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Jeffrey S. Beasley, Bruce E. Branham, and Loretta M. Ortiz-Ribbing

Trinexapac-ethyl (TE) [4-(cyclopropyl-a-hydroxy-methylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexanecarboxylic acid ethyl ester] effects on turfgrass root architecture are not known. It has been postulated that PGR application could cause photoassimilate that is normally used for shoot growth to be funneled to root growth. This study evaluated the effects of a single TE application on kentucky bluegrass (KBG) root and shoot growth for seven weeks. Individual KBG plants were grown in a hydroponic system and harvested weekly. At each harvest, tiller height, tiller number, and color ratings were recorded. Estimates of total root length (TRL), root surface area (SA), and average root diameter were measured using the WinRhizo system. Trinexapac-ethyl reduced plant height for 4 weeks followed by a period of postinhibition growth enhancement. Trinexapac-ethyl increased tiller number over the course of the study and slightly enhanced plant color. Trinexapac-ethyl reduced TRL and SA 48% and 46% at 1 week after treatment (WAT) followed by an accelerated growth rate 1 to 4 WAT. Trinexapac-ethyl had no effect on root diameter. On a tiller basis, TE initially reduced TRL and SA 30% and 31%, respectively. Total root length per tiller and root surface area per tiller were reduced by TE treatment, but by 7 WAT, those differences were no longer significant. Initial reductions in TRL and SA per tiller may reduce tiller competitiveness for water and nutrients. Based on data for TRL and SA per tiller, shoot and root growth must be considered in total to fully understand TE effects on plant growth. Field research is needed to corroborate results from hydroponic-studies and examine the effect of various TE rates and multiple applications on turfgrass root and shoot growth.

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Lisa M. Blanchard and Thomas Björkman

Sweet corn roots colonized with the T-22 strain of the common rhizosphere fungus grow substantially faster than roots of plants not so colonized. We tested whether this growth enhancement was a consequence of the fungus affecting auxin regulation of cell elongation. In corn roots, auxin acts an inhibitor of growth, maintaining the rate below its short-term maximum potential. The first hypothesis was that the fungus secretes an auxin inhibitor, and thereby reduces the auxin limitation of growth. Apical segments (5 cm) were incubated in media conducive to elongation, supplemented with 0.1 μm indole acetic acid (IAA), a T-22 culture filtrate (5%), or both. IAA inhibited growth by 69%, and the culture filtrate inhibited by 16% with no interaction. The action of T-22, therefore, is not through a secreted antiauxin. The second hypothesis was that the fungus metabolizes or otherwise reduces the effectiveness of auxin, which was tested by measuring growth of colonized and uncolonized seedlings after a half-hour incubation of the root tips in 0.1 μm IAA. Auxin inhibited growth by 42%, whereas colonization increased growth by 27%. Again, there was no interaction, a result inconsistent with the antiauxin model. The third experiment further tested the antiauxin hypothesis by maximizing acid growth (normally regulated by auxin) by incubating the root tips in 1 μm fusicoccin (FC). Colonization increased growth by 10% without FC but by 42% with it. FC alone increased growth by 11%. The significant positive interaction is not consistent with a change in the auxin sensitivity but is consistent with an increase in the maximum sustainable growth rate.

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Ajay Nair and Mathieu Ngouajio

The area of organic production has registered a steady increase over past recent years. Transitioning to organic production is not straightforward and often includes a steep learning curve. Organic growers have to develop strategies to best manage nutrients, pests, and crop growth and yield. Additionally, in regions with temperate climate like the Great Lakes region, weather (especially temperature and solar radiation) plays an important role in crop productivity. Growers routinely use compost for nutrient provisioning and rowcovers for insect exclusion and growth enhancement. The objective of this work was to study the combined effect of rowcovers (with different light transmission) and compost organic cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) growth and microclimate. Plots were assigned to three rowcover treatments (60% light transmission, 85% light transmission, and uncovered) and two amendment treatments (compost and no compost) in a split-plot factorial design. Data were collected for ambient air and soil temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), relative humidity, plant growth characteristics, and yield. Rowcovers modified crop microclimate by increasing air and soil temperature and decreasing PAR. There was a marked increase in the growing degree-day accumulations under rowcovers when compared with uncovered treatment. The impact of rowcovers on plant growth was significant. Use of rowcovers increased vine length, flower count, leaf area, leaf count, plant biomass, and total marketable yield. Use of compost in conjunction with rowcovers enhanced the rowcover effect. With the use of compost, there were not many significant differences in plant growth characteristics between rowcover materials; however, as expected, rowcover with 60% transmission was able to trap more heat and reduce light transmission when compared with rowcover with 85% transmission. This study clearly shows the importance of organic amendments, especially compost, in organic vegetable production. Applications of compost enhanced crop growth and also led to higher marketable yields. Results of this study suggest additive effects of rowcover and compost application on organic cucumber production.

Open access

Brenda Biermann and R.G. Linderman

Abstract

The establishment and performance of vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) formed by Glomus fasciculatum (Thaxter) Gerd. & Trappe were studied on geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum L.H. Bailey) and subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) in various growth media at 2 P fertility levels. Colonization by G. fasciculatum was not extensive and shoot dry weight and P uptake consequently were not increased by VAM in soilless media such as peat, bark, perlite, and vermiculite. In media containing soil and fertilized at the low P level, roots were colonized extensively by G. fasciculatum, and host shoot growth and P concentrations were increased by VAM. Host growth enhancement by VAM was not observed at the higher P fertility level. Differences in colonization and mycorrhizal response in different fertilized growth media were correlated negatively with the logarithm of the equilibrium solution P concentration. Colonization, growth response, and P uptake by geranium inoculated with G. mosseae (Nic. & Gerd.) Gerd. & Trappe or Acaulospora spinosa Walker & Trappe were affected by growth medium and P fertilizer in the same way as plants inoculated with G. fasciculatum. Peat mosses from different sources varied considerably in their effects on mycorrhiza formation by G. fasciculatum, and on growth response of geranium when the peat was diluted with different amounts of soil. These differences appeared to be related to the equilibrium solution P concentration of the fertilized peats, and not to extractable P of the unfertilized peats. Use of rock phosphate or bonemeal instead of NaH2PO4 as a source of P did not improve the establishment of VAM and host growth response in soil, peat, or vermiculite. Addition of 5–10% Turface, bentonite, silt loam soil, or clay subsoil to peat or vermiculite resulted in increased colonization of host roots and significant mycorrhizal growth response, whereas amendment with liquid sludge inhibited formation of mycorrhizae.

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Margaret T. Mmbaga, Lucas M. Mackasmiel, and Frank A. Mrema

Six biological control agents (BCAs) (two bacteria, two fungi, and two yeasts) that were previously shown to be effective against powdery mildew (Erysiphe pulchra) were tested for efficacy against Macrophomina phaseolina root rot on flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) in the greenhouse. Two of the bacterial isolates, Stenotrophomonas sp. (B17A) and Serratia sp. (B17B), were effective in controlling both macrophomina root rot and powdery mildew, similar to fungicide control thiophanate methyl, when roots were drenched with the six BCAs individually. In addition, the two bacterial BCAs improved plant growth with respect to stem diameter, stem length, dry weight, and green foliage compared with fungicide-treated plants or nontreated controls grown in sterile soil. These results confirm previous results in which B17A and B17B suppressed powdery mildew and also promoted plant growth in flowering dogwood. Although macrophomina root rot has been previously reported as a potential problem in flowering dogwood, especially in field conditions, simultaneous infection with macrophomina root rot and powdery mildew has not been previously reported. This study confirmed that M. phaseolina infection was characterized by stubby roots and black root lesions, and plants infected with both powdery mildew and macrophomina root rot had smaller root mass compared with fungicide-treated plants. Neither of the two pathogens killed their host plants, but compounded infections significantly reduced the plant root system and plant growth. The efficacy of the two bacterial isolates in controlling both powdery mildew and macrophomina root rot suggests their potential utilization in controlling both diseases in dogwood nursery production and in other plants that are hosts to both powdery mildew and macrophomina root rot. Plant growth promoted by the two BCAs may be attributed to powdery mildew and macrophomina root rot control, but comparisons between fungicide-treated plants and control plants not inoculated with BCAs or root rot pathogen suggested that the two BCAs may play a role as bio-stimulants in growth enhancement. These results also suggest that the two biocontrol agents are not phytotoxic to dogwood.

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Ainhoa Martínez-Medina, Antonio Roldán, and Jose A. Pascual

Björkman, T. Blanchard, L. Harman, G.E. 1998 Growth enhancement of shrunken-2 sweet corn by Trichoderma harzianum 1295-22: Effect of environmental stress J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 123 35 40 Boyetchko, S

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rates produced significant reductions in stolon length. The number of nodes per stolon was not affected by treatments and no effect was observed in node vitality, while daughter plants showed a post inhibition growth enhancement when nodes were excised

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Ed Stover, Stephen Mayo, Randall Driggers, and Robert C. Adair Jr.

seedling trees in our trial and resulted in much greater mortality, some growth enhancement was documented. With better weed control and regular removal of debris on MRM, it is possible that there could be a greater growth response with the MRM treatment

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D. Michael Glenn

program on mangoes in South Africa Acta Hort. 645 493 499 Lapointe, S.L. Mckenzie, C.L. Hall, D.G. 2006 Reduced oviposition by Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and growth enhancement of citrus by Surround particle film J. Econ. Entomol

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Michael W. Smith, William D. Goff, and M. Lenny Wells

that avoids wounding roots and spreading A. tumefaciens inoculum minimize crown gall infections. Suppression of transplanted tree growth by existing trees was expected. However, growth enhancement of transplanted trees by stumps was unexpected. When