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Jo-Ann Bentz

This study quantified how different shading levels alter the foliar nutrient, C:N ratio, chlorophyll content and key leaf characters in azalea `Delaware Valley White' Rhododendron mucronatum (Blume) (Ericales: Ericaceae), which influenced, in turn, feeding, oviposition, survival and development of the azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Heteroptera: Tingidae). The mean contents of N, Ca, Fe, and Zn increased linearly with increases in the shading level, whereas P, K, B, Mn, and the C:N ratio of leaves were significantly decreased. Although injured leaves contained significantly less chlorophyll than uninjured leaves, the mean relative chlorophyll content of leaves increased linearly with the level of shading. Mean leaf area and moisture content of leaves increased linearly with increased degree of shading, while the mean trichome density decreased. The mean number of oviposited eggs and the percent of nymphs reaching adulthood increased linearly with the degree of shading. Azalea shoots suffered increased feeding injury as the season progressed, yet unshaded plants suffered more feeding injury than shaded plants. While the mean number of eggs laid, and the mean number of reared adults, were significantly and positively correlated with the mean leaf N, the mean feeding injury was negatively correlated with leaf N. Although these dependent variables were not correlated with K nor Ca, the mean number of eggs laid, and the mean number of reared adults were negatively correlated with the mean leaf P and with the mean C:N ratio. Mean feeding injury was positively correlated with leaf P and with the C:N ratio, but negatively correlated with N. This study shows that shaded plants are of better quality as hosts and that these plants can tolerate infestations by the lace bug.

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Jo-Ann Bentz and Alden M. Townsend

A survey was conducted in the 2001 growing season to determine the leafhopper species composition, abundance, richness, diversity, and evenness among trees of three elm (Ulmus sp.) cultivars, two U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) seedling selections of U. szechuanica Fang, and two USNA seedling selections of U. bergmanniana Schneid. in a mixed stand. Yellow sticky traps were used to qualify and quantify the number of aerial leafhoppers from 1 May 2001 until 4 September 2001. A total of 4,523 individuals, belonging to 39 species within seven leafhopper subfamilies, were trapped. The weekly mean number of leafhoppers collected was significantly higher on traps from `Patriot', followed by `Frontier' and `Prospector', than on traps from the USNA seedling selections. Although the weekly mean species richness for `Prospector' was lower than the other two cultivars, the three cultivars had higher mean species richness than the USNA seedling selections of U. szechuanica and U. bergmanniana. Diversity among cultivars was higher than among the USNA seedling selections. Ulmus bergmanniana 68983 and U. szechuanica 68986 shared the highest percentage of species similarity, while `Frontier' and U. szechuanica 68991 were the most dissimilar. Of the species collected, Agallia quadripunctata, Empoasca fabae and Graphocephala versuta were the most abundant. The other species were mostly rare based on their low abundance. Scaphoideus luteolus, the only confirmed vector of elm yellows in North America, was found among the elm cultivars only. Yet, the Cicadellinae leafhoppers that are vectors of Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of bacterial leaf scorch, were found among both the cultivars and USNA seedling selections. Such data could allow for the screening and selection of elms resistant to economically important leafhoppers.

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Jo-Ann Bentz and Alden M. Townsend

The suitability of container-grown clones of red maple, Acer rubrum L., as a host to the potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae Harris (Homoptera: Cicadellidae), under different fertilization regimes was determined, and compared to different freeman maple cultivars (A. ×freemanii E. Murray). Three clonal selections of red maple (USNA numbers 56026, 59904, and 55410), and three freeman maple cultivars (55892 `Indian Summer', 67256 `Jeffersred' [trademark Autumn Blaze], and 55890 `Armstrong') were potted in 7.6-L containers, fertilized with either 0, 3.3, or 6.6 g/pot of calcium nitrate and used in experiments. When given a choice, female leafhoppers laid more eggs on leaves of red maple clone 56026 than on leaves of clone 59904, with oviposition linearly increasing on both clones with increases in the fertilization level applied to the trees. Yet, when female leafhoppers were confined to leaves using organza sleeve cages, oviposition increased linearly as fertilizer level increased, without a significant clonal effect. Oviposition did not differ among freeman maple cultivars, nor was it influenced by the fertilizer level applied to the freeman maple trees. Nymphs had the lowest odds of surviving to adulthood when reared on the freeman maple `Jeffersred', but highest when reared on red maple 59904. Red maple 59904 had the fastest growth rate while red maple 55410 had the slowest. Leaf initiation and expansion in red maple 56026 was significantly slower than in the other selections. Leaf development of these three red maple clones was significantly accelerated by the application of fertilizer, regardless of level. The maple selections differed in their mean amounts of foliar macronutrients and micronutrients, which related to the fertilizer level applied to trees. Unfertilized trees had the highest C to N ratio, which decreased as fertilizer level applied to trees was increased. This study showed that fertilization improved the performance of the potato leafhopper on previously nonpreferred maple selections, and that the foliar nutrient content and C to N ratio could be used as indicators of tree susceptibility to insect attack under different growing conditions.