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Richard N. Arteca, Carl D. Schlagnhaufer, and Jeannette M. Arteca

Four concentrations of GA, (0.05, 0.5, 5.0, or 50 mg·liter–1) were applied to the root systems of seven hydroponically grown geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum cv. Empress Irene, Glacier Crimson, Sincerity, Pink Fiat, Sybil Holmes, and Mrs. Parker and P. × domesticum cv. Lavender Grand Slam) cultivars. The relative growth rate of all cultivars tested increased with GA3 treatments. In conjunction with the increase in growth rate, each of the cultivars showed a reduction in the root: shoot ratio and chlorophyll content per unit leaf area with no change in the percent moisture. These Pelargonium cultivars are genetically diverse, showing that GA3 can stimulate growth over a wide range of cultivars. Chemical name used: gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Bridget Behe, Robert Nelson, Susan Barton, Charles Hall, Charles D. Safley, and Steven Turner

Researchers often investigate consumer preferences by examining variables consecutively, rather than simultaneously. Conjoint analysis facilitates simultaneous investigation of multiple variables. Cluster analysis facilitates development of actionable market segments. Our objective was to identify relative importance and consumer preferences for flower color, leaf variegation, and price of geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bail.) and to identify several actionable market segments. We also evaluated the desirability of a hypothetical blue geranium. Photographic images were digitized and manipulated to produce plants similar in flower area, but varying in flower color (red, lavender, pink, white, and blue), leaf variegation (plain green, dark green zone, and white zone), and price ($1.39 to $2.79). Conjoint analysis revealed that flower color was the primary consideration in the purchase decision, followed by leaf variegation and price. A cluster analysis that excluded blue geraniums yielded four actionable consumer segments. When preferences for the blue geranium were included, six consumer segments were identified.

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Candice A. Shoemaker and William H. Carlson

Seeds of eight commonly grown bedding plant species [Ageratum houstonianum Mill., Begonia × semperflorens Hort., Impatiens wallerana Hook., Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv., Petunia × hybrida Hort., Pelargonium hortorum L.H. Bailey, Salvia splendens F. Sellow, Tagetes patula] were germinated at pH values from 4.5 to 7.5 at 0.5 increments. Seeds were germinated in petri dishes on filter paper saturated with buffer solutions or in petri dishes containing a 50 sphagnum peat: 50 coarse vermiculite (peatlite) medium moistened with buffer solutions. Germination on filter paper was affected by pH for all species tested. Peatlite medium pH affected germination of all species tested, except Salvia splendens. Species response to similar pH values differed between the two germination procedures. Total percent germination of seeds germinated was less in peatlite medium than on filter paper.

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Mark P. Kaczperski and Royal D. Heins

Plug-grown Pelargonium × hortorum `Pinto Red' seedlings were grown under natural daylight (average of 4.7 mol/day) or with supplemental irradiance from high-pressure sodium lamps. Seedlings were grown under 8-, 16-, or 24-h photoperiods with supplemental irradiances of 2.5, 3.75, or 5.0 mol/day at each photoperiod. Supplemental irradiance was provided for 7, 14, 21, and 28 days beginning 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days after sowing. Seedlings were transplanted 63 days after sowing to 8-cm containers (121 plants/m2) and grown to flower. Leaf number at time of transplant was not affected by photoperiod, but increased as daily irradiance and weeks of supplemental irradiance increased. Seedlings were more responsive to supplemental irradiance applications beginning 28 and 35 days than at 7 to 21 days after sowing. Ninety-two percent of seedlings receiving 28 days of 5.0 mol/day supplemental irradiance under a 24-h photoperiod starting 35 days after sowing had initiated flower buds at time of transplant; 75% of those receiving 3.75 mol/day were initiated. Plants receiving less than 3 weeks of supplemental irradiance or with an irradiance period beginning less than 28 days after sowing had not initiated flowers at transplant.

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Craig D. Green, Ann Stodola, and Robert M. Augé

Mycorrhizal colonization can alter stomatal behavior of host leaves during drought. This may be related to an altered production or reception of a chemical signal of soil drying. We tested whether intact root systems were required to observe a mycorrhizal effect on leaf transpiration (E), or whether some residual mycorrhizal influence on leaves could affect E of foliage detached from root systems. Transpiration assays were performed in the presence of several possible candidates for a chemical signal of soil drying. In detached leaves of Vigna unguiculata (cowpea), colonization interacted significantly with ABA and pH in regulating transpiration. Colonization affected E of detached Rosa hybrida (rose) leaves but had no effect on E of detached leaves of Pelargonium hortorum (geranium). In each species tested, increasing the ABA concentration decreased E. In cowpea, calcium appeared to alter stomatal sensitivity to ABA, as well as regulate stomatal activity directly. The pH of the feeding solution affected E in rose, but did not change E independently in cowpea or geranium. Adding phosphorus to the feeding solution did not alter E or the apparent sensitivity of stomata to ABA in any of the test species. Colonization of roots by mycorrhizal fungi can result in residual effects in detached leaves, that can alter the stomatal reception of chemical signals in both rose and cowpea.

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Michael Compton and Timothy Zauche

Anaerobic digestion-derived biosolids (ADB) has the potential to become a complete or partial substitute for sphagnum peat in the greenhouse and nursery industry. Bedding plant production being one of the largest segments of the floriculture industry may possess the greatest application for this new organic addendum to soilless media. An experiment was conducted in which geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum `Red Elite') were grown in potting mixes formulated with vermiculite and perlite plus various concentrations and combination of anaerobic digestion-derived biosolids (ADB) and sphagnum peat to determine if ADB could be used as a partial or complete replacement for sphagnum peat in soilless horticultural growing media. Plants were grown during June and July 2003–05 in the greenhouse at 75 ± 5 °F and normal light and photoperiod. Plant growth was assessed by measuring the dry weight of stem tissue. Plants were harvested when at least 50% of the total number of plants produced at least one inflorescence. Floriferousness was measured by counting the number of visible inflorescences per plant. Dry weight of plants grown in media containing ADB was greater than those grown in media containing sphagnum peat as the sole organic addendum. Plants grown in media containing ADB were also more floriferous. This study demonstrates that ADB has great potential for use as an organic addendum to horticultural growing media as a partial or complete replacement for sphagnum peat. Use of anaerobic digester-derived biosolids in horticultural growing media is a protected intellectual property and available for license through the WiSys Technology Foundation.

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Jack A. Hartwigsen and Michael R. Evans

Cucumis sativus (cucumber), Pelargonium × hortorum (geranium), Tagetes patula (marigold), and Cucurbita pepo (squash) seed were sown into plug cells (5 ml volume) filled with a germination substrate containing peat, vermiculite, and perlite. After the seed were sown, the substrate was saturated with solution containing 0 (deionized water) 2500, or 5000 mg/L humic acid (HA). Additional treatments included seed which were sown into the substrate and saturated with nutrient solutions corresponding to the nutrient concentration of each humic acid solution. Seed were placed in a growth chamber and maintained at 22°C and under a 12-h photoperiod with a PPF of 275 μmol·m–2·s–1. After 10 d for cucumber and squash and 14 d for marigold and geranium, plants were harvested and root and shoot fresh mass recorded. Shoot fresh mass was not significantly affected by treatment for any of the species tested. Except for squash, root fresh mass was significantly increased by humic acid treatments. For cucumber, root fresh mass ranged from 0.24 g in deionized water to 0.34 g in 2500 and 5000 mg/L HA. Geranium root fresh mass ranged from 0.03 g in deionized water and 5000 mg/L HA to 0.05 g in 2500 mg/L HA. Marigold root fresh mass ranged from 0.02 g in deionized water to 0.03 g in 2500 and 5000 mg/L HA. Root fresh mass for nutrient controls were similar to those for deionized water.

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M.K. Hausbeck, C.T. Stephens, and R.D. Heins

Two fungicides registered for the control of Pythium spp. were evaluated for their effects on size and time to flowering of seed-propagated geraniums (Pelargonium × hortorum L.H. Bailey). Fungicide drenches of fenaminosulf and metalaxyl were applied to geraniums grown in soilless root medium: 1) at seeding (S); 2) at seeding and transplanting (ST); 3) at seeding, transplanting, and 1 week after transplanting (ST + 1); 4) at transplanting (T); and 5) 1 week after transplanting (T + 1). Metalaxyl drenching schedules did not significantly influence plant size or time to flowering. Fenaminosulf drenching schedules 3 and 4 significantly reduced plant size, and drenching schedule 3 significantly increased days to flowering in comparison to control plants. Although fenaminosulf is used infrequently because of limited availability, the detrimental effects of this fungicide on plant size and time to flowering warrant similar investigations with additional fungicides and crops. Chemical names used: sodium[4-(dimethylamino) phenyl]diazenesulfonate (fenaminosulf); N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl) -N-(methoxyacetyl) -dl-alanine methyl ester (metalaxyl).

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Steven E. Newman, Karen L. Panter, Michael J. Roll, and Robert O. Miller

Two cultivars of zonal geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey), `Danielle' and `Kim', were grown in media containing three grind sizes of rubber (2.4, 6, or 10 mm) and fiber from the fabric belting processed from waste tires in three proportions: 1 rubber or fiber: 1 peat; 1 rubber or fiber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peat; and 2 rubber or fiber: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat (by volume). Two control media were also included: 1 vermiculite: 1 peat, and 1 rockwool: 1 peat (by volume). Geranium plants were grown in media containing up to 25% waste tire products along with traditional medium components without reducing plant quality. Plant growth was best and flower count was highest in the vermiculite and peat medium, plants were smallest and flower count was lowest in media containing the rubber grinds at 2.4 or 6 mm, making up 50% of the media. The medium 1 rubber: 1 vermiculite: 2 peat, regardless of grind or fiber, produced plants equal to the rockwool and peat moss medium. All plants grown in media containing rubber by-products had elevated Zn and Cu in the foliage; however, Zn and Cu were highest in media containing 50% rubber. Foliar P: Zn ratios were less for plants grown in media containing 50% rubber and also were lower in plants grown in media with smaller rubber grind sizes.

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K.G. Childs, T.A. Nell, J.E. Barrett, and D.G. Clark

Experiments were conducted to evaluate the development of stored unrooted Pelargonium × hortorum `Designer Bright Scarlet' cuttings. Treatments included storage temperature and duration and pre-storage fungicide application. Cuttings were harvested from stock plants treated with water or fungicide (Iprodione), and were stored at 60°F and 75°F for 2, 4, and 6 days. Leaf yellowing data (visual quality rating, chlorophyll fluorescence, and total chlorophyll content) were measured at the start of propagation and 7 days later. At both dates, cuttings stored but not treated with fungicide displayed more leaf yellowing after storage at 75°F for 4 and 6 days or at 60°F for 6 days compared to fungicide-treated cuttings and non-stored controls. Cutting quality was not affected by 2 days of storage, regardless of storage temperature or fungicide treatment. Fungicide-treated cuttings had less leaf yellowing after storage for 6 days at 60°F or 75°F compared to untreated cuttings, but they had more leaf yellowing than no storage controls after 7 days of propagation. Root number and root length of each cutting was measured at 14 days after start of propagation. Cuttings treated with fungicide displayed better adventitious root formation after all 4- and 6-day storage treatments compared to cuttings stored but not treated with fungicide.