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Genhua Niu, Raul I. Cabrera, Terri W. Starman, and Charles R. Hall

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Genhua Niu, Royal D. Heins, Arthur C. Cameron, and William H. Carlson

Campanula carpatica Jacq. `Blue Clips' plants were grown in a greenhouse under ambient (400 μmol·mol-1) and enriched (600 μmol·mol-1) CO2 concentrations, three daily light integrals (DLI; 4.2, 10.8, and 15.8 mol/m per day), and nine combinations of day and night temperatures created by moving plants every 12 h among three temperatures (15, 20, and 25 °C). Time to flower decreased as plant average daily temperature (ADT) increased. Flower diameter decreased linearly as ADT increased in the 15 to 25 °C range and was not related to the difference between day and night temperatures (DIF). Increasing DLI from 4.2 to 10.8 mol/m per day also increased flower diameter by 3 to 4 mm regardless of temperature, but no difference was observed between 10.8 and 15.8 mol/m per day. Carbon dioxide enrichment increased flower diameter by 2 to 3 mm. Number of flower buds and dry mass at high and medium DLI decreased as plant ADT increased. Plant height increased as DIF increased from ñ6 to 12 °C. Number of flower buds and dry mass were correlated closely with the ratio of DLI to daily thermal time using a base temperature of 0 °C.

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Genhua Niu, Royal D. Heins, Arthur C. Cameron, and William H. Carlson

Pansy [Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Delta Yellow Blotch' (Yellow) and `Delta Primrose Blotch' (Primrose)] plants were grown in a greenhouse under two CO2 concentrations [ambient (≈400 μmol·mol-1) and enriched (≈600 μmol·mol-1)], three daily light integrals (DLI; 4.1, 10.6, and 15.6 mol·m-2·d-1), and nine combinations of day and night temperatures created by moving plants every 12 h among three temperatures (15, 20, and 25 °C). Time to flower decreased and rate of flower development increased as plant average daily temperature (ADT) increased at all DLIs for Yellow or at high and medium DLIs for Primrose. Increasing the DLI from 4.1 to 10.6 mol·m-2·d-1 also decreased time to flower by 4 and 12 days for Yellow and Primrose, respectively. Both cultivars' flower size and Yellow's dry weight [(DW); shoot, flower bud, and total] decreased linearly as plant ADT increased at high and medium DLIs, regardless of how temperature was delivered during day and night. DW in Yellow increased 50% to 100% when DLI increased from 4.1 to 10.6 mol·m-2·d-1 under both CO2 concentrations. Flower size in Yellow and Primrose increased 25% under both CO2 conditions as DLI increased from 4.1 to 10.6 mol·m-2·d-1, but there was no increase between 10.6 and 15.6 mol·m-2·d-1, regardless of CO2 concentration. Plant height and flower peduncle length in Yellow increased linearly as the difference between day and night temperatures (DIF) increased; the increase was larger under lower than higher DLIs. The ratio of leaf length to width (LL/LW) and petiole length in Yellow increased as DIF increased at medium and low DLIs. Carbon dioxide enrichment increased flower size by 4% to 10% and DW by 10% to 30% except for that of the shoot at medium DLI, but did not affect flower developmental rate or morphology. DW of vegetative and reproductive parts of the plant was correlated closely with photothermal ratio, a parameter that describes the combined effect of temperature and light.

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Xinjing Qu, Hui Wang, Ming Chen, Jiao Liao, Jun Yuan, and Genhua Niu

Oil tea (Camellia oleifera) is an important edible oil tree. However, its growth and yield are strongly limited by drought. This study investigated the physiological and metabolic responses of two common oil tea cultivars, Huajin and Changlin53, to moderate and severe drought stress. Based on the photosynthetic and physiological indices, ‘Changlin53’ may be more tolerant to drought than ‘Huajin’. A total of 41 key metabolites induced by drought stress, including 12 amino acids, 12 organic acids, 10 carbohydrates, 3 fatty acids, and 4 phenols, have been identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Under moderate drought stress, the contents of carbohydrates, amino acids, and some organic acids in ‘Changlin53’ were significantly increased; however, under severe drought stress, the contents of soluble sugars were decreased and the synthesis ability of amino acids and organic acids were enhanced. The glutamic acid–mediated proline biosynthesis pathway and salicylic acid synthesis were continuously upregulated in ‘Changlin53’ under moderate and severe drought stress, which could regulate osmotic pressure and maintain intracellular environmental stability. Under moderate drought stress, the contents of monosaccharides, amino acids, and organic acids increased in ‘Huajin’ leaves. Furthermore, the shikimic acid–mediated secondary metabolite synthesis pathway was weakened. More secondary metabolites were used to increase glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid cycle to accelerate energy production and to enhance the glutamic acid–mediated proline biosynthesis pathway, which are necessary to increase osmotic regulation. Under severe drought stress, the contents of carbohydrates, organic acids, and some amino acids were significantly decreased in ‘Huajin’ leaves, indicating serious damage. These results deepened our understanding of the mechanisms involved in oil tea drought tolerance, which will help improve water management of oil tea seedlings.

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Raul I. Cabrera, L. Rahman, Genhua Niu, Cynthia McKenney, and Wayne Mackay

In this preliminary study, we evaluated the salinity tolerance of selected herbaceous perennials. Liners of Rudbeckia hirta `Becky Orange', Phlox paniculata `John Fanick', Coreopsis grandiflora `Early Sunrise', Lantana ×hybrida `New Gold' and Cuphea hyssopifolia `Allyson' were transplanted to 4-gal plastic containers filled with peat moss: pine bark: sand (3:1:1) medium amended with dolomite, Micromax and Osmocote 18-6-12 (at 2, 0.6, and 6 kg·m3, respectively). The plants were irrigated for 14 weeks with tap water containing 0, 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 mM of NaCl: CaCl2 salt mixture (2:1 molar ratio). Increasing salt stress had differential effects on plant growth and quality, with Rudbeckia and Phlox being the most adversely affected even by the lowest salt treatment of 1.5 mM, with dry weight reductions of ∼25% compared to the controls. Conversely, Lantana and Cuphea tolerated extremely well salinity up to 12 mM, where dry weight reductions were less than 10% of the nonsalinized controls. The Lantana and Cuphea plants also presented the lowest leaf Cl accumulation with increasing salinity, whereas Coreopsis showed the highest Cl accumulations at any salinity level. Plots of leaf Cl concentration against dry weights showed steeply declining relationships for Rudbeckia and Phlox plants, confirming our observations and assessment that these species are to be considered salt-sensitive. Leaf Na accumulation is currently being analyzed.

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Christine Yung-Ting Yen, Terri W. Starman, Yin-Tung Wang, and Genhua Niu

The effects of cooling temperature [constant (10, 13, 15, or 18 °C, or 15, 18, or 21 °C)] and duration (2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks, or 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 weeks) at two separate locations (College Station and Weslaco, TX) on growth and flowering of Dendrobium Sea Mary ‘Snow King’, a Dendrobium nobile Lindl. hybrid, were investigated and the cooling requirement for flowering was quantified. Interactions between temperature and cooling duration were significant on time required to reach anthesis from either the beginning or completion of cooling, average flower number per flowering node, and percentage of nodes with aborted buds. Increasing cooling duration from 2 to 6 or 3 to 7 weeks resulted in less time to reach anthesis after the completion of cooling. However, the increased cooling durations extended the time needed for producing a flowering crop. Plants cooled at a relatively higher temperature among 10, 13, and 15 °C required less time to reach anthesis after the completion of cooling. Plants had more flowering nodes and total flowers when cooled at 10, 13, or 15 °C than at 18 °C in College Station or at 15 or 18 °C than at 21 °C in Weslaco. The results suggest that 3 weeks at 13 °C has saturated the cooling requirement, and 3 weeks at 13 or 15 °C is a recommended cooling treatment that saves production cost without retarding flower development.

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Ji Jhong Chen, Haifeng Xing, Asmita Paudel, Youping Sun, Genhua Niu, and Matthew Chappell

More than half of residential water in Utah is used for landscape irrigation. Reclaimed water has been used to irrigate urban landscapes to conserve municipal water. High salt levels in reclaimed water may pose osmotic stress and ion toxicity to salt-sensitive plants. Viburnums are commonly used landscape plants, but salinity tolerance of species and cultivars is unclear. The objective of this study was to characterize gas exchanges and mineral nutrition responses of 12 viburnum taxa subjected to salinity stress in a greenhouse study. Plants were irrigated with a nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.3 dS·m–1 or saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m–1 or 10.0 dS·m–1. The net photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate (E) of all viburnum taxa, except for Viburnum ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’, decreased to various degrees with increasing salinity levels. The Pn, g S, and E of V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ were unaffected by saline solutions of 5.0 dS·m–1 at the 4th and 9th week after treatment initiation, with the exception of the Pn of V. ×burkwoodii, which decreased at the 9th week. Leaf sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl) concentrations of all viburnum taxa increased as salinity levels increased. Viburnum ×burkwoodii had relatively low leaf Na+ and Cl when irrigated with saline solutions of 10.0 dS·m–1. Plant growth and gas exchange parameters, including visual score, plant height, Pn, g S, E, and water use efficiency (WUE) correlated negatively with leaf Na+ and Cl concentrations. The ratio of potassium (K+) to Na+ (K+/Na+) and ratio of calcium (Ca2+) to Na+ (Ca2+/Na+) decreased when salinity levels increased. Visual score, plant height, Pn, g S, E, and WUE correlated positively with the K+/Na+ and Ca2+/Na+ ratios. These results suggest excessive Na+ and Cl accumulation inhibited plant photosynthesis and growth, and affected K+ and Ca2+ uptake negatively.

Open access

Youping Sun, Ji Jhong Chen, Haifeng Xing, Asmita Paudel, Genhua Niu, and Matthew Chappell

Viburnums are widely used in gardens and landscapes throughout the United States. Although salinity tolerance varies among plant species, research-based information is limited on the relative salt tolerance of viburnum species. The morphological and growth responses of 12 viburnum taxa to saline solution irrigation were evaluated under greenhouse conditions. Viburnum taxa included Viburnum ×burkwoodii, V. cassinoides ‘SMNVCDD’, V. dentatum ‘Christom’, V. dentatum var. deamii ‘SMVDLS’, V. dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. בNCVX1’, V. nudum ‘Bulk’, V. opulus ‘Roseum’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, V. pragense ‘Decker’, V. ×rhytidophylloides ‘Redell’, and V. trilobum. A nutrient solution at an electrical conductivity (EC) of 1.3 dS·m−1 (control) or saline solutions at ECs of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m−1 were applied eight times over a 9-week period. Growth, visual quality, and morphological characteristics were quantified at the 4th week and 8th–9th week to assess the impact of salinity stress on the viburnum taxa. Saline solution irrigation imposed detrimental salinity stress on viburnum plant growth and visual quality, and the degree of salt damage was dependent on the salinity levels of irrigation solution and the length of exposure to salinity stress as well as viburnum taxa. Viburnum ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ had little foliar salt damage during the entire experiment, except those irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 exhibited slight to moderate foliar salt damage at the eighth week. Viburnum dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, and V. trilobum irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 5.0 dS·m−1 had slight and severe foliar salt damage at the 4th and 8th week, respectively. Plants irrigated with saline solution at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1 exhibited severe foliar salt damage at the 4th week, and all died by the 8th week. Other viburnum taxa also showed various foliar salt damage, especially at an EC of 10.0 dS·m−1. The shoot dry weights of V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ irrigated with saline solution at ECs of 5.0 and 10.0 dS·m−1 were similar to those in the control at both harvest dates. However, the shoot dry weight of other tested viburnum taxa decreased to some extent at the 9th week. A cluster analysis concluded that V. ×burkwoodii and V. בNCVX1’ were considered the most salt-tolerant viburnum taxa, whereas V. dilatatum ‘Henneke’, V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’, and V. trilobum were sensitive to salinity levels used in this study. This research may guide the green industry to choose relatively tolerant viburnum taxa for landscape use and nursery production where low-quality water is used for irrigation.

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Christine Yung-Ting Yen, Terri W. Starman, Yin-Tung Wang, Andreas Holzenburg, and Genhua Niu

Hybrids of Dendrobium nobile Lindl. have high potential to become a high-value pot plant, but detailed research to support the development of commercial production protocols was lacking. A 3 × 5 factorial experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of nutrient termination date (1 Aug., 1 Sept., or 1 Oct.) and nutrient reapplication time (at the beginning or in the middle of cooling, immediately after or 2 weeks after the completion of cooling, or no nutrient reapplication) on growth and flower development of Dendrobium Sea Mary ‘Snow King,’ a D. nobile hybrid. Interaction between nutrient termination date and reapplication time on growth and flowering was nonsignificant for all variables measured, and reapplication time had only a minor effect on leaves remaining. Regardless of nutrient reapplication time, delaying nutrient termination date resulted in improved growth and flowering. Nutrient termination on 1 Oct. resulted in taller plants with more nodes, leaves remaining, flowering nodes, and total flowers as well as fewer aborted flowers than an earlier termination date. Nutrient supply until 1 Oct. did not lead to differences in time required for anthesis but extended the time needed to reach full flowering by 1.5 d. The results suggest that flower development benefited more from the nutrients that were accumulated in mature pseudobulbs before nutrient termination rather than from those being taken from the reapplied fertilizers. Only lateral buds protruding 2 mm or more from the pseudobulb surface showed differentiated floral structures when examined histologically. The buds, excised 4 weeks after cooling treatments began, showed that nutrient termination on 1 Aug. resulted in larger flower primordia than those ended on 1 Oct., indicating an earlier or faster flower differentiation with earlier nutrient termination. No aerial shoot formation or reversion of reproductive to vegetative buds arose as a result of either late nutrient termination or resumption of nutrient application.

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Susmitha Nambuthiri, Amy Fulcher, Andrew K. Koeser, Robert Geneve, and Genhua Niu

Market researchers have found that nursery and greenhouse production practices that reduce plastic use can increase consumer interest. However, there are broader crop performance, production efficiency, and environmental factors that must be considered before adopting containers made with alternative materials. This review highlights current commercially available alternative containers and parent materials. In addition, findings from recent and ongoing nursery, greenhouse, and landscape trials are synthesized, identifying common themes, inconsistencies, research gaps, and future research needs.