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Serge Gagnon and Blanche Dansereau

Our purpose was to determine growth regulators rate effects on growth and development of aster Callistephus chinensis. During Spring 1993 and 1994, six aster cultivars were sown into 200-unit plug trays containing Pro-Mix PGX. Seedlings were transplanted into 10-cm pots containing Pro-Mix. Two weeks after transplanting, seedlings were sprayed with chlormequat chloride (CCC) at 750 or 1500 ppm and were compared to nontreated plants. A second application was applied 2 weeks later. Growth and development of asters were affected differently depending on cultivars and experimental season. During Spring 1994, a CCC treatment of 750 and 1500 ppm significantly reduced height and width of Dwarf Carpet Mix and Dwarf Spider Mix without affecting the number of flowers and total production time compared to nontreated plants. Growth regulator treatments had no effect on height and width of `Milady Mix' and `Starlight Rose'. However, the 750 ppm CCC treatment reduced the number of flowers produced by these two cultivars. Results obtained in 1993 also are presented.

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D. R. Earhart, M. L. Baker, and F. J. Dainello

In a field experiment, fertilizer source (poultry litter vs. commercial), plastic mulch, row cover, and fertilizer rate (residual from 1990 study vs. additional) were applied in factorial combinations to determine the effect on vegetative growth and production of triploid watermelons. Litter (3.12 % total N) was re-applied at the rate of 13.2 Mt·ha-1 along with commercial fertilizer (6N-10.5P-20K) at 1.1 Mt·ha-1. Plastic mulch showed the greatest influence on vegetative growth and production variables by increasing vine length 26.1 cm, leaf area 61.8 cm2, yield 4207 kg·ha-1, melon number 741 ·ha-1, and average melon weight 0.8 kg, over unmulched plots. Plastic mulch with or without row cover increased melon number significantly when compared to plots without mulch or row covers. Poultry litter increased vine length, yield, and average melon weight 15.4 cm, 1971 kg·ha-1, and 0.5 kg, respectively, when compared to commercial fertilizer. Poultry litter in combination with row cover increased yield by 3864 kg ·ha-1 over commercial fertilizer with row cover, and approximately 2567 kg·ha-1 over poultry litter and commercial fertilizer without row cover. Additional fertilizer increased average melon weight 1.3 kg.

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Catherine S.M. Ku and John C. Bouwkamp

Growth performance of potted `Peterstar Pink', `Top White', `Red Sails', and `Red Success' were evaluated in eight substrates and three fertilization rates. The substrates included Sunshine Mix 1 and Pro Gro 300S as control, and compost blends at 33%, 50%, and 67% of final substrate volumes mixed with peat and perlite (1:1). The blends included 2:1, 1:1, or 1:2 ratio of polymer dewatered biosolids (PDB):poultry litter (PL) and PDB: yard wastes (YW). Fertilization was applied twice weekly at 75, 100, and 150 mg/L N from 19N--2.2P-16.6K. Plants grown in Sunshine Mix 1 performed better than those grown in Pro Gro 300S. The growth parameters measured improved as the N rates increased for both controls. Plant diameter, grade, and dry weight of plants grown in 150 mg/L N treatment were usually similar to those in 100 mg/L N and were not 11% more than those at the lowest N treatment. The 1 PDB: 1 PL blend at the high N treatment produced premium-quality plants, and all remaining PDB:PL treatments produced good quality plants. The PDB:YW blends that received 100 and 150 mg/L N produced premium quality plants. The PDB:YW blends at the low N treatment produced slightly better quality plants than those grown in PDB:PL at the 75 mg/L N and were similar in quality as those grown in Sunshine Mix 1 at the 150 mg/L N treatment.

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Aiko Kaminishi and Nobuhiro Kita

Reduction of nitrate and oxalate content in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) has become the major concern in terms of their toxicity to human health. The primary objectives of this study were 1) to determine the seasonal change in nitrate and oxalate concentrations and 2) to elucidate the relationship between growth rate and concentration of nitrate and oxalate in spinach. In a replicated field experiment in Hiratsuka, Japan, the authors grew 182 cultivars of spinach over four growing seasons (winter, spring, summer, and fall) under the nitrogen application rate of 100 kg N·ha–1. The average number of days required for harvest was the shortest in summer (32.7days) and was longest in the winter (85.7 days). Mean nitrate concentration in spinach was significantly low in the winter (3797 mg·kg–1 fresh weight) compared with the other three seasons (4122–4328 mg·kg–1 fresh weight) in which no significant differences were found in mean nitrate levels. In contrast, oxalate concentrations showed a distinct seasonal variation, being the lowest in the fall (6149 mg·kg–1 fresh weight), followed by the summer (7525 mg·kg–1 fresh weight) and the spring (8903 mg·kg–1 fresh weight), and was the highest in the winter (10,929 mg·kg–1 fresh weight). Relative nitrate concentration showed a moderate negative correlation with relative days required for harvest (r = 0.411, P < 0.001), whereas relative oxalate concentration showed a strong positive correlation with relative days required for harvest (r = 0.566, P < 0.001). Accordingly, a moderate negative correlation (r = 0.325, P < 0.001) was detected between nitrate and oxalate concentrations. Moreover, fast-growing cultivars contained higher nitrate and lower oxalate, whereas slow-growing cultivars contained lower nitrate and higher oxalate. These results indicate that the growth rate primarily accounts for the nitrate and oxalate concentration in spinach, and nitrate and oxalate might play a counterrole to each other.

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Kevin Charles*, Mathieu Ngouajio, and Darryl Warncke

Cover crops are commonly used to improve soil fertility and enhance crop performance. Field experiments were conducted to determine the effects of different cover crops and fertilizer rates on celery growth and development. The experiment was a two-way factorial with a split plot arrangement. The main plot factor was cover crop and included cereal rye (Secale cereale), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), oilseed radish [Raphanus sativus (L.) var. oleiferus Metzg (Stokes)], and no cover crop. The sub-plot factor was fertilizer rate with three levels: full (160, 80, 400), half (80, 40, 200), and low (80, 0, 0) kg/ha of N, P2 O5, K2 O, respectively. The cover crops were grown during Fall 2002 and incorporated prior to celery transplanting in May 2003. During celery growing season, stalk length, above and below ground biomass were assessed at 23, 43, 64, and 84 days after planting (DAP). The biomass produced by oilseed radish (719 g/m2) exceeded that of cereal rye (284 g/m2) and hairy vetch (181 g/m2). At 23 and 43 DAP, celery fresh root (4.8 and 11.4 g/root) and shoot (6.1 and 53.6 g/shoot) biomass of oilseed radish exceeded the values of all other cover crops. At 84 DAP however, celery shoot fresh weight was similar in all cover crop treatments. Celery plants were tallest in the cereal oilseed radish and rye treatments early in the season; however final plant height at harvest was not affected by type of cover crop. The amount of fertilizer applied had a significant effect on celery growth starting at 64 DAP and continued until harvest. These results suggest that the large biomass produced by oilseed radish played an important role in early season celery growth.

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Keun Ho Cho, Beyoung Hwa Kwack, Moo Ryong Huh, and Chiwon W. Lee

The biomass yield, transpiration rate, and chlorophyll contents in Cymbidium goeringii plants grown under various light, temperature, and humidity conditions were investigated. Two-year-old plants potted in pine-bark medium were grown for 12 weeks during the summer months in polyethylene film-covered mini-greenhouses having four different environmental conditions: a) closed house (CH) with high humidity (95.1% RH), high light (800 μmol·m–2·s–1) and high temperature (37.5 °C), b) ventilated house (VH) with low humidity (41.4% RH), high light (800 μmol·m–2·s–1), and medium temperature (31.5 °C), c) shaded closed house (SCH) with high humidity (91.0% RH), low light (110 μmol·m–2·s–1) and medium temperature (33.3 °C), and d) shaded ventilated house (SVH) with medium humidity (61.5% RH), low light (110 μmol·m–2·s–1) and low temperature (30.5 °C). Plants grown in CH produced leaf chlorosis with 50% shorter leaves and 40% lower relative growth rate (7.9 mg/g fresh weight per day) compared to plants grown in SVH. Cymbidium plants grown in SCH or SVH showed higher leaf and root dry weights as compared to those grown in CH or VH. Leaf chlorophyll-a and -b contents as well as carbohydrate levels were the highest in plants grown in SVH, indicating the benefits of shading and ventilation. The rate of transpiration showed a quadratic response to increasing levels of leaf temperature (r 2 = 0.81), wind velocity (r 2 = 0.82), and vapor pressure deficit (VPD, r 2 = 0.91). Regression analysis revealed that the maximum transpiration rate occurred at 25.4 °C leaf temperature, 2.1 m/s wind velocity, and 2.3 kPa VPD in this experiment.

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Mark H. Brand

Information on fertility optimization for container-grown ornamental grasses is limited. For ornamental grasses, growers are concerned with the degree of flowering, number of tillers, and height and width of the plants as well as other growth or ornamental components. Pennisetum alopecuroides divisions potted into 8.5-L containers were grown outdoors in a container nursery from May through September. The potting medium used was a 3 aged pine bark: 2 peatmoss: 1 sand nursery mix (by volume), amended with dolomitic lime 3 kg/yard3. Sierra 17-6-10 plus minors, 8 to 9 month controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) was top dressed at 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 g/container. Foliage height increased linearly with increasing CRF rate. Flower height increased to a maximum at 40 g of CRF per container and then decreased with higher levels of CRF. Basal plant width exhibited a quadratic response to CRF rate, reaching a maximum at 40 g of CRF per container. The greatest number of flowers and tillers were obtained using 50 g of CRF per container. Maximizing the number of flowers is important for marketing of Pennisetum, since this plant is grown primarily for its flowering.

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Duane W. Greene

`Gardiner Delicious'/MM.lO6 apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) trees were initially sprayed in 1985 with paclobutrazol (PB) at 250 mg.liter-1 at tight cluster and again on 10 and 25 June and 29 July. From 1986 through 1988, PB sprays of 85 or 100 mg·liter-1 were applied at either petal fall (PF) + 2 or PF + 4 weeks and one to two additional sprays were applied per year when growth resumed. Promalin was applied to one group of trees that received PB starting at PF + 2 weeks. PB reduced terminal, lateral, and total shoot growth the year of application and in subsequent years. Although average shoot length of lateral and terminal shoots was reduced, the greatest reduction in growth occurred because PB prevented spurs from growing into lateral and terminal shoots. Compared to unsprayed trees, PB reduced pruning time in all 4 years by 23% to 70%. PB increased bloom only the first year after application, but increased fruit set for 2 years due to a carryover effect. Application of PB in 1985 caused a reduction in fruit size, sometimes in soluble solids concentration, length: diameter (L : D) ratio, and pedicel length. Promalin either overcame the reduction in the ratio or increased it in 1986. Reduced rates of PB in subsequent years caused few adverse effects on the fruit. PB increased flesh firmness when applied at PF + 2 weeks but not at PF + 4 weeks. Trees treated with PB produced fruit with higher flesh Ca and less bitter pit, cork spot, and senescent breakdown following regular air storage. Chemical names used: ß -(4 -chlorophenyl)methyl α -(1,1-dimethylethyl) -1H-l,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol, PB); gibberellins A4+7 plus N-(phenylmethyl) -1H-purine-6-amine (Promalin).

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Amy Jo Waldo and James E. Klett

Ninety trees are being used and have been in the field since 1994. The three species studied include: Fraxinus pennsylvanica Patmore (Green Ash), Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak), and Pinus nigra (Austrian Pine); 30 of each species. Each species has been harvested in three different nursery production methods including balled and burlapped, plastic container, and fabric container. During the 1996 growing season, the following data was recorded for each tree, growth increments, caliper size, and tree heights. For the two deciduous species, both dry weights and leaf area were recorded. Some sap flow measurements were taken using a non-intrusive stem heat balance method, on the same tree species with varying production methods. All three species showed the greatest growth increments and heights for those trees planted in fabric containers. In regards to trunk caliper size, Pinus nigra showed that the balled and burlapped, and fabric containers had larger calipers than those planted in plastic containers. Fabric container trees were larger in caliper than plastic container trees, which was larger than the balled and burlapped on Quercus macrocarpa. The plastic container and balled and burlapped resulted in greater calipers on Fraxinus pennsylvanica than the fabric containers. Quercus macrocarpa also showed that both leaf area and dry weight were greatest for trees planted in fabric containers, followed by the other production methods. Trees in plastic containers exhibited the greatest leaf area and dry weight for Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Overall, the fabric container trees in all three species illustrated the highest-quality trees, followed by those planted in plastic containers, and then balled and burlapped. Minimal data was recorded for transpiration rates in 1996 and will be further investigated in 1997.

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Catherine S.M. Ku and John C. Bouwkamp

Potted `Boaldi', `Red Akron', and `Yellow Boaldi' growth performance were evaluated in eight substrates and four N rates. The substrates included Sunshine Mix 1, Pro Gro 300S, and six compost blends. The compost feedstocks were polymer dewatered biosolids (PDB) blended with poultry litter (PL) or yard wastes (YW) and peat:perlite at final ratios of 4:2:1:1, 3:3:1:1, and 2:4:1:1. Plants received N at 75, 100, 150, or 200 mg•L-1 from 21N-2.2P-16.6K twice a week. Number of flowers, height, diameter, and grade of plants that received N at 200 mg•L-1 treatment were significant better than those received the other N treatments. For all compost blends, premium-quality plants were produced with N at 200 mg•L-1 treatment and good-quality plants were obtained with the remaining N treatments. The control substrates produced good quality plants with N treatments at 150 and 200 mg•L-1, the remaining N treatments resulted in plants that were only salable at reduced price. `Red Akron' is a free-branching spray cultivar, had more flowers and branches than the other two cultivars.