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Charles Marr, Wm. J. Lamont Jr, and Max Allison

Using an intensive vegetable production system of grain-strip windbreaks, plastic-mulch-covered planting be& installed with drip irrigation tubing, and fertigation through the drip system, >67,000 lb/acre (75,000 kg·ha-1) of seedless watermelons were produced. A floating row cover increased the yield by 14,000 lb/acre (16,380 kg·ha-1) by increasing earliness. The row cover also improved initial transplant survival. Earliness and the additional income generated from improved production should provide economic justification to growers considering floating row covers.

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Jerriann Ernstsen, Larry Rupp, and Ray Brown

Typically, dormant seedlings are transplanted when revegetating disturbed lands to prevent transplant shock triggered by water stress. It may be possible to transplant nondormant seedlings by inducing drought-tolerant acclimation responses such as solute accumulation. Artemisia cana and Agropyron intermedium seedlings were subjected to three different water stress preconditioning treatments. After conditioning, seedlings were dried down in their containers until leaf senescence, or were transplanted to disturbed land sites. Leaf water potential components and relative water content were measured. Following treatments, water relations parameters of preconditioned seedlings were not markedly different from controls in either species. At the end of the final dry-down, water stress preconditioning had not induced active or passive solute accumulation, prolonged leaf survival during lethal drought conditions, or differences in transplant survival under the experimental conditions of this study.

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Amy N. Wright and Robert D. Wright

Root growth following transplanting allows a plant to exploit water and nutrient resources in the soil backfill (landscape) or container substrate and thus is a critical factor for transplant survival. The Horhizotron, a horizontal root growth measurement instrument, has been developed and evaluated for use in measuring root growth under a variety of root environments. The design of the Horhizotron includes four wedge-shaped glass quadrants that extend away from a plant's root ball allowing measurement of roots as they grow out from the original root ball. The substrate in each quadrant can be modified in order to evaluate the effect of substrate or root environment on root growth. Materials used for construction were lightweight, durable, easy to assemble, and readily available from full service building supply stores. Units were suitable for use on a greenhouse bench or outdoors in contact with the ground. Horhizotrons provided a simple, nondestructive method to measure root growth over time under a wide range of rhizosphere conditions.

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Jeff L. Main, Paul G. Thompson, William Burdine Jr., and R. Crofton Sloan Jr.

Seventeen plant bed fertilizer treatments including different rates of N, P, and K were evaluated for the effect on plant production and sweetpotato yield. `Beauregard' storage roots were bedded. Treatments were 0, 40, 80 lb N/ac; 0, 80, 160 lb P/ac; or 0, 75, 150, and 300 lb K/ac. Each nutrient was evaluated in a separate trial. After the first cutting, half of the N treatments and all P and K treatments had 40 lb N/ac top-dressed on the beds. For the first cutting the high rate of N (80 lb/ac) had a higher green weight than the low rate of 0 lb/ac. There wer no other differences found in the first or second cuttings for plant production or yield. Plant bed fertilization also had no effect on transplant survival.

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Xiaoling Yu and Barbara M. Reed

A micropropagation system was developed for hazelnut cultivars. Grafted greenhouse-grown plants produced many more viable explants than upper branches of mature field-grown trees. Shoots from grafted greenhouse-grown plants collected March through July and suckers of mature field-grown trees collected in July produced the most growing explants (46% to 80%). Three- to five-fold multiplication was obtained after 4 weeks of culture on NCGR-COR medium supplemented with 6.7 μm BA and 0.04 μm IBA. Roots were produced on 64% to 100% of shoots grown on half-strength NCGR-COR mineral salts and 4.9 μm IBA for 4 weeks. Ex vitro rooting by a brief dip in 1 or 5 mm IBA was equally successful. Transplant survival was 78% to 100%. Chemical names used: N 6-benzyladenine (BA); indole-3-butyric acid (IBA).

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

Seedlings of six species of native prairie perennial forbs were installed monthly from Oct. 1993 to Nov. 1994 on two highway sites near West Lafayette, Ind. Survival varied significantly among species. Overall, 85% of Aster novae-angliae seedlings survived compared to 15% survival of Liatris pycnostachya seedlings. Survival also varied significantly with time of installation. Three species (Aster novae-angliae, Ratibida pinnata, and Veronicastrum virginicum) exhibited 95% survival when planted in mid-October, compared to 50% survival when planted in March. Fifty-seven percent survival of Echinacea pallida seedlings was observed with April plantings, compared to 9% survival of September plantings. Results of this study indicate that transplant survival rates of particular prairie species may be enhanced by precise timing of planting in late fall or early spring.

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Eric H. Simonne, Amarat H. Simonne, Larry W. Wells, Marvin E. Ruf, and John T. Owen

While lettuce is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the United States, production is mainly concentrated in the western states. This research investigated the feasibility of lettuce production in the Southeast (SE), where downy mildew, tip burn, bitterness, bolting, and postharvest handling are potential production problems. Lettuce varieties were evaluated on plastic mulch and drip irrigation under several growing conditions. Cultivar and location significantly (P < 0.01) affected yield and transplant survival rate. Following these tests, 'Salinas 88 Supreme', 'Legacy', 'Bullseye', 'Epic' (crisphead); 'Nancy', 'Nevada', 'Ostinata' (butterhead); 'Parris Islands', 'Augustus' (Romaine); and 'Red Salad Bowl', 'Red Prize', and 'Slobolt' (loose leaf) are considered best-performing lettuce varieties for Alabama. These results, along with bitterness evaluation, support the potential for lettuce production in the SE.

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Fumiomi Takeda, Stan C. Hokanson, and John M. Enns

Strawberry (`Chandler') plants were grown in a greenhouse hydroponic culture system from 28 Apr. to 20 July to produce runners (stolons) with several daughter plants. By mid-July, each `Chandler' plant had developed about 30 daughter plants on 12 runners with 1 to 6 daughter plants on each runner. Daughter plants varied in weight from <0.9 to >10 g. Daughter plant weight and position on the runner affected new root development on plug plants during the first 7 days under mist irrigation. At 3 weeks, 87% of daughter plants that weighed <0.9 g and at least 96% of daughter plants that weighed >1.0 g were rated acceptable for field transplanting, respectively. The percentage of daughter plants from second to tenth node position that were rated acceptable for field planting ranged from 98% to 88%, respectively. Runner production in the fall was not affected by either position on the runner or weight at the time of daughter plant harvest. But, larger daughter plants produced more branch crowns than did smaller daughter plants in the fall. Transplant survival in the field was 100%. In the spring, `Chandler' plants produced a 10% greater yield from daughter plants that weighed 9.9 g compared to those that weighed only 0.9 g.

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Ronald W. Garton

Processing tomatoes were planted on a sandy loam soil on raised beds which were prepared in a conventional method with a power bedder (PB), or with conservation tillage (CT). The CT treatments were prepared by using Glyphosate herbicide to burn-off a fall-seeded rye cover crop at either 10cm, 15cm or 30cm height. The center of the bed was tilled with a modified conservation tillage coulter caddy, prior to planting the tomatoes, to loosen the soil but leave the rye residue on the surface. Crop residue cover on the soil surface after planting the tomatoes increased from 9% in the PB treatment, to 63% with CT at 30cm. Increasing crop residue cover resulted in cooler soil temperatures during the day and warmer soil temperatures at night. Transplant survival and early growth was comparable between the tillage systems. Tomato yield was approximately 10% higher in the PB treatment than in the CT treatments. In the conservation tillage treatments, the tomato plants had lower total nitrogen concentrations in the petioles. Nitrogen immobilization by microbes in the decaying cover crop residue may have contributed to the lower petiole N concentrations, and the yield reduction.

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Robert R. Tripepi and Mary W. George

Seedlings of several conifer species can be difficult to transplant, with the problem often related to poor root regeneration. The objective of this study was to determine if corkbark fir (Abies lasiocarpa arizonica) seedlings or pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) seedlings would produce more root growth when grown in a Missouri gravel bed growing system compared to field soil. The 3–0 fir seedlings and 4–0 pine seedlings were planted in a gravel bed in mid-April. The gravel bed was 3 m × 3.7 m and was filled with a mixture of 60% pea gravel (1 cm minus), 30% Turface®, and 10% silica sand (by volume). A field bed 3 m × 3.7 m in size was also prepared. Fir seedlings were harvested in September and October, but pinyon pine seedlings were harvested only in October due to their poor transplant survival. Plant heights, stem diameters, and root volumes, as well as root and shoot dry weights, were determined at harvest. Of all the measured growth parameters for both species, only root dry weights and root volumes were significantly different. In particular, fir seedlings grown in the gravel bed produced at least 30% more root dry weight and 74% more root volume than those planted in field soil whether plants were harvested in September or October. Likewise, pine seedlings grown in gravel produced at least 37% more root dry weight and 86% more root volume than those grown in soil. In addition, only 10.6% of the pine seedlings planted in soil survived transplanting, but 23.3% of those grown in the gravel bed survived. This study demonstrated that corkbark fir and pinyon pine seedlings grown in a gravel bed produced larger root systems than those planted into field soil, and the gravel bed also improved pinyon pine seedling survival after transplanting.