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Ursula Schuch, Richard A. Redak, and James Bethke

Six cultivars of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind.), `Angelika White', `Celebrate 2', `Freedom Red', `Lilo Red', `Red Sails', and `Supjibi Red' were grown for 9 weeks during vegetative development under three constant-feed fertilizer treatments, 80,160, or 240 mg N/liter and two irrigation regimes, well-watered (high irrigation) or water deficient (low irrigation). Plants fertilized with 80 or 240 mg N/liter were 10% to 18% shorter, while those fertilized with 160 mg N/liter were 25 % shorter with low versus high irrigation. Leaf area and leaf dry weight increased linearly in response to increasing fertilizer concentrations. Low irrigation reduced leaf area, leaf, stem, and shoot dry weight 3670 to 41%. Cultivars responded similarly to irrigation and fertilizer treatments in all components of shoot biomass production and no interactions between the main effects and cultivars occurred. Stomatal conductance and transpiration decreased with increasing fertilizer rates or sometimes with low irrigation. Highest chlorophyll contents occurred in leaves of `Lilo Red' and `Freedom Red'. Leaves of plants fertilized with 80 mg N/liter were deficient in leaf N and had 40 % to 49 % lower leaf chlorophyll content compared to plants fertilized with 160 or 240 mg N/liter. Irrigation had no effect on leaf N or chlorophyll content. At the end of the experiment leaves of `Supjibi Red' and `Angelika White' contained higher concentrations of soluble proteins than the other four cultivars.

Free access

Kyle M. VandenLangenberg, Paul C. Bethke, and James Nienhuis

Sugars, including fructose, glucose, and sucrose, contribute significantly to the flavor and consumer acceptance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Little is known regarding differences in sugar content among snap bean and dry bean cultivars and the patterns of sugar accumulation with increasing pod size. Alcohol–soluble sugar concentration of five snap bean cultivars and one dry bean cultivar planted in field trials was assayed throughout pod development over 2 years using high-performance liquid chromatography. Significant differences in sugar accumulation patterns and quantity were observed among cultivars. In general, fructose and glucose content decreased, whereas sucrose increased with increasing pod size in snap beans. In contrast, fructose and glucose amounts increased, whereas sucrose concentration remained unchanged with increasing pod size in the dry bean cultivar. No year-by-genotype interactions were observed for sugar accumulation patterns or sugar amount. Results indicate that sieve size No. 3 (7.34 to 8.33 mm) or No. 4 (8.33 to 9.52 mm) pods are suitable for detecting differences in sugar concentration among genotypes.

Open access

Andrey Vega-Alfaro, Paul C. Bethke, and James Nienhuis

Production of Capsicum annuum peppers is often limited, especially in tropical environments, by susceptibility to soil pathogens including Ralstonia solanacearum. Grafting desirable cultivars onto selected rootstocks can increase adaptation to abiotic stress and is an alternative to pesticides for managing soilborne pathogens. Cultivars of two other pepper species, Capsicum baccatum and Capsicum chinense, are tolerant or resistant to an array of soilborne pathogens and have potential as rootstocks; however, knowledge of how interspecific grafting may affect scion fruit quality is lacking. Flowering time, yield, and fruit quality characteristics were evaluated in 2017 and 2020 for C. annuum cultivars Dulcitico, Nathalie (2017), Gypsy (2020), and California Wonder used as scions grafted onto Aji Rico (C. baccatum) and Primero Red (C. chinense) rootstocks, including self-grafted and nongrafted scion checks. In 2020, the rootstocks per se were evaluated. The two rootstocks (‘Aji Rico’ and ‘Primero Red’), three scions, and self- and nongrafted scions were evaluated using a factorial, replicated, completely randomized design in fields at the West Madison and Eagle Heights Agricultural Research Stations located in Madison, WI, in 2017 and 2020, respectively. Differences among the main effects for scion fruit quality characteristics were consistent with cultivar descriptions. No scion × rootstock interactions were observed. Rootstocks did not result in changes in total fruit number, yield, fruit shape (length-to-width ratio), or soluble solids of scion fruit compared with self- and nongrafted checks. The rootstock ‘Primero Red’ increased fruit weight and decreased time to flowering regardless of scion compared with self- and nongrafted checks. All scions were sweet (nonpungent) cultivars and both rootstocks were pungent cultivars. No capsaicinoids were detected in the fruit of sweet pepper scions grafted onto pungent pepper rootstocks. The results indicate that interspecific grafts involving ‘Aji Rico’ and ‘Primero Red’ will not have deleterious effects on fruit quality characteristics of sweet pepper scions.

Full access

Lucia E. Villavicencio, James A. Bethke, and Lea Corkidi

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of the plant regulator uniconazole on plant height, flowering, and fruit yield of vegetable transplants. In the first experiment, seedlings of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Early Girl’), pepper (Capsicum annuum ‘Jalapeno’), and eggplant (Solanum melongena ‘Millionaire’), were sprayed with water (untreated control) or with 2.5, 5, and 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole. Five weeks after treatment (WAT), application of 2.5 mg·L−1 of uniconazole reduced the height of tomato by 17%, and of 5 and 10 mg·L−1, by 25%. The effect of 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole on tomato plant height persisted until 13 WAT, but did not affect fruit yield. ‘Early Girl’ tomato plants treated with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole were still shorter than the untreated control at this time, but there were no significant differences in the number or weight of the fruit produced by the plants treated with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole, and the untreated controls. In contrast, as the rate of uniconazole increased, the height of ‘Jalapeno’ pepper and ‘Millionaire’ eggplant decreased. Application of uniconazole had no effect on the number of fruit produced by ‘Millionaire’ eggplant. However, treatment with 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole reduced the number of fruit produced by pepper plants by 50%, and reduced the total weight of fruit produced by pepper and eggplant plants by 30% and 50%, respectively, compared with the untreated control. The second experiment analyzed the effects of 5, 8, and 10 mg·L−1 of uniconazole on two cultivars of tomato with different growth habit, Early Girl (determinate) and Sun Sugar (indeterminate). Application of all rates of uniconazole decreased plant height but not the final fruit yield of the two tomato cultivars.

Free access

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.

Open access

Wesley Gartner, Paul C. Bethke, Theodore J. Kisha, and James Nienhuis

Sugars, including glucose, fructose, and sucrose, contribute significantly to the flavor and consumer acceptance of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Sugar accumulation and changes in sugar profiles during snap bean development contribute to overall assessments of quality for breeding lines and cultivars. Developing fruit from a diverse group of four snap bean cultivars containing Andean germplasm and one Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar were sampled at 5-day intervals from 10 to 30 days after flowering over 2 years. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose in pod and seed tissue was quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography. Percent seed mass relative to pod mass increased with days after flowering, but the rate of increase was heterogeneous among cultivars. Significant differences in sugar accumulation patterns of mono- and disaccharides were observed with time of development and between pods and seeds. Glucose and fructose decreased rapidly in pods and seeds with time after flowering. In contrast, sucrose concentration increased in pod tissue but remained constant in seeds of the snap bean cultivars with time after flowering. The patterns of changes in pod and seed sugar concentrations with time after flowering were similar among all snap bean cultivars. In contrast to the snap beans, seed sucrose increased with time after flowering in the Mesoamerican dry bean cultivar Puebla 152. No year by day after flowering interactions were observed for sugar accumulation patterns or sugar concentrations. Younger snap beans had the highest sweetness index based on observed sugar concentrations, percent seed mass, and perception of relative sweetness by the human palate. Although mean sweetness varied between cultivars, the rate of decrease in sweetness with time was the same for all five cultivars. These findings indicate that variation for sweetness exists in snap beans and can be exploited by breeding to develop cultivars with a potentially more desirable, sweet flavor.

Open access

Andrey Vega-Alfaro, Carlos Ramírez-Vargas, Germán Chávez, Fernando Lacayo, Paul C. Bethke, and James Nienhuis

The production of sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) is often constrained in tropical environments by susceptibility to persistent soil-borne diseases, including bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum). However, the production of sweet peppers in high tunnels using sterile soilless media irrigated with nutrient solution offers the potential to reduce the incidence of bacterial wilt. An additional strategy for disease management is the use of sweet pepper scions grafted onto rootstocks that are resistant to soil-borne pathogens. Two sweet pepper cultivars grown extensively in the tropics, Nathalie and 4212, were used as scions and grafted onto the habanero pepper cultivar Habanero TEC (Capsicum chinense) and the aji pepper cultivar Baccatum TEC (Capsicum baccatum). Two cultivars related to the two rootstocks were prescreened for susceptibility to two virulent strains of bacterial wilt. Graft combinations were grown in two environments, a high tunnel with automatic nutrient solution irrigation of containers filled with sterile coconut fiber and an open field with known high levels of bacterial wilt inoculum. Self-grafted and nongrafted plants of scions were included as checks. The disease susceptibility screening showed that the area under the disease progress curve was consistently low for ‘Habanero TEC’ and ‘Baccatum TEC’ when inoculated with two virulent strains of bacterial wilt, suggesting that habanero pepper cultivars and, to a lesser degree, aji pepper cultivars may be useful as rootstocks in soils with bacterial wilt inoculum. Significant increases in yield, fruit number, and reduced time to flowering were observed in the high tunnel compared with the open-field environment. Individual fruit weight was reduced in the high tunnel compared with the field. Yield, fruit number, fruit weight, and time to flowering were consistent between scions regardless of rootstock. No differences were observed for yield, fruit number, fruit weight, or time to flowering of self-grafted and nongrafted scion checks. In the high tunnel, yield was higher in scions grafted onto ‘Habanero TEC’ compared with self-grafted and nongrafted checks. In the open field, yield and fruit number were highest on scions grafted onto ‘Habanero TEC’. Regardless of graft treatment, high-tunnel production in tropical environments can result in significant increases in yield and fruit number compared with open-field production. No advantage of grafted plants was observed in the high-tunnel production environment. In contrast, in the open-field environment, grafting sweet pepper scions onto pungent habanero rootstocks resulted in a significant increase in yield, fruit number, and fruit size compared with self-grafted and nongrafted checks. The increase was likely attributable to the resistance of habanero pepper cultivars to soil-borne diseases, including bacterial wilt.