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Randolph M. Beaudry

The application of low oxygen through modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a technique used successfully to preserve the visual quality of lettuce and some other commodities. The expansion of use of low O2 via MAP to preserve quality of most commodities is limited by technical difficulties achieving target O2 concentrations, adverse physiological responses to low O2, and lack of beneficial responses to low O2. Low O2 often is not used simply because the physiological responses governed by the gas are not limiting quality maintenance. For instance, shelf life may be governed by decay susceptibility, which is largely unaffected by low O2 and may actually be exacerbated by the conditions encountered in hermetically sealed packages. Physiological processes influenced by low O2 and limit storability are discussed. The interdependence of O2 concentration, O2 uptake by the product, and temperature are discussed relative to requirements for packaging films.

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Fabienne Gauthier, Blanche Dansereau, and Serge Gagnon

During Winter 1994, seedlings of Impatiens wallerana `Accent Coral' and Pelargonium ×hortorum `Orbit Hot Pink' were grown in commercial substrate (Pro-Mix BX) or in one of the 24 substrates composed of six organic residues (composted water-treated sludge, forestry compost, fresh or composted used peat extracted by a biofilter during treatment of municipal water, and fresh or composted paper sludge). These residues were incorporated with peatmoss and perlite at 5%, 10%, 25%, and 40% per volume to obtain the 24 substrate combinations. Plants were watered and fertilized by flooding of ebb-and-flow benches. Growth measurements (growth index, top and root dry weight, number of flowers and buds, visual quality) varied considerably depending on the percentage of residue incorporated into the substrates. Moreover, substrates containing 40% of organic residues are not recommended for production of impatiens or geraniums.

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Diana D. Lange and Arthur C. Cameron

Shelf life (defined by visual quality) of freshly harvested greenhouse-grown sweet basil was maintained for an average of ≈ 12 days at 15C. Chilling injury symptoms were severe at storage temperatures of 5C and below. Shelf life was found to be only 1 and 3 days at 0 and 5C, respectively. Moderate chilling injury was noted at 7.5 and 10C. Harvesting sweet basil later in the day (i.e., 1800 or 2200 hr) increased shelf life by almost 100% when harvested shoots were held at 10, 15, and 20C, compared to harvesting at 0200 or 0600 hr. However, the time of day of harvest did not alter the development of visual chilling injury symptoms or improve shelf life at 0 or 5C.

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Fabienne Gauthier, Blanche Dansereau, and Serge Gagnon

During Spring–Summer 1994, seedlings of Impatiens walleranc `Accent Coral' and Pelargonium × hortorum `Orbit Hot Pink' were grown in a commercial substrate (PRO-MIX BX) or in one of two substrates composed of six organic residues (composted water treated sludge, forestry compost, fresh or composted used peat extracted from a biofilter during treatment of municipal water, and fresh or composted paper sludge). These residues were incorporated with peatmoss and perlite at 5%, 10%, 25%, and 40% by volume to obtain the 24 substrate combinations. Plants were watered and fertilized by flooding ebb-and-flow benches. Growth measurements (growth index, top and root dry weight, number of flowers and buds, visual quality) varied considerably depending or the percentage of residue incorporated into the substrates. Moreover, substrates containing 40% of organic residues are not recommended for the production of impatiens and geraniums.

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Fabienne Gauthier, Blanche Dansereau, and Marie-Josee Lambert

During Fall 1995–Winter 1996, rooted cuttings of eight Rhododendron Simsii cultivars—Dorothy Gish, Jacinth, Paloma, White Gish, Friedhelm Scherrer, Gloria, Helmut Vogel, and Inga were transplanted July 1995 into 10.5-cm pots. A treatment consisted of one, two or three cuttings per pot. Cuttings were pinched either mechanically using a hedge clipper (control) or chemically with Off-Shoot-O at rates of 63.5 or 111.1 mL·L–1 of water or with Atrimmec at 20 mL·L–1 of water. Pinching treatments were repeated three times during the experimental period. New secondary shoots developed more rapidly after a mechanical pinch than after a chemical pinch. Moreover, greater foliage damage was observed on plants pinched with Off-Shoot-O. Growth measurements (height and diameter of plants, top dry mass, number of days to reach anthesis and visual quality) will be presented.

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Donald R. Hodel, Peter J. Beaudoin, A. James Downer, and Dennis R. Pittenger

In a study in southern California, five species of palms [king palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), california fan palm (Washingtonia filifera)] grown in 1-gal containers were planted in 12 × 12 × 12-inch holes in sandy loam (five species) and in clay loam (two species) with the backfill amended using a commercially available, composted, nitrogen-stabilized douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) shavings product incorporated at 0%, 25%, and 50% by volume. After 18 months, all palms were fully established. Crown volume, stem diameter, visual quality, quantity of new leaves produced, and percent total nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium in leaves did not differ significantly among the three treatments for all species or among treatments within a species. Thus, in this study there was no benefit from amending the backfill with this type of organic amendment when planting palms.

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Matthew J. Fagerness, John Isgrigg III, Richard J. Cooper, and Fred H. Yelverton

Questions exist as to whether growth-inhibiting chemicals mimic the effects of reduced mowing heights on putting green ball roll. An experiment was initiated during Spring 1997 to investigate ball roll and visual quality parameters of putting greens maintained at 3.2, 4.0, or 4.8 mm with plant growth regulator (PGR) treatments applied monthly over the course of 1 year. Additional experiments were conducted during Fall 1995 and 1996 and Spring 1996 to investigate diurnal PGR effects on ball roll. All experiments were conducted on pure stands of `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds). Treatments included trinexapac-ethyl and paclobutrazol, both inhibitors of gibberellin biosynthesis. In the one-year experiment, mowing height was inversely related to ball roll. However, compromises in turfgrass visual quality and shoot density in `Penncross' turf mowed at 3.2 mm make this a questionable mowing height in areas with severe summer conditions. Ball roll during summer months was reduced by PGRs, suggesting that PGRs have little potential as alternatives to decreasing mowing height for increased ball roll. Paclobutrazol reduced turfgrass quality and shoot density during summer months, suggesting that it be used with caution. Other PGRs, particularly trinexapac-ethyl at 0.05 kg·ha–1 a.i., increased afternoon ball roll by as much as 5% to 10% in diurnal experiments. Use of PGRs on creeping bentgrass putting greens may therefore produce short-lived increases in ball roll with subtle to negative effects on bentgrass growth over more extended periods of time. Chemical names used: 4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxymethylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexane carboxylic acid ethylester (trinexapac-ethyl); (+/–)-(R *,R *)-β-[(4-chloro-phenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Janet C. Cole

Woody plant species were treated in 1995 and 1996 with 0, 1, 2, or 4 lb/acre (0, 1.1, 2.3, or 4.5 kg·ha-1) propazine (a.i.). Species studied in 1995 included rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syriacus L. `Double Purple'), japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla Sieb. & Zucc. `Green Mountain'), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii var. Veitchiana Rehd. `Nanho Purple'), euonymus (Euonymus fortunei var. acutis Hand-Mazz. `Emerald n'Gold'), forsythia (Forsythia ×intermedia Zab. `Lynnwood Gold'), fire thorn (Pyracantha angustifolia Roem. `Gnome'), and japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica L.f. `Goldflame'). Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L. `Acoma' and `Zuni') and juniper (Juniperus chinensis L. `Pfitzeriana') were added and euonymus and japanese spiraea were omitted in 1996. In both years, statistical analyses revealed differences in height and visual quality between plants exposed to propazine and control plants of some species; however, differences were inconsistent in that some plants treated with propazine were larger or rated better than control plants while other plants were smaller or of lower quality than their corresponding control plants. In all cases, differences among propazine treatments within each species were <1.2 inches (3 cm) in height while decreases in visual quality compared to control plants were most evident in plants receiving four times the recommended rate of propazine. The horticultural significance of these differences was, therefore, considered small, suggesting that all of the species tested are tolerant to propazine applied at the recommended rate of 1 lb/acre (1.1 kg·ha-1). Chemical names used: 6-chloro-N,N'-bis(1-methylethyl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (propazine).

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D.S. Gardner and B.G. Wherley

Previous research on the potential of the gibberellin inhibiting growth regulator trinexapac-ethyl (TE) [4-(cyclopropyl-α-hydroxy-methylene)-3,5-dioxocyclohexanecarboxylic acid ethyl ester] to improve quality and density of shaded turfgrass has been conducted under neutral-density shade. However, some phytochrome-mediated growth responses of turfgrass, such as tillering, are different under deciduous shade versus neutral-density shade. The objectives of this study were to investigate 1) whether TE would result in improved stand density and quality of turfgrass grown under deciduous shade as has been observed under neutral-density shade and 2) the shade tolerance of sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L. `Quatro') compared to tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. `Plantation'), and rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis L.). Trinexapac-ethyl at either 0 or 29 kg·ha–1 a.i. and nitrogen at 12 or 36 kg·ha–1 were applied on 23 May, 3 July, and 15 Aug. 2003 and 21 May 2004 to each species in a randomized complete block design under deciduous shade (about 9% of full sun). Clipping yield, color, and density data were collected for 6 weeks after the May applications in each year. Visual quality was assessed for 6 weeks after application in 2004 only. In 2003, TE significantly reduced clipping yields by 35% to 50% on sheep fescue, 58% to 76% on tall fescue and 55% to 80% on rough bluegrass. However, in 2004, yield reduction was 0% to 50% for all three species and there was no interaction between week, TE, and species. `Plantation' tall fescue had the highest overall visual quality and density. Sheep fescue also provided an acceptable quality turf stand. TE application did not significantly impact the quality of these species. Rough bluegrass performance was unacceptable, and high rate applications of TE to this species in shade resulted in significant (P < 0.05) losses in density. Trinexapac-ethyl application, based on the results of this study, may not enhance turf quality of cool season grasses grown under dense tree shade.

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Michael B. Triff, Timothy J. Smalley, Mark Rieger, and David Radcliffe

Isolite is a ceramic-like, porous soil amendment purported to sustain plant growth under reduced irrigation and increase plant survival during drought. The purpose of this greenhouse experiment was to determine the effect of an Isotite-amended soilless container medium on: (1) growth under reduced irrigation frequency and (2) water stress during drought of Impatiens × hybrids `Accent Red'. On 2 June 1993, seedlings were transplanted into 13.2 liter black plastic pots containing a 4:1 composted pine bark:coarse sand (vol.) medium amended with Isolite CG-1 granules at rates of 0%, 10%, 15%, and 20% (vol.). Study I. Seedlings were. irrigated with 500 ml tap water every two days for two weeks followed by a 4 week schedule of 500 ml tap water every 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. In general, growth parameters were explained by irrigation treatment effects and did not differ with Isolite rate. Growth indices ranged from +54% to + 143%, while final visual quality grades ranged from 2.4 to 5.0 (5-point scale), shoot dry weight from 8.7 to 30.7 g, root dry weight from 2.0 to 7.9 g, and leaf area from 0.14 to 0.48 m2. Study II. Seedlings were irrigated with 500 ml tap water every 2 days for rive weeks followed by a two week drought. Plant water status parameters were similar at all rates of Isolite. Leaf expansion rates ranged from + 89% to +98%, white a final mid-day xylem pressure potential of -0.4 MPa and a final visual quality grade of 2.0 were uniform across all treatments. Under these conditions, Isolite did not limit water stress of container-grown Impatiens `Accent Red'.