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William Reid

Pecan trees, Carya illinoensis, often exhibit a strong alternate bearing pattern. The presence of a heavy seed crop inhibits terminals from fruiting the following season. This study was developed to discover at what point in the development of the pecan fruit does this inhibition take place. Six nut removal times were evaluated: (1) after pollination but before fertilization, (2) one-half ovule expansion, (3) full ovule expansion or water stage, (4) dough stage, (5) 3 weeks after the initiation of the dough stage, and (6) no fruit removal until harvest. The cultivar `Mohawk' was used for this randomized block experiment.

Return bloom was significantly enhanced by the removal of fruit prior to the initiation of kernel filling (dough stage). Less than 10% of terminals that supported pecans through the dough stage were able to produce distillate flowers the following year. Twig mortality was significantly higher for terminals that completed kernel filling. These results indicate that nut thinning prior to the water stage may reduce the alternate bearing tendency in pecan.

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William Reid

The nuts of 10 pecan cultivars were used to produce rootstock trees for the propagation of two scion cultivars—Posey and Pawnee. Seed sources included: `Chickasaw', `Colby', `Dooley', `Giles', `Greenriver', `Major', `Mohawk', `Peruque', `Posey', and `Shoshoni'. Leaf analysis performed in 1994 and 1996 revealed that rootstock influenced K and Zn concentrations. Scions propagated on `Posey' seedlings contained the greatest amount of K, while scions propagated on `Greenriver' seedlings contained the least. Zn levels were highest in trees with `Chickasaw' seedling rootstocks and the least in `Major' seedlings. Yield and nut quality was influenced by a major drought during the late summer and fall of 1995. Nuts produced by trees with `Chickasaw' and `Colby' rootstocks had the highest kernel percentage, while trees grown on `Major' and `Posey' had the lowest. The greatest yields, during the drought year, were produced from scion cultivars grafted on `Giles' and `Chickasaw' seedling rootstocks. `Major' and `Greenriver' seedlings produced trees with the smallest yields.

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William Reid

Field resistance to the black-margined pecan aphid [Monellia caryella (Fitch)] was evaluated for 12 pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangen.) K. Koch.] cultivars in 1995 and 19 cultivars in 1999. Each year, aphid populations were sampled from four trees of each cultivar by counting the number of aphids on 10 mid-shoot leaves per tree each week throughout the growing season. On leaves of several cultivars, populations of black-margined aphids peaked above the economic threashold level (20 aphids/leaf) during the month of August in both years. `Pawnee' and `Greenriver' demonstrated field resistance to aphids by maintaining fewer than 10 aphids/leaf throughout the season. `Hirschi' and `Posey' maintained among the highest aphid populations in both years—2 to 5 times higher than threashold levels. By avoiding cultivars susceptible to aphid feeding, growers can avoid aphid-induced yield reductions.

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William Reid

Pecans (Carya illinoinensis) are produced under a wide array of environmental conditions—from the warm humid southeastern states, to the continental climate of the central plains, to the arid climates of the American west. In addition, pecan cultural systems vary from the low-input management of native stands of seedling trees to the intensive management of single-cultivar pecan orchards. This wide diversity of pecan agroecosystems has fostered the development of innovative, site-specific approaches toward pecan pest management. Current pecan pest management programs require an intimate knowledge of orchard ecology. Growers use monitoring methods and prediction models to track pest populations. Biological control agents are conserved by habitat manipulation and/or augmented through inoculative releases. Selective pesticides are used to control target pests while conserving natural enemies. Four pecan cultural systems are described in detail to illustrate how ecological principles are applied to widely diverse pecan agroecosystems.

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William Reid and Kenneth L. Hunt

More than 93% of pecans [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] produced in the United States are grown in the southeastern and southwestern states. However, the native range of the pecan tree extends northward into Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. In these northern states, commercial pecan production is expanding as additional acres of native trees are brought under cultivation and orchards of short-season, cold-hardy cultivars are established. Native nut production dominates the northern pecan industry accounting for over 95% of nuts produced in the region. Cultural practices for native pecans have been developed for northern groves that feature low inputs and good yields. Pecan cultivars adapted to the north ripen their fruit in a climate that provides 155 to 200 frost-free days. Few generalizations can be made about northern cultivars. The nuts produced by these cultivars vary in size from small [4 g (0.14 oz)] to medium [8 g (0.28 oz)] with shelling percentages ranging from 44% to 59%.

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Reid R. Rice and William F. Tracy

Excellent table quality is an essential characteristic of commercial sweet corn (Zea mays) and commonly held paramount as a selection criterion. As a consequence, breeding for improved agronomic performance in sweet corn has been limited in comparison with United States dent corn breeding efforts. The narrowness of genetic diversity within modern sweet corn germplasm suggests potential exists for yield enhancement through new heterotic combinations and introgression of sources of improved agronomic performance. The objective of this study was to examine the results of incorporating nonsweet germplasm in the development of improved temperate sweet corn cultivars. Five inbreds derived from crosses between nonsweet germplasm and temperate supersweet (shrunken2, sh2) inbreds were crossed with three temperate sh2 testers to make 15 experimental hybrids. The hybrids were evaluated in four environments with three replications per environments. Experimental entry Wh04038V × Tester2 yielded 18.1 Mg·ha−1 in 2009 and 16.6 Mg·ha−1 in 2010, significantly out-yielding the top producing commercial control, ‘Overland’, in both years. An additional six entries derived from exotic-by-temperate crosses yielded significantly more than all commercial checks in 2009. Four specific experimental entries consistently exhibited superior resistance to root lodging, northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), and Maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV) compared with ‘Marvel’ and ‘Supersweet Jubilee Plus’. Ten of the 15 experimental entries exhibited similar quality for flavor relative to ‘Marvel’ and ‘Overland’, however ‘Supersweet Jubilee Plus’ outperformed all entries for both flavor and tenderness, suggesting that while incorporation of nonsweet germplasm in sweet corn breeding programs may provide valuable contributions for yield and agronomic performance, flavor and tenderness must be carefully regarded.

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Michael W. Smith, William Reid, Becky Carroll, and Becky Cheary

Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] fruit were thinned from `Mohawk' trees in Oklahoma and `Giles' trees in Kansas with a mechanical trunk shaker. All trees bore an excessive crop load before shaking. Fruit thinning improved the kernel percentage, individual nut weight, and kernel grade of `Mohawk', but nut characteristics of `Giles' were not affected by fruit thinning. Cold injury, caused by a sudden temperature drop in November, was positively related to the percentage of fruiting shoots in both cultivars. Fruit set in 1992 was negatively related to the percentage of fruiting shoots in 1991 in both cultivars. Consistent annual fruit set could be induced in `Giles' by fruit thinning, but return fruit set in `Mohawk', even at high levels of thinning, was low. Fruit thinning reduced yield the year of thinning in both cultivars. Thus, `Mohawk' trees should be thinned so that 50% to 60% of shoots bearing fruit at mid-canopy height would remain, and `Giles' trees should be thinned similarly to 65% to 70%.

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Jason J. Griffin, William R. Reid, and Dale Bremer

Successful establishment and growth of newly planted trees in the landscape is dependent on many factors. Weed pressure and water conservation are typically achieved with either organic mulches or chemical herbicides applied over the root ball of the newly planted tree. In the landscape, eliminating turfgrass from the root zone of trees may be more complicated than resource competition. Studies have shown that tall fescue (Festucaarundinaceae Schreb.) has allelopathic properties on pecan trees [Caryaillinoiensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch]. Well-manicured tall fescue turf in the landscape may have negative effects on the establishment and growth of landscape trees as well. A study was designed to examine the effects of popular turfgrasses on the growth of newly planted pecan and redbud (Cerciscanadensis L.). Results demonstrate that the presence of turfgrass over the root zone of trees negatively impacts tree growth. Through two growing seasons, every growth parameter measured on redbuds (caliper, height, shoot growth, shoot dry weight, root dry weight, leaf area, and leaf weight) was significantly reduced by the presence of turf. However, the warm season bermudagrass [Cynodondactylon (L.) Pers.] was less inhibitied than the cool season grasses. The affects of turfgrass on pecan growth was less significant; however, caliper, leaf area, and root dry weight were significantly reduced when grown with turf.

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J. Ryan Stewart, William R. Graves, and Reid D. Landes

Can Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnuscaroliniana) persist north of its native habitat without becoming invasive? Its distribution (USDA zones 5b to 9b) suggests that genotypes vary in cold hardiness, and invasiveness of other Rhamnus sp. has been linked to unusually early budbreak each spring. Therefore, we investigated depth of cold hardiness and vernal budbreak of Carolina buckthorns from multiple provenances and made comparisons to the invasive common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Budbreak was recorded in Ames, Iowa, from 9 Apr. to 10 May 2002. Buds of common buckthorn broke earlier than those of Carolina buckthorn, and mulching plants of Carolina buckthorn hastened budbreak. Stem samples were collected in October, January, and April from a plot in Ames, Iowa (USDA zone 5a), of Carolina buckthorns from three provenances (Missouri, Ohio, and Texas) and of naturalized common buckthorns. A similar schedule was followed during the next winter, when two plot locations [Ames, Iowa, and New Franklin, Mo. (USDA zone 5b)], were compared, but Carolina buckthorns from only Missouri and Texas were sampled. Carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn survived midwinter temperatures as low as –21 °C and –24 °C, respectively. Provenance differences were minimal; Carolina buckthorns from Missouri were more hardy than those from Ohio and Texas only in April of the first winter. We conclude that its cold hardiness will permit use of Carolina buckthorn beyond where it is distributed in the southeastern United States. Delayed budbreak of Carolina buckthorn relative to that of common buckthorn may underscore the potential for Carolina buckthorn in regions with harsh winters and may lessen its potential to be as invasive as common buckthorn.

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Jason J. Griffin, William R. Reid, and Dale J. Bremer

Establishment and growth of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.) and pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] were studied where soil surfaces were either covered with each of three common turfgrass species or maintained free of vegetation by the use of an herbicide or an organic mulch layer. Turf species included two cool-season grasses, tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), and the warm-season bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.]. After two growing seasons, tree caliper of both species was 100% greater in turf-free plots compared with trees in the cool-season grass plots. Root weight of pecans increased nearly 200% when turf was eliminated, and redbud root weight increased nearly 300%. Top weight of redbuds increased 300% and pecans increased 200% when turf was eliminated. Total leaf weight of both species was 300% greater in the turf-free plots, and leaf area increased 200% in both species. Net photosynthesis of redbud trees tended to be higher in the plots without turfgrass, and cool-season grasses inhibited photosynthesis to a greater extent than the warm-season grass. Foliar tissue analysis revealed that nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) were the only elements that increased in concentration when turf was eliminated. However, nutrient concentrations in all treatments were within recommended standard ranges. The results suggest that landscape tree establishment and growth are greatly inhibited by the presence of cool-season turfgrasses and that the inhibition may be more complicated than resource competition.