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Bruce L. Dunn and Carla Goad

Leaf nitrogen (N) and contact optical sensor sampling methods vary in the literature. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the best sampling procedure for correlating leaf N concentration to contact optical sensor readings. To investigate this, fertilizer rates of 0, 5, 10, or 15 g of 16N–9P–12K were applied as a topdress application on ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) ‘Tokyo Red’. Soil plant analysis development (SPAD) and atLEAF chlorophyll meters were used every week for 5 weeks starting 30 days after planting. For each pot, SPAD and atLEAF measurements were taken from a single mature leaf from the middle to upper level of the plant at the leaf tip, blade, or base of the leaf not including the midrib. Weekly leaf foliar analysis consisted of collecting either fully developed leaves from a single plant, five plants, or 10 plants per, using only the tip, blade, or base of three leaves for total leaf N concentration per treatment. A significant position affect was seen in both SPAD and atLEAF sensors. For SPAD, sensor readings taken from the tip and blade of a leaf were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from the base of the leaf. All three positions for atLEAF were significantly different from each other. This indicates that sensor sampling location within a leaf will affect readings. A significant difference was observed among leaf sampling methods. Taking leaf samples from the tip and base had the highest leaf N concentrations and were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from all other sampling methods, which were not significantly different from each other. Significant correlations were seen among all combinations of sensor positions and leaf N sampling methods except SPAD readings taken from the tip and leaf sampling from a single plant. Highest correlations (r = 0.7 to 0.8) were seen when SPAD readings were taken from the base of the leaf irrespective of leaf sampling method. Based on this experiment, either sensor could be used for correlating leaf N; however, growers should consistently collect sensor readings from the same location on a leaf to achieve consistent values and correlations.

Open access

Bruce L. Dunn, Stephen Stanphill, and Carla Goad

This study aimed to identify the best method to improve poor branching of poinsettia ‘Orange Spice’. Treatments included pinched and unpinched alone and in combination with four different rates (3.9, 7.8, 11.7, and 23.4 mL⋅L−1) of Atrimmec. Pinching reduced plant height, as did unpinched + 11.7 mL⋅L−1 and unpinched + 11.7 mL⋅L−1 Atrimmec. Neither pinching nor Atrimmec had any effect on plant width, stem caliper, or shoot dry weight. Atrimmec did not increase the number of laterals in combination for pinched or unpinched treatments, but unpinched plants generally produced more laterals. Unpinched with any rate of Atrimmec resulted in tertiary shoots, which improved the visual appearance and quality.

Open access

Charles Fontanier, Justin Quetone Moss, Lakshmy Gopinath, Carla Goad, Kemin Su, and Yanqi Wu

Cell and plastid membranes play a critical role in plant response to chilling stress. Fall color retention (chilling tolerance) of bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is known to vary with cultivar and management practices. A growth chamber study was conducted to characterize the lipid composition of three bermudagrasses in response to chilling stress. The grasses selected were ‘Tahoma 31’ (chilling-sensitive) and ‘Tifway’ (chilling-tolerant) interspecific hybrid bermudagrass (C. dactylon × C. transvaalensis) and ‘Celebration’ common bermudagrass (C. dactylon), which served as an internal standard. Plants were subjected to simulated fall conditions defined as an 8/2 °C (day/night) temperature regime with 10-hour photoperiod and evaluated for chilling response for 42 days before allowing plants to enter an apparent dormancy. Plant leaves were sampled for lipidomics analysis at 0, 14, and 42 days of chilling treatment (DOT) and again after 40 days of recovery from dormancy (during which temperatures were adjusted to mimic average spring conditions for Oklahoma). ‘Tifway’ demonstrated the lowest electrolyte leakage (EL) and visual discoloration at 42 DOT, while ‘Tahoma 31’ had the greatest EL and discoloration on the same date, and ‘Celebration’ was intermediate of the two. Prolonged exposure to chilling stress generally increased digalactosyldiacylglycerol and phosphatidylcholine (PC) content and decreased monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) content, with ‘Tahoma 31’ showing the greatest increase in PC and decrease in MGDG. The double bond index, an indicator of fatty acid unsaturation, was greatest in ‘Tifway’ at 42 DOT. Each cultivar increased in fatty acid unsaturation, with Tifway demonstrating the greatest increase in MGDG unsaturation. Multivariate discriminant analysis identified six individual lipid species that contributed most to the cultivar response to chilling. These findings suggest unsaturation level of plastid lipids, particularly MGDG, is important for chilling tolerance and therefore fall color retention of bermudagrass. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that chilling tolerance can be negatively associated with freezing tolerance in bermudagrass.