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J. Raymond Kessler Jr. and Gary J. Keever

Vegetative offsets of Achillea x `Coronation Gold' were rooted under mist for 3 weeks and potted into 10-cm pots in a greenhouse. Plants were grown under short photoperiods for 6 weeks before being vernalized for 6 weeks at 6 °C. Plants then were provided long photoperiods from night-break lighting. Foliar sprays of daminozide at 0, 2550, 5100, or 7650 mg·L-1, chlormequat at 0, 767, 1534, or 3201 mg·L-1, daminozide + chlormequat at 0, 1275 +, 2550 + or 3825+1534 mg·L-1, flurprimidol at 0, 40, 80, or 120 mg·L-1, paclobutrazol at 0, 32, 64, 96, 128, or 160 mg·L-1 or uniconizole at 0, 11, 22, 33, 44, or 55 mg·L-1 were applied as a spray 1 week after vernalization. Highest market quality ratings were achieved with paclobutrazol at 96 or 128, uniconizole at 22 or 33, daminozide + chlormequat 3825 + 1534, chlormequat at 2301 or flurprimidol at 40 mg·L-1. Peduncle length and growth index decreased linearly for daminozide, chlormequat, and daminozide + chlormequat, and decreased quadratically for flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconizole with increasing rate. Time to flower increased most in treatments receiving high rates of daminozide. Flower diameter was reduced by the highest rates of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol.

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J. Raymond Kessler Jr. and Gary J. Keever

Vegetative cuttings of Coreopsis verticillata `Moonbeam' were rooted under intermittent mist, pinched, and potted into 10-cm pots in a greenhouse. Plants were sheared to 6.5 cm above the pot rim 2 weeks after potting and given foliar sprays of daminozide at 0, 2550, 5100, or 7650 mg·L-1 or flurprimidol at 0, 50, 100, or 150 mg·L-1. Night-break lighting to provide long photoperiods was started the day of shearing. Growth retardants were applied at 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 days after shearing. Daminozide reduced shoot height, growth index, and lateral shoot length compared to the control by 69.3%, 69.2%, and 70.0%, respectively, while increasing quality rating by 67.3% and time to flower by 8 days at 5100 and 7650 mg·L-1. Response surface regression predicted that minimum plant size and maximum quality rating occurred when growth retardants were applied 5.7 to 8.3 days after shearing. Application timing had no effect on responses to flurprimidol. Shoot height, growth index, and lateral shoot length decreased quadratically with increasing rate while quality rating only improved compared to control. Flurprimidol did not cause a flowering delay.

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Gary J. Keever and J. Raymond Kessler Jr.

In previous studies, night-interrupted lighting (NIL) promoted earlier flowering of summer-blooming herbaceous perennials grown under outdoor nursery conditions in the southeastern U.S. However, NIL promoted excessive plant height, thus reducing product quality. Our objective was to control plant height of Coreopsis grandiflora `Early Sunrise' (ES) and Rudbeckia fulgida `Goldsturm' (RG) grown under NIL with plant growth retardants (PGR) without offsetting earlier flowering promoted by NIL. Treatments under NIL were three rates of daminozide, daminozide plus chloromequat, flurprimidol, uniconazole, and NIL and natural controls. Plant height was reduced 3% to 38% in ES and 8% to 31% in RG and time to visible bud was unchanged by all PGR treatments compared to the NIL control. Time to visible bud was unchanged in RG by all PGR treatments and flurprimidol in ES, but the remaining PGR treatments increased time to visible bud compared to the NIL control in ES. Only ES plants treated with daminozide and daminozide plus chloromequat at the two highest rates and all rates of uniconazole were similar in height to the natural control. RG plant heights with the two highest rates of flurprimidol and uniconazole and the highest rate of daminozide plus chloromequat were less than the natural control; heights of plants in the remaining PGR treatments were similar to the natural control. Quality rating was unchanged in RG but was increased in ES by all PGR treatments compared to the NIL control.

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J. Raymond Kessler, Charles H. Gilliam and Beth M. Wallace

Little information is available on phytotoxic effects to annual bedding plant species from herbicides commonly used on container-grown woody plant species. Viol×wittrockiana `Crystal Bowl True Blue', `Imperial Antique Shades', and `Maxim Orange' were grown in 2.54-liter (#1) containers using an amended 6 pine bark: 1 sand medium. Five days after containerizing, each cultivar was either hand-weeded or treated with one of 13 granular or spray, pre- or post-emergence herbicides, within recommended rates in two separate studies. Herbicide phytotoxicity ratings were made 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120 d after treatment. Shoot dry weights were taken 120 d after treatment. Most injurious and persistently injurious herbicides were Rout 3G (oxyfluorfen + oryzalin), Pendulum 60 WDG (pendimethalin), and Ronstar 2G (oxadiazon). Low shoot dry weights closely correlated to injury rating. Least injurious herbicides included Pennant 7.8E (metolachlor), Surflan 4AS (oryzalin), Stakeout (dithiopyr), Pennant SG (metolachlor), and Derby SG (metolachlor + simazine). Southern Weedgrass Control, a granular formulation of pendimethalin, was among the least injurious, while Pendulum 60 WDG, a liquid formulation of pendimethalin, was most injurious. Evidence suggests that phytotoxic injury was greater on small, newly transplanted plants, though in some cases they were able to outgrow the injury.

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes and J. Raymond Kessler

A study conducted in 1995 and repeated in 1996 determined the effects of repeated BA applications and subsequent repeated removals on yields of offsets in Hosta Tratt. (Funkia K. Spreng; Niobe Salisb.) stock plants. Two hosta cultivars, `Francee' and `Francis Williams', received zero, one, two, three, or four foliar applications of benzyladenine (BA) at 3000 mg·L-1. Plants receiving multiple applications were retreated at 30-day intervals following offset removal from all plants. A single BA application stimulated offset formation in both cultivars in both years, but repeated applications were necessary for a continued response following offset removal. Total offset yield increased linearly as the number of BA applications increased. At 120 days after the first treatment in 1995, `Francee' plants receiving four applications had produced an average of 22 offsets, and `Francis Williams' plants 18 offsets, whereas control plants produced 9.8 and 0 offsets, respectively. Similar data for 1996 were 31.2 offsets for `Francee' and 22.4 offsets for `Francis Williams,' whereas control plants produced 6.8 and 2.6 offsets, respectively. Offset stage of development, as indicated by leaf number, and growth index generally were not affected by BA treatment. No phytotoxicity was observed, and plant appearance was enhanced due to the outgrowth of BA-stimulated lateral buds. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine, BA).

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes and J. Raymond Kessler

A foliar spray of 0, 1250, 2500, or 3750 mg benzyladenine (BA)/L was applied to 10 Hosta Tratt. (Funkia K. Spreng; Niobe Salisb.) cultivars. Response to BA treatment was cultivar dependent, with BA promoting offset formation in half of the cultivars. Compared to the control, increase in offsets produced by cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/L ranged from 116% in `Francee' to 3500% in `Francis Williams' at 30 days after treatment (DAT) and from 150% in `Royal Standard' to 2250% in `Francis Williams' at 60 DAT. Offset stage of development, as indicated by the number of unfurled leaves, was also cultivar- and BA-dependent. All cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/L had an average of three or more unfurled leaves at 60 DAT, while among control plants, 40% of cultivars averaged fewer than three unfurled leaves. No phytotoxic symptoms were noted in any cultivar, and plant size was either increased or not affected by BA treatment. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine; BA).

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes and J. Raymond Kessler

A foliar spray of 0, 1250, 2500, or 3750 mg benzyladenine (BA)/liter was applied to 10 hosta cultivars. Response to BA treatment was cultivar dependent, with BA promoting offset formation in half of the cultivars tested. Increase in offsets compared to the control ranged from 116% in `Francee' to 3500% in `Francis Williams' at 30 days after treatment (DAT) and from 150% in `Royal Standard' to 2250% in `Francis Williams' at 60 DAT with 3750 mg BA/liter. Stage of development, as indicated by the number of unfurled leaves on offsets, was also cultivar and BA dependent. All cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/liter had an average of three or more unfurled leaves at 60 DAT, while among control plants, 40% of cultivars averaged less than three unfurled leaves. No phytotoxic symptoms were noted in any cultivar, and growth index was either increased or not affected by BA treatment. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine, BA).

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J. Raymond Kessler Jr., Jeff L. Sibley, Bridget K. Behe, Darby M. Quinn and James S. Bannon

Fifty-seven herbaceous perennials were evaluated from July 1996 to October 1997 in USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Plants in this study generally performed better the first year after planting than the second year. Several selections did not reemerge the second year, though some natural reseeding occurred. Still other selections never fully recovered from the winter months or succumbed to stress in the summer. Plants that maintained an attractive foliage display while not in bloom and plants that had a high bloom rating during the bloom season are worth incorporating into a full sun perennial or mixed border in the southeastern United States. Performance of perennials in the landscape may vary from year to year as climatic conditions affect performance. Comparison of results from variety trials at other locations should help increase performance information reliability for perennial selection.

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Judson S. LeCompte, Amy N. Wright, Charlene M. LeBleu and J. Raymond Kessler

Greywater is a renewable irrigation alternative to potable water; however, its use as an irrigation source is limited by the potential for salt injury to plants. Research was conducted to determine salt tolerance of three common landscape species, small anise tree (Illicium parviflorum), ‘Henry’s Garnet’ sweetspire (Itea virginica), and muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). Two experiments were performed, one with high sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations and one with low NaCl concentrations. Plants received daily irrigation of tap water containing one of the following NaCl concentrations: 0 (tap water); 2000, 4000, 6000, 8000, or 10,000 mg·L−1 (high NaCl); or 0 (tap water), 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1 (low NaCl) for 15 weeks. Plants were harvested after 5, 10, or 15 weeks. Root dry weight (RDW) and shoot dry weight (SDW) were determined at each harvest; survival was determined at experiment termination. Leaf tissue was analyzed for tissue macronutrient [nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and, magnesium (Mg)], sodium (Na), and chlorine (Cl) concentrations in the high NaCl concentration experiment. With high NaCl, RDW and SDW decreased with increasing NaCl for all species. Anise and sweetspire had low or no survival, respectively, at the highest NaCl concentration; muhly grass had 100% survival regardless of treatment. In general, leaf macronutrient, Na, and Cl increased with increasing NaCl concentration. With low NaCl, there was no effect of NaCl concentration on RDW or SDW for all species. All three species continued to grow between harvest dates in the lower NaCl concentration experiment, whereas only anise and muhly grass continued to grow with high NaCl. Anise and muhly grass were tolerant of saline irrigation that could be expected from greywater. Sweetspire exhibited symptoms of salt stress (necrotic leaves and leaf drop, visual observation) at all NaCl concentrations including the lowest (250 mg·L−1), and should not be irrigated with saline water.

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Edgar L. Vinson III, Floyd M. Woods, Joseph M. Kemble, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Angela Davis and J. Raymond Kessler

Mini-watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.)] cultivars Valdoria and Vanessa were evaluated at 20, 30, 40, or 50 days after anthesis to determine maturity at harvest. Fruit circumference, weight, ground spot color, and number of senescent tendrils were measured as external indicators for each watermelon. Soluble solids content (SS), pH, and SS:total acid ratio (SS:TA) of each watermelon were determined to provide an indication of internal maturity. Regression and Akaike Information Criterion fit statistics analyses were performed to determine significant relationships and best predictors for external indicators of internal maturity factors. In this study, external predictors were most closely linked to fruit pH rather than to SS or SS/TA. Of the external indicators tested, fruit weight, circumference, number of senescent tendrils, and International Commission on Illumination (CIE) b* color coordinate values of the ground spot were best related to fruit pH. According to the regression models, two completely senesced tendrils, a circumference of 53 cm, weight of 3 kg, and CIE b* coordinate ground spot value of 40 are each sufficient to predict maturity when pH is used as the internal indicator of maturity under the conditions of this experiment.