearing bryophyte that thrives in containerized ornamental crop propagation and production environments. It is one of the major weed problems in container nurseries and greenhouses because it competes with ornamental plants for soil/growing medium, nutrients, water, space, and oxygen within the container. As a result, its presence can reduce the overall quality and market value of the ornamental crop. Once established in nurseries and greenhouses, it spreads rapidly because of its ability to propagate both asexually and sexually. Currently, no effective methods of controlling common liverwort in container production systems are available because a significant knowledge gap exists. Therefore, research is needed to determine whether organic mulches (types, depths, moisture holding capacity, and particle size), biopesticides, and strategic placement of fertilizers within containers suppress or inhibit common liverwort growth and development. In addition, newer chemicals (both synthetic and organic) and combinations need to be tested on different growth stages of common liverwort. The objective of this review was to summarize previous and current research related to common liverwort control in container production, and to identify areas where additional research is needed either to improve current control methods or to develop new ones.

Free access

Joshua K. Craver, Joshua R. Gerovac, Roberto G. Lopez, and Dean A. Kopsell

Multilayer vertical production systems using sole-source (SS) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can be an alternative to more traditional methods of microgreens production. One significant benefit of using LEDs is the ability to select light qualities that have beneficial impacts on plant morphology and the synthesis of health-promoting phytochemicals. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify the impacts of SS LEDs of different light qualities and intensities on the phytochemical content of brassica (Brassica sp.) microgreens. Specifically, phytochemical measurements included 1) total anthocyanins, 2) total and individual carotenoids, 3) total and individual chlorophylls, and 4) total phenolics. Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes), mustard (Brassica juncea ‘Garnet Giant’), and mizuna (Brassica rapa var. japonica) were grown in hydroponic tray systems placed on multilayer shelves in a walk-in growth chamber. A daily light integral (DLI) of 6, 12, or 18 mol·m−2·d−1 was achieved from SS LED arrays with light ratios (percent) of red:blue 87:13 (R87:B13), red:far-red:blue 84:7:9 (R84:FR7:B9), or red:green:blue 74:18:8 (R74:G18:B8) with a total photon flux from 400 to 800 nm of 105, 210, or 315 µmol·m−2·s–1 for 16 hours, respectively. Phytochemical measurements were collected using spectrophotometry and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Regardless of light quality, total carotenoids were significantly lower under increasing light intensities for mizuna and mustard microgreens. In addition, light quality affected total integrated chlorophyll with higher values observed under the light ratio of R87:B13 compared with R84:FR7:B9 and R74:G18:B8 for kohlrabi and mustard microgreens, respectively. For kohlrabi, with increasing light intensities, the total concentration of anthocyanins was greater compared with those grown under lower light intensities. In addition, for kohlrabi, the light ratios of R87:B13 or R84:FR7:B9 produced significantly higher anthocyanin concentrations compared with the light ratio of R74:G18:B8 under a light intensity of 315 µmol·m−2·s−1. Light quality also influenced the total phenolic concentration of kohlrabi microgreens, with significantly greater levels for the light ratio of R84:FR7:B9 compared with R74:G18:B8 under a light intensity of 105 µmol·m−2·s−1. However, the impact of light intensity on total phenolic concentration of kohlrabi was not significant. The results from this study provide further insight into the selection of light qualities and intensities using SS LEDs to achieve preferred phytochemical content of brassica microgreens.