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Jeffrey G. Williamson, Gerard Krewer, Brian E. Maust, and E. Paul Miller

Experiments were conducted in north Florida and south Georgia to determine the effects of H2CN2 sprays on vegetative and reproductive growth of blueberry. In Florida, mature, field-grown `Misty' southern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L. hybrid) blueberry plants were sprayed to drip with 0, 10.2, or 20.4 g·L-1 of H2CN2 [hereafter referred to as 0%, 1.0%, and 2.0% (v/v) H2CN2] on 20 Dec. 1996 and 7 Jan. 1997. During the following winter, mature `Misty' southern highbush and `Climax' rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) plants were sprayed to drip with 0, 7.6, or 15.3 g·L-1 of H2CN2 [hereafter referred to as 0%, 0.75%, and 1.5% (v/v) H2CN2] on 17 Dec. 1997 and 6 Jan. 1998. For all experiments, plants were dormant and leafless, with slightly swollen flower buds, at the time of spray applications. Generally, H2CN2 sprays increased the extent and earliness of vegetative budbreak and canopy establishment and advanced flowering slightly. The number of vegetative budbreaks usually increased linearly with increasing spray concentrations. In Florida, H2CN2 [0.75% to 1.0% (v/v)] sprays increased mean fruit fresh weight and yield, and shortened the fruit development period (FDP) compared to controls. However, H2CN2 sprays ranging in concentration from 1.5% to 2.0% (v/v) resulted in significant flower bud injury and reduced total fruit yield compared to controls. In south Georgia, 27 of 37 field trials conducted between 1991 and 1998 on several rabbiteye and southern highbush cultivars indicated that leaf development was significantly enhanced by H2CN2. H2CN2 shows potential for increasing early fruit maturity, fruit size, and yield of southern highbush and rabbiteye blueberry cultivars with poor leaf development characteristics in low-chill production regions. Chemical name used: hydrogen cyanamide (H2CN2).

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Stephen C. Myers, Amy T. Savelle, D. Stuart Tustin, and Ross E. Byers

Partial thinning of peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) during bloom to 50% of the necessary level by hand, and followed by adjustment hand thinning at 42 days after full bloom (DAFB) was compared to a similar degree of thinning accomplished entirely at 42 DAFB by hand. Partial flower thinning altered the distribution of fruit by diameter, increasing the percentage of large diameter (≥62.0 mm) fruit harvested compared to unthinned trees or trees thinned entirely at 42 DAFB. Although shoot number per limb was not altered by thinning time, the distribution of shoots by length was affected, increasing the percentage of long shoots (≥20.0 cm). Compared to unthinned trees and trees thinned at 42 DAFB, partial flower thinning increased the subsequent development of flower buds per shoot and the number of flower buds per node. Number of flower buds on the proximal five nodes of shoots 15.0-30.0 cm in length was increased, although not on shoots 5.0-7.0 cm in length. Additional trials established that airblast spray application of AMADS was effective in achieving a similar level of thinning as that accomplished by partial flower thinning by hand in previous experiments. The degree of flower removal exhibited a linear response to chemical concentration. Fruit diameter on chemically flower-thinned trees was greater at adjustment thinning time, when compared to trees thinned by hand at 42 DAFB only. Distribution of fruit at harvest indicated a larger percentage of fruit >65.0 mm in trees which received partial flower thinning in comparison to trees thinned at 42 DAFB only. As a result, overall crop value was increased, based on the commercial processing peach price structure at the time of harvest. Chemical name used: 1-aminomethanamide dihydrogen tetraoxosulfate (AMADS)

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B.L. Tan, N. Reddy, V. Sarafis, G.A.C. Beattie, and R. Spooner-Hart

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used to detect petroleum-derived spray oils (PDSOs) in citrus seedlings and trees. The NMR spectrum of the phantom containing 10% (v/v) of a nC24 agricultural mineral oil (AMO) showed the resonance of the water protons at δ ≈ 5 ppm, while the resonance of the oil protons at δ = 1.3 to 1.7 ppm. The peak resolution and the chemical shift difference of more than 3.3 ppm between water and oil protons effectively differentiated water and the oil. Chemical shift selective imaging (CSSI) was performed to localize the AMO within the stems of Citrus trifoliata L. seedlings after the application of a 4% (v/v) spray. The chemical shift selective images of the oil were acquired by excitation at δ = 1.5 ppm by averaging over 400 transients in each phase-encoding step. Oil was mainly detected in the outer cortex of stems within 10 d of spray application; some oil was also observed in the inner vascular bundle and pith of the stems at this point. CSSI was also applied to investigate the persistence of oil deposits in sprayed mature Washington navel orange (Citrus ×aurantium L.) trees in an orchard. The trees were treated with either fourteen 0.25%, fourteen 0.5%, four 1.75%, or single 7% sprays of a nC23 horticultural mineral oil (HMO) 12 to 16 months before examination of plant tissues by CSSI, and were still showing symptoms of chronic phytotoxicity largely manifested as reduced yield. The oil deposits were detected in stems of sprayed flushes and unsprayed flushes produced 4 to 5 months after the last spray was applied, suggesting a potential movement of the oil via phloem and a correlation of the persistence of oil deposit in plants and the phytotoxicity. The results demonstrate that MRI is an effective method to probe the uptake and localization of PDSOs and other xenobiotics in vivo in plants noninvasively and nondestructively.

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Laurie Hodges, Entin Daningsih, and James R. Brandle

Field experiments were conducted over 4 years to evaluate the effects of antitranspirant (Folicote, Aquatrol Inc., Paulsboro, N.J.) and polyacrylamide gel (SuperSorb, Aquatrol Inc., Paulsboro, N.J.) on early growth of transplanted muskmelon grown either protected by tree windbreaks or exposed to seasonal winds. A randomized complete block design (RCBD) with split plot arrangement was used with wind protection (sheltered and exposed) areas as the main treatment and use of an antitranspirant spray or gel dip as subtreatments. Based on destructive harvests in the field, treatments and subtreatments did not affect dry weight or leaf area index in the first 2 years. Specific contrasts, however, showed that gel application significantly increased fresh weight, dry weight, and leaf area index over that of the untreated transplants whereas the spray application tended to reduce these factors during the first 3 weeks after transplanting. Significant differences between gel and spray subtreatments disappeared by 5 weeks after transplanting. Shelterbelts ameliorated crop microclimate thereby enhancing plant growth. Significantly, wind velocity at canopy height was reduced 40% on average and soil temperatures were about 4% warmer in the sheltered plots compared to the exposed plots during the first 5 weeks post-transplant. Muskmelon plants in the sheltered areas grew significantly faster than the plants in the exposed areas in 2 of the 3 years reported, with the 3-year average fresh weight increased by 168% due to wind protection. Overall transplanting success and early growth were enhanced the most by wind protection, followed by the polyacrylamide gel root dip, and least by the antitranspirant foliar spray. We conclude that microclimate modification by wind speed reduction can increase early muskmelon plant growth more consistently than the use of polyacrylamide gel as a root dip at transplanting or the use of an antitranspirant spray. A polyacrylamide gel root dip generally will provide more benefit during early muskmelon growth than the use of an antitranspirant spray.

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Frank J. Peryea

Two multiyear field studies were conducted to compare the phytoavailability and effectiveness of a variety of commercial foliar B fertilizer sprays applied at the pink flowering stage to 'Fuji'/EMLA.26 apple trees grown under irrigated semi-arid conditions. Treatments included products that differed by initial chemical form of B, physical state, and presence of additives of varying composition. Additional treatments were polymeric urea added to one B product and soil application of one B product. Boron application rates varied from 0.56 to 1.68 kg·ha–1·yr–1. All of the B sprays increased flower cluster B concentration in all years. The B sprays at the lower rate sometimes but not always increased leaf B concentration. Increasing the B rate substantially increased plant tissue B concentrations. In general, there was little substantive difference between the tested products/product mixtures on plant tissue B concentrations. Flower cluster B in the ground-applied B treatment was similar to the water control; however, leaf B concentration corresponded to the B spray treatments, indicating effective uptake of B from the soil during the early summer. Sodium polyborate-based products increased flower cluster Na concentration but not leaf Na concentration. The amount of Na contributed by Na polyborate-based products applied at commercial rates apparently was too small to be of horticultural concern. Fruit quality was excellent and was not affected by the experimental treatments in any year. Flower cluster and leaf B concentrations returned to near or at control levels in the season following the last spray application, validating the recommendation for annual B fertilizer applications to maintain adequate tree B status.

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Mustafa Özgen, Karim M. Farag, Senay Ozgen, and Jiwan P. Palta

Highly colored cranberries are desired for both fresh and juice markets. Berries accumulate more color when allowed to stay on the vines longer. However, early fall frosts often force growers to harvest before the fruit has reached its optimal color. This is especially true for the berries under the canopy. No product is currently available for grower to accelerate the color development in cranberries. Result from recent studies suggests that a natural lipid, lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), can accelerate color production in fruit and, at the same time, promote shelf life. LPE is a natural lipid and is commercially derived from egg and soy lecithin. The influence of LPE on anthocyanin accumulation and storage quality of cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. `Stevens') was studied. Cranberry plants were sprayed with LPE at about 4 weeks before commercial harvest at multiple locations. Experiments were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Fruit samples were taken at 2 and 4 weeks after spray application to determine the changes in the fruit color. Plots were wet harvested using a standard commercial method and stored in a commercial cold storage facility. Marketable fruit were evaluated at 1 and 2 months after cold storage to determine effect of LPE on shelf life of cranberries. In general, a preharvest application of LPE resulted in a 9% to 27% increase in fruit anthocyanin concentration compared to the control. LPE treatments also resulted in 8% to 12% increase in marketable fruit compared to the control following cold storage. Influence of LPE on fruit quality was more apparent after 1 month of storage. These results are consistent with the observed effects of LPE on tomatoes. Interestingly ethanol application also enhanced storage quality. Our results suggest that a preharvest application of LPE may have the potential to enhance color and prolong shelf life of cranberry fruit.

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Terri W. Starman and Millie S. Williams

The effects of concentration and method of application of uniconazole on growth and flowering of Scaevola aemula R. Br. `New Wonder', `Mini Pink Fan', `Purple Fan', and `Royal Fan', Scaevola albida (Sm.) Druce. `White Fan', and Scaevola striata `Colonial Fan' were studied, as was the efficacy of four other growth retardants on S. aemula `New Wonder'. Variables measured included plant width, flower stem number, flower stem length, flower number per stem, flower number per cm stem length, and days to flower. Uniconazole (1.0 mg·L–1) applied as a medium drench to S. aemula `New Wonder' reduced plant width and flower stem length without affecting flower stem number or time to flower. Flower number per stem and number of flowers per cm of stem length were increased, resulting in attractive, compact clusters of flowers. Paclobutrazol medium drench at 4.0 mg·L–1 gave similar results. Daminozide and ethephon sprays reduced plant width; however, flower number was reduced and ethephon delayed flowering. Ancymidol did not affect the parameters measured. When uniconazole drenches were applied to the other cultivars, plant width and flower stem length in all cultivars except `White Fan' decreased as rate increased. Spray applications reduced plant width of all cultivars except `Mini Pink Fan'. Flower stem length was not affected in any cultivar. Flowering habit was improved more in S. aemula `New Wonder', `Purple Fan', and `Royal Fan' than in the other cultivars. Chemical names used: α-cyclopropyl-α-(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol (ancymidol); butanedioic acid mono (2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon); β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol); (E)-(s)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethy-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-pent-1-ene-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Christopher S. Cramer, Neel Kamal, and Narinder Singh

Iris yellow spot (IYS) disease, caused by Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV), results in irregular and diamond-shaped, chlorotic, and necrotic lesions on the leaves and seedstalks of onions (Allium cepa L.). These lesions reduce leaf photosynthetic area and ultimately reduce onion bulb size and yield from larger bulb classes. IYSV is vectored by onion thrips (Thrips tabaci L.) that are difficult to control under certain environmental conditions. Currently, no onion cultivar is resistant to the disease symptoms, virus, and/or thrips. Twenty-one cultivars and 17 germplasm lines were evaluated in the field for IYS disease severity and thrips densities at multiple times during the season as well as leaf color, waxiness, and axil openness of these entries. Plants were grown under conditions that favored thrips populations (high temperatures, low moisture, and no insecticidal spray applications), IYSV presence and distribution, and IYS development. Plants of New Mexico State University (NMSU) 07-10-1 had fewer thrips than several entries later in the season in both 2009 and 2010. Several entries exhibited a lower number of thrips per plant early or later in the season; however, these results were not consistent across years and were not associated with a particular foliage characteristic. Lighter leaf color and/or a lesser amount of epicuticular wax did not always result in the fewest number of thrips per plant as has been reported in the literature. Plants of NMSU 09-58 tended to exhibit fewer and less severe IYS symptoms early in the season as compared with plants of other entries.

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Amir Rezazadeh, Richard L. Harkess, and Guihong Bi

Red firespike (Odontonema strictum) is an ornamental shrub with potential for use as a flowering potted plant due to its dark green foliage and attractive red flower spikes. To stimulate branching and improve quality of red firespike, foliar spray applications of dikegulac sodium (DS) and benzyladenine (BA) and hand pinching were evaluated across two seasons (Spring and Summer 2014). There were three pinching treatments: one, two, or three pinches. Plant growth regulators (PGRs) were applied at 400, 800, 1600, or 2400 ppm DS or 600, 1000, 1250, or 1750 ppm BA. Both studies included an untreated control. Red firespike treated with all concentrations of BA and 1600 and 2400 ppm DS had increased branching compared with the control, except 1000 ppm BA in Expt. 1. Pinching did not affect the number of branches. Dikegulac sodium at 1600 and 2400 ppm and all concentrations of BA resulted in shorter plants than the control. Phytotoxicity was observed in plants treated with 1600 or 2400 ppm DS. In both experiments, DS at 1600 and 2400 ppm had the least plant dry weight compared with the control. Treatment with BA at 1750 ppm resulted in greatest leaf area compared with control. Dikegulac sodium at 800 ppm increased the number of flowers compared with control. Pinching and BA did not affect number of inflorescences. All concentrations of BA and DS delayed flowering, except 1000 ppm BA. Plants treated with 800, 1600, and 2400 ppm DS had shorter inflorescences compared with control plants. Benzyladenine decreased the length of the inflorescence at high concentrations, 1250 and 1750 ppm. Pinching treatments did not affect inflorescence length.

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Kent E. Chushman and Theodore W. Tibbitts

The role of tehylene in the development of constant-light injury of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was investigated. In one study, silver thiosulfate (STS) was applied to the foliage of four potato cultivars growing under constant light. Leaf area and shoot dry mass of `Kennebec' and `Superior', cultivars normally injured by constant light, were greater (P<0.05) than those of control plantsgiven foliar applications of distilled water. Examination of STS-treated `Kennebec' leaflets revealed significantly less injury (necrotic spotting and reduced starch content) than the water-treated controls. `Norland' and `Denali', cultivars tolerant of constant light, exhibited no differences in growth between treatments. In a second study, injury (necrotic spotting and reduced starch content) was induced in leaflets of `Denali' when exposed to spray applications of 0.5 mmol·L-1 ethephon or air containing 0.5 to 0.8 μL·L-1 ethylene. In a third study, three genotypes of `Ailsa Craig' tomato were grown under constant light. Leaves of the normal `Ailsa Craig' exhibited epinasty, reduced chlorophyll concentration, and reduced starch content. Leaves of a mutant `Ailsa Craig', containing the Never ripe mutation, did not exhibit epinasty but exhibited the same amount of reduced chlorophyll concentration and starch content as normal plants. Leaves of a transgenic `Ailsa Craig', containing an antisense gene of 1-aminocyclopropane 1-carboxylate (ACC) oxidase, were epinastic, but chlorophyll concentration and starch content were greater than in leaves of normal and mutant plants. These results suggest that transgenic plants were more tolerant of constant light than the other genotypes. Evidence from these studies indicates that ethylene, combined with constant light, has an important role in the development of constant-light injury.