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Marc van Iersel

Transplanting often causes root damage, and rapid root growth following transplanting may help to minimize the effects of transplant shock. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of NAA and IAA on posttransplant growth of vinca (Catharanthus roseus L.). Bare-root seedlings were germinated in a peat-based growing mix and transplanted into diatomaceous earth 10 days after seeding. Immediately after transplanting, seedlings were drenched with several concentrations of IAA or NAA (62.5 mL/plant). Both auxins increased posttransplant root and shoot growth, but the response was dose-dependent. The maximum growth occurred at concentrations of 10 mg·L-1 (IAA) or 0.1 mg·L-1 (NAA). The growth-stimulating effect of these auxins decreased at higher rates and NAA was highly toxic at 100 mg·L-1, killing most of the plants. Unlike the growth of bare-root seedlings, plug seedling growth was not stimulated by drenching with NAA solutions. These results show that auxins have the ability to stimulate posttransplant growth of vinca, but their effects may depend on the application method, rate, and timing, and transplanting method. Chemical names used: 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA); 1-indole-3-acetic acid (IAA).

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E.W. Pavel and T.M. DeJong

Dry weights of whole fruit and of different fruit tissues, such as the mesocarp (with exocarp) and the endocarp (with seed), were accumulated on early (`Spring Lady'), midseason (`Flamecrest'), and late-maturing (`Cal Red') peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars during the 1988 growing season. Seasonal relative growth rate (RGR) patterns of whole fruit showed two distinct phases for `Flamecrest' and `Cal Red'; however, `Spring Lady' did not exhibit two distinct RGR phases. The shift from phase I to phase II of the whole fruit RGR curve was related to an intersection of mesocarp and endocarp RGR curves, indicating a change of physiological sink activities in those fruit tissues in the later-maturing cultivars, but not in the early cultivar. Nonstructural carbohydrate compositional changes in concentration or content were similar in the three peach cultivars. Sucrose accounted for most of the seasonal increase in mesocarp nonstructural carbohydrate concentration. A sudden rise of sucrose was associated with the phase shift of the fruit RGR curves of the midseason and late-maturing cultivars, but not of the early maturing cultivar; however, in the early maturing cultivar, mesocarp compositional carbohydrate changes and, particularly, the sucrose increase, indicate that the physiological processes normally associated with the two phases exist in very early maturing fruit but are not associated distinctly with two separate RGR phases.

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J.C. Vlahos, G.F.P. Martakis, and E. Heuvelink

The effects of supplementary irradiance (20 μmol·s-1·m-2 for 6 hours) with incandescent light (I) or fluorescent compact gas-discharge lamps (CF) vs. a basic irradiance (96 μmol·s-1·m-2 for 12 h) with fluorescent (F) light at 17 or 25C was studied for Achimenes hybrids `Flamenco', `Hilda', and `Rosenelfe'. The additional I increased leaf area (LA) and plant dry weight (DW) in `Hilda' and `Rosenelfe' and promoted stem elongation in all three cultivars. Additional F had no effect on DW. However, depending on cultivar, responses for LA varied. An increase in the number of flowers was promoted only in `Rosenelfe' by I and CF compared with the control. In all cultivars, the supplementary CF, when compared with the I, reduced LA and DW. LA was significantly larger and DW higher at higher temperature, except for `Rosenelfe', where DW was not influenced and LA was smaller at the higher temperature. All three cultivars produced a longer stem and more flowers at the higher temperature. Calculated growth responses were influenced by an interaction between temperature and cultivar.

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J.M. Mutisya, J.A. Sullivan, S. Couling, J.C. Sutton, and J. Zheng

The relationship between severity of leaf scorch epidemics, caused by Diplocarpon earlianum, and components of vegetative growth and fruit yield was examined in `Kent' strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.). Plants were treated in July with six densities of initial inoculum of the pathogen, and severity of leaf scorch was assessed at 2-week intervals from late July to late October. After an analysis of vegetative growth in late October, plants were overwintered in the field or grown in a greenhouse, and later assessed for yield components. Relationships between area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) and plant growth and yield components were examined by regression analysis. Significant negative linear relationships were found between AUDPC values and number of green leaves, leaf area, leaf dry weight, crown number, crown dry mass, and root dry weight. Significant negative relationships were also found between AUDPC values and number of flowers and inflorescences, and total and marketable berries in the subsequent season, in plants maintained in the field or in the greenhouse. Mean berry weight was not significantly affected. Reduction in the number of crowns in plants affected by leaf scorch was a major factor limiting the yield of diseased plants. In an analysis of regrowth at seven weeks after fruit harvest, a significant negative linear relationships was found between AUDPC values and each growth component except crown dry weight. Collectively, the data provide a rationale to optimize timing of treatments, such as chemical fungicides or microbial agents, to control leaf scorch in August, September and October and thereby promote berry yield in the subsequent season.

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Lisa W. DeVetter, Huan Zhang, Shuresh Ghimire, Sean Watkinson, and Carol A. Miles

Day-neutral strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) is typically grown in plasticulture production systems that use black polyethylene (PE) mulch for weed management and promotion of crop growth and yield. The objectives of this research were to evaluate several commercial plastic and paper biodegradable mulch (BDM) products [Bio360, Experimental Prototype (Exp. Prototype), and WeedGuardPlus] in comparison with standard black PE mulch and bare ground cultivation in day-neutral strawberry grown in an annual system in northwestern Washington. Mulch performance [as percent visual cover (PVC)], weed suppression, marketable yield, plant biomass, and fruit quality were evaluated in ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’ strawberry grown in 2014 and 2015. PVC measured at the end of the production season was lowest for the Exp. Prototype (8%) in 2014 and was greatest for Bio360 (90%), WeedGuardPlus (90%), and PE (98%). In 2015, PVC at the end of the production season was again lowest for Exp. Prototype (62%), followed by WeedGuardPlus (64%), Bio360 (93%), and PE mulch (97%). Overall, weed pressure was higher in 2015 relative to 2014 and was greatest in the bare ground treatment in both years of the study. By the end of the 2015 season, weed cover in the bare ground treatment was 95%, followed by WeedGuardPlus (50%), Exp. Prototype (34%), PE (25%), and Bio360 (15%). Yield showed year and cultivar effects and was higher in mulched treatments. Plant biomass showed varying effects; root biomass was lowest in ‘Seascape’ in 2015 under the bare ground treatment and greatest under Bio360, which was similar to PE mulch and WeedGuardPlus. Leaf biomass was lowest in the bare ground treatment and highest in mulched treatments (except in 2015, when leaf biomass was intermediate for plants grown with WeedGuardPlus). Crown biomass showed a similar trend and was overall greater for plants grown in mulched treatments except for Bio360 in 2014, which was the same as the bare ground treatment. Overall, fruit quality was maintained among strawberry grown with BDMs, with soluble solids concentration (SSC, %) and titratable acidity (TA) being the only variables to show treatment effects. SCC tended to be lower in fruit from bare ground plots. TA was different for ‘Seascape’ in 2015 with fruit from bare ground and Exp. Prototype treatments having higher TA than the PE treatment. This study demonstrates that BDMs can be comparable to PE mulch in terms of performance and impacts on crop productivity in day-neutral strawberry, suggesting that BDMs could be a viable alternative to PE mulch for strawberry growers in the Pacific Northwest.

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Marc van Iersel

Container size can affect the growth and development of bedding plants. The effects of widely differing container sizes on growth and development of salvia (Salvia splendens F. Sellow ex Roem. & Schult.) were quantified. Plants were grown in a greenhouse in 7.3-, 55-, 166-, and 510-mL containers. Container volume affected plant growth as early as 18 days after planting. Growth was positively correlated with pot size and differences increased throughout most of the growing period. Growth of the plants in the 7.3-mL cells was reduced because of a low net assimilation rate (4.34 g·m-2·d-1), compared to the plants in the 55-, 166-, and 510-mL pots (≈5.44 g·m-2·d-1). Plants in 510-mL containers grew faster than those in 55- and 166-mL containers because of a higher leaf area ratio. Both lateral branching and leaf expansion were suppressed by root restriction and flowering was delayed. The growth rate of plants in 166-mL pots declined after the onset of flowering, and final plant size was comparable for plants in 55- and 166-mL pots. Although water deficit stress or nutrient deficiencies cannot be excluded as contributing factors, these were probably not the main reason for observed differences.

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Thomas G. Ranney, Nina L. Bassuk, and Thomas H. Whitlow

Growth and physiological characteristics were evaluated in autografted and reciprocally grafted plants of Prunus avium L. ×pseudocerasus Lindl. `Colt' and Prunus cerasus L. `Meteor'. Containerized plants were grown for 150 days in a greenhouse under either well-watered or water-stressed conditions. Both the scion and rootstock influenced growth (relative growth rate, R̄), morphological [leaf area : root surface area (LARSA) and specific leaf area (SLA)], and physiological (mean net assimilation rate, Ē) characteristics of grafted plants. Regardless of the watering regime, plants with `Meteor' scions and `Colt' rootstocks maintained higher R̄ than plants with `Colt' scions and `Meteor' rootstocks. This enhanced growth occurred as a result of higher Ē. Measurements on water-stressed plants also showed that the graft combination of `Meteor' on `Colt' had the lowest LARSA, while the reciprocal combination of `Colt' on `Meteor' had the highest. Differences in LARSA among water-stressed plants primarily reflected changes in SLA, as influenced by both rootstock and scion, and not in partitioning of dry weight between these organs.

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Jessica M. Cortell and Bernadine C. Strik

In Spring 1993 and 1994, mature trailing `Marion' blackberries (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) were pruned to 0, 4, 8, and 12 floricanes/plant. An additional treatment of 0 floricanes with early (30 cm) primocane topping and pruning was included. Primocane length was measured from emergence in April until growth cessation at the end of October on individual canes and for the whole plant. In January 1994 and 1995, cane cold hardiness was evaluated by controlled freezing. In 1993, plants without floricanes produced more primocanes and branches with an increased total length at the end of the season than plants with floricanes. However, there were no significant differences in primocane length among treatments in 1994. In all treatments, the absolute growth rate (AGR), on a length basis, of primocanes occurred in flushes of rapid growth followed by slower growth throughout the season. Plants without floricanes had a significantly greater AGR than plants with floricanes on five dates in 1993. In 1994, there was no effect of floricane number per plant on AGR of primocanes over the season and the growth peaks were not as distinct. When comparing primocane elongation rate at three phenological stages in 1993, plants with no floricanes had a significantly higher total primocane growth per day during fruit production and from harvest to length cessation. The following year, plants with no floricanes had the highest rate of growth before bloom and a trend toward greater growth during fruit production. After fruit production, there were no differences in AGR between the treatments. Plants with floricanes produced a second flush of primocanes, while plants with no floricanes produced only one flush of primocanes. Primocane length of the first flush (averaged for 4-, 8-, and 12-floricane plants) was significantly different from the second flush at all dates during the season except for the final end of season measurement date. Primocanes pruned at 30 cm did not produce significantly more branches than unpruned primocanes on plants without floricanes. Plants without floricanes produced primocanes that were significantly more cold hardy (lower LT50) in 1994 and 1995 than plants with floricanes.

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Dana L. Baumann, Beth Ann Workmaster, and Kevin R. Kosola

Wisconsin cranberry growers report that fruit production by the cranberry cultivar `Ben Lear' (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) is low in beds with poor drainage, while the cultivar `Stevens' is less sensitive to these conditions. We hypothesized that `Ben Lear' and `Stevens' would differ in their root growth and mortality response to variation in soil water potential. Rooted cuttings of each cultivar were grown in a green-house in sand-filled pots with three different soil water potentials which were regulated by a hanging water column below a fritted ceramic plate. A minirhizotron camera was used to record root growth and mortality weekly for five weeks. Root mortality was negligible (2% to 6%). Whole plant relative growth rates were greatest for both cultivars under the wettest conditions. Rooting depth was shallowest under the wettest conditions. Whole-plant relative growth rates of `Ben Lear' were higher than `Stevens' at all soil water potentials. `Stevens' plants had significantly higher root to shoot ratios and lower leaf area ratios than `Ben Lear' plants, and produced more total root length than `Ben Lear' at all soil water potentials. Shallow rooting, high leaf area ratio, and low allocation to root production by `Ben Lear' plants may lead to greater susceptibility to drought stress than `Stevens' plants in poorly drained cranberry beds.

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Laurie Hodges, Mohd Nazip Suratman, James R. Brandle, and Kenneth G. Hubbard

The effects of wind protection on growth and total and marketable yields of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) planted at 2-week intervals through the 1994 and 1995 growing seasons were examined. Research was conducted under nonirrigated conditions at the Shelterbelt Research Area, Univ. of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) near Mead. `Strike' (white-seeded) and `Rushmore' (dark-seeded) were planted in locations sheltered from wind stress by tree windbreaks (shelterbelts) and in locations exposed to normal winds using a randomized complete-block design with a split-split plot arrangement of treatments. Air temperature, soil temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction were monitored. Detailed microclimate conditions at bean canopy level in sheltered and exposed plots are provided in the text. Wind speed in sheltered areas averaged 36% of open field wind speed in 1994 and 43% of open wind speed in 1995. Soil temperatures were higher in sheltered areas than in exposed areas. Microclimate changes due to shelter had no effect on the percent seedling emergence or number of days to emergence. Plants in shelter had significantly higher total dry weight and leaf area index and greater total internode length than exposed plants. Both total and marketable yields were increased significantly by production under sheltered conditions each year. Planting date and cultivar also had a significant impact on average pod yields. No interactions between shelter and planting date, or shelter and cultivar, were found in either year. The results suggest that wind protection provided by shelterbelts (tree windbreaks) can increase pod yields of snap bean both early and late in the season. This may result in greater profit for the grower due to a tendency for higher prices at these times.