Use of recycled water to irrigate urban landscapes may be inevitable, because the freshwater supply has been diminishing and the population continues to grow in the arid and semiarid southwestern United States. However, little information exists on the performance of landscape plants irrigated with nonpotable water. Two greenhouse studies were conducted during the summer and the fall to characterize the relative salt tolerance of five herbaceous perennials by irrigating the plants with a saline solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.8 dS·m–1 (tap water), 2.0 dS·m–1, or 4.0 dS·m–1. In the summer study, after 10 weeks of treatment, Achillea millefolium L., Gaillardia aristata Foug., and Salvia coccinea Juss ex J. had an aesthetically acceptable appearance for landscape performance (visual quality scores of 4 points or more), whereas Agastache cana (Hook.) Woot. & Standl. and Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench had relatively low tolerance to salinity. Dry weight of shoots of A. millefolium, A. cana, and G. arstata was lower at elevated salinity levels. In the fall study, A. millefolium, E. purpurea, G. arstata, and S. coccinea had acceptable growth and visual quality at elevated salinity levels, whereas A. cana had lower quality and reduced growth. Dry weight of shoots was lower in G. arstata and A. millefolium at an EC of 2.0 dS·m–1 or 4.0 dS·m–1. Leaf osmotic potential of all species in the summer experiment was significantly lower at higher salinity compared with the control. In the fall experiment, leaf osmotic potential in A. millefolium, E. purpurea, and G. aristata at 4 dS·m–1 was lower compared with lower salinity treatment and the control. Leaf osmotic potential in the fall was higher than that of the same species at the same salinity level in the summer experiment, indicating that plants in the fall were less stressed than in the summer. Combined the results from both experiments, the authors concluded that A. millefolium, G. arstata, and S. coccinea had a relatively high salt tolerance (as much as 4 dS·m–1 of irrigation water under greenhouse conditions) among the tested species, whereas A. cana and E. purpurea were not tolerant to salt and should not be irrigated with low-quality water.
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
Drought-tolerant garden roses (Rosa spp.) are needed in arid and semiarid regions where irrigation water is scarce. The vast majority of garden rose cultivars are budded or grafted onto rootstocks and are seldom grown on their own roots. The objective of this study was to compare the growth and physiological responses of four rose rootstocks to drought stress. Rosa ×hybrida ‘Dr. Huey’, R. ×fortuniana, R. multiflora, and R. odorata grown in 12-L containers were well-irrigated throughout the experiment or were subjected to mild drought stress for five or six cycles, depending on rootstocks, over 10 weeks. Following the mild drought stress cycles, plants that received the mild drought treatment were subjected to a severe dry-down before termination of the experiment. In R. ×fortuniana, drought stress did not affect any growth parameter. Compared with the well-irrigated plants, shoot dry weight of ‘Dr. Huey’, R. multiflora, and R. odorata were reduced by 22%, 33%, and 38%, respectively, by the drought treatment. The final leaf area of R. multiflora and R. odorata was reduced by 42% and 59%, respectively, compared with the control plants. The final leaf area of ‘Dr. Huey’ was not influenced by the drought treatment. Root to shoot ratio in ‘Dr. Huey’ was unaffected, while that of R. multiflora and R. odorata increased as a result of the drought treatment. As substrate moisture content decreased, leaf relative water content (RWC) of all rootstocks decreased linearly, with differences in decreasing slope or intercept of the linear regression lines among rootstocks. Predawn leaf water potential during the dry-down began to decrease rapidly when substrate moisture content decreased to below 20% (25% in R. odorata) in ‘Dr. Huey’, R. ×fortuniana, and R. multiflora. Leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn), transpiration rate (E) and stomatal conductance (gs) of all rootstocks decreased rapidly during the dry-down as substrate moisture content decreased from 25%. In ‘Dr. Huey’ and R. ×fortuniana, Pn, E, and gs were closely correlated with leaf RWC, while E and gs of R. odorata were not. Correlations between gas exchange rates (Pn, E, and gs) and leaf RWC in R. multiflora were weaker than those in ‘Dr. Huey’ and R. ×fortuniana. At low substrate moisture content (below 15%), Pn, E, and gs in R. odorata were lower than those in other rootstocks. Growth reduction was greatest in R. odorata, regardless of the least water deficit of the substrate, followed by R. multiflora and ‘Dr. Huey’. The results of this study suggest that R. ×fortuniana was the most tolerant and R. odorata was the least tolerant to drought stress.
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
In order to use reclaimed water to irrigate landscape plants and minimize damage and loss, salinity tolerance of commonly used landscape plants needs to be identified and characterized. Eight herbaceous perennials and groundcovers were obtained from a nursery, transplanted to 2.6-L plastic containers, and grown in the greenhouse for 2 weeks before salinity treatments (1.0, 3.2, 6.4, and 12 dS·m-1) were initiated. Plants were irrigated with measured amounts of saline solutions to obtain a 30% leaching when ≈50% water was depleted. After 12 weeks, half of the plants in each treatment were destructively harvested and dry weights of shoots and roots were taken. Three Penstemon species (pseudospectabilis, eatoni, and strictus) and Lavandula angustifoliaat 6.4 and 12 dS·m-1 and most of them at 3.2 dS/m did not survive. Shoot dry weight of Delosperma cooperidecreased by 25% at 12 dS·m–1, but there were no significant differences among the rest of the treatments. All plants of Teucrium chamaedryssurvived, but growth was reduced significantly with lower visual scores as salinity of irrigation water increased. Although growth was reduced in Gazaniarigensas salinity increased, no other signs of stress were observed. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides had less growth at 3.2 dS·m–1, and older leaves showed reddish pigmentation at 6.4 dS·m-1, whereas those at 12 dS·m-1 did not survive. Among the tested species, D.cooperiand G.rigensindicated a high tolerance to salinity; T. chamaedrysand C. plumbaginoides were moderately tolerant; and the rest were salt sensitive.
Genhua Niu and Raul I. Cabrera
Water shortages and poor water quality are critical issues in many areas of the world. With rapid increases in population and shortage of water supplies in urban areas, use of alternative water sources such as municipal reclaimed water and other sources of non-potable waters for irrigating landscapes is inevitable. A potential concern is the elevated salt levels in these alternative waters. This article briefly summarizes general information regarding alternative water sources and general responses of landscape plants to salinity stress. Methodology of screening and evaluating salt tolerance of landscape plants are discussed. Recent research results on salt tolerance of landscape plants and their physiological responses to salinity stress are reviewed. Like agricultural crops, a wide range of salt tolerance among landscape plants has been found. In addition to plant species, dominant salt type, substrate, irrigation method and management, and environmental conditions also affect plant responses to salinity stress. A number of mechanisms of salinity tolerance have been observed among landscape species, including restriction of ion uptake, selective ion uptake, and tolerance to high internal concentrations of sodium and/or chloride.
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
Salvia greggii (salvia) and Dalea frutescens (dalea) are two popular shrubs. However, little information is available on their drought tolerance. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of various degrees of water stress on growth and to characterize the dynamics of water relations to root substrate water content for developing best irrigation management. Salvia and dalea plants in 12-L plastic containers were grown in a greenhouse and pruned to one node at the base of the soft shoots for salvia or at the same height for dalea prior to the start of the experiment. There were three irrigation regimens: plants were irrigated daily (control), or irrigation was withheld until moderate or severe water stress signs exhibited. After several weeks of intermittent cyclic dry-down irrigation regimens, total shoot number per container was reduced by 40% to 50% for salvia and 35% to 40% for dalea. Average shoot length was reduced by 35% to 45% for salvia and 50% to 65% for dalea in moderate and severe stressed treatments compared to the control. Drought stress resulted in less shoot elongation and fewer new shoots in both species. To examine the relationship between plant water status and substrate water content, a dry down test was performed on five well-watered plants by withholding irrigation until midday water potential dropped to below –4 MPa. As substrate water contents in both species reached 8%, the predawn water potentials did not recover from the midday water potential of the previous day, indicating there was no available water in the substrate for roots to take up. The drought tolerance of these two species needs further study using various growing media.
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
Salt-tolerant garden roses (Rosa L.) are needed for arid and semiarid regions where high-quality water supply is limited and soil salinization often occurs. This greenhouse study evaluated growth, ion uptake characteristics, and the daily evapotranspiration rate (ET) of four rose rootstocks [‘Dr. Huey’ (Rosa ×hybrida L.), R. ×fortuniana Lindl., R. multiflora Thunb., and R. odorata (Andr.) Sweet] irrigated with saline solutions with chloride or sulfate as the dominant salts. After 16 weeks of treatment, the elevated salinities reduced growth of all rootstocks, but the magnitude varied with the rootstock and dominant salt type. At moderate [3.9 dS·m−1 electrical conductivity (EC)] and high salinities (7.9 to 8.2 dS·m−1), chloride-dominated salinity led to a greater growth reduction in R. × fortuniana, followed by R. odorata and R. multiflora. At high salinity dominated by sulfate, R. odorata had a greater growth reduction, followed by R. multiflora, ‘Dr. Huey’, and R. ×fortuniana. For R. multiflora, growth was reduced more in chloride-dominated salinity at high salinity levels, but no differences were found in the growth between the two salt types at moderate salinity. Rosa multiflora accumulated more Na than R. odorata, and R. ×fortuniana accumulated the least. However, R. multiflora retained most the Na in the roots, whereas R. odorata transported 57% of the Na to shoots. All rootstocks had a similar high leaf Cl concentration at high salinity dominated by chloride, while R. ×fortuniana had the most severe foliar salt damage, indicating that R. ×fortuniana had a lower threshold concentration of tissue Cl. At moderate salinity, all rootstocks had acceptable visual quality. At high salinity, the appearance of all rootstocks declined with typical salt damage on lower, older leaves, and the plants had lower visual scores in chloride-dominated salinity, especially in R. ×fortuniana. Salinity treatment did not affect the daily ET per unit leaf area, regardless of rootstock and dominant salt type. Daily ET per pot was the smallest in R. ×fortuniana among the four rootstocks due to its smaller total leaf area. The four rootstocks responded differently to salinity and dominant salt type.
Genhua Niu and Denise S. Rodriguez
Gaillardia aristata Foug. is a hardy, drought-tolerant perennial found throughout much of the United States. Little information exists on the salt tolerance of this plant when grown in various growing media. A study was conducted to characterize the response of G. aristata to three salinity levels (0.8, 2.0, or 4.0 dS/m) and four growing media: 1) 100% perlite; 2) 1 perlite: 1 Sunshine mix No. 4 (v/v); 3) 100% Sunshine mix No. 4; or 4) 1 Sunshine mix No. 4: 1 composted mulch (v/v). The type of medium influenced the dry weight of roots but not shoots, while salinity significantly influenced the dry weight of both shoots and roots. The dry weight of shoots was higher in plants irrigated with tap water (0.8 dS/m) compared to those irrigated with saline solution at 2.0 or 4.0 dS/m except for those grown in 100% Sunshine mix. The ratio of root to shoot dry weight was not influenced by salinity, but was highest in the plants grown in 100% perlite. Both medium and salinity affected plant height. Elevated salinity reduced plant height. Plants were taller when grown in 100% perlite and in 1 Sunshine mix: 1 composted mulch. However, plants had fewer lateral shoots when grown in 100% perlite or 1 Sunshine mix: 1 composted mulch. Some of the flower buds aborted when grown in 100% Sunshine mix or 1 perlite: 1 Sunshine mix compared to none in plants grown in 100% perlite or 1 Sunshine mix: 1 composted mulch. These results indicate that growth and morphology of G. aristata were affected by not only salinity, but also the type of medium.
Yin-Tung Wang and Genhua Niu
Live oak trees raised from acorns are highly non-uniform and many produce numerous undesirable rhizomic shoots. The objectives of this study were to 1) compare the growth rates between (Quercus virginiana Mill.) trees from seed and cutting in four production systems and 2) determine if trees from cuttings produce rhizomic shoots. Rhizomic shoot cuttings 25–30 cm long were taken from a single tree about 50 years old in late Aug. 1990, rooted, and planted in 2.6-L pots after 2 months. During the same week, acorns were collected from the same tree and germinated. All trees were planted into 13-L pots in July 1991 and then to a field in July 1992. Trees from both sources were planted either directly in the ground, in 36.6- or 45.7-cm-diameter polypropylene fabric bags buried in the ground, or in 13-L pots on the ground. Trunk circumference 10 cm above the soil line was roughly measured yearly between 1992 and 1999. Initially, trees from cuttings grew slightly slower than seedlings, having a smaller trunk circumference, diameter, and cross-sectional area. These differences diminished and all trees had similar circumferences after 1996. In 1992, trees in 36.6-cm bags and pots had more growth than trees in the ground. In 1993, trees in pots had better growth than those in the ground. After 1993, all trees had similar circumferences until the end of this study, probably due to roots extending beyond the bags and pots into the surrounding soil. About one-third of the seedling trees produced rhizomic shoots, whereas none of the trees from cuttings did. The rhizomic shoots of trees in pots were contained within the pot and none from the ground. Another significance of this research is that the cloned trees from cuttings were extremely uniform in growth habit and form.
Genhua Niu, Makio Hayashi, and Toyoki Kozai
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Benimaru) plantlets were cultured under four lighting cycles (photoperiod/dark period: 16 h/8 h, 4 h/2 h, 1 h/0.5 h, and 0.25 h/0.125 h) photoautotrophically (without sugar in the medium), and photomixotrophically (with sugar in the medium) in vitro for 28 days. Simulations of time courses of CO2 concentration in the vessel (Ci) and dry weight accumulation of the plantlets cultured photoautotrophically were conducted using a previously developed model (Niu and Kozai, 1997). While underestimation and overestimation of time courses of Ci in some treatments were observed, the simulated results of Ci and dry weight accumulation of the plantlets generally agreed with the measured ones. The difference of net photosynthetic rate response to Ci throughout the culture period was examined between the plantlets cultured photoautotrophically and photomixotrophically. Quantitative relationship between daily net photosynthetic rate (daily net production) and vessel ventilation rate per plantlet was simulated under various CO2 levels outside the vessel for given sizes of potato plantlets cultured photoautotrophically in vitro to aid appropriate CO2 enrichment and vessel design in commercial micropropagation.
Genhua Niu, Royal Heins, and Will Carlson
Late-season height control of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is difficult since most chemical growth retardants adversely reduce bract size when applied after first bract color. Paclobutrazol (Bonzi) controls stem elongation late in poinsettia crop development but can excessively reduce bract size if improperly applied. Two experiments were conducted to quantify how paclobutrazol application influenced height and bract area of `Freedom' poinsettia. In the first experiment, paclobutrazol was applied at 1 mg·L-1 (ppm) in 118-mL (4.0-fl oz) volumes per pot [(a.i.) 0.12 mg/pot (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz)] as a drench to a new group of plants weekly from the initiation of short days until 1 week before anthesis. Maximum reduction in height and bract area was obtained when paclobutrazol was applied immediately after short days, and the response to paclobutrazol decreased as application time was increasingly delayed toward anthesis. In the second experiment, paclobutrazol was applied weekly after first bract color as either a drench or subapplication at various concentrations. Plant height and bract area were reduced by 23% when 2 mg·L-1 [(a.i.) 0.24 mg/pot) paclobutrazol was applied through subapplication at first color. The effects of paclobutrazol on height and bract area reduction decreased as application time was progressively delayed. Concentrations lower than 1 mg·L-1 had no significant effect on height or bract area reduction, regardless of application time or method. Generally, the reduction in height and bract area was larger when paclobutrazol was applied through subapplication. The combined results from both experiments indicate that paclobutrazol drench applications after flower initiation concomitantly reduce plant height (internode extension) and bract area. Therefore, drench applications should be delayed as long as possible to limit reduction in bract size.