Marketable size plants of sweet viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum Ker-Gawl.), waxleaf ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.), and azalea (Rhododendron spp. L. `Southern Charm') grown in 11.4-L containers were irrigated with overhead impact sprinklers at container spacings ranging from 0 to 51 cm apart. Water reaching the substrate surface was quantified and the percentage of that applied calculated as percent capture (% capture). Percent capture is defined as the percentage of water falling above the plant within a projected vertical cylinder of a container that reaches the substrate surface. For all species, % capture increased linearly with the decline in adjacent canopy interaction, which results from canopies extending beyond the diameter of a container. Increases in total leaf area or leaf area outside the cylinder of a container, in conjunction with increasing distance between containers, were significantly (P < 0.05) correlated with increases in % capture for ligustrum and viburnum. Increases in % capture partially compensated for decreases in percentage of production area occupied by viburnum containers as distances between containers increased, but not for the other two species. Under commercial conditions, optimal irrigation efficiency would be achieved when plants are grown at the minimum spacing required for commercial quality. This spacing should not extend beyond the point where canopies become isolated.
Richard C. Beeson Jr. and Thomas H. Yeager
Thomas H. Yeager and Richard C. Beeson Jr.
Rain drop momentum, based on the height from which it falls, is an important factor in drop penetration of plant canopy. This may explain why nursery operators report that substrates appear wetter from rain than from an equivalent amount of water applied with overhead irrigation. We investigated the influence of irrigation nozzle height on amount of water captured by Rhododendron sp. `Formosa' grown in 10-liter containers. A Wobbler® (#8, 7.6 liters·min–1) irrigation nozzle was positioned 1.2, 2.4, 3.6, 4.8, or 6.0 m above grade. Plants were placed in a circle 3.6 m from the riser base for the 1.2-m-high nozzle, 4.5 m from riser base for the 2.4-m-high nozzle, and 5.4 m from riser base for all other heights and irrigated for 3 hours. Preweighed disposable diapers were placed on substrate surface of each container with and without (control) plants. Diapers were weighed after irrigation and water captured was calculated and expressed as percentage of control containers. Capture increased from 144% at 1.2 m to 178% at 3.6 m then declined with increasing height. The decline was likely due to small drops with low momentum striking plants because plants remained 5.4 m from the riser base.
Richard C. Beeson Jr. and Jianjun Chen
Bromeliads are important ornamental foliage plants, but until now, their daily water use during production was unknown. Using a canopy closure model developed for container-grown woody ornamental plants, in this study we investigated actual evapotranspiration (ETA) of Guzmania ‘Irene’ and Vriesea ‘Carly’ from tissue-cultured liners grown in 15-cm containers to marketable sizes in a shaded greenhouse. The mean daily ETA of Guzmania ‘Irene’ ranged from 4.02 to 66.35 mL per plant, and the mean cumulative ETA was 16.66 L over a 95-week production period. The mean daily ETA of Vriesea ‘Carly’ varied from 3.98 to 59.89 mL per plant, and the mean cumulative ETA was 15.52 L over the same production period as the Guzmania cultivar. The best-fit models for predicting daily ETA of the two bromeliads were developed, which had correlation coefficients (r 2) of 0.79 for Guzmania ‘Irene’ and 0.68 for Vriesea ‘Carly’. The success in the model of ETA for both bromeliads suggested that the canopy closure model was equally applicable to container-grown ornamental foliage plants produced in greenhouse conditions. The daily ETA and cumulative ETA values represent research-based information on water requirements, and, when applied, could improve irrigation practices in bromeliad production. This study also showed that roots per se of the two epiphytic bromeliads were able to absorb water and nutrients from a peat-based container substrate and support their complete life cycles.
Dilma Daniela Silva, Michael E. Kane, and Richard C. Beeson Jr.
Although effects of irrigation frequency and volumes on overall plant establishment and growth have been reported, previous research has not examined how intermittent exposure to substrate water limitation affects partitioning of growth between root tips and buds and how this influences episodic growth patterns. The research presented here examines these effects on Ligustrum japonicum during the establishment period. Plants were exposed to two irrigation treatments: short wetting and drying cycles (SC, 2 days) and long wetting and drying cycles (LC, 7 days). Intermittent water limitations (LC) resulted in new shoot dry mass reductions of ≈28% compared with well-irrigated counterparts, particularly diminishing leaf growth. Water limitation effects on root-to-shoot ratio were dependent on plant growth stage. LC increased root-to-shoot ratios only when plants were at shoot flush, resulting in poor correlations (r = 0.53) between this ratio and differential percent volumetric water content, which was directly influenced by irrigation frequency. Patterns of shoot and root growth varied considerably between these clonal plants, which may be an important consideration on analyses of populations of woody plants. Large periods of episodic growth were not observed for most of the experimental period, but only after plant establishment. Root growth was similar in both treatments and there was no clear arresting of root growth during the experimental period. SC plants started bud expansion earlier than LC and had more shoot flushes and cumulative shoot growing points. A 7-day irrigation cycle was sufficient to establish two-year-old L. japonicum plants; however, shoot growth was less pronounced than root growth compared with plants irrigated on a 2-day cycle.
Dilma Daniela Silva, Richard C. Beeson Jr., and Michael E. Kane
Bud outgrowth dynamics and their implications for shoot architecture were examined in japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum) plants under well-irrigated [short irrigation cycle (SC)] and water-limitation [long irrigation cycle (LC)] conditions. New buds had limited sensitivity to dormancy, whereas preformed buds required more than one growing season to outgrow naturally. The first spring flush of shoot growth was mostly the result of lateral bud outgrowth, whereas latter flushes had prominent contributions of new apex buds. First flush terminal stems had mainly determinate growth (episodic). First flush lateral stems had increased occurrence of indeterminate growth (continuous). Water limitation influenced shoot architecture by enhancing apical dominance. Lateral branching was diminished 51% in LC plants compared with SC plants. As plants adapted to the stress imposed, indeterminate growth was triggered more often in meristematic regions of terminal buds of LC plants. In shoot flushes that occurred later in the stress treatment, old buds burst more frequently than the newly formed apex lateral buds. Plants under SC were more compact and better formed as an inverse triangle, whereas plants under LC had considerably less new branches and instead had long branches that would require pruning to maintain aesthetically pleasing shapes.
S.M. Scheiber, Richard C. Beeson Jr, and Sudeep Vyapari
Pentas lanceolata Schum. ‘New Look Red’ plants were grown in compost-amended, mined field clay-amended, or unamended sand soils in drainage lysimeters to evaluate growth, aesthetic quality, and irrigation requirements. Treatments were evaluated with irrigation controlled by tensiometers set to irrigate back to near field capacity when plant-available water in each soil declined to 50%. Compost-amended soils had greater (P < 0.05) mean shoot dry weight, total biomass, shoot-to-root ratios, growth indices, and landscape quality than other amendment treatments. Unamended soils and clay-amended treatments were comparable for all plant parameters. Total irrigation volumes applied were similar among treatments. Compost-amended soils yielded larger canopies, improved quality, and tended toward less cumulative irrigation. Clay amendment was not beneficial.
Sudeep Vyapari*, S.M. Scheiber, and Richard C. Beeson Jr.
During Fall 2003, a study was conducted to determine the effect of soil amendments on growth and response of Pentas lanceolata `New Look Red' in the landscape. Pentas were grown in 250L drainage lysimeters in an open-sided clear polyethylene covered shelter filled with local top soil (Apopka fine sand). The treatments used were non-amended top soil (control) and soil amended with either compost (5% by volume) or clay (5% by volume) in the top 15 cm. Best Management Practices were followed. Irrigation frequency and rate were regulated using a tensiometer-controlled automatic irrigation system. When plant available water in each soil type had declined to 70% or less, the plants were irrigated back to field capacity. Data were recorded on initial and final growth indices, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight. Final growth indices between control and soil amended with compost were not different; however, growth in the clay-based soil was significantly less than the compost-based soil type. The mean shoot dry weight (77.2 g) produced from plants in compost amended soil type was significantly higher than either control (57.45 g) or clay amended (54.92 g) soil types. No significant differences were found for either initial growth indices or root dry weight among the three treatments.
Sloane M. Scheiber, Richard C. Beeson Jr., and Sudeep Vyapari
Root ball slicing is often recommended for root-bound woody ornamentals to promote new root development during establishment in the landscape. It is a common practice among gardeners, but not necessarily landscapers, to disrupt root-bound annuals during transplant. However, little if any evidence exists for such practices. Therefore, this study evaluated the effect of root ball condition of annual bedding plants on landscape establishment and growth. Begoniasemperflorens were transplanted from 0.72-L (#1) containers into field plots in an open-sided clear polyethylene covered shelter and managed with Best Management Practices. Three root ball conditions were evaluated: non root-bound (6-week-old plants), root-bound (10-week-old plants), and root-bound with the bottom 1 cm of the root ball removed. Shoot and root dry masses and growth indices were collected weekly for 12 weeks and evaluated relative to root ball condition by linear regression analysis. Nonroot-bound plants had significantly greater biomass, growth indices, height, and root dry weights than the other treatments tested. No significant differences were found between root-bound and manipulated root-bound plants for any parameter examined. The data indicate that the practice of disrupting root-bound plants has no benefit on establishment or growth of annual bedding plants in the landscape.
Dilma Silva, Donald Cox, and Richard C. Beeson Jr
Isolation of plant roots from soil or substrate for biomass measurement is time-consuming and can be a limiting factor influencing experimental designs, especially with mature woody plants. An electric-powered root separator was developed that sped sample preparation for root dry mass determination with a capacity of 40 L of container substrate or 32 kg of sandy soil. No water was required for machine operation and an estimated fourfold reduction in total processing time was achieved. Extent of root recovery was quantified by processing five woody plant species grown in two different container substrates and in soil, resulting in a minimum yield of 98%.
Juan Chen, Nianhe Xia, Xiaoming Wang, Richard C. Beeson Jr., and Jianjun Chen
Ploidy levels and genome sizes have significant implications in plant evolution and crop improvement. Species of Lonicera L. have long been cultivated as medicinal, ornamental crops, or both. However, chromosome numbers, karyotypes, and DNA contents have only been documented in a few species, of which some controversies regarding basic chromosome numbers and karyotypes remain. This study analyzed the chromosome numbers and karyomorphology of 11 cultivars across four species and also the DNA content of 10 cultivars representing six species of Lonicera. Among them, the chromosome numbers of nine cultivars are reported for the first time. Results showed that the basic chromosome number of x = 9 was constant, and chromosome numbers of 2n = 18, 27, 36, or 54 were observed, suggesting that polyploidy exists in the genus. Five cultivars are diploid with 2n = 18; one cultivar is triploid, four are tetraploid, and one is hexaploid. The karyotypes of all studied cultivars are 3B or 3A, except Lonicera sempervirens ‘Crimson Cascade’ that is 2B based on the Stebbins’ asymmetry classification of karyotypes. The asymmetry index (A1) values vary from 0.47 to 0.60. The chromosome lengths range from 0.77 to 4.09 μm. Total karyotype lengths differ from 33.55 to 78.71 μm. The 1C-value of 10 cultivars varies 3-fold, ranging from 1.158 to 3.664 pg. Information gathered from this study could be valuable for improving breeding efficiency in the development of new cultivars of Lonicera with enhanced medicinal, ornamental value, or both.