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David T. Handley, Andrew Wheeler, and James F. Dill

Three strawberry fields in Maine where surveyed to determine what level of blossom injury was caused by strawberry bud weevil; whether different orders of blossoms were effected differently; and whether injury was influenced by the location of the plants in the field. Three strawberry fields which had no insecticide applications where surveyed. A sample of 200 inflorescences where examined in four different locations in each field. The number of inflorescences in a field that had injury from strawberry bud weevil varied from 10% to 64%. Most flower clusters showing injury had one bud girdled, but many had two or more buds girdled. The tertiary and secondary order buds had the highest levels of injury, while the primary and quaternary buds had the lowest levels of injury. Location of the plants in the field did not show any obvious effects on injury levels.

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Reginald S. Fletcher, David E. Escobar, and Mani Skaria

The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) provides relative estimates of vegetation vigor, density, and health. Little information is available on the application of NDVI imagery for citriculture. The objective of this study was to evaluate airborne NDVI imagery for assessing tree conditions in citrus (Citrus spp.) orchards. Images of two south Texas citrus groves with stressed and nonstressed trees were qualitatively evaluated. Stressed trees were easily detected from nonstressed trees in the images. The images were also helpful for developing survey plans of the citrus groves. Our results indicated that airborne NDVI images could be used as a tool to assess tree conditions in citrus orchards. Findings should be of interest to citrus growers, extension agents, agricultural consultants, and private surveying companies.

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J. A. Juvik, M. A. Stevens, and C. M. Rick

Abstract

Twenty-seven accessions from 6 species of the genus Lycopersicon and 1 accession of Solanum pennellii were surveyed for content of the glycoalkaloid, α-to-matine. Significant variation in alkaloid content was found to exist among the accessions. L. esculentum cultivars were found to contain much lower concentrations of α-tomatine than accessions of L. esculentum var. cerasiforme, L. pimpinellifolium, and the L. peruvianum accession, LA 462.

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Wen-fei L. Uva and Thomas C. Weiler

Adopting technology to achieve environmental stewardship is a high priority among greenhouse industry members. Zero runoff crop production systems can protect surface and ground water and use water, fertilizer, and labor resources more efficiently. However, scarce capital and fear of new technology are impediments to change. Our objectives were to characterize decision making and profitability related to zero runoff systems. Managers of 80 greenhouse operations with zero runoff systems in 26 states participated in a survey designed to gather information on the costs–benefits of adoption and production changes and issues related to zero runoff systems for greenhouse operations. The survey results revealed that some adjustments of production practices were essential when adopting zero runoff systems. It also appeared that greenhouse operators believe they are achieving the intended outcomes and efficiencies from their investment. Size of the operation appeared to be closely linked to the growers' willingness to adopt this new technology. Important reasons for making the decision of adopting zero runoff systems were to improve quality of productions, cut production costs, increase production efficiency, and respond to public concern for the environment. Two thirds of the operators surveyed found that special employee training in the operation of zero runoff systems was required. Most employers found in-house training was adequate for their needs. Operators verified that a significant learning curve slows implementation of zero runoff production Adjustments of cultural practices coupled with good production management were keys to growing zero runoff successfully.

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Amy H. Simonne, Bridget K. Behe, and Maurice M. Marshall

Fresh and processed tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) consumption has increased 40% in the United States over the last two decades. Through better breeding, fresh tomatoes now are marketed in different forms, sizes, colors, and flavors. However, little published information exists concerning consumer demand, preference, and demographic characteristics related to fresh tomato consumption. Taking advantage of a high percentage of Internet use in the U.S., two web-based surveys were released to approximately 6000 e-mail addresses reaching people in every region of the U.S. The surveys contained a total of 61 questions, including 50 digital images of five types of tomatoes (cherry, grape, cluster, plum, and regular slicing) with combinations of three additional factors (price, lycopene content, and production style) and demographic information. Among 389 respondents, 76% preferred and purchased slicing tomatoes in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. These were followed by grape/mini-pear (42%), plum (36%), cluster (27%), cherry (25%), and yellow slicing tomatoes (4.4%). Overall, production method (organic vs. conventional) had low relative importance in comparison to price and tomato type. However, younger participants (<age 38 years) placed more importance on production method. Participants between ages 39 and 57 years were the most price-sensitive, and female were less sensitive than males. Younger participants (<age 38 years) were less price-sensitive and placed more importance on the other attributes (production method, lycopene content, and tomato type).

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Kenneth W. Mudge and Kelly Hennigan

The role of cooperative extension in providing information to amateur and professional horticulturists is being profoundly altered by the availability of vast amounts of horticultural resources on the World Wide Web and other electronic media. Advances in computer-related instructional technologies including the Internet, have coincided with, and to some extent triggered, a burgeoning demand for non-traditional continuing education in practically all fields of knowledge, including landscape horticulture. Although there are numerous Web sites offering a wide range of gardening and related information, there are relatively few opportunities for structured learning in the form of on-line distance learning courses or instructional modules. In Fall 1999, we conducted a survey of the membership of the New York State Nursery/Landscape Association to determine priority-training needs that might be met by computer-mediated distance learning. One-hundred-seven companies, representing horticulture-based businesses throughout New York State, completed the surveys. Results from the survey indicated that 83% of those responding were interested in taking one or more computer-based distance learning course(s), that 67% were willing to provide financial support for continuing education of their employees, and that 95% have access to a personal computer. We have also collected data indicating subject matter preferences, interest in full-course and short-course offerings, levels of computer and Internet experience, and more. It is apparent from the findings in this study that the cooperative extension has a great opportunity to use the World Wide Web as a component of its role as an information provider. This research will contribute to designing effective approaches for teaching hands-on horticultural skills at a distance, thereby expanding the cooperative extension's ability to reach its intended audiences.

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Severn C. Doughty, Daniel J. Gill, and David C. Blouin

Landscape palms were surveyed for cold damage 8 to 10 months after the coldest weather episode recorded this century in the New Orleans, La., area. Fourteen genera and 21 species of palms totaling 9039 individuals were surveyed and assigned to one of three condition categories within six geographic areas. Area 1, north of Lake Pontchartrain, was not a reliable area for the majority of the 21 species found. South of Lake Pontchartrain, areas 2-6 were considered statistically better for overall palm survival, with area 3 best followed by areas 4, 2, 5, and 6. Although species survival depended somewhat on area, 10 species were found to be statistically reliable south of Lake Pontchartrain: Brahea armata, Chamaedorea microspadix, Phoenix canariensis, Rhapidophyllum hystrix, Sabal mexicana, S. minor, S. palmetto, Sabal spp., Sabal spp. seedlings, and Trachycarpus fortune;. Two species, Phoenix reclinata and Phoenix spp., were found to be marginal and seven species were found to be unreliable: Butia capitata, Chamaerops humilis, Livistona chinensis, Rhapis excelsa, Syagrus romanzoffiana, Washingtonia filifera, and W. robusta. Due to low individual numbers, survival for three species could not be reliably estimated: Arenga engleri, Phoenix dactyfifera, and Serenoa repens.

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Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Erika Kirsch

The Internet has become a tool used in business, education, and leisure pursuits. Extension has used the Internet in a variety of ways including the training of extension staff and volunteers and the dissemination of information. In 2001, a survey was developed to determine the comfort level, familiarity, and use of computers and the Internet by active Oregon Master Gardeners (MGs). Basic demographic data was also collected. We found that 85% of respondents use computers and are very comfortable with computers and the Internet. This extensive use and comfort level suggests that the Internet may be an acceptable alternative to the traditional face-to-face training method for some Oregon MGs.

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Elizabeth J. Phibbs and Diane Relf

Results of research on youth gardening programs indicate a variety of benefits; however, most studies to date have encountered difficulties in separating treatment effect from confounding variables. A survey of those recently involved in this type of research was conducted to identify common problems and generate suggestions for improving future research efforts. Problems reported as most frequently encountered include difficulty with timing and logistics, lack of funding, and finding and keeping sufficient numbers of participants. Suggestions for obtaining stronger results include: allowing plenty of time for planning, establishing good communication with collaborators, choosing topics relevant to funding agencies and policy makers, and creating interdisciplinary studies that are longitudinal or large-scale collaborative efforts.

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Ed Stover, Dominick Scotto, and James Salvatore

Pesticide spray practices for citrus (Citrus spp.) in the Indian River region of Florida were surveyed in 2001 as the first step in identifying opportunities for improving efficiency and reducing potential environmental impact. The survey covered 73% of grapefruit (C. paradisi) acreage in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, comprising 70% of all Indian River commercial grapefruit. Large differences in spray practices were revealed. The focus of this survey was grapefruit spraying, since grapefruit represent 59% of fresh citrus shipped from the Indian River region, and are sprayed more intensively than citrus fruit grown for processing. In commercial groves, almost all foliar sprays to grapefruit are applied using air-assisted sprayers pulled through the groves by tractors. Use of engine-driven and power-takeoff-driven sprayers were reported with equal frequency and accounted for 89% of spray machines used. Lowvolume Curtec sprayers comprised the remainder. Spray volume for grape-fruit varied: 7.6% of acreage was sprayed at 25 to 35 gal/acre (230 to 330 L·ha-1) for all sprays; 4.2% was sprayed at 100 to 170 gal/acre (940 to 1600 L·ha-1) for all sprays; 15.3% was sprayed at 200 to 380 gal/acre (1900 to 3600 L·ha-1) for all sprays; 28.2% was sprayed at 450 to 750 gal/acre (4200 to 7000 L·ha-1) for all sprays; and 44.5% of grapefruit acreage was sprayed in a progressive manner from lower to higher volume as the season progresses. Many mid and high spray volume growers reported unacceptable results when they lowered spray volume. Although correlation was moderate (r = 0.35 to 0.45), regressions indicated that both total foliar pesticide spray material costs, and annual fungicidal copper (Cu) use increased with spray volume used for postbloom fungicides. Mean Cu use per acre was in the middle of the recommended range. All growers reported adjusting nozzling for tree height within a grove, and since Indian River groves are bedded, growers adjusted sprayer output differently for trees on bed tops versus furrows on 85% of acreage. Sprayers were shut off for missing trees on 83% of acreage, but this was done only for two or more adjacent trees on almost half of this area. Sensor-actuated sprayers were used to minimize off-target application on 14.7% of grapefruit acreage, but for an additional 21% of acreage, growers reported trying and abandoning this technology. While 88% of grove acreage was sprayed during the day, 75% of acreage sprayed using less than 100 gal/acre was sprayed at night. Growers reported no defined protocol for ceasing spray operations based on environmental conditions.