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W. Roland Leatherwood, John M. Dole, Ben A. Bergmann, and James E. Faust

Knowing which herbaceous taxa are ethylene sensitive and managing exposure of unrooted terminal stem cuttings to ethylene in those taxa are critical for maintaining high-quality propagules that root readily. Of 59 taxa surveyed, freshly harvested terminal cuttings of Begonia hybrid ‘Snowcap’, Lantana camara L. ‘Patriot Sunbeam’, and Portulaca oleracea L. ‘Fairytales Sleeping Beauty’ were sensitive to exogenous application of 1 μL·L−1 ethylene, as demonstrated by leaf abscission within 24 hours of treatment. Exposure to 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 700 μL·L−1 for 4 hours before ethylene treatment prevented ethylene injury in these species/cultivars. Exposing unrooted cuttings to 700 μL·L−1 1-MCP induced significant endogenous ethylene biosynthesis in terminal cuttings of the five taxa tested: Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch ‘Visions of Grandeur’, Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull ‘Sonic Red’, Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L’Hérit. ‘Mandarin’, Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey (pro sp.) [inquinans × zonale] ‘Rocky Mountain White’, and Petunia ×hybrida Vilm. ‘Suncatcher Coral Prism’. Exogenous 1 μL·L−1 ethylene improved adventitious rooting in two cultivars: Begonia hybrid Anita Louise and Fuchsia triphylla L. Honeysuckle. Other trials showed that 1-MCP exposure reduced root number and length of P. ×hortorum ‘Kardino’ and delayed adventitious rooting in all six cultivars tested: Angelonia angustifolia Benth. ‘Carita Lavender’, Calibrachoa ×hybrida Llave & Lex. ‘Terra Cotta’, I. hawkeri ‘Sonic Red’, P. oleracea ‘Fairytales Sleeping Beauty’, Sutera cordata Kuntze ‘Abunda Blue Improved’, and Verbena ×hybrida Groenl. & Ruempl. ‘Aztec Wild Rose’. Subsequent exposure to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene partially mitigated the negative effects on rooting from exposing cuttings to 1-MCP.

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Paul B. Hedman, John M. Dole, Niels O. Maness, and Jeffrey A. Anderson

The postharvest biosynthesis of ethylene and CO2 was measured at 0, 12, 24, and 48 h after harvest and the effects of exogenous applications of 0.0, 0.2, or 1.0 μl·liter–1 ethylene for 20 h was observed on eight speciality cut flower species. Helianthus maximilliani (Maximillian's sunflower), Penstemon digitalis (penstemon), Achillea fillipendulina [`Coronation Gold' (yarrow)], Celosia plumosa [`Forest Fire' (celosia)], Cosmos bipinnatus [`Sensation' (cosmos)], Buddleia davidii (butterfly bush), and Weigela sp. (weigela) exhibited a climacteric-like pattern of ethylene production followed by a steady rise in CO2 production. Echinacea purpurea (coneflower) ethylene biosynthesis was not significant during the 48-h period after harvest. Vase life of coneflower, yarrow, celosia, cosmos, and butterfly bush was not affected by exogenous ethylene. Exogenous ethylene applications to Maximillian's sunflower, penstemon, and weigela resulted in flower abscission and decreased vase life, indicating that they are probably ethylene-sensitive cut flower species.

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Kenneth E. Conway, John M. Dole, Theresa L. Bosma, and Niels O. Maness

Field seedling emergence of four african marigold (Tagetes erecta) breeding lines, A-975, E-1236, I-822, and `Orange Lady', was examined using three or four spring sowing dates and either osmotic or solid matrix priming. Delayed sowing decreased emergence time. Sowing from middle to late April [average soil temperatures 77.0 to 84.2 °F (25 to 29 °C)] resulted in the highest total emergence percentages. Greater fl ower quantities [4.9 to 5.1 million/acre (12.11 to 12.60 million/ha)] and estimated yield [7.5 to 10.8 tons/acre (16.81 to 24.20 t·ha-1)] indicate mid to late April is the optimum time period for direct sowing unprimed seed in the southern Great Plains. Differences between lines were evident in emergence parameters and fl ower harvest data for each year examined, but results were inconsistent from year to year. However, A-975 and E-1236 produced harvestable fl owers most quickly, about 15 d before I-822, which could result in an additional harvest during a season. Osmotic priming of E-1236 and I-822 seed shortened emergence time, increased emergence uniformity, and increased total emergence percentage at early sowing dates as compared to both solid matrix primed and unprimed seed.

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Theresa L. Bosma, Janet C. Cole, Kenneth E. Conway, and John M. Dole

Canterbury bells (Campanula medium `Champion Blue') seeds were primed using calcined clay at 68 °F (20 °C) for 1, 3, or 5 days at water potentials (Ψ) of -25, -20, -18, or -16 bars (-2.5, -2.0, -1.8, or -1.6 MPa). Germination was fastest (3.0 to 3.1 days) after priming with a Ψ of -18 or -16 bars for 5 days. Seeds primed for 3 or 5 days with moisture present germinated faster than nonprimed seeds, but time to 50% germination (T50) was longer when seeds were primed for 1 day regardless of Ψ compared to nonprimed seed. Germination uniformity decreased (time from 10% to 90% germination, T10-90, increased) as Ψ increased. Although a curvilinear relationship existed between T10-90 and priming duration, T10-90 did not differ between nonprimed seeds and seeds in any priming treatment except those primed for 3 days with 20% moisture (-16 bars). Priming did not affect total germination percentage (97%).

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Iftikhar Ahmad, Brian E. Whipker, and John M. Dole

Effects of paclobutrazol and ancymidol on postharvest performance and growth control of potted sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) and marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Vilm.) plugs, respectively, were studied. Paclobutrazol was applied as a drench at 0, 1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 mg of a.i. per 15.2-cm pot for sunflower and 0, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg per 12.5-cm pot for zinnia, while ancymidol was applied at 0, 40, 80, and 160 mg·L−1 with a volume of 0.21 L·m−2 as a foliar spray for marigolds or petunia plug crops. With an increase in paclobutrazol dose or ancymidol concentration, plant growth (plant height and diameter, shoot fresh or dry weight) was controlled for all species tested. Use of 1.0–2.0 mg paclobutrazol per pot produced 21% to 28% shorter plants with 12% to 15% smaller plant diameter, 13% to 19% less shoot fresh weight, 15% to 21% less dry weight, and darker green foliage color for potted sunflower than nontreated plants. Treatment with 1.0–4.0 mg paclobutrazol per pot delayed first wilting by 0.7–1.4 days compared with nontreated plants. For zinnia, 0.5–1.0 mg paclobutrazol controlled plant growth, produced dark green foliage, and extended shelf life by delaying first wilting by 2.6–3.9 days and second wilting by 1.4–2.0 days than nontreated plants. For marigold and petunia plugs, 40–80 mg·L−1 ancymidol provided ample growth control with darker green foliage; however, postharvest longevity was extended only when plugs were sprayed with 160 mg·L−1 ancymidol. During simulated storage and shipping, plant growth retardants maintained darker green foliage for potted sunflower, zinnia, and marigold plugs and prevented postharvest stem elongation of petunia plugs. In summary, use of plant growth retardants effectively controlled excessive plant growth and extended shelf life of potted plants and plugs.

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Erin M.R. Clark, John M. Dole, Alicain S. Carlson, Erin P. Moody, Ingram F. McCall, Frankie L. Fanelli, and William C. Fonteno

Each year a wide variety of new cultivars and species are evaluated in the National Cut Flower Trial Programs administered by North Carolina State University and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Stems of promising and productive cultivars from the National Trial Program were pretreated with either a commercial hydrating solution or deionized (DI) water and placed in either a commercial holding solution or DI water. Over 8 years, the vase life of 121 cultivars representing 47 cut flower genera was determined. Although there was cultivar variation within each genus, patterns of postharvest responses have emerged. The largest category, with 53 cultivars, was one in which a holding preservative increased vase life of the following genera and species: acidanthera (Gladiolus murielae), basil (Ocimum basilicum), bee balm (Monarda hybrid), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hybrids), campanula (Campanula species), celosia (Celosia argentea), common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), coral bells (Heuchera hybrids), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), ladybells (Adenophora hybrid), lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), pinkflower (Indigofera amblyantha), seven-sons flower (Heptacodium miconioides), shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans). Hydrating preservatives increased the vase life of four basils, coral bells, and sunflower cultivars. The combined use of hydrator and holding preservatives increased the vase life of three black-eyed susan, seven-sons flower, and sunflower cultivars. Holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 14 cultivars of the following genera and species: ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), false queen anne's lace (Ammi species), knotweed (Persicaria hybrid), lisianthus, pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), yarrow (Achillea millifolium), and zinnia. Hydrating preservatives reduced the vase life of 18 cultivars of the following genera and species: feverfew, lisianthus, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, seven-sons flower, shasta daisy, sneezeweed, sweet william, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. The combined use of hydrating and holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 12 cultivars in the following genera and species: false queen anne's lace, feverfew, pincushion flower, sneezeweed, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. Data for the remaining 50 cultivars were not significant among the treatments; these genera and species included beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), black-eyed susan, blue mist (Caryopteris clandonensis), calendula (Calendula officinalis), campanula, cleome (Cleome hasserliana), common ninebark, dahlia (Dahlia hybrids), delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), flowering peach (Prunus persica forma versicolor), heliopsis (Heliopsis helianthoides), hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa), hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), larkspur (Consolida hybrids), lily of the nile (Agapanthus hybrid), lisianthus, lobelia, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, scented geranium (Pelargonium hybrid), sunflower, sweet william, and zinnia.