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Dan Ga'ash, Israel David, and Malka Cohen

Blossom thinning trials with AKZO Co. surfactant Armothin were carried out on fruitful peach cultivars Early Grande and Babcock during 1993–94. Effective thinning occurred before “full bloom” (40% to 90% FB) at 3% Armothin, increasing between 2% and 4%. However, an improved fruit distribution of `Early Grande' was achieved by repeated application (35% + 75% FB) at 2%. A second spray at 3%, just after FB, thinned some late-blooming flowers on `Babcock' trees, but a temporary leach scorch occurred, as well as with 4% Armothin (single spray) on both cultivars. For a single spray, the optimal stage was found within 60% to 90% FB, at 3% Armothin. Flower biology studies showed susceptibility of the petals to increasing Armothin concentrations at all stages, but pollen tube penetration into the pistils and subsequent fertilization failed only after an earlier application, before anthesis or pollination of the stigma. Within this range of concentration and timing, no damage occurred to the vital fruit set and to commercial yield, provided that weather conditions were favorable during bloom (and spray). Some corrective hand-thinning (20% to 60%) should be applied to the fruitful trees 3 to 4 weeks later to achieve optimal fruit size at harvest. Blossom hand-thinning is still practical in Israel.

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Gregory L. Reighard and Terry Guinn

An Asian pcar variety trial planted in 1989 near Columbia, South Carolina was evaluated for growth, productivity, and disease resistance for 4 years. A total of 13 cultivars were observed. The Chinese types Ya Li and Shin Li reached full bloom in mid-March 2 weeks before the Japanese types. The latest blooming cultivars were Choju and Twentieth Century. Shinsei, Shin Li, and Ya Li were the most vigorous cultivars, whereas Niitaka, Shinko, and Shinsui were the least vigorous. Most cultivars produced suckers on the Betulaefolia rootstock; however, few suckers were observed for Chojuro, Shinseiki, Shinko, and Ya Li. Fruit production began in the third year, and after the fourth year Shinseiki, Twentieth Century, Choju, Shinko, and Kosui were the most productive cultivars (8.1-18.2 kg/tree). Chinese types were not precocious but did produce the largest fruit (203-270 g). Choju ripened the earliest (early July), and the Chinese types ripened the latest (late August). Fireblight had infected few trees after 4 years and still was not a problem at this location.

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Jose Lopez-Medina, James N. Moore, Kyung S. Kim, and John R. Clark

Floral initiation (FI) was studied both in greenhouse- and field-grown plants of primocane-fruiting (PF) blackberries recently developed by the Univ. of Arkansas. Root cuttings of A-1836 and APF-13 were dug from the field and planted in a greenhouse on 1 Mar. 1997. NC 194 was included only in the field study. Terminal apices were sampled weekly starting at 0 (just before emergence) nodes of growth on 21 Mar. Floral primordia were first seen at five and six nodes of growth in greenhouse-grown A-1836 and APF-13, respectively, 35-42 days after root cuttings were planted (DAP). Under field conditions, the same event was not observed until 21 May when A-1836 and APF-13 reached at least 20 nodes; NC 194 did not show evidence of floral parts until 10 July. Once FI occurred, floral differentiation proceeded uninterrupted until completion. Blooming occurred 32-35 and 40-45 days after FI in APF-13 and A-1836, respectively; NC 194 bloomed in late August. The first fruits of APF-13 were harvested 120 DAP. These findings demonstrate that PF blackberries form flower buds soon after a short period of vegetative growth. This information should be useful for implementing horticultural practices, such as programming of the harvest date.

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Randy R. Lee, John K. Fellman, and Esmaeil Fallahi

The influence of flower bud position on bloom, fruit quality, and fruit maturity was investigated on `Rome Beauty' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Limbs on trees containing spur terminal flower buds and lateral flower buds were tagged and the number of blossoms counted every three days until bloom ended. At harvest, fruit from each bud type were selected and seed number, fresh weight, fruit quality characteristics, and onset of ethylene production were measured. Spur terminal flower buds began blooming earlier, blossomed for a longer period of time, and produced more blossoms than lateral flower buds. Fruit from spur terminal flower buds had more seeds, were heavier, and contained more starch than lateral bud fruit. Lateral bud fruit had higher pressure values, due to smaller size, and higher soluble solids, due to consumption of starch reserves. Fruit color and titratable acidity were not significantly different regardless of bud position. Spur terminal fruit started producing ethylene eight days later than lateral bud fruit, indicating they were maturing less quickly. Cultivars such as `Fuji', `Gala', and `Braeburn' display similar growth and fruiting habits.

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Roger J. Sauve, Suping Zhou, Yingchun Yu, and Wolfram George Schmid

A randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to identify and determine the phylogenetic relationships of 37 hosta accessions representing the major subgenera, sections and groups in the genus Hosta. Results of this study show that RAPD markers were able to differentiate not only the main groups, whose plants shared many genetic traits, but also cultivars within a species. Some accessions were identified by a single primer while others had high intercross linkage and required many markers for their separation. The phylogenetic clustering showed that H. plantaginea, the only night-blooming species, and H. ventricosa, the only known natural tetraploid, are unique and should be classified separately. The four species in the subgenus Bryocles, section Lamellatae H. venusta, H. minor, H. capitata, and H. nakaiana have very low genetic similarity since they do not share many amplified fragments. The other accessions were classified into four main clusters; cluster 1: H. venusta, H. tardiva, H. pycnophylla, H. tsushimensis `Ogon', H. montana, H. tibae, H. montana f. macrophylla, H. kikutii `Kikutii', H. longissima `Longifolia', H. rectifolia `Rectifolia', H. takahashii and H.`Undulata'; cluster 2: H. laevigata, H. sieboldiana, H. pycnophylla × H. longipes f. latifolia, H. longipes `Urajiro' and H. ibukiensis; cluster 3: H. capitata, H. kikutii `Polyneuron', H. nigrescens, H. kikutii `Yakusimensis', H. pachyscapa, H. kikutii `Caput-Avis', H. longipes f. latifolia, H. hypoleuca, H. okamotoi, H. densa and H. takiensis; and cluster 4: H. aequinoctiiantha, H. rupifraga, H. `Amanuma', H. minor and H. kikutii `Densa'.

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Rebecca Kincaid* and Tracy Dougher

There has been an increasing interest in drought tolerant native flower species for Montana residential landscapes and roadsides. Ratibida columnifera is a drought tolerant, perennial wildflower that can be used in home gardens as well as on roadsides. However, there is no knowledge of how R. columnifera will respond to typical nitrogen fertilization in residential landscapes. Our objective was to determine the correct nitrogen application required for R. columnifera to acquire optimal growth and development. After germinating and transplanting R. columnifera seedlings, nitrogen treatments began with five groups containing six pots in each group. Pots were fertilized with 100 ml of ammonium nitrate at 0ppm N, 25 ppm N, 50 ppm N, 75 ppm N, or 100 ppm N at weekly intervals. All pots were fertilized with 100 mL of 50 ppm potassium phosphate. Three plants from each treatment were harvested 30 days after the start of fertilization treatments and underwent biomass evaluations of their fresh and dry weights. The remaining three pots from each treatment were evaluated at blooming for time to flowering, flower number, and flower quality. R. columnifera biomass at 30 days benefited from 25-50 ppm nitrogen, but did not increase biomass above 50 ppm. Flowering was affected at different levels than biomass and was delayed by high nitrogen.

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Jiunn-Yan Hou, Wei-Li Lin, Nean Lee, and Yao-Chien Alex Chang

Phalaenopsis flowers are prone to wilting under ethylene (C2H4) stress. 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) can protect Phalaenopsis flowers against ethylene injury. In this study, we determined the residual effect of 1-MCP and how it is affected by temperature. The efficacy of multiple applications of 1-MCP was also investigated. The residual effect of 1-MCP was determined by pretreating blooming Phalaenopsis amabilis plants with 0.8 μL·L−1 1-MCP for 8 hours on Day 0 followed by 2 μL·L−1 ethylene fumigation for 12 hours on designated days. Without 1-MCP pretreatment, flowers began to wilt within 2 days after exposure to ethylene. Duration of the residual protection of 1-MCP on P. amabilis was ≈6 to 8 days during summer in Taiwan. Lower temperatures after 1-MCP application prolonged protection times. The full protection times under day/night temperatures of 25/20, 20/15, and 15/13 °C were 4 to 8, 10 to 13, and 13 to 17 days, respectively. Furthermore, multiple applications of 1-MCP extended the duration of 1-MCP protection against ethylene. Three applications increased the residual protection of P. amabilis by 1-MCP to at least 24 days.

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Gerard Krewer, D. Scott NeSmith, and Ben Mullinix

`Climax' blueberry is a major cultivar in Georgia, but because of its excessively low chilling requirement and early blooming habit, it has a poor cropping history in recent years due to spring freezes. Research was initiated to explore the potential for ethephon to delay bloom, without delaying ripening too much. In 1997-1998 a treatment of 200 ppm ethephon applied on 3 Nov. or 400 ppm applied on 17 Nov. delayed bloom 5 to 7 days compared to the control. There was no significant difference between the control and the ethephon treatment in flower bud density or fruit density in the spring. In 1998-1999 ethephon applications at 200 and 400 ppm were applied once or twice 2 weeks apart starting on 5 Oct. and ending 19 Nov. A bloom delay of about 7 days was achieved with most ethephon applications. However, an application of 400 ppm on 19 Oct. and 2 Nov. delayed bloom about 14 days compared to the control. There was a trend toward delayed fruit ripening with the most-effective bloom delay treatments, but the extent of delayed ripening was minimal. Berry weight was not effected by ethephon treatments.

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Maria Cantor

Gladiolus is one of the most popular flower crops grown in Romania. The breeding program at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca of this species has been especially focused on the improvement of main characteristics, such as color, number and form of florets, plant height, multiplication capacity, diseases resistance, etc. A program for genetic breeding of gladiolus varieties using different genitors (Romanian and foreign cultivars) was initiated. An intraspecific crossing between cultivars has been made followed by clonal selection and vegetative multiplication of the selections. In this paper, we show 15 new gladiolus selections, which were observed and analyzed in 2004–05. The selections obtained have a great uniformity of their morphological characteristics. These selections are more vigorous, producing greater number of florets with superior quality, have new colors of flower, and are distinguished by a long blooming time. The intraspecific variability of the above-mentioned characteristics was more than low, and rarely medium, high, or very high. These data suggest fair possibilities to choose the best selections that will be proposed for testing and homologation as new cultivars. The hybrids represent a step forward in combining high qualities in gladiolus. They will contribute to improving the assortment of gladiolus for cut flowers, landscape, or as genetic material, which can be used for new crossing in order to obtain new cultivars. Scientifically, a series of findings appeared considering the combining capacity of genitors, transmission of some useful qualities, and other aspects that contribute to improve of the new varieties.

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Bob Bors and J. Alan Sullivan

Fragaria vesca has been introgressed into F. ×ananassa in the form of decaploids and synthetic octoploids. As F. vesca is self-incompatible and crosses with most diploid Fragaria species when used as a female parent, it could serve as a bridge for introgression of additional genetic material. A primary goal of this study was to screen selections of F. vesca for interspecific crossability among diploid species. The F. vesca collection included 10 cultivars of the alpine strawberry, F. vesca var. semperflorens, as well as 30 wild runnering types gathered from around the world. The following diploid species were represented by one to three genotypes each: F. viridis, F. nubicola, F. nipponica, F. nilgerens, F. iinumae, F. daltoniana, F. gracilis, as well as two unnamed species from China. Fragaria vesca was used as the female parent and the other species provided the pollen. Crossing took place in the greenhouse, with one pollination occurring during the “popcorn” or “balloon” stage. Germination was performed in vitro using cut achenes shortly after fruit ripening. The alpine strawberry cultivars were easier to cross than wild selections of F. vesca. Their continuous blooming habit combined with higher positioning of flowers allowed for easier and perhaps less-damaging emasculation. Crossability, as measured by seed set and germination, was more variable in wild-type F. vesca and generally lower than alpine strawberry cultivars.