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Laurence C. Pallez, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Days from sowing to anthesis were significantly different among six sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) cultivars and ranged from 52 days for `Big Smile' to 87 days for `Pacino'. Height ranged from 13.5 cm for `Big Smile' to 37.3 cm for `Pacino'. Postproduction life ranged from 10 days for `Pacino' and `Elf' to 15 days for `Big Smile'. Postproduction quality ratings (1 to 5, with 5 the best) ranged from 3.9 to 5 after 5 days and 1 to 4.2 after 10 days. Quality ratings after 15 days were not significantly different among cultivars, because few plants were marketable at 15 days. Increasing the number of plants per pot from one to three or five reduced number of days to anthesis and postproduction life. Pot sizes of 10-, 13-, or 15-cm diameter, had no influence on production or postproduction characteristics. Promalin (62.5 to 500.0 mg·L–1) was not commercially useful in extending postproduction life. Two cultivars were found to be most suitable for pot production, `Pacino' and `Teddy Bear', with one plant per 15-cm pot and sprayed with B-Nine at 8000 mg·L–1.

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W. Roland Leatherwood, John M. Dole, and James E. Faust

Ethephon [(2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid] is used to increase stock plant cutting productivity through increased flower and flower bud abscission and branching. However, ethylene evolution resulting from ethephon application is suspected to cause leaf abscission of unrooted cuttings during shipping. It was the objective of this study to assess ethylene evolution from ethephon-treated cuttings during storage and shipping of unrooted cuttings. Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull ‘Sonic Red’ and ‘Sonic White’ stock plants were treated with 0, 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1 ethephon. Cuttings were harvested from 1 to 21 days later and each harvest was stored at 20 °C in sealed jars for 24 h before ethylene measurement. Higher ethephon doses resulted in greater ethylene generation. Cuttings harvested 1 day after treatment with 0, 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1 ethephon evolved 0.07, 1.3, 1.7, or 5.8 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene in the first 24 h of storage at 20 °C, respectively. Twenty-one days after treatment, cuttings from the same plants evolved 0.05, 0.05, 0.15, or 0.14 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene in the first 24 h of storage at 20 °C, respectively. As cuttings were harvested from Day 1 to Day 21, ethylene concentrations evolved within the first 24 h of storage decreased exponentially. Rinsing cuttings, treated 24 h earlier with 500 mg·L−1 ethephon, by gently agitating for 10 s in deionized water reduced ethylene evolution to 0.7 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) as compared with 1.7 for unrinsed cuttings. Cuttings harvested 24 h after treatment with 500 mg·L−1 ethephon stored at 10, 15, 20, and 25 °C for 24 h evolved 0.37, 0.81, 2.03, and 3.55 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene. The resulting mean temperature coefficient (Q10) for the 10 to 25 °C range from all replications was 5.15 ± 0.85. Thus, ethylene continues to evolve from ethephon-treated Impatiens hawkeri stock plants for up to 21 days and can accumulate to high concentrations during cutting storage.

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Iftikhar Ahmad, Brian E. Whipker, and John M. Dole

Effects of paclobutrazol and ancymidol on postharvest performance and growth control of potted sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) and marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Vilm.) plugs, respectively, were studied. Paclobutrazol was applied as a drench at 0, 1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 mg of a.i. per 15.2-cm pot for sunflower and 0, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg per 12.5-cm pot for zinnia, while ancymidol was applied at 0, 40, 80, and 160 mg·L−1 with a volume of 0.21 L·m−2 as a foliar spray for marigolds or petunia plug crops. With an increase in paclobutrazol dose or ancymidol concentration, plant growth (plant height and diameter, shoot fresh or dry weight) was controlled for all species tested. Use of 1.0–2.0 mg paclobutrazol per pot produced 21% to 28% shorter plants with 12% to 15% smaller plant diameter, 13% to 19% less shoot fresh weight, 15% to 21% less dry weight, and darker green foliage color for potted sunflower than nontreated plants. Treatment with 1.0–4.0 mg paclobutrazol per pot delayed first wilting by 0.7–1.4 days compared with nontreated plants. For zinnia, 0.5–1.0 mg paclobutrazol controlled plant growth, produced dark green foliage, and extended shelf life by delaying first wilting by 2.6–3.9 days and second wilting by 1.4–2.0 days than nontreated plants. For marigold and petunia plugs, 40–80 mg·L−1 ancymidol provided ample growth control with darker green foliage; however, postharvest longevity was extended only when plugs were sprayed with 160 mg·L−1 ancymidol. During simulated storage and shipping, plant growth retardants maintained darker green foliage for potted sunflower, zinnia, and marigold plugs and prevented postharvest stem elongation of petunia plugs. In summary, use of plant growth retardants effectively controlled excessive plant growth and extended shelf life of potted plants and plugs.

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Iftikhar Ahmad, John M. Dole, and Frank A. Blazich

Effects of harvest time (morning, noon, or afternoon) on water uptake, fresh weight changes, termination symptoms, leaf relative water content (LRWC), carbohydrate status, and vase life of cut ‘ABC Purple’ lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum Salisb.), ‘Double Eagle’ African Gold Coin Series marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), and ‘Deep Red’ Benary’s Giant Series zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) were studied. For stems of lisianthus harvested and then stored in the dark with the basal ends in water for 2 weeks at 3 ± 1 °C, those harvested at noon (1200 hr to 1300 hr) or in the afternoon (1700 hr to 1800 hr) had longer vase life compared with stems harvested in the morning (0700 hr to 0800 hr). However, stems of lisianthus evaluated without storage had no differences in vase life. Stems of marigold harvested in the afternoon had longer vase life than morning- or noon-harvested stems. Time of harvest had no effect on cut flower longevity of zinnia. However, vase life was considerably shorter for stems of all species when tested after 2 weeks storage compared with freshly harvested stems. Stems of zinnia harvested at noon had lower LRWC than morning- or afternoon-harvested stems. Marigold stems harvested in the afternoon and evaluated without storage had lowest LRWC on Day 7 of vase life. Harvest time or storage did not influence LRWC of lisianthus. Stems of marigold and lisianthus harvested at noon or in the afternoon had higher levels of carbohydrates compared with morning-harvested stems, whereas freshly harvested stems had higher concentrations of glucose and sucrose, which decreased during storage or the vase period. Sucrose concentrations varied more significantly among various tissues than other sugars presumably as a result of translocation during vase life. In summary, carbohydrate status of stems harvested at different times of the day varied greatly and affected postharvest longevity of cut marigold and lisianthus, but not zinnia.

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D. Steve Owens, Michael A. Schnelle, and John M. Dole

Rock garden plants, typically alpine in nature, are indigenous to higher elevations and thus perform poorly in the South. Consequently, they are not adapted to environments with tight clay soils, extreme heat, high humidity, and periodic drought. A video and extension circular were produced to demonstrate the construction, planting and maintenance of an appealing yet durable rock garden for Oklahoma. Modifications in soil type, plant materials, and arrangement of rock, wherein small micro-habitats are created, comprise the core of the project. The aforementioned educational materials benefit the gardening public with previously unavailable information for Oklahoma. The video is included in the Oklahoma State Univ. Cooperative Extension Service video library, where it is available via rental or purchase. It provides informative visual instruction, complementing the written publication that outlines stepwise construction techniques coupled with a list of adaptable plants. Both the publication and video may have applications for gardeners in peripheral states.

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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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Laurence C. Pallez, John M. Dole, and Brian E. Whipker

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) has potential as a potted flowering plant due to short crop time, ease of propagation, and attractive flowers but postharvest life is short and plants can grow too tall. Days from sowing to anthesis differed significantly among six sunflower cultivars and ranged from 52 days for `Big Smile' to 86 days for `Elf' and `Pacino.' Height ranged from 6.0 inches (15.2 cm) for `Big Smile' to 14.9 inches (37.8 cm) for `Pacino', postproduction life ranged from 10 days for `Elf' and `Pacino' to 15 days for `Big Smile', and postproduction chlorosis ratings (1 to 5, with 5 the least) ranged from 5.0 for `Teddy Bear' to 4.4 for `Big Smile' after 5 days and 4.2 for `Teddy Bear' to 3.1 for `Sunspot' after 10 days. Promalin (a gibberellin and benzyladenine mixture) applied at 62.5 to 500 ppm (mg·L-1) was not commercially useful in extending postproduction life. Increasing pot size from 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in diameter decreased postproduction life and plants in 5-inch-diameter (13 cm) pots were tallest. Pots with three plants flowered more quickly than those with one or five plants and pots with five plants had 1 day shorter postharvest life than those with one or three pots. All cultivars were facultative short-day plants, except for `Sundance Kid', which was day neutral. Storing potted sunflowers at 41 °F (5 °C) for 1 week did not reduce postproduction life, which was 11 to 12 d; however, 2 weeks of cold storage resulted in foliar damage. Three cultivars were found to be most suitable for pot production, `Elf', `Pacino' and `Teddy Bear', with one or three plants per 6-inch pot and sprayed with daminozide (B-Nine) at 8,000 ppm, or drenched with paclobutrazol (Bonzi) at 2 mg/pot (a.i.) (28,350 mg = 1.0 oz).

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Todd J. Cavins, John M. Dole, and Vicki Stamback

Anemone (Anemone coronaria L.), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.), larkspur [Consolida ambigua (L.) P.W. Ball & Heyw.], delphinium (Delphinium ×cultorum Voss.), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), lupine (Lupinus hartwegii Lindl.), stock [Matthiola incana (L.) R. Br.], and pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams.) were grown in raised sandy loam ground beds in double-layered polyethylene-covered greenhouses which were either unheated (ambient) or had a 55 °F (13 °C) minimum night temperature in year 1 and 36 or 50 °F (2 or 10 °C) minimum night temperature in year 2. Results were species specific; however, the extreme low temperatures [21 °F (-6 °C)] in the unheated house limited delphinium and lupine production. The warmest greenhouses (55 and 50 °F) reduced production time for anemone, delphinium, larkspur, lupine (year 2), snapdragon (year 2),stock, and sunflower. The coolest greenhouses (unheated and 36 °F) increased stem lengths for anemone (year 2), delphinium, larkspur (year 1), lupine (year 2), snapdragon, stock, and sunflower. The coolest green-houses also yielded a profit or lower net loss for all species except delphinium, lupine, and snapdragon (year 2) for which profits were highest or net losses were lowest in the warmest greenhouses.

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Iftikhar Ahmad, John M. Dole, Atyab Amjad, and Sagheer Ahmad

Effects of wet and dry storage methods were compared to improve postharvest performance of specialty cut flower species. While increasing duration of storage reduced vase life, vase life declined less with dry storage for marigold (Tagetes erecta) and rose (Rosa hybrida), but not for zinnia (Zinnia elegans) or lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) over wet storage. Marigold stems had 1.9, 4.6, and 1.5 days longer vase life after 1, 2, or 3 weeks in dry storage, respectively, as compared with storage in water. Zinnia stems did not tolerate either wet or dry storage, while lisianthus stems had a longer vase life when stored in water as compared with dry storage. For rose, dry storage for 2 weeks increased vase life compared with wet storage. Dry stored marigold and lisianthus stems had higher water uptake after being placed in the vase as compared with the stems stored in water, while zinnia and rose had less uptake. Storage method had no effect on leaf relative water content (LRWC) in lisianthus, marigold, and zinnia; however, LRWC decreased with increased storage duration. This necessitates evaluation of storage method and duration effects for each species and cultivar to ensure extended storage life and improve postharvest quality.

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Nathan J. Jahnke, John M. Dole, and H. David Shew

Postharvest environments during storage and shipping are often conducive to plant stress and disease development. Liners of four cultivars of geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum) were evaluated every 2 days for their susceptibility to gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) and leaf yellowing over an 8-day simulated shipping period at either constant air temperature of 15 °C or variable air temperatures cycling every 24 hours between 10 and 30 °C. The latter treatment was created using air temperature logs of commercial liner shipments sent to five locations during Spring 2016 and Fall 2016. We sprayed a spore suspension of 2 × 104 or 2 × 106 to inoculate liners before they were subjected to the two temperature treatments. Disease ratings did not reach significant levels for the dry control until day 6 of storage. Regardless of the spore concentration, ratings were similar for inoculated cuttings. Independent of the storage temperature and spore concentration, liners developed minor lesions by day 2 of storage. Cultivars varied slightly in disease ratings, with Tango Dark Red being the most susceptible, followed by Patriot Bright Red, Patriot Rose Pink, and Americana Red. During the 8-day incubation period, ‘Patriot Rose Pink’ developed the most leaf yellowing compared with the other three cultivars. Liners that experienced variable air temperatures had marginal leaf yellowing by day 2, and this yellowing increased throughout the experiment. Liners placed at 15 °C had ≈50% less leaf yellowing compared with liners exposed to variable air temperatures until day 8, when leaf yellowing was similar between the two air temperature treatments. Disease caused by B. cinerea was avoided when simulated shipping was 2 days or fewer, and a stable air temperature of 15 °C reduced leaf yellowing on geranium liners compared with variable air temperatures.