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Timothy K. Broschat

Royal palms [Roystonea regia (HBK.) O.F. Cook], coconut palms (Cocos nucifera L. `Malayan Dwarf'), queen palms [Syagrus romanzoffiana (Chamisso) Glassman], and pygmy date palms (Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien) were grown in a rhizotron to determine the patterns of root and shoot growth over a 2-year period. Roots and shoots of all four species of palms grew throughout the year, but both root and shoot growth rates were positively correlated with air and soil temperature for all but the pygmy date palms. Growth of primary roots in all four species was finite for these juvenile palms and lasted for only 5 weeks in royal palms, but ≈7 weeks in the other three species. Elongation of secondary roots lasted for only 9 weeks for coconut palms and less than half of that time for the other three species. Primary root growth rate varied from 16 mm·week-1 for coconut and pygmy date palms to 31 mm·week-1 for royal palms, while secondary root growth rates were close to 10 mm·week-1 for all species. About 25% of the total number of primary roots in these palms grew in contact with the rhizotron window, allowing the prediction of the total root number and length from the sample of roots visible in the rhizotron. Results indicated that there is no obvious season when palms should not be transplanted in southern Florida because of root inactivity.

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Zhanao Deng and Brent K. Harbaugh

Caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum) leaves can be injured at air temperatures below 15.5 °C. This chilling sensitivity restricts the geographical use of caladiums in the landscape, and leads to higher fuel costs in greenhouse production of pot plants because warmer conditions have to be maintained. This study was conducted to develop procedures to evaluate differences among caladium cultivars for chilling sensitivity and to identify cultivars that might be resistant to chilling injury. The effects of two chilling temperatures (12.1 and 7.2 °C) and three durations (1, 3, and 5 days) on the severity of chilling injury were compared for three cultivars known to differ in their sensitivity to low temperatures. Exposure of detached mature leaves to 7.2 °C for 3 days allowed differentiation of cultivars' chilling sensitivity. Chilling injury appeared as dark necrotic patches at or near leaf tips and along margins, as early as 1 day after chilling. Chilling injury became more widespread over a 13-day period, and the best window for evaluating cultivar differences was 9 to 13 days after chilling. Significant differences in chilling sensitivity existed among 16 cultivars. Three cultivars, `Florida Red Ruffles', `Marie Moir', and `Miss Muffet', were resistant to chilling injury. These cultivars could serve as parents for caladium cold-tolerance breeding, and this breeding effort could result in reduced chilling injury in greenhouse production of potted plants, or in new cultivars for regions where chilling occurs during the growing season.

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Sandra B. Wilson and Gary W. Knox

Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and 14 cultivars were transplanted in northern and southern Florida and evaluated for landscape performance, flowering, growth, and seed viability. All plants survived the 84-week study at both locations with the exception of `Morning Light', where 22% to 33% of the plants died. In northern and southern Florida, `Arabesque', `Adagio', `Cosmopolitan', and `Gracillimus' received the highest visual quality ratings on average throughout the entire study, yet other cultivars such as `Central Park' and `Silberfeder' performed well but had much narrower windows of peak performance. Cultivars such as `Little Kitten' and `Sarabande' performed far better in southern Florida than in northern Florida. Regardless of location, `Morning Light' and `Puenktchen' generally did not perform as well as other cultivars. In northern Florida, four consecutive months of very good to excellent flowering (75% to 100% canopy coverage) were observed for `Adagio', `Arabesque', `Cosmopolitan', `Gracillimus', `Little Kitten', `Sarabande', `Silberfeder', and `Zebrinus'. However, in southern Florida, peak flowering periods for these cultivars were delayed and generally only lasted for 1 to 2 months. On average, plants in northern Florida were larger and produced 2.8 times more flowers than plants in southern Florida. All cultivars produced viable seed with germination of viable seed ranging from 53.6% (`Cabaret') to 100% (`Gracillimus') in southern Florida, and from 49.8% (`Arabesque') to 100% (`Adagio', `Little Kitten', `Sarabande', and `Variegatus') in northern Florida.

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C.R. Unrath, J.D. Obermiller, A. Green, and S.J. McArtney

The variation in natural fruit drop of ‘Scarletspur Delicious’/‘M.7’ (M.7) apple (Malus ×domestica) trees in a commercial orchard over a period of 11 consecutive years was visualized using box and whisker plots. Delaying harvest until 1 week after the normal harvest date resulted in fruit drop ranging from 2% to 33% depending on the year. The effects of aminoethoxyvinlyglycine (AVG) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on fruit drop and fruit firmness at normal and delayed harvests was monitored each year. AVG and NAA programs tended to mitigate fruit drop most effectively in years when natural fruit drop was heavy. AVG delayed the loss of fruit firmness, whereas a preload NAA program delayed firmness loss in fruit that were harvested 3 weeks after the normal harvest date only. A standard NAA program for drop control did not accelerate softening of ‘Scarletspur Delicious’ during the first 3 weeks after the normal harvest date. Growers should closely monitor fruit maturity and stem loosening during the harvest window each year to minimize the risk of major losses due to fruit drop. When timely harvest is not possible, perhaps due to unforeseen weather events or constraints in labor availability, or poor management, then use of harvest management aids such as AVG or NAA becomes critical on cultivars prone to fruit drop.

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James M. Wargo and Chris B. Watkins

`Honeycrisp' apples (Malus × domestica) were harvested over 3-week periods in 2001 and 2002. Maturity and quality indices were determined at harvest. Fruit quality was evaluated after air storage [0.0 to 2.2 °C (32 to 36 °F), 95% relative humidity] for 10-13 weeks and 15-18 weeks for the 2001 and 2002 harvests, respectively. Internal ethylene concentrations (IEC), starch indices (1-8 scale), firmness and soluble solids content (SSC) did not show consistent patterns of change over time. Starch hydrolysis was advanced on all harvest dates, but it is suggested that a starch index of 7 is a useful guide for timing harvest of fruit in western New York. After storage, firmness closely followed that observed immediately after harvest, and softening during storage was slow. No change in SSC was observed during storage in either year. Incidence of bitter pit and soft scald was generally low and was not affected consistently by harvest date. The incidence of stem punctures averaged 18.5% over both years, but was not affected by harvest date. Development of stem end cracking in both years, and rot development in one year, increased with later harvest dates. A panel of storage operators, packers, growers, and fruit extension specialists evaluated the samples for appearance and eating quality after storage, and results suggested that a 2-week harvest window is optimal for `Honeycrisp' apples that are spot picked to select the most mature fruit at each harvest.

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Charles S. Vavrina

The research reviewed here represents the majority of the information available on transplant age to date. When the results of these studies are distilled down to the “ideal” transplant age for setting of a specific crop, we generally arrive at the recommendations found in the 1962 edition of Knott's Handbook for Vegetable Growers. The conflicting results in the literature on transplant age may be due to the different environmental and cultural conditions that the plants were exposed to, both in the greenhouse and in the field. The studies did reveal that the transplant age window for certain crops might be wider than previously thought. Older transplants generally result in earlier yields while younger transplants will produce comparable yields, but take longer to do so. Our modern cultivars, improved production systems, and technical expertise enable us to produce high yields regardless of transplant age. The data, in general, support the view that if a vegetable grower requires resets after an catastrophic establishment failure (freeze, flood, etc.), they need not fear the older plants usually on hand at the transplant production facility.

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Timothy K. Broschat

Royal palms [Roystonea regia (HBK.) O.F. Cook], coconut palms (Cocos nucifera L. `Malayan Dwarf'), queen palms [Syagrus romanzoffiana (Chamisso) Glassman], and pygmy date palms (Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien) were grown in a rhizotron to determine the patterns of root and shoot growth over a 2-year period. Roots and shoots of all four species of palms grew throughout the year, but both root and shoot growth rates were positively correlated with air and soil temperature for all but the pygmy date palms. Growth of primary roots in all four species was finite for these juvenile palms and lasted for only 5 weeks in royal palms, but ≈7 weeks in the other three species. Elongation of secondary roots lasted for only 9 weeks for coconut palms and less than half of that time for the other three species. Primary root growth rate varied from 16 mm·week-1 for coconut and pygmy date palms to 31 mm·week-1 for royal palms, while secondary root growth rates were close to 10 mm·week-1 for all species. About 25% of the total number of primary roots in these palms grew in contact with the rhizotron window, allowing the prediction of the total root number and length from the sample of roots visible in the rhizotron. Results indicated that there is no obvious season when palms should not be transplanted in southern Florida because of root inactivity.

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Michael B. Thomas, Jonathan H. Crane, James J. Ferguson, Howard W. Beck, and Joseph W. Noling

The TFRUIT·Xpert and CIT·Xpert computerbased diagnostic programs can quickly assist commercial producers, extension agents, and homeowners in the diagnosis of diseases, insect pest problems and physiological disorders. The CIT·Xpert system focuses on citrus (Citrus spp.), whereas the TFRUIT·Xpert system focuses on avocado (Persea americana Mill.), carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.), lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), mango (Mangifera indica L.), papaya (Carica papaya L.), and `Tahiti' lime (Citrus latifolia Tan.). The systems were developed in cooperation with research and extension specialists with expertise in the area of diagnosing diseases, disorders, and pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit. The systems' methodology reproduces the diagnostic reasoning process of these experts. Reviews of extension and research literature and 35-mm color slide images were completed to obtain representative information and slide images illustrative of diseases, disorders, and pest problems specific to Florida. The diagnostic programs operate under Microsoft-Windows. Full-screen color images are linked to symptoms (87 for CIT·Xpert and 167 for TFRUIT·Xpert) of diseases, disorders, and insect pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit, respectively. Users can also refer to summary documents and retrieve management information from the Univ. of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension publications through hypertext links. The programs are available separately on CD-ROM and each contains over 150 digital color images of symptoms.

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B.W. Wood

Alternately bearing `Cheyenne' pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees were studied to assess the temporal aspects of previous season fruit development on several reproductive and vegetative traits of horticultural importance. Action spectra were generated and used to identify the relative sensitivities of these traits to the temporal aspects of fruiting. Based on date of maximum rate of change in sigmoidal models fitted to these action spectra, the relative sensitivity of certain important growth and developmental parameters to fruit removal time was number of distillate flowers per terminal shoot > number of distillate flowers per flower cluster on lateral shoots> length of terminal shoots > percentage of lateral shoots with fruit= catkins per terminal shoot at top of the tree> percentage of terminal shoots with fruit > catkins per standard terminal shoot> shoots produced per l-year-old branch> percentage of l-year-old shoot death. Maximum rates of change for these reproductive and vegetative parameters were typically during the dough stage of ovule development; however, substantial change also occurred for several parameters over a much wider developmental window. No evidence was found for a hormone-like translocatable factor from developing fruit that either promotes or inhibits flowering. Extending the time from nut ripening to leaf drop increased production of staminate and distillate flowers the following year and appeared to increase fruit set.

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B.R. Eastwood

A number of factors have emerged in recent years, grown in importance, and are now converging rapidly to create a window of opportunity for all of us. These factors constitute six separate, but related and important, categories: 1) Decreasing staff in the nation's Cooperative Extension System; 2) increasing complexity of agricultural production technologies; 3) increasing concerns of society; 4) opening of markets globally; 5) increased need for accountability; and 6) rapid progress in computerized information and communication technologies. These factors concurrently are causing greater sharing of expertise and resources across states, institutions, and departments; more cooperation with the private sector; improved openness and communication on issues of interest to the community; greater awareness of our role in the world; and a willingness to consider new approaches. One of these approaches involves the development of comprehensive national decision support resources for producers and those who work with producers in an educational, advisory or service role. This program, which has evolved over the past 10 years, is Agricultural Databases for Decision Support (ADDS). ADDS projects may be developed for any commodity, clientele, or major issue area. Products already available include the National Dairy Database and the National Pig Information Database. Several additional projects are underway and more will be added as interest warrants. The ADDS hallmark applies to those projects that follow the philosophy and meet the criteria agreed to by the greater community of developers and users. ADDS uses the sophisticated search and retrieval mechanism and multimedia capabilities of commercially available software. This software is applied to a cooperatively developed national resource of peer-reviewed materials that are selected by experts for their usefulness.