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Laurence C. Pallez and John M. Dole

The purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca) has commercial potential as a potted plant due to its attractive purple foliage, if the malodorous flowers can be avoided. Plants were treated with seven concentrations of ethephon, three photoperiodic durations, three light intensities, and combinations of photoperiod and light intensity to inhibit flowering. Although foliar application of ethephon at 1200 to 4800 ppm (μL·L-1) completely inhibited flowering of purple velvet plants, plants were stunted and cutting harvest was impossible. Flowering was promoted at lower application rates of 150 to 300 ppm (μL·L-1). An 8-hour photoperiod increased plant quality and plants had the largest vegetative shoot number and the brightest purple color, compared to 12 or 16-hour photoperiods. All of the shoots were reproductive under the 16-hour photoperiod. Increasing the shade level from 0 to 60% (790 μmol·m-2·s-1 to 230 μmol·m-2·s-1) increased the number of vegetative shoots at 74 and 108 days after treatment commenced but reduced the total number of shoots by 28% at day 108. Plants grown under60% shade and short days had 94% vegetative shoots 102 days after placement in treatment. Growing plants under 8-hour photoperiod and 60% shade from fall to spring is recommended to maintain vegetative stock plants and produce high quality marketable plants. Chemical names used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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John M. Dole, Janet C. Cole, and Randall M. Smith

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Gutbier V-14 Glory'), chrysanthemums (Dendranthema grandiflora 'Tara') and geraniums (Pelargonium xhortorum 'Orbit') were grown using various ratios of controlled release:constant liquid fertilization as a percentage of recommended rates (%CRF:%CLF). While plants grown under the 100:0 CRF:CLF regime produced significantly less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than 0:100 or 50:50 CRF:CLF, quality rating, plant diameter, and leaf, bract and flower dry weight of poinsettias and chrysanthemums were reduced. Geraniums grown under 100:0, 50:50 or 0:100 CRF:CLF regimes were similar in quality rating, height, diameter, dry weights and days to anthesis. Poinsettias and chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF were similar in height, days to anthesis, plant diameter, flower and stem dry weights and quality rating but produced less nitrates, phosphates and total soluble salts in the leachate than plants grown under 0:100 CRF:CLF. However, chrysanthemums grown under 50:50 CRF:CLF had lower leaf and root dry weights and poinsettias had lower leaf and bract dry weights than under 0:100 CRF:CLF regime.

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Erin P. Moody, John M. Dole, and Jared Barnes

Various postharvest procedures were conducted on several rose (Rosa hybrida) cultivars to determine the effects on vase life, water uptake, change in fresh weight, stage of opening, and vase life termination criteria. Vase life was influenced by cultivar and vase solution. Commercial preservative solutions resulted in a longer vase life, smaller decrease in fresh weight than the controls, and smaller increase in water uptake. Vase life of nine cultivars in distilled water ranged from a low of 7.1 days for Queen 2000 to a high of 15.3 days for Forever Young. Flower termination criteria were also cultivar specific with Black Baccara, Classy, and Charlotte most prone to bent neck and blackening of petal tips. Exogenous ethylene at 0.4 or 4.0 μL·L−1 did not affect vase life but lowered water uptake. Application of the antiethylene agent silver thiosulfate (STS) at 0.2 mm concentration significantly improved vase life in five out of the nine cultivars (Anna, Charlotte, First Red, Freedom, and Konfetti) tested, but 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 740 nL·L−1 did not improve vase life over the control. Both vase life and water uptake were reduced when more than one stem was placed in a vase; placing 10 stems in a vase shortened vase life by 1.4 days and impeded water uptake by up to 10.6 mL/stem per day. Increasing the amount of time stems remained dry before placing in a vase reduced vase life, but recutting immediately before placing in a vase minimized the decline. Increasing the amount of stem cut off the base up to 10 cm increased vase life.

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Carlma B. Bratcher, John M. Dole, and Janet C. Cole

The effect of cold on germination rate, percentage and range of five cut flowers was investigated: Baptisia australis (Wild Blue Indigo), Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Helianthus maximilianii (Maximillian Sunflower), Solidago petiolaris (Spike Goldenrod), and Vernonia missurica (lronweed). Viability was determined for the species using TTC staining and germination based on percent viable seed. Seeds were given 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks of cold at 5°C. Increasing weeks of cold decreased days to germination in all five species, with Baptisia demonstrating the greatest effect. The germination percent increased as weeks of cold increased in all five species, but was most significant in Helianthus and Vernonia. Days from first to last germinating seed was significantly decreased in all five species as weeks of cold increased. Four weeks of cold was optimum for Echinacea and Vernonia, while optimum weeks of cold for Helianthus and Solidago was six weeks and Baptisia ten weeks.

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Carlma B. Bratcher, John M. Dole, and Janet C. Cole

The germination responses of wild blue indigo [Baptisia australis (L.) R. Br.], purple coneflower [Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench.], Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani Schrad.), spike goldenrod (Solidago petiolaris Ait.), and Missouri ironweed (Vernonia missurica Raf.) seeds after 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks of stratification at 5C were investigated. Seed viability was determined using triphenyl tetrazolium chloride staining and germination based on the percentage of viable seeds. Germination percentage (GP) increased in all five species as weeks of stratification increased. Days to first germination and germination range (days from first to last germinating seed) decreased with increasing weeks of stratification, but the effect beyond 4 to 6 weeks was minimal. The number of weeks of stratification for maximum GP was 4 for purple coneflower, 6 for Maximilian sunflower, 8 for Missouri ironweed, and 10 for wild blue indigo and spike goldenrod.

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Uttara C. Samarakoon, James E. Faust, and John M. Dole

Vegetatively propagated unrooted cuttings are typically imported to the United States from Central America. Death or damage of cuttings during shipping and propagation can be reduced if cuttings can be made more resistant to external forces, such as physical damage or pathogen infection. However, strategies to develop durable cuttings via treating stock plants have not been previously quantified in controlled studies. During the current study, mechanical strength of leaves and resistance to infection by Botrytis cinerea were evaluated after weekly applications of calcium chloride (CaCl2) as a foliar spray to stock plants that delivered calcium (Ca) at the concentrations of 0, 400, or 800 mg·L−1. A texture analyzer quantified the peak force required to fracture the leaf and the work of penetration,or area under the force–displacement curve, and these measurements were indicators of mechanical strength. For poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) cuttings at the time of harvest from the stock plant, work of penetration increased by 10% with the application of 800 mg·L−1 Ca compared with the control, whereas peak force by 9%. For zonal geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey), work of penetration increased 15% with the application of 800 mg·L−1 Ca compared with the control. Calcium concentration in the leaves increased from 1.2% to 2.0% in geranium and from 1.0% to 1.6% in poinsettia with increasing application from 0 to 800 mg·L−1 Ca. In poinsettia, disease incidence in response to inoculation with B. cinerea spores was 55% and 15% less with CaCl2 applications compared with controls with water and surfactant, respectively, whereas CaCl2 application to geranium did not affect disease incidence.

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John M. Dole, Zenaida Viloria, Frankie L. Fanelli, and William Fonteno

Vase life of ‘Karma Thalia’ dahlia (Dahlia ×hybrida), ‘Lace Violet’ linaria (Linaria maroccana), ‘Sunrise’ lupine (Lupinus hartwegii ssp. cruickshankii), ‘Temptress’ poppy (Papaver nudicaule), ‘Indian Summer’ rudbeckia (Rudbeckia ×hybrida), ‘Jemmy Royal Purple’ trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ and ‘Sun Gold’ zinnias (Zinnia elegans) was determined after being subjected to postharvest handling procedures. Cut dahlia, lupine, poppy, rudbeckia, trachelium, and ‘Sun Gold’ and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia flowers could be held in unamended tap or deionized (DI) water with no effect on vase life. Vase life of linaria was longest when placed in DI water with 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate and a solution pH of 3.5. A vase solution of 2% sucrose without foam extended consumer vase lives for linaria, trachelium, and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia. Floral foam or 2% or 4% sucrose had no effect on the consumer vase life of dahlia, lupine, rudbeckia, and poppy. Trachelium and rudbeckia did not tolerate a 20% sucrose treatment for 24 h, whereas linaria and ‘Benary's Giant Scarlet’ zinnia had a longer vase life with a 10% sucrose pulse than a water-only pulse. For trachelium, the longest (17.5 days) consumer vase life occurred when the Chrysal Professional 2 Processing solution (CP2) was used after pretreatment with DI water. Either of two commercial holding solutions, CP2 or Floralife Professional (FLP), similarly extended the vase life of linaria. The use of FLP or CP2 improved consumer vase life of dahlia, lupine, and poppy compared with DI water. Dahlia, trachelium, and zinnia flowers could not be cold stored at 2 °C. Lupine and poppy could be stored at 2 °C wet or dry for 2 weeks. Linaria and rudbeckia could be cold stored for 3 weeks. Lupine and trachelium were susceptible to 1 μL·L−1 exogenous ethylene, which induced floret abscission in lupine and stopped floret opening in trachelium. 1-Methylcyclopropene and silver thiosulfate similarly suppressed the ethylene effect. Cut linaria, zinnia, dahlia, rudbeckia, and poppy flowers were unaffected by exogenous ethylene.

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Jaime K. Morvant, John M. Dole, and Janet C. Cole

Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey `Pinto Red' plants were fertilized with equal amounts of N, P, and K derived from: 1) 100% constant liquid fertilization (CLF); 2) 50% CLF plus 50% controlled-release fertilizer (CRF); or 3) 100% CRF per pot and irrigated using hand (HD), microtube (MT), ebb-and-flow (EF), or capillary mat (CM) irrigation systems. The treatment receiving 100% CRF produced greater total dry weights, and released lower concentrations of NO3-N, NH4-N, and PO4-P in the run-off than the 100% CLF treatment. The percentage of N lost as run-off was greatly reduced with the use of CRF. MT irrigation produced the greatest plant growth and HD irrigation produced the least. The EF system was the most water efficient, with only 4.7% of water lost as run-off. Combining the water-efficient EF system with the nutrient-efficient CRF produced the greatest percentage of N retained by plants and medium (90.7) and the lowest percentage of N lost in the run-off (1.7).

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Alicain S. Carlson, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are used to control excessive plant growth in potted crops to improve quality and compactness for shipping and display. Pineapple lily (Eucomis sp.), a recent introduction to the potted crop market, can have excessive foliage growth and inflorescence height making the use of PGRs desirable. Bulbs of ‘Leia’ pineapple lily were forced in the greenhouse and drenched at leaf whorl emergence with three PGRs at five different concentrations: 1) flurprimidol (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg per 6.5-inch pot), 2) uniconazole (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/pot), or 3) paclobutrazol (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot) and an untreated control. As concentration increased, days to anthesis increased and foliage height decreased for each PGR. Paclobutrazol (4.0 and 8.0 mg/pot), uniconazole (4.0 mg/pot), and flurprimidol (2.0 and 4.0 mg/pot) treatments resulted in excessive stunting with none of the plants being marketable. Flurprimidol had the greatest influence on plant growth among all the PGRs. Acceptable concentrations for each PGR are paclobutrazol at 0.5 to 2.0 mg/pot, uniconazole at 0.25 to 2.0 mg/pot, and flurprimidol at 0.5 to 1.0 mg/pot based on percentage of marketable plants and foliage and inflorescence height suppression without excessively increasing the number of days to anthesis.

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Ben A. Bergmann, John M. Dole, and Ingram McCall

Increasing cut stem length and reducing crop production time are producers’ goals for numerous cut flower species. One or both of these aims was met in several field-grown cultivars through foliar application of gibberellic acid (GA3), but effectiveness varied by cultivar, application rate, and timing. Of the 13 cultivars tested, stem length was increased in nine cultivars [Toreador Red celosia (Celosia argentea), Camelot White foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Imperial Giants Pink Perfection larkspur (Larkspur hybrids), Compliment mix lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), Nippon Taka ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), Amazon Neon Duo and Bouquet Purple sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), Summer Pastels yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Benary’s Giant Scarlet zinnia (Zinnia elegans)], and time to harvest was decreased in four cultivars [High Tide White ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), lobelia, ornamental pepper, and zinnia], when GA3 was applied as a foliar spray. Concentrations of 400, 800, and 1600 mg·L−1 GA3 were most effective. Application of GA3 resulted in malformed or smaller flowers or lighter green foliage in foxglove, lobelia, sweet william, and zinnia. In most cases, only one application was tested, and greatest response to GA3 was observed during 3–6 weeks post application. Gibberellic acid did not influence stem length in three cultivars [High Tide White ageratum, Aurora Deep Purple delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), and Column Lilac Lavender stock (Matthiola incana)], and decreased flower stem length in one cultivar (High Tide Blue ageratum). Four cultivars were identified as good candidates for further research given their promising responses to GA3 treatments.