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Reeser C. Manley and Rita L. Hummel

The index of injury (It) and tissue ionic conductance (gTi) formulas for analyzing electrolyte leakage data from freeze-stressed tissues of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group) were compared. The two formulas produced similar results in calculating the relative freezing responses of stem pith, lamina, and petiole tissues. Disagreement occurred only with lamina tissues when the magnitude of ion leakage was low. Vital staining of pith and petiole tissues with triphenyl tetrazolium chloride indicated that the tissue TK50 (the temperature resulting in 50% injury), derived from It data, was a reliable indicator of the freeze-killing point. These results support the use of the simpler It method for analyzing electrolyte leakage data in studies of cabbage freezing tolerance.

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Rita L. Hummel and Patrick P. Moore

The roles of freeze avoidance and freeze tolerance in determining strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) flower freeze resistance were compared in laboratory freeze tests. Genotype, freezing point depression of expressed cell sap, and flower size were examined as potential sources of variation in freeze resistance. When ice was added as a nucleator to excised flowers, mean freeze damage was 97% at -3.0 °C, but in the absence of ice, flowers appeared to supercool and had only 15% damage at -4.0 °C. Without nucleation, cultivar differences in freeze damage were significant in three of four freezing temperatures, but the relative ranking of cultivar freeze damage was not consistent across temperatures. Cultivars that sustained the least amount of injury at -4 °C, were not necessarily the least injured at -7 °C. With an ice nucleator, damage occurred at warmer temperatures (-1.5 °C), but there was no relationship between percentage damage at -1.5 °C with nucleation and -4 °C without nucleation across cultivars. Freezing-point depression of expressed cell sap did not account for the variation in freeze resistance. In nucleated and nonnucleated treatments, larger flowers were more likely to be freeze damaged. Results of this research suggest that flowers of all cultivars are susceptible to freeze damage and survive spring frosts by freeze avoidance.

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Rita L. Hummel, Shiou Kuo, Diane Winters, and Eric Jellum

A fish waste/hemlock-fi r sawdust compost (FWC) was evaluated as a container growth medium and N source for the greenhouse production of marigold (Tagetes patula `Queen Sophia') and geranium (Pelargonium xhortorum `Sprinter Scarlet') in 10-cm containers. Treatments were a factorial set of three Douglasfir bark (B)/three FWC mixtures (100% FWC; 50% FWC/50% B; 100% B) and three rates of N fertilizer (0, 300 and 600 ppm N) applied every 2 weeks. After the initial irrigation, plants were drip-irrigated to negate leaching from the containers.

Weekly measurements of leachate conductivity, pH, and inorganic N were made on additional replications of the 0-ppm N plants in all growing media. Plant height and width were measured at 2-week intervals and, at the end of the production cycle, flower number, shoot fresh and dry weight, visual quality, and root dry weight were measured. The growing medium by N interaction was significant for all variables. Results indicated that plants receiving 0 ppm N in 100% FWC were larger and of higher quality than plants in 100% B receiving 600 ppm N. In 100% FWC, marigold shoot growth, dry weight, and quality were not influenced by N rate. The observed geranium and marigold growth response indicated that FWC was an effective N source and growing medium when leaching was minimized with drip irrigation.

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Rita L. Hummel, Craig Cogger, Andy Bary, and Robert Riley

Composts made from organic wastes have the potential to substitute for peat and bark as components of container growth substrates. Composts for this research were produced in small-scale aerobic bins using biosolids blended with construction debris, storm debris, or horse waste in a 1:3 (v:v ratio). The composts were screened and blended 1:1 (v:v) with douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) bark to produce substrates. They were compared with a peat–perlite control substrate, a biosolids blend control substrate, and substrates made from a commercial biosolids compost mixed 1:1 with bark and from fiber from an anaerobic digester (dairy manure and food waste) mixed 1:1 with bark. Chemical and physical properties of the substrates were measured before transplanting, and growth, quality, and leaf color of ‘Little Hero Flame’ marigold (Tagetes patula) and ‘Golden California Wonder’ bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) were measured in a replicated greenhouse study comparing the substrates at two rates of nitrogen (N) application. The experimental biosolids composts-bark substrates performed similar to the peat–perlite and biosolids blend controls for growing marigold and pepper. The commercial biosolids compost mixed with bark did not perform as well as the experimental substrates or the controls. Digester fiber-bark was intermediate between commercial biosolids compost-bark and other treatments. Higher N rates improved plant growth and quality across all container substrates in pepper, but had fewer significant effects on marigold. Experimental substrates were coarser texture than the peat–perlite or biosolids blend controls, resulting in higher aeration porosity (AP) and lower water-holding capacity (WHC), but performed well nonetheless under the drip irrigation used in this study. Using locally sourced organic waste materials as container substrates can help capture value from organic wastes and contribute to the sustainability of nursery production practices.

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Rita L. Hummel, Marianne Elliott, Gary Chastagner, Robert E. Riley, Kathy Riley, and Annie DeBauw

Growth and susceptibility of evergreen Rhododendron ‘English Roseum’, ‘Cunningham’s White’, and ‘Compact P.J.M.’ to Phytophthora ramorum in response to biweekly nitrogen (N) fertilizer application at rates of 25, 75, and 150 mg N per 11.4-L container was evaluated during two growing seasons. At the end of both growing seasons, horticultural evaluation of the different plants showed that 150 mg N-fertilized cultivars had superior shoot growth, visual quality, leaf color, and the highest leaf N concentration, whereas the 25-mg N cultivars were inferior for these characteristics. Plants fertilized with the 75-mg N rate were typically intermediate to the 150- and 25-mg N plants for the measured characteristics. During the first growing season, the number of flower buds on ‘Cunningham’s White’ and ‘English Roseum’ was not influenced by N rate but the second season bud numbers increased with increasing N fertilizer. Foliar susceptibility to P. ramorum was influenced by N fertilizer application rates in the most susceptible cultivars, ‘English Roseum’ and ‘Cunningham’s White’, in which lesion size and infection frequency both increased at higher N rates. The results were variable in ‘Compact P.J.M.’, the most resistant cultivar.