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George C. Elliott

Water retention was measured in soilless potting media irrigated by capillary mat, flood and drain, drip or overhead sprinkler. Media were amended with wetting agent or hydrophilic polymeric gel. Pots 12 cm high with a volume of 465 cm3 were loose-filled to the top with media. Potted media were wetted overhead with 120 ml water, then pots were randomly assigned to irrigation treatments. Capillary mat irrigation was continuous; other irrigation treatments were applied daily. Water retention was measured by weighing. Irrigation was continued until no further retention was measured. Water retention was significantly affected by irrigation method and medium amendments. Irrigation method followed the order overhead >= drip > flood and drain >= mat. Hydrophilic gel increased water retention, but in contrast to previous results, wetting agent did not, nor was any interaction of gel and wetting agent observed. Retention of water at container capacity, measured in situ at the end of each experiment, was significantly larger than actual retention.

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George C. Elliott

Water retention was measured in soilless potting media irrigated by capillary mat, flood and drain, drip or overhead sprinkler. Media were amended with wetting agent or hydrophilic polymeric gel. Pots 12 cm high with a volume of 465 cm3 were loose-filled to the top with media. Potted media were wetted overhead with 120 ml water, then pots were randomly assigned to irrigation treatments. Capillary mat irrigation was continuous; other irrigation treatments were applied daily. Water retention was measured by weighing. Irrigation was continued until no further retention was measured. Water retention was significantly affected by irrigation method and medium amendments. Irrigation method followed the order overhead >= drip > flood and drain >= mat. Hydrophilic gel increased water retention, but in contrast to previous results, wetting agent did not, nor was any interaction of gel and wetting agent observed. Retention of water at container capacity, measured in situ at the end of each experiment, was significantly larger than actual retention.

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David Wees and Danielle Donnelly

Leachates were produced by washing Hydra-fill, a polyurethane ester foam, with water. These leachates decreased radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculenturn Mill.) seed germination and were phytotoxic to seedlings. Washing the foam for as little as 5 minutes (compared to not washing) before collecting the leachate significantly decreased the mean seed germination time by 0.6 to 1 day. Rinsing the foam with ethanol before collecting the leachate was detrimental to germination. When used as a potting medium component, the foam reduced radish shoot and root dry weights compared to potting media without foam. Washing the foam with tap water before use resulted in increased radish shoot and root dry weights. Hydra-fill generally reduced plant performance when included in potting media. However, radish grew well in fresh 25% Hydra-fill (raw or washed) mixed with loam.

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Brian E. Whipker and Shravan Dasoju

Plant growth retardant (PGR) foliar spray treatments (mg•liter–1) of daminozide at 1000 to 16,000; paclobutrazol from 5 to 80; and uniconazole from 2 to 32 were applied to `Pacino' pot sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) to compare their effectiveness at chemical height control. When the first inflorescence opened, the number of days from seeding until flowering, total plant height measured from the pot rim to the top of the inflorescence, inflorescence diameter, and plant diameter were recorded. Total plant height, plant diameter, inflorescence diameter, and days until flowering were significant for the PGR treatment interaction. Marketable-sized plants grown in the 1.2-liter pots were produced with uniconazole concentrations between 16 and 32 mg•liter–1 or with daminozide concentrations between 4000 and 8000 mg•liter–1. Paclobutrazol foliar sprays up to 80 mg•liter–1 had little effect and higher concentrations or medium drench treatments should be considered.

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Luther Waters Jr., Bonnie L. Blanchette, Rhoda L. Burrows, and David Bedford

High levels of sphagnum peat in the growing medium promoted growth of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L. cv. Viking 2K) in a greenhouse study. Application of NH4NO3 > 1 g/pot (84 kg·ha-1 equivalent) was detrimental to root growth. High N rates and high organic matter levels decreased fibrous root development. Shoot dry weight was highly correlated with fleshy root number, root dry weight, and shoot vigor.

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Yin-Tung Wang

Dendrobium Linnapa `No. 3' plants were potted one per 1.75-liter pot with large or small fir bark with or without 30% peatmoss (by volume before mixing). Plants in each medium were fertilized at each or every third irrigation with 1 g·liter−1 of 20N-8.6P-16.6K fertilizer. Neither medium nor fertilization frequency affected flowering date of the first pseudobulb. Adding peatmoss to both types of bark resulted in taller first pseudobulbs. Peatmoss in the large bark promoted the production of more inflorescences and flowers (20) compared to the bark alone (11). Constant fertilization promoted the early emergence and development of the second pseudobulb and resulted in more inflorescences and flowers (21) than intermittent fertilization (12). Vegetatively propagated Phalaenopsis Taisuco Kochdian were planted in 0.5-liter pots with 1) equal volumes of no. 3 perlite, Metro Mix 700, and charcoal (PMC); 2) 100% large fir bark; or 3) 40% medium fir bark, 20% peatmoss, 10% each of no. 3 and no. 2 perlite, 10% vermiculite, and 10% ParGro rockwool (RM). Plants in PMC produced twice the number of new leaves and 1.5 -fold more leaf area than those in the large bark. PMC and RM resulted in similar shoot weights, but the latter enhanced flower count due to more lateral inflorescences. Most (80%) of the roots on plants in the bark were hanging out of the pots, whereas nearly all the roots remained in the pots with PMC. Although medium had no effect on flowering date, flowers on plants produced in PMC and RM were 10% larger than in those on plants produced in bark.

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U.L. Yadava and S.K. Dhir

The morphogenetic potential of parval or pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.) shoot-tip explants was investigated to establish this species as a model tissue culture system. An effective multiple-shoot propagation method is described. Ten-millimeter shoot tips from young branches of greehouse-grown plants served as explants. They were initiated on a MS basal medium. Multiple shoots were encouraged by transferring established explants to a proliferation medium consisting of MSB + 1 mg BAP/liter, because lower concentrations of BAP (0.1 to 0.5 mgliter–1) inhibited multiple shoot formation; however, the same concentrations promoted rooting in explants. Medium supplemented with 1 mg BAP/liter and 100 mg PVP/liter caused the best proliferation of shoot tips. Upon transferring to fresh medium of the same composition, these shoot tips elongated 24 cm with three to five nodes in 4 weeks of culturing. Shoot multiplication cultures were maintained by transferring segments of multiple-shoot clusters to medium containing 1 mg BAP/liter and 0.5 mg GA3/liter. Medium supplemented with TDZ inhibited the number of regenerating explants but enhanced the number of shoot buds. Eighty percent of these plantlets were successfully rooted on MS medium supplemented with 1 mg NAA/liter. Plantlets survived in potting soil and exhibited normal growth under mist in the greenhouse.

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Wenhao Dai and Victoria Jacques

Periwinkle, a perennial commonly used as a summer bedding plant, is known as the source of vinca alkaloids used to treat lymphocytic leukemia and Hodgkin's disease. It is also one of the natural hosts of many phytoplasma diseases, such as X-disease of major Prunus species, aster yellows, and ash yellows diseases. Therefore, periwinkle is an ideal plant species for phytoplasma disease research, such as disease transmission, species resistance, and resistant gene screening. Periwinkle tissue culture was established by incubating sterile seeds in hormone-free Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Plants were successfully regenerated from in vitro leaf tissues of periwinkle. Adventitious shoots were induced when leaf tissues were cultured on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium or woody plant medium (WPM) supplemented with benzyladenine (BA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). Nearly 75% of leaf explants produced shoots in both media with 10–20 μm BA and 1 μm NAA. A mean of 4.3 shoots was produced from each explant cultured on WPM, whereas only 2 shoots were produced on MS medium under 16-h photoperiod. Leaf explants under dark treatment for 2 weeks produced big callus only, indicating that light is necessary for shoot formation. Most adventitious shoots were induced from the joint of leaf blade and petiole. In vitro shoots (>1.5 cm) were easily rooted in half-strength MS medium. Addition of NAA dramatically increased root number, with more than 20 roots being induced in 5 μm NAA medium. Rooted plants were transferred to potting medium and grown in a greenhouse.

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Richard J. McAvoy and Paige Kishbaugh-Schmidt

Easter lilies, Lilium longiflorum Thumb. cv Nellie White, were grown in a commercial pine bark-based medium (25% by vol.), amended with 0.5 g Acrylamide Acrylate Gel (AAG) per 1.6 liter pot. Lilies were grown in media drenched with ancymidol, at 0, 0.25, 0.375 or 0.5mg a.i.pot-1 following shoot emergence, or grown in media containing ancymidol impregnated AAG at 0, 0.25, 0.375 or 0.5mg a.i.pot-1. AAG applied ancymidol treatments resulted in a significant linear decrease in both lily stem and internode length as the rate of ancymidol increased. Drench applied ancymidol had no affect on stem or internode length. Stem and internode lengths of drench treated lilies were not significantly shorter than lilies not exposed to ancymidol. Bud length, leaf and bud number, and days to anthesis were not affected (P≤0.05) by any treatment. Ancymidol activity in the top, middle and bottom strata of medium filled containers, and in the leachate from these containers, was measured using a lettuce hypocotyl length bioassay. Ancymidol activity was uniformly distributed throughout the bark medium when applied in AAG. With this treatment, 10-15% of the ancymidol activity was detected in the leachate. When ancymidol was applied as a drench, over 95% of the activity was detected in the top two strata, with 70% in the upper most stratum and the rest in the leachate.

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Marc van Iersel

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) were grown in pots filled with 1.5 L of soilless growing medium and subirrigated daily with a fertilizer solution containing N at 210 mg·L-1 [electrical conductivity (EC) = 1.5 dS·m-1] for 128 days. After production, plants were placed in a whole-plant photosynthesis system and the effects of applying different volumes of water (0, 0.75, 1.5, and 3 L) to the top of the pots were quantified. Leaching with 0.75, 1.5, or 3 L of water reduced the EC in the top and middle layers of the growing medium. Applications of 0.75 or 1.5 L of water significantly increased the EC in the bottom third of the pots, where most of the root growth occurred. However, even in these treatments the EC in the bottom layer was only 2.6 dS·m-1 (saturated medium extraction method), which is well within the recommended range. The 0.75- and 1.5-L treatments also reduced the respiration rate of the plants by 20%, but none of the treatments had a significant effect on the photosynthesis of the plants. Regression analysis indicated a negative correlation between the EC of the bottom layer of the growing medium and dark respiration, while the EC of the top and middle layer had no significant effect on respiration. Although top watering can increase the EC in the bottom layer of the growing medium, this effect is unlikely to be large enough to cause significant plant stress and damage.