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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

An energy-balance model is described that predicts vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.) shoot-tip temperature using four environmental measurements: solar radiation and dry bulb, wet bulb, and glazing material temperature. The time and magnitude of the differences between shoot-tip and air temperature were determined in greenhouses maintained at air temperatures of 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 °C. At night, shoot-tip temperature was always below air temperature. Shoot-tip temperature decreased from 0.5 to 5 °C below air temperature as greenhouse glass temperature decreased from 2 to 15 °C below air temperature. During the photoperiod under low vapor-pressure deficit (VPD) and low air temperature, shoot-tip temperature increased ≈4 °C as solar radiation increased from 0 to 600 W·m-2. Under high VPD and high air temperature, shoot-tip temperature initially decreased 1 to 2 °C at sunrise, then increased later in the morning as solar radiation increased. The model predicted shoot-tip temperatures within ±1 °C of 81% of the observed 1-hour average shoot-tip temperatures. The model was used to simulate shoot-tip temperatures under different VPD, solar radiation, and air temperatures. Since the rate of leaf and flower development are influenced by the temperature of the meristematic tissues, a model of shoot-tip temperature will be a valuable tool to predict plant development in greenhouses and to control the greenhouse environment based on a plant temperature setpoint.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effects of temperature and daily-integrated photosynthetic photon flux (PPFDI) on African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha Wendl.) flower initiation and development were quantified to provide the basis for an inflorescence development model. The percentage of leaf axils in which an inflorescence initiated and continued development increased as the PPFDI increased from 1 to 4 mol·m-2·day-1, while the rate of inflorescence development was a function of the average daily temperature (ADT). The appearance of a visible flower bud (VB) in a leaf axil was related to the growth of the subtending leaf blade. A polynomial model based on ADT and PPFDI was used to describe leaf blade length at visible bud (LBLVB). A nonlinear model was used to describe the influence of ADT on leaf expansion rate (LER). Inflorescence appearance in the leaf axil was predicted by measuring LBL and estimating the time for the leaf blade to develop to the length required for VB. A phasic-development scale was developed to quantify inflorescence development. Days required for an inflorescence to develop from VB to first open flower was described as a function of ADT and either inflorescence height or inflorescence development stage (IDS). Days from leaf emergence to first open flower for the inflorescence initiated in that leaf axil decreased from 86 to 55 as ADT increased from 18 to 26C.

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Charles L. Rohwer and Royal D. Heins

Experiments were performed on Hatiora gaertneri (Regel) Barthlott ‘Jan’ and ‘Rood’ and H. ×graeseri (Wedermann) Barthlott ‘Evita’ to determine their flowering responses to 1) daily light integral (DLI) before and during vernalization; 2) 0 to 6 weeks of short-day (SD) or long-day (LD) photoperiods before vernalization at 10, 12.5, or 15 °C; 3) propagation from April to July; 4) timing of leveling before or during inductive treatments; and 5) SD photoperiods before vernalization under darkness at 0 to 10 °C. ‘Jan’ grown under elevated DLI before vernalization and low DLI during vernalization flowered more prolifically than plants grown under low DLI before vernalization or high DLI during vernalization at 15 °C. Six weeks of SD photoperiods before vernalization increased the number of buds per flowering phylloclade after vernalization at 10 °C and increased flowering uniformity when vernalization duration was insufficient at 10 °C or vernalization temperature was 12.5 or 15 °C. For plants flowering in January, propagation the previous April produced better flowering than propagation in May, June, or July. Removal of apical phylloclades during prevernalization SD or during vernalization was deleterious to flowering. Vernalization in the dark produced marginal flowering, but SD treatment before vernalization increased the percentage of apical phylloclades flowering, buds per flowering apical phylloclade, and percentage of plants flowering after dark vernalization. ‘Evita’ flowered more poorly than either ‘Jan’ or ‘Rood’. Collectively, the most uniform flowering in January occurred when plants were exposed to a sequence of 4 to 6 weeks of SD, vernalization at 7.5 to 15 °C for 8 weeks, then growth under LD for 7 weeks.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Quantum sensors were placed at plant canopy height inside and outside a glass greenhouse. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) was measured during September for a 3-hour period near sunrise and sunset, which were determined from US Naval Observatory Circular #171. Under clear skies, the PPF at the canopy exceeded 0.25 μmol·m-2·s-1 for nearly 20 minutes before sunrise through 20 minutes after sunset. Under heavy overcast, the duration was only 5 minutes before sunrise through 5 minutes after sunset. The PPF at the canopy reached 0.25 μmol·m-2·s-1 approximately 12 minutes later in the morning and 12 minutes earlier in the evening than it did outside the greenhouse. The length of the dark period perceived by plants in a greenhouse on September 21st (assuming plants perceive light at 0.25 μmol·m-2·s-1) can range from 11:37 (hr:min) during cloudy conditions to 11:15 during clear ones, a difference of 22 minutes. At 43°N latitude, the maximum difference in date of flower initiation because of an extended period of heavily overcast versus clear weather on a crop such as poinsettias would be one week since the night length during September increases by 3 minutes per day. The actual difference from year to year is probably less because a seven-day duration of heavily overcast weather is unlikely.

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John E. Erwin and Royal D. Heins

Day (DT) and night temperatures (NT) influenced Lilium longiflorum Thunb. `Nellie White' stem elongation and development rate from the visible bud stage (VB) until anthesis. Plant height increase after VB was a function of the difference (DIF) between DT and NT (DT-NT). Plant height increased 90% as DIF increased from - 16 to 16C. A cubic model described bud development rate as a function of temperature from 14 to 30C. A linear model adequately described bud development rate as a function of average daily temperature from 14 to 21C. Based on the linear model, bud development rate increased 0.05 per day for each 1C increase in average daily temperature. The base temperature for bud development, i.e., the temperature at which bud development rate was 0, was calculated as 3.5C.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Dendranthema ×grandiflorm (Ramat.) Kitamura `Powerhouse' plants were pinched to five nodes and grown in growth chambers at 35C day temperature (DT) and 14,17,21,24, or 27C night temperature (NT) to determine if NT influenced lateral shoot development on plants exposed to high DT. Vegetative cuttings were removed from two successive flushes of lateral shoots and evaluated for lateral shoot development after rooting and subsequent apex removal. Lateral shoot development was determined on a third flush of shoots that developed on the stock plants. The percentage of nodes that developed lateral shoots on stock plants or vegetative cuttings was not related to NT. The percentage of first-order, second-order, and third-order axillary nodes that developed a lateral shoot on the stock plants, averaged over all NT, was 76, 65, and 12, respectively. The percentage of nodes that developed lateral shoots on the first-order and second-order cuttings was 29 and 19, respectively. We concluded that cool NT were ineffective in preventing a decrease in lateral branching on plants grown under high (35C) DT conditions.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effects of supplemental lighting on vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.) plant temperature were quantified in greenhouses maintained at air temperatures of 15. 25, and 35C. High-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps delivering 100 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF provided 73 W · m-2 of total radiation (400 to 50,000 nm) to lighted plants. Plant shoot-tip temperature was measured by using 40-gauge thermocouples. Relative to air temperature, plant shoot-tip temperature depended on the irradiance and vapor-pressure deficit (VPD). Irrespective of VPD, the additional irradiance absorbed by plants under the HPS lamps increased plant temperature 1 to 2°C. Under relatively low VPD conditions (1 kPa), plant temperature was greater than air temperature, while under high VPD conditions (4 to 5 kPa), temperature of both lighted and unlighted plants remained below air temperature throughout the day. Temperature of lighted plants however, remained 1 to 2°C above that of unlighted plants. Analysis of a degree-day model of vinca development showed hastened development associated with supplemental lighting could be explained by increased plant temperature rather than any specific photosynthetic effect.

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Paul R. Fisher and Royal D. Heins

A methodology based on process-control approaches used in industrial production is introduced to control the height of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima L.). Graphical control charts of actual vs. target process data are intuitive and easy to use, rapidly identify trends, and provide a guideline to growers. Target reference values in the poinsettia height control chart accommodate the biological and industrial constraints of a stemelongation model and market specifications, respectively. A control algorithm (proportional-derivative control) provides a link between the control chart and a knowledge-based or expert computer system. A knowledge-based system can be used to encapsulate research information and production expertise and provide management recommendations to growers.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Axillary buds of African violet develop vegetative shoots or reproductive inflorescences. Vegetative axillary development results in a multiple-shoot plant and reduces plant quality. We determined the effect of temperature and plantlet size on axillary bud development. Plantlets were removed from leaf cuttings, graded according to stem diameter, directly stuck into pots 10 cm in diameter, and placed in greenhouses at 18, 22, or 26C. Vegetative development was related to temperature, plantlet size, and nodal position. The number of vegetative axillary shoots per plant decreased from 3.7 to 1.3; that of leaves per vegetative axillary shoot decreased from 10.3 to 4.8 as temperature increased from 18 to 26C. The eight to 10 basipetal nodes developed vegetative shoots or were devoid of axillary development. The percentage of leaf axils in which inflorescences developed increased from 14 on node eight to 100 on nodes 12 and higher. The larger plantlets at the time of transplant had 20% fewer vegetative axillary shoots, whereas reproductive inflorescence development was not affected by plantlet size.

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Keith A. Funnell and Royal D. Heins

The postharvest quality of potted Asiflorum lily `Donau' (Lilium hybrid) was evaluated after plants were sprayed with 0, 50, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (BA equivalent) of Promalin (GA4+7 to BA ratio was 1:1) or Accel (GA4+7 to BA ratio 1:10) and stored at 2 to 3 °C for 0, 10, or 20 days. As storage was prolonged, more leaves senesced once plants were removed for evaluation. Leaf senescence declined with increasing concentrations of either Promalin or Accel, but Promalin was more effective. Application of 250 mg·L-1 Promalin completely eliminated leaf senescence over the 20-day shelf-life evaluation period, irrespective of duration of cold storage. The treatments did not affect flower bud opening or plant height. Chemical names used: gibberellin (GA4+7); benzyladenine (BA).