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Sheila A. Blackman and Eric E. Roos

The low quality of some seed lots received by germplasm repositories such as the National Seed Storage Laboratory can thwart efforts to regenerate seed for storage. This germplasm is in danger of irretrievable loss. The aim of this work is to promote the germination, and hence regeneration, of such low quality seeds through sterile culture of the isolated embryos. Hybrid (B73×LH51) maize seeds were aged 5 y at 32°C and 0.037 g H2O g-1 dry wt. Vigor - but not viability -declined under these conditions. The effects of four factors on growth and germination were systematically examined. These were: seed pretreatments; antibiotics and fungicides; nutrients; and growth substances. Amongst the pretreatments, none surpassed partial hydration of seeds for 24 hr to 0.55 g H2O g-1 dry wt at 25°C prior to embryo dissection. Thiram (2.4 mg mL-1) and kanamycin (50 ug ml1) effectively controlled bacterial and fungal growth with no deleterious effects on growth during culture of the isolated embryos. Exogenous sucrose (optimum 5 % wt/vol) significantly stimulated radicle growth in both deteriorated and non-deteriorated embryos. No other organic or inorganic nutrient stimulated growth. Naphthalene acetic acid did not affect growth while kinetin reduced radicle growth and stimulated coleoptile growth. Gibberellic acid (GA3 at 10-5M) significantly stimulated radicle growth in deteriorated embryos, whereas it promoted coleoptile growth in both deteriorated and non-deteriorated embryos. These data suggest GA or a GA-stimulated process may limit the growth of aged embryos.

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Matthew D. Whiting and Gregory A. Lang

To initiate photosynthetic studies of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) canopy architectures and cropping management under high light and temperature conditions (Yakima Valley, Wash.), we developed a whole-canopy research cuvette system with a variable airflow plenum that allowed different patterns of air delivery (in concentric circles around the trunk) into the cuvette. Air and leaf temperatures (Tair and Tleaf, respectively) were determined at four horizontal planes and four directional quadrants inside cuvette-enclosed canopies trained to a multiple leader/open-bush or a multiple leader/trellised palmette architecture. Air flow rate, air delivery pattern, and canopy architecture each influenced the whole-canopy temperature profile and net CO2 exchange rate (NCER) estimates based on CO2 differentials (inlet-outlet). In general, Tair and Tleaf were warmer (≈0 to 4 °C) in the palmette canopy and were negatively correlated with flow rate. The response of Tair and Tleaf to flow rate varied with canopy position and air delivery pattern. At a flow of 40 kL·min-1 (≈2 cuvette volume exchanges/min), mean Tair and Tleaf values were 2 to 3 °C warmer than ambient air temperature, and CO2 differentials were 15-20 μL·L-1. Tair and Tleaf were warmer than those in unenclosed canopies and increased with height in the canopy. Carbon differentials declined with increasing flow rate, and were greater in the palmette canopy and with a less dispersed (centralized) delivery. Dispersing inlet air delivery produced more consistent values of Tair and Tleaf in different canopy architectures. Such systematic factors must be taken into account when designing studies to compare the effects of tree architecture on whole-canopy photosynthesis.

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A.J. Bishko and P.R. Fisher

Our objective was to systematically quantify the dose response from applications of several basic materials recommended for raising pH in acidic media. A peat (70%)/perlite (30%) medium was mixed with a pre-plant nutrient charge, a wetting agent, and 0, 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, 1.2, or 1.5 kg dolomitic hydrated lime/m3, resulting in a range in initial pH from 3.4 to 6.4. Five rates of flowable dolomitic limestone, five rates of potassium bicarbonate, two rates of potassium hydroxide, a supernatant of calcium hydroxide and a distilled water control were applied as single drenches. The medium was irrigated with distilled water when it dried to 50% container capacity as determined by weight. Media pH and EC of four replicates were tested at 1 day and 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after application as a saturated media extract. Flowable limestone and potassium bicarbonate both significantly raised medium pH by up to 2 units compared with the control, depending on concentration. As initial medium pH increased, the effect of the basic chemicals on medium pH decreased. For example, flowable lime applied at 0.5 L·100 L–1 of distilled water increased pH by 2 units at an initial medium pH of 3.4 and by 0.4 units at an initial pH of 6.4. Potassium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide drenches did not significantly raise pH. Potassium bicarbonate was easier to apply than the suspension of flowable limestone, however both chemicals provide practical methods for raising pH of soilless media.

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Tim R. Pannkuk, Richard H. White, Kurt Steinke, Jacqueline A. Aitkenhead-Peterson, David R. Chalmers, and James C. Thomas

Urban landscape irrigation is becoming increasingly important from a resource management point of view. Significant water use savings may be achieved if landscape irrigation is based on reference evapotranspiration (ETo). This study measured landscape crop coefficients (KL) for landscapes that are comprised of different vegetation types and irrigation water quality differences affecting KL. The KL was determined from the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to the ETo calculated from the modified Penman-Monteith equation. Irrigation quantity was based on 100% replacement of ETo. The KL values were determined for the following landscape vegetation on a fine sandy loam: St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.], a single shumard red oak (Quercus shumardii Buckl.), St. Augustinegrass plus red oak, native grasses [Muhlenbergia capillaries (Lam.) Trin. and Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash], and native grasses plus Red Oak in both College Station (CS) and San Antonio (SA), TX. Soil was systematically placed into lysimeters containing a drainage system and soil moisture probes. Lysimeters (1136 L) were placed in-ground in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. Soil moisture measurements were made at 0- to 20-, 20- to 40-, and 40- to 60-cm depths. The KL was determined after a rainfall or irrigation event for periods of 2 to 5 days. During the combined growing seasons of 2007 and 2008, KL in SA increased from early, to mid, to late season. In CS, the KL was unaffected by plant treatment or season. The St. Augustinegrass treatment KL seasonally ranged from 0.45 to 0.62 in SA. In CS, soil sodium accumulation caused decreased KL. These results of KL for mixed-species landscapes on non-sodic sites trend toward seasonal values of 0.5 to 0.7 for irrigation decisions in southern Texas. Landscape coefficients can be used as a tool in irrigation decision-making, which could contribute to water savings in amenity landscapes.

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Gregory Peck, Ian M. Merwin, Emily Vollmer, and Kristine Averill

Apple growers in New York lack the tools to produce high quality fruit for the organic or IFP marketplace. We are systematically evaluating OFP and IFP systems for pest control efficacy, fruit and soil quality, environmental impacts, and economic sustainability, in an orchard of disease-resistant `Liberty' on M.9 rootstock. The OFP system follows USDA-NOP standards and the IFP system follows newly developed NY IFP standards. In the first year of this study (2004), both systems were equally productive, but variable costs for OFP were twice that of IFP, due to 11 kaolin applications, while returns were comparable. In 2005, OFP yields were 25% greater than IFP yields, but 30% of OFP fruit was unmarketable largely due to insect damage. This loss, plus small fruit size, resulted in OFP returns of $5432 per hectare, about half the IFP returns. With only four kaolin applications in 2005, OFP costs were $2437 per hectare, marginally greater than the $2083 per hectare costs for IFP apples. Harvest maturity indices were similar and peak fruit quality was attained in both systems in early Oct. In 2004, consumer panelists could not detect differences between fruit from the two systems, but in 2005 panelists rated OFP apples as sweeter, more tart, better flavored, and more acceptable overall. Antioxidant activity, total phenolics concentrations, and mineral content of apples were similar between systems in both years. Values for all essential plant nutrients, organic matter content, pH, and CEC were also equivalent in each system both years. Cultivation was likely responsible for lowering the bulk density, soil strength, and aggregate stability of the OFP top soil in 2005. While OFP remains very challenging, IFP can be implemented successfully in New York orchards.

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Dongyan Hu*, Zuoshuang Zhang, Donglin Zhang, and Qixiang Zhang

Ornamental peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) is native to China. The ornamental value of peach is gaining popularity for its use in urban landscape and everyday gardens. However, the genetic relationship among ornamental peach cultivars is not clear, which limits the further studies of its molecular systematic. A sample of 51 cultivars of ornamental peach, originated from P. persica and Prunus davidiana, had been studied by using AFLPs. All samples were collected from China, Japan, and the US. A total of 275 useful markers between 75 to 500 base pairs were generated from 6 EcoRI/MseI AFLP primer combinations. Among them, 93% of bands were polymorphic markers. Total markers for each cultivar ranged form 90 to 140, and the average number of markers for each cultivar was 120. Two distinguished clad generated from PAUP-UPGMA tree. P. davidiana, as a species, was apparently an out-group to P. persica, which implied that P. davidiana was far away genetically from ornamental peach (P. persica). Within P. persica clad, 15 out of 17 upright ornamental peach cultivars in this study were grouped to one clad, which indicated cultivars that with upright growth habit had close genetic relationship. Five dwarf cultivars were grouped to one clad, with 81% bootstrap supported. The genetic relationships between these five dwarfs were much closer than any other cultivars, and showed that they probably derived from the similar gene pool. The results demonstrated that AFLP are powerful markers for revealing genetic relationships in ornamental peach. The genetic relationships among ornamental cultivars established in this study could help future ornamental peach germplasm identification, conservation, and new cultivars development.

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A. Jeremy Bishko, Paul. R. Fisher, and William R. Argo

The objective was to systematically quantify the dose response from applications of several alkaline materials recommended for raising pH in acidic media. A 70 peat: 30 perlite (by volume) medium was mixed with a pre-plant nutrient charge, a wetting agent, and between 0 and 1.5 kg·m3 of a dolomitic hydrated lime resulting in six starting-pHs between 3.4 and 6.4. The supernatant from a solution of Ca(OH)2, 2.5 to 40 mL·L-1 of a flowable dolomitic limestone suspension, 99.5% KHCO3 between 0.6 to 9.6 g·L-1, 85% KOH between 0.056 and 0.56 g·L-1, 15N-0P-12K water-soluble fertilizer at 50 to 400 mg·L-1 N, and a distilled water control were applied at 60 mL per 126-mL container with minimal leaching as a single drench (except the 15N-0P-12K that was applied about every three days). All chemicals increased medium-pH within one day, and pH remained stable until day 28 except for Ca(OH)2 which showed a 0.2 unit decrease in pH from day 1 to 28. The Ca(OH)2 and KOH drenches raised medium-pH by less than 0.5 units, and there was a slight decrease in pH from the 15N-0P-12K for starting-pHs lower than 5.0. Flowable dolomitic lime and KHCO3 raised pH by up to 2 pH units, averaged across starting pHs and 1-28 days after application. The effect on medium-pH increased as concentration of flowable lime and KHCO3 increased. Effect of flowable lime was greater (up to 2.9 units) at lower starting-pHs, whereas KHCO3 was less affected by starting-pH. Medium-EC increased by <0.6 dS·m-1 following single applications of all solutions.

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Anne M. Lockett, Dale A. Devitt, and Robert L. Morris

Population growth and water limitations in the southwestern United States have led to golf courses in many communities to be encouraged or mandated to transition to reuse water for irrigation purposes. A monitoring program was conducted on nine golf courses in the Las Vegas valley, NV, for 4.5 years to assess the impact of reuse water on soil–turfgrass systems {bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.)}. The nine courses selected included three long-term reuse courses, three fresh water courses, and three courses expected to transition to reuse water during the monitoring period. Near-surface soil salinity varied from 1.5 to 40.0 dS·m−1 during the study period with the highest peaks occurring during summer months and on long-term reuse irrigated fairways. Although soil salinity at several depths on fairways and greens increased after transition to reuse water, this did not lead to a systematic decline in leaf xylem water potential (ΨL) or color. When the data were grouped as fresh, transition, or reuse irrigated, soil salinity on reuse courses were statistically higher (P < 0.05) than fresh and transitional courses, yet plant response on reuse courses was not statistically different (P > 0.05) than that observed on fresh courses. The fact that summertime plant parameter values often declined under lower salinity levels and the electrical conductivity of the irrigation water was rejected as a significant variable in all backward regression analysis to describe plant response indicated that management differed significantly from course to course. We conclude that proper irrigation management, based on a multitiered feedback system (soil–plant–atmospheric monitoring), should be able to maintain favorable salt balances and plant response as long as irrigation volumes are not restricted to where deficit irrigation occurs.

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Tania Hernández-Carrión, Carlos E. Ortiz, Rafael Montalvo-Zapata, Milca I. Mercado-Olivieri, and Luis E. Rivera

Tropical-type is a general description for sweetpotato cultivars with intermediate sweetness that have light-fleshed roots. This type is commonly grown and consumed across the Caribbean Basin. Systematic efforts for the genetic improvement of the tropical-type sweetpotato have been limited. Cultivars available for being grown in Puerto Rico lack either the sweetness or attractiveness demanded by producers and consumers. Defining optimum sweetness in this type is important because this characteristic is totally dependent on the root's sugar content and cannot be modified as in processed products. The objective was to obtain data on sugar content for the development of quantitative selection criteria for sweetness. Raw, boiled and baked roots were evaluated for glucose, sucrose, fructose, and maltose. `Mina' and `Miguela', tropical-type cultivars widely accepted for sweetness and table quality but poor yielders were used. `Viola', a substaple type, was the check. Sugars were detected by HPLC. Sugar-Pak (Waters) and LC-NH2 (Phenomenex) columns and a refractive index detector were used for the analyses. Across cultivars and type, sucrose (4.0% to 6.5%) was more concentrated than glucose (0.4% to 0.8%) and fructose (0.3% to 0.4%). Concentration of sucrose in the tropical type (7.7%) was higher than in the substaple type check (4.4%). Boiling or baking did not markedly change the concentration of the above sugars. Maltose was not detected in raw samples; however, both boiling and baking increased maltose concentration from 9.0% to 15.4%. In the development of a practical quantitative selection criteria for sweetness, both sucrose and maltose must be considered.

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X.E. Yang, X.Y. Lin, Y.S. Zhang, and E.W. Stover

Citrus is a major fruit crop in the acid red soils (Ultisol) of hilly areas in Southeast China. These soils are normally deficient in P, K, and other elements. Integrated nutrient management is important for sustainable production of citrus in these areas. In this study, a systematic approach was used to identify the limiting factors for plant growth, using sorghum as a test species. Long-term field experiments were conducted with seven different P and K supply levels to determine optimal application rates for citrus (cv. Ponkan), following alleviation of other limiting factors. The primary nutritional limitations to plant growth in red acid soils included: severe deficiencies in N, P, and K, and moderate deficiencies in Ca, Zn, and B. With increasing application of P and K to field soil, N concentrations in citrus leaves decreased up to 60% due to dilution from increased growth, whereas P and K concentrations increased 2-3 fold. After 2 years of fertilizer application, the N: P: K ratio in leaves reached 1:0.5:1 for the optimal P and K treatment. The available P and K in the soils, measured after harvest each year, increased with increasing P and K application rates. However, within each treatment, increase in P and K with additional years of fertilization was modest. Citrus fruit yields generally increased with increasing P and K and reached a maximum at P and K rates of 125 kg P2O5/ha and 500 kg K2O/ha. In 3 years of successive field experiments, the highest net income was obtained by a balanced NPK fertilization practice using N: P2O5: K2O input of 450: 125: 500 kg/ha per year.