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Teresa A. Cerny, James E. Faust, Desmond R. Layne, and Nihal C. Rajapakse

Growth chambers constructed of photoselective plastic films were used to investigate light quality effects on flowering and stem elongation of six flowering plant species under strongly inductive and weakly inductive photoperiods. Three films were used: a clear control film, a far red (FR) light absorbing (AFR) film and a red (R) light absorbing (AR) film. The AFR and AR films intercepted FR (700 to 800 nm) and R (600 to 700 nm) wavelengths with maximum interception at 730 and 690 nm, respectively. The phytochrome photoequilibrium estimates of transmitted light for the control, AFR, and AR films were 0.71, 0.77, and 0.67. The broad band R:FR ratios were 1.05, 1.51, and 0.77, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux was adjusted with neutral density filters to provide similar light transmission among chambers. Zinnia elegans Jacq., Dendranthema×grandiflorum Kitam. (chrysanthemum), Cosmos bipinnatus Cav., and Petunia×hybrida Vilm.-Andr. plants grown under the AFR film were shorter than control plants. The AFR film had no effect on height of Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) or Rosa×hybrida (miniature rose). Anthesis of zinnia, chrysanthemum, cosmos (short-day plants), and miniature rose (day-neutral plant) was not influenced by the AFR films. Anthesis of petunia and snapdragon (long-day plants) was delayed up to 13 days by AFR films under weakly inductive photoperiods. In petunia, initiation and development of floral structures were not affected by the AFR films during strongly inductive photoperiods. However, during weakly inductive photoperiods, initiation of the floral primordia was significantly delayed and overall development of the floral meristem was slower than control plants indicating that the AFR films could increase the production time if long-day plants were produced off-season. Daylength extension with electric light sources could overcome this delay in anthesis yet achieve the benefit of AFR films for height reduction without the use of chemical growth regulators.

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Kimberly A. Williams and Paul V. Nelson

Most soilless container root media have limited ability to retain nutrients. Zeolites are minerals of substantial cation exchange capacity that can be precharged with K, and possibly PO4, and used as a component of soilless media as a slow-release nutrient source. A zeolite clinoptilolite (Cp) was charged with K and PO4 at two concentrations and combined at 20% of the mix with sphagnum peat (60%) and perlite (20%) to evaluate its use as the sole source of these nutrients during production of Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura `Sunny Mandalay.' Phosphate, K, Na, and pH were determined on unaltered bulk root medium solutions collected over the course of production, and foliar analyses were determined on tissue collected at the middle and end of the crop. All leachate was collected and analyzed to allow for the creation of K and PO4 budgets. Plants that relied on precharged Cp at the low and high rates to meet their K needs and received a N/P/-K fertilizer had similar dry mass and tissue K concentrations as the control plants that received a complete fertilizer. The use of precharged Cp at the low rate reduced K losses through leaching to 23% of the amount lost from control plants receiving water-soluble fertilizer (WSF). Plants that relied on precharged Cp for their PO4 had a lower dry mass and tissue P levels than those of the complete control treatment. However, PO4 concentrations in the root medium solution were above acceptable levels during the first month of production and should be considered when developing a fertilizer application strategy using Cp precharged with PO4.

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Conny W. Hansen and Jonathan Lynch

Whole-plant biomass accumulation, P dynamics, and root-shoot interactions during transition from vegetative to reproductive growth of `Coral Charm' chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ×grandiflorum Ramat.) (Zander, 1993) were investigated over a range of P concentrations considered to be deficient (1 μm), adequate (100 μm), and high (5 mm). In nondeficient plants, transition from vegetative to reproductive growth resulted in reduced relative growth rate and root and shoot biomass accumulation. Reproductive plants showed a higher commitment of the whole plant to the production of developing flowers than to leaves and roots, whereas, in vegetative plants, the highest component production rate was in leaves. This indicates changes in the source-sink relationships during transition from vegetative growth making developing flowers stronger sinks for photoassimilates than roots. Phosphorus allocated to developing flowers was predominantly lost from leaves. Phosphorus-deficient plants showed characteristic P-deficiency symptoms and favored root growth over shoot growth regardless of growth stage. Phosphorus availability in nondeficient plants affected root growth more than shoot growth. No substantial differences in shoot biomass production, relative growth rate, and CO2 assimilation rates were observed in adequate-P and high-P plants. However, the root component production rate, root to shoot ratio, root length ratio, specific root length, specific root area, root mass to leaf area ratio, and root respiration increased in adequate-P plants compared with high-P plants, which indicates that high root activity was maintained without affecting shoot biomass in buffered P conditions. Our results suggest that the high P concentrations used in many horticultural systems may have no benefit in terms of shoot growth and may actually be detrimental to root growth.

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J.D. MacDonald

Cuttings of Dendranthema ×grandiflorum `Paragon' were used as a model system to assess the effects of root heating on disease severity. Roots were exposed to single episodes of heat stress, after which they were inoculated with zoospores of Phytophthora cryptogea Pethyb. & Laff. Root damage resulting from heat stress, or heat stress plus Phytophthora, was quantified 5 to 7 days after treatment. Roots of hydroponically grown plants, immersed for 30 min in aerated, temperature-controlled nutrient solutions, were severely damaged at 45C or above. Relatively little phytophthora root rot developed on inoculated plants exposed to 25 or 35C, but infection was severe in roots heated to 40C. Plants grown in potting mix were exposed to heat stress by plastic-wrapping the containers in which they were growing and placing them in heated water baths until roots achieved desired temperatures for 30 min. This system heated roots more slowly than in the hydroponic experiments, and 45 and 50C were less damaging. The amount of Phytophthora-induced root damage was insignificant in containerized plants heated to 25 or 35C, but was highly significant in those heated to 40C or higher. In field experiments, plants were positioned so their containers were either fulIy exposed to the late afternoon sun or heavily shaded to prevent sun exposure. The root zones of sun-exposed pots heated to 45 to 47C, while those of shaded pots never exceeded 34 to 36C. There was a large, highly significant increase in phytophthora root rot severity in the sun-exposed pots compared to shaded plants. These experiments showed that temperatures of 40C or higher, which commonly occur in container-grown plants exposed to solar radiation, can predispose chrysanthemum roots to severe Phytophthora infection.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse, William B. Miller, and John W. Kelly

Low-temperature storage potential of rooted cuttings of garden chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] cultivars and its relationship with carbohydrate reserves were evaluated. Storage of chrysanthemum cuttings at -1 and -3 °C resulted in freezing damage. Visual quality of rooted cuttings stored at 0 or 3 °C varied among cultivars. Quality of `Emily' and `Naomi' cuttings was reduced within a week by dark storage at 0 or 3 °C due to leaf necrosis, while `Anna' and `Debonair' cuttings could be held for 4 to 6 weeks without significant quality loss. In `Anna' and `Debonair', low-temperature storage reduced the number of days from planting to anthesis regardless of storage duration. However, flowers of plants grown from stored cuttings were smaller than those of nonstored cuttings. At the beginning of storage, `Emily' and `Naomi' had lower sucrose, glucose, and fructose (soluble sugars) content compared to `Anna' and `Debonair'. Regardless of temperature, leaf soluble sugar was significantly reduced by dark storage for 4 weeks. In stems, sucrose and glucose were reduced while fructose generally increased during low-temperature storage probably due to the breakdown of fructans. Depletion of soluble sugars and a fructan-containing substance during low-temperature dark storage was greater in `Emily' and `Naomi' than in `Anna' and `Debonair'. Low irradiance [about 10 μmol·m-2·s-1 photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) from cool-white fluorescent lamps] in storage greatly improved overall quality and delayed the development of leaf necrosis in `Naomi'. Cuttings stored under light were darker green and had a higher chlorophyll content. Leaf and stem dry weights increased in plants stored under medium and high (25 to 35 μmol·m-2·s-1 PAR) irradiance while no change in dry weight was observed under dark or low light. Results suggest that the low-temperature storage potential of chrysanthemum cultivars varies considerably, and provision of light is beneficial in delaying the development of leaf necrosis and maintaining quality of cultivars with short storage life at low temperatures.

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Margaret McMahon

Two chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat) Kitamura] cultivars, `Spears' and `Bright Golden Anne', were grown under artificial short or natural long photoperiod in benchtop chambers covered with clear double-walled acrylic panels (control) or under similar panels filled with CuSO4 (CuSO4 *5H2O in solution at 6% w:v) that removed far-red (FR) (700 to 800 nm) light. Three times per week, a tip from one lateral branch from each of three plants per chamber was harvested and the stage of meristem development recorded. The experiment was conducted April through May and repeated May through June. For `Spears' all short photoperiod treatments developed floral primordia at the same time and the rate of development did not differ. All plants in natural photoperiod treatments initiated flower primordia simultaneously with plants in short photoperiod treatments, but development was delayed ≈3 d in the first experiment compared to plants receiving short photoperiods. During the longer photoperiods of the second experiment, plants under FR-absorbing filters and receiving natural photoperiods initiated and developed flowers ≈2 d after plants in short photoperiod treatments initiation and development. Plants under control filters and natural photoperiods had initiation delayed by ≈4 d and development was delayed by ≈11 d. Bud development was normal for all treatments. For `Bright Golden Anne' only short photoperiod treatments developed normal floral primordia. Plants under FR-absorbing filters and exposed to natural photoperiods eventually initiated floral primordia but development was abnormal. No floral primordia developed under natural photoperiod and control filter conditions. The results indicate that if FR-absorbing filters are used to regulate height of chrysanthemum and possibly other photoperiodic plants, the time of flowering may be affected. However, if artificial short photoperiods are imposed with the use of blackout cloth, FR-absorbing filters do not affect flowering response.

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De-Xing Chen and J. Heinrich Lieth

A two-dimensional mathematical model was developed to describe the time course of root growth and its spatial distribution for container-grown plants, using chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] as the model system. Potential root growth was considered as consisting of several concurrent processes, including branching, extension, and death. Branching rate was assumed to be related sigmoidally to existing root weight density. Root growth extension rate was assumed to be proportional to the existing root weight density above some threshold root weight density in adjacent cells. The senescence rate of root weight density was assumed to be proportional to existing root mass. The effects of soil matric potential and temperature on root growth were quantified with an exponential function and the modified Arrhenius equation, respectively. The actual root growth rate was limited by the amount of carbohydrate supplied by the canopy to roots. Parameters in the model were estimated by fitting the model to experimental data using nonlinear regression. Required inputs into the model included initial root dry weight density distribution, soil temperature, and soil water potential data. Being a submodel of the whole-plant growth model, the supply of carbohydrates from canopy to roots was required; the total root weight incremental rate was used to represent this factor. Rather than linking to a complex whole-plant C balance model, the total root weight growth over time was described by a logistic equation. The model was validated by comparing the predicted results with independently measured data. The model described root growth dynamics and its spatial distribution well. A sensitivity analysis of modeled root weight density to the estimated parameters indicated that the model was more sensitive to carbohydrate supply parameters than to root growth distribution parameters.

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Nihal C. Rajapakse and John W. Kelly

The role of light quality and quantity in regulating growth of vegetative Dendranthema × grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura was evaluated using CuSO4 solutions and water (control) as spectral filters. Copper sulfate filters increased the red (R): far-red (FR) and the blue (B): R ratios (R = 600 to 700 nm; FR = 700 to 800 nm; B = 400 to 500 urn) of transmitted light. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) under 4%, 8% and 16% CuSO4 filters was reduced 26%, 36%, and 47%, respectively, from natural irradiance in the greenhouse, which averaged ≈ 950 μmol·m-2·s-1. Control treatments were shaded with Saran plastic film to ensure equal PPF as the corresponding C uSO4 chamber. Average daily maxima and minima were 26 ± 3C and 16 ± 2C. At the end of the 4-week experimental period, average height and internode length of plants grown under CuSO4 filters were ≈ 40% and 34% shorter than those of plants grown under control filter. Reduction in plant height and internode length was apparent within 1 week after the beginning of treatment. Total leaf area (LA) was reduced by 32% and leaf size (LS) was reduced by 24% under CuSO4 filters. Specific leaf weight (SLW) was higher under CuSO4 filters than for the controls. Irradiance transmitted through CuSO4 filters reduced fresh and dry leaf weights by 30%. Fresh and dry stem weights of plants grown under CuSO4 filters were 60% lower than those of controls. Relative dry matter accumulation into leaves was increased in plants grown under CuSO4 filters while it was reduced in stems. A single application of GA3 before irradiation partially overcame the height reduction under CuSO4 filters, suggesting GA biosynthesis/action may be affected by light quality. Our results imply that alteration of light quality could be used to control chrysanthemum growth as an alternative method to conventional control by chemical growth regulators. Chemical names used: gibberellic acid (GA)

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Alicia Sanchez-Escarcega and George C. Elliott

Growth inhibition has been observed with plants grown in potting media containing compost. The objective of this study was to determine if \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}\) \end{document} toxicity or N immobilization might be involved. Two potting media were blended from aged pinebark, vermiculite, sphagnum peat, and compost, along with a control medium without compost, and cropped with Dendranthema ×grandiflorum `Bravo'. Pots were fertilized weekly with a 15N–1.1P–12.5K soluble fertilizer at 24 mM N. Plants were harvested and media samples were collected at intervals. Saturated media extracts (SME) were prepared immediately. Separate samples were incubated at 25C for 4 days following addition of 2.5 mmol urea-N/cm3. In SME of one compost-containing medium, \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}\) \end{document} was present at 0.25 ± 0.03 mM 2 weeks after transplant, and at progressively lower concentrations thereafter. In incubated samples of the same medium, accumulation of \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}\) \end{document} was observed after 3 weeks of cropping, with peak accumulation of \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(0.7{\pm}0.32{\ }{\mu}{\ }\mathrm{mol}\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}{/}\mathrm{cm}^{3}\) \end{document} after 9 weeks of cropping. Nitrite was scarcely detectable in other media. Some indication of N immobilization was obtained, as NH+ 4levels decreased during incubation without any increase in \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document}, and \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} present at the beginning of incubation disappeared during incubation. In this study, significant effects of media on plant growth were not related to differences in \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}\) \end{document} accumulation or N immobilization. However, subsequent studies appear to have established such a relationship.

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Ursula K. Schuch, Richard A. Redak, and James A. Bethke

`Fontana', `Iridon', `Pink Lady', `Splendor', `White Diamond', and `White View Time' chrysanthemum (Dendranthema × grandiflorum Ramat.) were grown for 10 weeks with N rates of 80, 160, or 240 mg·L-1 constant liquid fertilization and irrigated at sufficient (high) or deficient (low) amount. Cultivars differed in growth habit, and treatments significantly affected all variables measured. Plants fertilized with 80 mg·L-1 had lower leaf and stem dry mass, less leaf area, and were deficient in leaf N compared with plants fertilized with twice the amount of N. The highest stem dry mass was produced with 160 mg·L-1. Leaf and stem dry mass were reduced 25% for plants receiving low irrigation compared to those receiving high irrigation. In general, leaf area increased when fertilizer was raised from 80 to 160 mg·L-1 but differed by cultivar and irrigation regime when fertilizer was increased to 240 mg·L-1. Three weeks after the experiment started, electrical conductivity (EC) of runoff collected weekly from `White Diamond' plants fertilized with 240 mg·L-1 exceeded the average EC of the irrigation solution. The 240 mg·L-1 treatment also resulted in excessive EC in the growing substrate at the end of the experiment and reduced stem dry mass by 11% compared with the 160 mg·L-1 fertilizer regime. Substrate EC differed between cultivars in response to fertilizer and irrigation. Significantly more adult western flower thrips [Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergrande)], 55% and 52%, were found on the foliage of `Pink Lady' and `Fontana', respectively, than on `Iridon'. `Pink Lady' and `Fontana' had more immature thrips at the end of the experiment than `Iridon' and `White View Time'. Fewer adults and immatures were found on plants fertilized with 80 mg·L-1 than 240 mg·L-1. Fewer adults were detected in plants under high versus low irrigation, while irrigation had no effect on the number of immatures. The simultaneous use of plant varietal resistance and plant cultural growing techniques has the potential to lower thrips populations on chrysanthemum.