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Seenivasan Natarajan, Jeff S. Kuehny, and James E. Board

One of the greatest impediments to production of marketable ornamental herbaceous plants in southern U.S. is high temperature stress. Exposure of plants to sub-lethal temperature (heat preconditioning) before sustained heat stress helps some plants to tolerate subsequent heat stress a phenomenon often referred as acquired thermotolerance. The objective of this research was to examine various morphological, physiological and anatomical responses of `Vista red' (heat tolerant) and `Sizzler red'(heat sensitive) cultivars of Salvia splendens to heat preconditioning (HC) and subsequent heat stress treatments (challenging temperatures, CT). Cultivars of Salvia were subjected to short duration HC of 35 °C for 3 hours every third day until 5 weeks after germination and subsequent exposure to two CT treatments 30/23 °C and 35/28 °C (D/N) cycles in growth chambers for the next five weeks. Plant growth, marketable quality, stomatal conductance and net photosynthesis declined for Sizzler Red without HC treatment. Compared with nonpreconditioned plants, heat preconditioned Sizzler Red had 38.28% higher root dry weight, 95% greater leaf thickness, 50% higher marketable quality at 35/28 °C heat stress condition. Heat preconditioning helped both Vista Red and Sizzler to survive in both the heat stress treatments. Vista Red had greater heat tolerant traits than Sizzler Red, these traits exacerbated with heat preconditioning treatment. The results demonstrated that heat preconditioning enhanced heat tolerance in cultivars of Salvia, which could be related to maintenance of dense plant growth with shorter internodes, thicker stems, greater stomatal conductance, extensive root growth that compensated the transpirational water loss and overall cooling of plants.

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Thomas G. Ranney, Frank A. Blazich, and Stewart L. Warren

Temperature sensitivity of net photosynthesis (Pn) was evaluated among 4 taxa of rhododendron including Rhododendron hyperythrum, R. russatum, and plants from two populations (northern and southern provenances) of R. catawbiense. Measurements were conducted on individual leaves at temperatures ranging from 15 to 40C. Temperature optima for Pn ranged from a low of ∼21 C for R. russatum to a high of ∼27C for R. hyperythrum. At 40C, Pn rates for R. hyperythrum, R. catawbiense (northern provenance), R. catawbiense (southern provenance), and R. russatum were 7.8, 5.7, 3.5, and 0.2 μmol·m-2·s-1, respectively. R. catawbiense from the southern provenance did not appear to have greater heat tolerance than plants from the northern provenance. There was no difference in temperature sensitivity of dark respiration among the taxa. Variations in heat tolerance among species appeared to result from a combination of stomatal and nonstomatal limitations on Pn at high temperatures.

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Rajeev Arora, Dharmalingam S. Pitchay, and Bradford C. Bearce

This study evaluated the effect of reversible water stress on heat stress tolerance (HST) in greenhouse-grown geraniums. Water stress was imposed by withholding irrigation until pots reached ≈30% (by weight) of well-watered (control) plant pots, and maintaining this weight for 7 days. Control plants were watered to just below field capacity, every other day. Leaf xylem water potential (LXWP, MPa), leaf-relative water content (LRWC,%), media water content (MWC, % fresh weight), and heat stress tolerance (HST, LT50) were determined for control and stressed plants. HST (LT50), defined as temperature causing half-maximal percent injury, was based on electrolyte leakage from leaf disks subjected to 25 to 60C. Control-watering was restored in stressed plants and above measurements made after 7 days of recovery. Data indicate: 1) LXWP, LRWC, and MWC in control and stressed plants were –0.378 and –0.804 MPa, 92.31% and 78.69% and 82.86% and 15.5%, respectively; 2) HST increased significantly in stressed as compared to control plants (LT50 of 55C vs. 51C); 3) control plants were near maximally injured by 53C treatment and sustained more than 3-fold greater injury than stressed plants at 53C. In recovered plants, LXWP and RWC reversed back to control levels, paralleled by loss of higher HST.

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Thomas G. Ranney, Frank A. Blazich, and Stuart L. Warren

Temperature sensitivity of net photosynthesis (PN) was evaluated among four taxa of rhododendron including Rhododendron hyperythrum Hayata, R. russatum Balf. & Forr., and plants from two populations (northern and southern provenances) of R. catawbiense Michx. Measurements were conducted on leaves at temperatures rauging from 15 to 40C. Temperature optima for PN ranged from a low of 20C for R. russatum to a high of 25C for R. hyperythrum. At 40C, PN rates for R. hyperythrum, R. catawbiense (northern provenance), R. catawbiense (southern provenance), and R. russatum were 7.8,5.7,3.5, and 0.2 μmol·m-2·s-1, respectively (LSD0.05 = 1.7). Rhododendron catawbiense from the southern provenance did not appear to have greater heat tolerance than plants from the northern provenance. Differences in dark respiration among taxa were related primarily to differences in tissue weight per unit leaf surface area. Temperature coefficients (Q5) for respiration did not vary in temperature response among taxa. Differences in heat tolerance appeared to result from a combination of stomatal and nonstomatal limitations on PN at high temperatures.

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Na-Hyun Song and Yeh-Jin Ahn

expressing DcHsp17.7. Our previous study showed that heterologous expression of DcHsp17.7 increases heat tolerance in E. coli ( Kim and Ahn, 2009 ). To examine if recombinant DcHsp17.7 can also confer cold tolerance, transformed cells expressing DcHsp17

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D.M. Quinn, B.K. Behe, J.L. Witt, and R.S. Roark

Our objective was to determine heat tolerance and performance of 245 summer-flowering annual plant cultivars installed 16 Mar. 1995 in beds receiving full sun located at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala. (lat. 32°30′N, long. 85°40′W). No maintenance, with the exception of one midseason pruning of petunias, was performed. Catharanthus roseus L. `Blush Cooler' had the highest mean rating (4.1 of 5.0). Salvia farinacea Benth. `Victoria Blue' and Petunia ×hybrida `Fantasy Pink' both performed well with 3.5 mean ratings. `Purple Wave', a compact spreading cultivar of P. ×hybrida, had a 3.1 mean rating, but had a 5.0 rating before pruning. We do not recommend pruning `Purple Wave'. Of the 34 marigold cultivars evaluated, Tagetes erecta L. `Antigua Mixed' had the highest mean rating. Tagetes erecta `Inca Yellow' and `Perfection Gold' tied with the second highest mean rating.

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M.D. Richardson

Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) turf is often overseeded with a cool-season species such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) to provide an improved winter surface for activities such as golf or athletic events. Perennial ryegrass can become a persistent weed in overseeded turf due to the heat and disease tolerance of improved cultivars. Intermediate ryegrass is a relatively new turfgrass that is a hybrid between perennial and annual ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.). Very little information is available on intermediate ryegrass as an overseeding turf. Greenhouse, field, and growth chamber studies were designed to compare two cultivars of intermediate ryegrass (`Transist' and `Froghair') with three cultivars of perennial ryegrass (`Jiffie', `Racer', and `Calypso II') and two cultivars of annual ryegrass (`Gulf' and `TAM-90'). In a greenhouse study, the perennial ryegrass cultivars had finer leaf texture (2.9-3.2 mm), shorter collar height (24.7-57.0 mm), and lower weight/tiller (29-39 mg) than the intermediate and annual cultivars. In the field studies, the intermediate cultivar Transist exhibited improved turfgrass quality (6.1-7.1) over the annual cultivars (4.5-5.8) and the other intermediate cultivar Froghair (5.4-5.7). However, neither of the intermediate cultivars had quality equal to the perennial ryegrass cultivars (7.0-7.9). The perennial ryegrass cultivars exhibited slow transition back to the bermudagrass compared to the annual and intermediate ryegrass cultivars. In the growth chamber study, the annual and intermediate cultivars all showed increased high-temperature stress under increasing temperatures compared to the perennial cultivars, which did not show stress until air temperature exceeded 40 °C. Collectively, these studies indicate that the intermediate ryegrass cultivar Transist may have promise as an overseeding turfgrass due to its improved quality compared to annual types and a lack of heat tolerance relative to perennial cultivars, but with transition qualities similar to perennial ryegrass.

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Laura G. Jull, Thomas G. Ranney, and Frank A. Blazich

Seedlings of six provenances of Atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.] (Escambia Co., Ala., Santa Rosa Co., Fla., Wayne Co., N.C., Burlington Co., N.J., New London Co., Conn., and Barnstable Co., Mass.) were grown in controlled-environment chambers for 12 weeks under 16-hour photoperiods with 16-hour days/8-hour nights of 22/18 °C, 26/22 °C, 30/26 °C, 34/30 °C or 38/34 °C. Considerable variation in height, foliage color, and overall plant size was observed among plants from the various provenances. Seedlings from the two most northern provenances (Massachusetts and Connecticut) were most heat sensitive as indicated by decreasing growth rates at temperature regimes >22/18 °C. In contrast, plants from New Jersey and the three southern provenances (North Carolina, Florida, and Alabama) exhibited greater heat tolerance as indicated by steady or increasing growth rates and greater top and root dry weights as temperature regimes increased above 22/18 °C. Growth rates of seedlings from the four aforementioned provenances decreased rapidly at temperature regimes >30/26 °C suggesting low species tolerance to high temperatures. There were no significant differences in seedling dry matter production among provenances when temperature regimes were ≥34/30 °C. Net shoot photosynthesis and dark respiration of plants did not vary by provenance; however, net photosynthesis was temperature sensitive and decreased at temperature regimes >26/22 °C. Foliar respiration rates increased as temperature increased from 22/18 °C to 26/22 °C, but then remained relatively constant or decreased at higher temperature regimes. Plants at temperatures ≥34/30 °C exhibited severe stunting, chlorosis, and necrosis on branch tips. However, tissue concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, and Mn generally increased with temperature regimes >30/26 °C indicating that mineral nutrient concentration was not a limiting factor at high temperatures.

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D.M. Quinn, B.K. Behe, J.R. Kessler, and J.S. Bannon

In the summer of 1995 and 1996, 245 and 400 annual plant cultivars were evaluated for heat tolerance and landscape performance. Nine transplants of each cultivar were installed in raised beds amended with controlled-release fertilizer as per soil analysis recommendations, under full-sun and overhead irrigation, at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala. (lat. 32° 30′ N, long. 85° 40′ W). No mainte-nance, with the exception of one midseason pruning of petunia, was performed on any of the cultivars. Catharanthus roseus 'Blush Cooler' was the best performer in 1995 with a mean rating of 4.1 (of 5.0). Salvia farinacea `Victoria Blue' and Petunia ×milliflora `Fantasy Pink' performed well, with a mean rating of 3.5. In 1996, the cultivar with the highest mean rating was Gomphrena globosa `Lavender Lady' (4.1). Second highest was G. globosa `Strawberry Fields' (4.0). Other cultivars that performed well in 1996 and had high mean ratings were Verbena × speciosa `Imagination' (3.6) and Melampodium paludosium `Derby' and `Medallion' (3.5 and 3.5).

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Thomas G. Ranney

Leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements were used as indices for evaluating heat tolerance among five species of birch: paper (Betula papyrifera), European (B. pendula), Japanese (B. platyphylla var. japonica `Whitespire'), Himalayan (B. jacquemontii), and river (B. nigra). Measurements were conducted on individual leaves at temperatures ranging from 25C to 40C. Carbon exchange rates (CER) were depressed for all species at 40C. However, there was considerable variation in both absolute and relative (percent of maximum) CER among species at 40C; river birch maintained the highest absolute and relative CER while CER of paper birch was reduced the most. Although stomatal conductance of paper birch decreased at higher temperatures, internal leaf CO2 increased indicating that reduced stomatal conductance was not responsible for decreased CER. Stomatal conductance of river birch increased at higher temperatures which provided for enhanced uptake of CO2 and greater evaporative cooling. Variable chlorophyll fluorescence decreased similarly for both species with increasing temperatures. Measurements of dark respiration rates over the range of 25C to 40C suggested that the primary factor influencing variation in CER at higher temperatures was due to variation in respiration rates at higher temperatures.