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Brent K. Harbaugh

Interveinal chlorosis of lower (oldest) leaves followed by development of interveinal necrotic spots, marginal necrosis, downward cupping of leaves, and leaf abscission were symptoms of a disorder commonly observed during production of potted pentas. The disorder was determined to be an Fe toxicity problem associated with accumulation of extremely high levels of foliar Fe (649 to 1124 ppm). Cultivars varied in their response to soil-applied Fe-DTPA chelate solutions: `Starburst', `Mauve' and `Ruby Red' were very susceptible, `Pink Profusion' was intermediate, and `White', `Lavender Delight', and `Pink Rose' were resistant. Potted plant production in a root medium with an initial pH of 6.7 ± 0.1 and a end pH of 6.4 ± 0.2 reduced the accumulation of foliar Fe to levels ranging from 59 to 196 ppm and prevented development of significant visual symptoms for all Cultivars.

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B.K. Harbaugh and S.S. Woltz

Foliar chlorosis or bleaching, interveinal chlorosis, leaf edge and tip necrosis, a poor root system, and stunted growth of Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf) Shinn seedlings were associated with a medium pH of 5.0 or 5.5 but not when the values ranged from 6.4 to 7.5. The range in medium pH resulting in the best growth of seedings and flowering plants was 6.3 to 6.7. Responses to medium pH were similar, regardless of fertilizer solution pH or cultivar. Eustoma seedling and shoot fresh weights for pH 5.0 and 5.5 were only 23% to 66% of corresponding values for plants grown at pH 6.4. Leaf tissue Zn was extremely high (1050 mg·kg-l dry leaf tissue) at a medium pH of 5.0, but other macro- and micronutrients in leaves were not at abnormal levels.

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Douglas A. Cox

Six cultivars of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Kl.) were grown in unlimed growth medium consisting of equal volumes of sphagnum peat and perlite. Plants received fertilizer solutions supplying Mo at either 0.0 mg·liter-1 (-Mo) or 1.0 mg·liter -1 (+Mo). In the –Mo treatment, moderate to severe symptoms of Mo deficiency (marginal and interveinal chlorosis, marginal necrosis, and downward curling of the margins) developed on the middle-aged and some recently matured leaves of `Annette Hegg Brilliant Diamond' and `Eckespoint Lilo', while some interveinal chlorosis occurred on the same leaves of `Gutbier V-17 Angelika'. No symptoms appeared on `Gross Supjibi', `Peace Regal Velvet', and `Peace Noel'. All cultivars were symptomless in the + Mo treatment. In the –Mo treatment, upper, recently matured leaves of the symptomatic cultivars and two of three symptomless cultivars had Mo concentrations at or near the critical level for deficiency; however, nitrate reductase enzyme activity was higher and NO3-N was lower in the leaves of symptomless cultivars than of symptomatic cultivars.

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Marc W. van Iersel and Bruce Bugbee

Benzimidazoles are effective and widely used fungicides, but they may be phytotoxic. We studied the effects of a single drench application of six benzimidazoles and one acetanilide fungicide on photosynthetic gas exchange, growth, development, and nutrient levels of four species of bedding plants in twenty growth-chamber and four greenhouse studies. Daily carbon gain and carbon-use efficiency were calculated from continuous crop gas-exchange measurements in the growth chambers. The maximum labeled rate of Benlate DF caused a 7- to 10-day decrease in net photosynthesis and daily carbon gain in transplants of all species. It also caused pronounced interveinal chlorosis and a 2- to 3-day delay in flowering. Growth of Benlate DF-treated plants was reduced more at high (90%) than at low (60% to 80%) relative humidity. Benlate DF had severe effects on 2-week-old petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) seedlings in plug flats, reducing photosynthesis 25% to 57%. Cleary's 3336 WP decreased photosynthesis in some trials. Benlate DF reduced photosynthesis within 24 hours, but 3336 WP effects did not become apparent until 1 week after the treatment. This suggests different modes of inhibition. 3336 WP also caused leaf-tip and marginal chlorosis in impatiens (Impatiens wallerana). Mertect 340-F was extremely phytotoxic but is not labeled for drench applications (it was included because of its chemical similarity to other benzimidazoles). The only benzimidazole fungicide that did not reduce photosynthesis was Derosal, but it caused slight interveinal chlorosis in some studies with petunia. Benlate DF and Derosal decreased leaf Ca levels. Subdue (or metalaxyl), an acetanilide fungicide, did not affect photosynthesis or cause any visual symptoms. Our results indicate that some benzimidazole fungicides can cause growth reductions and visual damage in bedding plants.

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Douglas A. Cox

'Annette Hegg Brilliant Diamond' plants were cultured under Mo stress conditions by using an unlimed sphagnum peat and perlite potting medium and by supplying all trace elements but Mo in the fertilizer solution. Plants were untreated or sprayed with solutions of 1, 10, or 100 μg Mo·liter-1 5, 8, or 11 weeks after pinching. Untreated plants developed foliar symptoms of Mo deficiency (interveinal chlorosis, marginal necrosis, and marginal curling) and leaf tissue contained Mo below the critical level of 0.5 μg·g-1 and NO3-N above 1.0%. At 5 or 8 weeks all Mo spray concentrations prevented deficiency symptoms, increased tissue Mo, and reduced tissue NO3-N. Some symptoms were visible when plants were treated at 11 weeks. Mo sprays at this time did not eliminate the symptoms but reduced the number of leaves showing symptoms to about one-half that of untreated plants when the experiment was ended 15 weeks after pinching.

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Joseph P. Albano and William B. Miller

Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) grown hydroponically in an irradiated nutrient solution containing FeDTPA had root ferric reductase activity 120% greater, foliar Fe level 33% less, and foliar Mn level 90% greater than did plants grown in an identical, nonirradiated solution, indicating that the plants growing in the irradiated solution were responding to Fe-deficiency stress with physiological reactions associated with Fe efficiency. The youngest leaves of plants grown in the irradiated solution had symptoms of Mn toxicity (interveinal chlorosis, shiny-bronze necrotic spots, and leaf deformation). Plants grown in irradiated solution in which the precipitated Fe was replaced with fresh Fechelate were, in general, no different from those grown in the nonirradiated solution. Chemical name used: ferric diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (FeDTPA).

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Chun-Ho Pak and Chiwon W. Lee

Foliar micronutrient toxicity symptoms of Petunia hybrida `Ultra Crimson Star' were induced by elevated levels (from 0.25 to 6 mM) of boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn) in the nutrient solution. Foliar toxicity symptoms of most micronutrients (except Fe) were characterized by leaf yellowing, interveinal chlorosis, and marginal necrosis. Mo toxicity was most severe. Leaf abnormality was not induced by Fe in the concentration range tested. Visible foliar toxicity symptoms developed when nutrient solution contained 5.4, 32, 28, 24, and 16 mg· liter-1, respectively, of B, Cu, Mn, Mo and Zn. Biomass yield was reduced when the fertilizer solution contained (in mg· liter-1): 22 B, 64 Cu, 335 Fe, 28 Mn, 24 Mo, and 33 Zn.

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Tehryung Kim and Hazel Y. Wetzstein

Zinc deficiency is a widespread nutritional disorder in plants and occurs in both temperate and tropical climates. In spite of its physiological importance, cytological and ultrastructural changes associated with zinc deficiency are lacking, in part because zinc deficiency is difficult to induce. A method was developed to induce zinc deficiency in pecan (Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch) using hydroponic culture. Zinc deficiency was evaluated in leaves using light and electron microscopy. Zinc deficiency symptoms varied with severity ranging from interveinal mottling, overall chlorosis, necrosis, and marginal curving. Zinc deficient leaves were thinner, and palisade cells were shorter, wider, and had more intercellular spaces than zinc sufficient leaves. Cells in zinc deficient leaves had limited cytoplasmic content and accumulated phenolic compounds in vacuoles. Extensive starch accumulation was observed in chloroplasts. This work represents the first detailed microscopic evaluations of zinc deficiency in leaves, and provides insight on how zinc deficiency affects leaf structure and function.

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Youbin Zheng, Thomas Graham, Stefan Richard, and Mike Dixon

To determine whether currently used commercial nutrient solution concentrations can be reduced during the final stage (last 4 to 5 weeks) of production of potted gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii `Shogun') under recirculating subirrigation conditions, plants were grown under one of four nutrient levels (10%, 25%, 50%, and 100% of full strength). Nutrient concentration levels did not affect leaf area, flower number and appearance, and plant total dry weight. There were no significant differences in the greenness (as measured by SPAD meter) of leaves from plants that received the 50% and 100% strength nutrient solutions. However, leaves from plants that received the 10% and 25% strength solution showed significantly less greenness than that of the plants that received 50% and 100% strength nutrient solutions. There were interveinal chlorosis symptoms on the younger leaves of some plants in the 10% and 25% strength nutrient treatments. It is suspected that this interveinal chlorosis was due to iron (Fe) deficiency caused by the increased substrate pH. It is concluded that the nutrient solution concentrations typically used for potted gerbera production in commercial greenhouses at the final stage (4 to 5 weeks) under recirculating subirrigation conditions, can be safely reduced by at least 50% without adversely affecting crop production. Nutrient salts accumulated in the top section of the growth substrate under all treatments levels; however, no phytotoxic effects were observed. No differences in water use (141 mL per plant per day) were observed amid the various nutrient levels. Fertilizer inputs were reduced in the 50%, 25%, and 10% treatments by 54%, 75%, and 90% respectively, relative to the 100% treatment. After 4 weeks under recirculating conditions, the qualities of the nutrient solutions were still within acceptable limits.

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Brent K. Harbaugh

Symptoms of foliar chlorosis or bleaching, interveinal chlorosis of lower leaves, leaf edge and tip necrosis, stunted growth and delayed flowering of Eustoma increased as pH decreased below 6.5 in various peat-vermiculite based media for all cultivars tested. Symptoms were evident with or without microelement amendments in the media or fertilizer. A 5×5 factorial with pH of media and fertilizer solutions ranging from 5.1 to 7.5 indicated fertilizer pH did not negate plant response to low media pH. Leaf tissue levels of Zn were elevated at low media pH and negatively correlated to plant growth and flowering characteristics, while imbalances in tissue levels of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu and B appeared to be less important. Symptomatic plants grown in media with a pH from 5.0 to 5.8 had tissue levels of Zn ranging from 200 to 1200 ppm, and plants without symptoms in media with a higher pH had leaf tissue levels from 40 to 100 ppm Zn.