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Catherine A. Paul, Greg L. Davis, Garald L. Horst, and Steven N. Rodie

Water conservation in a landscape is an important issue because periodic water shortages are common in many regions of the world. This increases the importance of specifying landscape plants that require less water and matching the plant to site microclimates. Our objectives were to establish water-use rates for three herbaceous landscape plants and to determine the level of water reduction these plants can tolerate while maintaining both visual and landscape quality. Water use rates were determined for Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem), Hosta spp. (Hosta) and Festuca cinerea `Dwarf' (Dwarf blue fescue) in studies using pot lysimeters at the Univ. of Nebraska Horticulture Research Greenhouse facility. Each lysimeter was watered to saturation, allowed to drain to field capacity, and weighed. The lysimeters were weighed again 24 h later, and the process was repeated to determine daily evapotranspiration. Results indicated that hosta used less water than dwarf blue fescue and little bluestem. In a subsequent study to compare the relative effects of withholding irrigation among these species, seven groups of five replicates of each species were grown in 1 peat: 0.33 vermiculite: 0.66 soil: 1 sand (by volume) in 7.6-L containers. Each container was watered to saturation, allowed to drain for 24 h to reach field capacity, and allowed to dry down in 10-day increments. Results of the dry-down study indicated that little bluestem maintained the best visual quality for the longest duration of drought, followed by dwarf blue fescue and hosta in decreasing order of visual quality.

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S.M. Silva, R.C. Herner, and R.M. Beaudry

To help elucidate of the relationship between decline in sugar (especially sucrose) and senescence in asparagus (Asparagus officinallis L.), spears with or without tips were treated with 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BAP) and stored during 25 days at 0°C. 6-BAP was applied using a cheesecloth soaked with 100 ppm solution (30-s contact) immediately after harvesting to the tip or to the cut surface for spears that had 2 cm of the tip removed. Time-dependent profile of fluorescence, chlorophyll content, amount of fructose, glucose, and sucrose were measured for four segments from tip to the base of the spears over. Respiration rate and general visual quality were also evaluated for the whole spear on a daily basis. Three replications were used for all evaluations. 6-BAP reduced respiration rate of spears with intact tips, slowed the decline in fluorescence, and slowed chlorophyll degradation for the tip during 25 days of storage at 0°C. Respiration rate was higher in spears that had the tip removed, regardless the use of 6-BAP; however, the decline of fluorescence and chlorophyll degradation were lower in 6-BAP-treated spears. Application of 6-BAP also slowed the decline in sucrose content. 6-BAP effects were more marked when comparing with spears lacking their tip. The visual quality was higher in spears with tips that were treated with 6-BAP.

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A.M. Rist, R.E. Gaussoin, R.C. Shearman, J.D. Fry, and W.W. Stroup

Golfers are demanding increased ball roll distances on a daily basis, but cultural practices to achieve this often are detrimental to the green. One option for increasing ball roll distance without altering cultural practices may be to select creeping bentgrass genotypes that provide less resistance to ball roll. Studies were conducted at the John Seaton Anderson Turfgrass and Ornamental Research Facility near Ithaca, Neb., and at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Facility in Manhattan, Kans., to determine genotype and seasonal influences on golf ball roll distance. Eighteen creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) genotypes were evaluated. Genotype was not a significant source of variability, but the location × season interaction was. Significant seasonal differences in ball roll occurred at both locations. Ball roll distances for spring, summer, and fall were 98, 15, and 31 cm greater at the Nebraska test location than at the Kansas site. Correlations between turfgrass visual quality and ball roll distance were not significant. Therefore, the use of genotypes exhibiting high turfgrass visual quality will not necessarily result in longer ball rolls. Since there were no season × genotype or genotype × location interactions, ball roll distance on genotypes at each location changed similarly with season. Genotype selection appears to have little influence on ball roll distance under the conditions tested at these two locations.

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M. Schirra, M. Agabbio, S. D'Aquino, and T.G. McCollum

The influence of postharvest heat conditioning at 38 °C for 24, 48, or 72 hours on ripe `Gialla' cactus pear [Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Miller] fruit produced by the spring flush was investigated during 21 days of storage at 6 °C and 90%-95% relative humidity (RH) followed by 7 days at 20 °C and 70%-75% RH (simulated marketing). Conditioning for 24 to 72 h reduced by 50% the severity of chilling injury (CI) on cactus pears following exposure to cold storage. Treatment for 24 to 72 h was also effective in reducing decay, with conditioning for 24 h being the most effective. Overall visual quality was better in heat-conditioned compared with control fruit. Mass loss was significantly reduced by all heat conditioning treatments. Respiration rate was not affected by heat treatment. Ethylene evolution was lower in fruit heat-conditioned for 48 or 72 h than for 0 h. Conditioning for 72 h resulted in the highest fruit ethanol levels. The influence of conditioning on juice pH, titratable acidity, soluble solids concentration and ascorbic acid was negligible. Prestorage heat treatment provides some measure of CI and decay control without detrimental effects to visual quality of early ripening cactus pear fruit and may offer an alternative to fungicide treatments.

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Allen Owings, Gordon Holcomb, Andrew Bates, Peggy Cox, Stephen Crnko, and Anthony Witcher

In 1999, LSU Agricultural Center landscape trials of herbaceous ornamental plants included zinnias, ornamental sweet potatoes, vinca, and perennial verbenas. Based on growth habit, flowering and disease observations from 1999 and previous years, `Homestead Purple', `Tiger Rose', `Rose King', `Taylortown Red', and `Blue Princess' (`Biloxi Blue') are recommended perennial verbena cultivars for Louisiana landscapes. Zinnias evaluated included Zinnia angustifolia and Z. elegans cultivars. `Crystal White', `Profusion Orange', and `Profusion Cherry' (all Z. angustifolia cultivars) were superior landscape performers. Major incidence of bacterial leaf spot was reported on all Z. elegans cultivars in 1999. Over the last several years, the Pacifica series of vinca had significantly improved visual quality ratings in landscape trials when compared to the Heat Wave and Cooler series. In 1999, Mediterranean Deep Rose had visual quality ratings similar to Pacifica but had increased incidence of disease problems. Ornamental sweet potato cultivars recommended for landscape use in Louisiana based on trials in 1999 are `Blackie', `Black Beauty', `Margarite', and `Pink Frost' (`Tricolor'). `Summer Frost' is not recommended.

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Chieri Kubota* and Mark Kroggel

Increasing numbers of vegetable growers purchase their transplants from specialized transplant producers. Possible deterioration of transplants during transportation limits the market size as well as the potential sources of high quality transplants. To determine best conditions for transportation of seedlings, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum; `Durinta') seedlings with visible flower buds were placed for 4 days under varied air temperature (6, 12, or the conventional transportation temperature of 18 °C) and light intensity 0 (conventional darkness) or dim light at 12 μmol·m-2·s-1 PAR). Plants were evaluated for visual quality, photosynthetic capacity, growth and ultimately fruit yield. Lower temperatures and illumination significantly maintained visual quality of the seedlings. Lower temperature maintained high photosynthetic capacity of the seedlings during transportation. Growth and development of the seedlings were significantly affected by higher temperature resulting in significantly delayed growth and development. Number of fruits set on the first truss was significantly reduced when seedlings were at 18 °C during transportation. Overall, simulated transport at 6 °C under light showed the best transportability without experiencing negative impact for the 4-day simulated transportation. Seedlings at 6 °C in darkness and at 12 °C under light and in darkness also showed satisfactory transportability. Seedlings at 18 °C exhibited serious quality deterioration of seedlings, delay in early growth and development, loss of flower buds on the first truss and yield reduction, which agrees with the fact that conventional transportation is currently able to be no longer than 3 days in duration.

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Allen D. Owings, Gordon E. Holcomb, Anthony L. Witcher, C. Allen Broyles, and Edward W. Bush

All-American daylily cultivars named from 1994-2004 were evaluated for landscape performance and daylily rust (Puccinia hemerocallidis) susceptibility during 2003 and 2004. Cultivars included `Black-Eyed Stella', `Bitsy', `Leebea Orange Crush', `Plum Perfect', `Judith', `Starstruck', `Frankly Scarlet', `Lullaby Baby', `Lady Lucille', and `Chorus Line'. Bareroot plants were planted in raised beds composed of an Olivier silt loam soil in full sun and received irrigation as needed to prevent stress. Visual quality ratings were made weekly from 19 Apr. to 25 Oct. 2003 and 15 Mar. to 20 Sept. 2004. Included in the visual quality ratings were growth habit and flowering with favorable growth habit being compactness, foliage color, uniformity, and overall aesthetics, and favorable flowering being longevity and visual appeal. Flower observations were made in regard to time in bud and peak blooming periods over the same time frames. Daylily rust ratings were taken in September and November 2003 and in August and November 2004. Flowering observations indicated that Black Eyed Stella and Bitsy were the only cultivars showing reliable repeat bloom potential. Among the other cultivars, Judith was the earliest to bud and bloom but also had a blooming period of only 2 to 3 weeks compared to 4 to 5 weeks of bloom for other cultivars. Rust was most prevalent on Judith, Leebea Orange Crush, Starstruck and Lady Lucille. Judith and Leebea Orange Crush have rust symptoms earlier than other cultivars. `Plum Perfect', `Frankly Scarlet', `Bitsy', `Black Eyed Stella', and `Lullaby Baby' were least susceptible to daylily rust.

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S.M. Scheiber, David Sandrock, Erin Alvarez, and Meghan M. Brennan

Salt-tolerant landscape plants are important to ornamental growers, landscapers, and residents in coastal communities. Ornamental grasses are frequently recommended for low-maintenance landscape situations and may be candidates for coastal plantings after they are evaluated for their salt spray tolerance. ‘Gracillimus’ maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and ‘Hamelin’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) were subjected to four treatments [100% seawater salt spray, 50% seawater salt spray, 25% seawater salt spray, or 0% seawater salt spray (100% deionized water)] applied as a foliar spray. As seawater concentration increased, root, shoot, whole-plant biomass gain, height, inflorescence number, and visual quality decreased for both cultivars; however, fountain grass appears to be slightly more tolerant of salt spray than maiden grass.

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M.I. Cantwell, G. Hong, and T.V. Suslow

Extension growth of minimally processed (removal of roots and compressed stem) green onions (Allium cepa L. × A. fistulosum L.) was greatly reduced by storage in air at 0 °C, while growth of 10-20 mm occurred at 5 °C over 10 days. Heat treatments of 52.5 and 55 -°C water for 4 and 2 min, respectively, were especially effective in reducing growth to less than 5 mm during 12-14 days at 5 °C. Growth was inhibited irrespective of whether the heat treatments were applied before or after cutting. Heat treatments resulted in higher average respiration rates during 12 days at 5 °C, but did not affect the overall visual quality or shelf life. Treatments with 52.5 °C water alone or in combination with different chlorine concentrations (50 to 400 mg·L-1 NaOCl, pH 7.0) were more effective than use of water or chlorine solutions at 20 °C for initial microbial disinfection.

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R.N. Carrow and B.J. Johnson

A turfgrass wear injury study was conducted at Griffin, Ga., on `Tifway' bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) using two golf car tires and three golf car types driven in a semicircular pattern to deliver 85 passes over the tread path plot area. Wear injury for the 14 days after wear was applied was assessed by visual quality, percent green coverage, leaf bruising, and verdure. Golf tire × car interactions occurred, but more wear occurred with the low pressure (48 × 103 Pa), dimpled tread tire with flexible sidewalls than the commonly used bias ply (4-ply), V-shaped tread tire with more rigid sidewalls. Significant differences in wear damage occurred for golf car type but were influenced by tire design. Thus, selection of golf car tire and golf car type can influence the degree of wear injury on turfgrass sites.