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Kuo-Tan Li and Alan N. Lakso

Summer pruning is primarily used in apples to increase the light penetration into inner canopy to improve fruit color. However, summer pruning may reduce fruit size. We hypothesize that removing healthy exterior shoots reduces the whole-tree carbon supply in relation to pruning severity. If the crop load (i.e., demand) is high, fruit size and quality will be reduced. The effects of summer pruning on photosynthetic activity and recovery of shaded leaves after re-exposure were monitored on a range of exposures in canopies of `Empire' apple trees. The photosynthetic ability of leaves was positively related to its prepruning exposure. There was little recovery of photosynthetic activity of shade leaves until late growing season, indicating the re-exposure of shade leaves after summer pruning cannot replace the role of exterior leaves removed by pruning. Whole canopy net CO2 exchange (NCER) was measured on `Empire'/M9 trees with a commercial range of pruning severity. Reductions in NCER were approximately proportional to pruning severity and % leaf area removed and were as great as 60% in the most severe pruning. Canopy light interception decreased slightly. The effects on canopy NCER thus appeared to be primarily related to reduced photosynthetic efficiency and secondarily to reduced light interception.

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Hector R. Valenzuela, Stephen K. O'Hair, and Bruce Schaffer

The effects of shade during leaf development on photosynthetic activity of cocoyam [Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) Schott] were investigated. Net gas exchange and N and chlorophyll concentrations were determined for cocoyam leaves growing in 30%, 50%, or 100% sunlight. Net CO2 assimilation (A) and water use efficiency (WUE) were greater for plants grown in 100% sunlight than for plants grown in less sunlight. Substomatal CO2 concentration increased with increased shading. Stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration (E) did not vary significantly among treatments. Diurnal paterns for A were positively correlated with gs, lamina temperature, relative humidity, and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF). Lamina N concentrations, determined on lamina dry weight and lamina area bases, increased with increased PPF. Shade plants (30% and 50% sunlight) had greater chlorophyll: N ratios (dry-weight basis) and greater lamina area: lamina dry weight ratios than 100% sunlight-grown plants, which indicates increased photosynthate and N allocation to leaves of shade plants and maximization of light interception.

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Teresa A. Cerny, Nihal C. Rajapakse, and Ryu Oi

Growth chambers constructed from photoselective plastic films were used to investigate the effects of light quality on height manipulation and flowering of photoperiodic plant species. Three types of treatment films were used; control, a far-red light intercepting film (YXE-10) and a red light intercepting film (SXE-4). The red (600-700 nm):far-red (700-800 nm) ratios and phytochrome photoequilibrium estimates for the control, YXE-10 and SXE-4 films were 1.0 and 0.71, 1.5 and 0.77, and 0.71 and 0.67, respectively. The photosynthetic photon flux was adjusted to uniformity among chambers using neutral density filters. Spectral filters did not effect minimum and maximum air temperatures. Experiments were conducted using quantitative long day (Antirrhinum majus and Petunia × hybrida), quantitative short day (Zinnia elegans and Dendranthema × grandiflorum) and day-neutral (Rosa × hydrida) plant species under natural short-day conditions. Plants produced under the YXE-10 filters were significantly shorter than the control plants, while plants produced under the SXE-4 films had similar or increased height compared to the control plants. However, both height response and flowering times varied with the crop species. Flowering time of Rosa × hybrida plants was uniform among all treatments. Flowering of quantitative long-day plants was delayed by at least 10 days under the YXE-10 film and was most responsive to the filtered light. Flowering of quantitative short-day plants was delayed by 2 days under the YXE-10. Days to flower for plants produced under the SXE-4 film were similar to the control plants for all species tested.

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D. Michael Glenn, Ralph Scorza, and William R. Okie

Two unpruned willow leaf and two unpruned standard leaf peach [Prunuspersica(L.) Batsch.] selections were evaluated for physiological components related to water use efficiency (WUE). The purpose of the study was to assess the value of willow leaf phenotypes to improve water use efficiency in peach and separate the environmental from the genetic components. The willow leaf characteristic itself did not confer improved water use efficiency. Light interception was a key determinant of WUE in these genotypes and the relationship of WUE with intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) by the entire canopy indicated a significant negative correlation. Internal shading of the tree by excessive leaf area reduced WUE and canopies that intercept more than 60% of the PAR have reduced WUE. While WUE is improved by reducing the amount of PAR interception of the canopy, productivity is reduced. Neither of the willow leaf genotypes had a significant correlation of WUE with yield (leaf and fruit weight); however, the standard leaf type cultivars, `Bounty' and `Redhaven', had significantly different regressions that indicate greater productivity in `Bounty' for a given level of WUE. `Redhaven' was the least productive cultivar; `Bounty' was the most productive, and the two willow leaf genotypes were intermediate in the relationship of intercepted PAR with yield. Therefore, genetic differences in peach growth types can be selected for both increased WUE as well as increased productivity. Future work in peach breeding to improve WUE and productivity must take into consideration light interception, productivity, and WUE in an integrated manner to make progress in the efficient use of water and light.

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Marvin P. Pritts

Manipulating light, temperature, moisture, and nutrients to favor plant growth and productivity is an important component of horticulture. The technology required to achieve such manipulation ranges from inexpensive, basic practices to elaborate, costly approaches involving the latest engineering advances. For example, pruning and mulching are relatively low-tech methods for improving light interception and soil moisture status in small fruit plantings. At the opposite extreme are glass houses with supplemental lighting, CO2 enrichment, and nutrient film hydroponic systems Of greatest value to small fruit growers, however, is technology that ran be applied in field situations, such as the use of overhead irrigation for maintaining soil moisture status, frost protection, and evaporative cooling. One of the greatest challenges to small fruit growers and rcsearchers is integrating new technology into production systems. The introduction of a new technique for environmental modification usually has indirect effects on other aspects of management, which may require additional technology to compensate for adverse changes while maintaining the favorable change. In addition, unique macro- and microclimates demand and market opportunities, specific solutions, and the result is a dynamic, diverse collage of production systems used by growers throughout the world.

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Gisele Schoene, Thomas Yeager, and Joe Ritchie

In crop models, it is important to determine the leaf area, because the amount of light interception by leaves influences two very important processes in the plant: photosynthesis and evaporation. Leaf area is dependent on leaf appearance and expansion rates. Leaf appearance rate is driven mainly by temperature. Although the influence of temperature on leaf area development is well known for several agronomic crops, there is no information for woody ornamentals. An experiment was conducted to study the relationship between temperature and leaf appearance of container-grown sweet viburnum. Plants were grown in field conditions in Gainesville, Fla., during two growing periods (Apr. to Aug. 2004 and Aug. 2004 to Jan. 2005). Daily maximum and minimum temperature and leaf appearance were recorded. Linear regression equations were fitted to data and maximum and minimum temperature and leaf appearance were recorded. Linear regression equations were fitted to data and base temperature was assumed to be 8 °C. Thermal time (°C d) was calculated as daily average maximum and minimum air temperature minus the base temperature and was regressed against leaf number. The sum of accumulated thermal time was found to be linearly correlated with leaf number. Phyllochron, which is the thermal time between the appearances of successive leaves, was estimated 51 °C per day. The information presented in this study will be useful in modeling water use of sweet viburnum in response to environmental conditions.

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Neil C. Yorio, Jeff T. Richards, Sharon L. Edney, Joel O. Wilkinson, Gary W. Stutte*, and Raymond M. Wheeler

The effects of using mixed cropping strategies for reducing overall mass and increasing system efficiency was examined as part of NASA's mission to study minimally-processed or “salad” crops as dietary supplements on long-duration space missions. To test interspecific compatibility, radish (Raphanus sativus L. cv. Cherry Bomb II), lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Flandria), and bunching onion (Allium fistulosum L. cv. Kinka) were grown hydroponically as either monoculture (control) or mixed-crop within a walk-in growth chamber maintained at 25 °C, 50% relative humidity, 300 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF, and a 16-h light/8-h dark photoperiod under cool-white fluorescent lamps. Weekly time-course harvests were taken over 28 days of growth. Results showed that none of the species showed any negative growth effects when grown together under mixed-crop compared to monoculture growth conditions. However, radish showed significant increases in edible mass when grown under mixed-crop compared to monoculture conditions. The observed increases in growth are likely attributable to increased light interception due to a decreased guard row effect as well as a faster canopy development for radish.

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Rohini Deshpande, D. P. Coyne, K. G. Hubbard, J. R. Steadman, E. P. Kerr, and Anne M. Parkhurst

The microclimate of Great Northern (GN) dry bean lines with diverse plant architecture was investigated in terms of white mold (WM) incidence and yield. A split-plot design was used with protected (3 weekly sprays of benomyl 0.9 KG HA-1 after flowering) and unprotected treatments as main-plots and GN lines as sub-plots in a WM nursery (1990, 1991). Canopy density, erectness, leaf area index, and plant characteristics were measured. `Starlight' (upright) and `Tara' (prostrate) were selected for detailed microclimate studies. An infrared thermometer, humidity sensor, and a thermistor were placed within the canopy at the advent of flowering. Leaf wetness and its duration were estimated by the leaf temperature in combination with air temperature and dewpoint temperature. `Starlight' showed later and shorter duration of leaf wetness, lower humidity, and WM and higher yield than `Tara'. Severe WM and reduced yields occurred also on all other susceptible entries with dense prostrate plant habits in the unprotected plots. Fractal analysis was done on the images of the canopy to quantify the light interception within the canopy.

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Michael K. Bomford

Polycultures are thought to offer yield advantages over monocultures when net competition between plants of different species is less than that between plants of the same species. Planting density and crop ratios may both alter these competitive effects. To observe such effects, dicultures of basil (Ocimumbasilicum L.), brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea L.), and tomato (Lycopersicumesculentum Mill.) were grown organically at a range of ratios and densities (1–47 plants/m2) over two field seasons. Relative land output (RLO) values were calculated from field data and from modeled yield-density-ratio surfaces. Both methods showed yield advantages from polyculture at high planting densities (RLO = 2.20 @ top density), but not at low densities. Dicultures offered a 19% yield advantage, on average. Competition for resources was compared by measuring canopy light interception and soil moisture content, showing tomato to be the most competitive crop, followed by brussels sprout, then basil. Diculture yield advantages were most pronounced when individuals of a less competitive species outnumbered those of a more competitive species. Yield advantages were 36% and 20% for dicultures dominated by basil and brussels sprout, respectively.

Dicultures dominated by tomato offered no yield advantage. The results are discussed in terms of the current ecological understanding of plant interactions, and possible advantages to be derived from small-scale intercropping, popularly termed companion planting.

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Cynthia L. Barden and W. J. Bramlage

Superficial scald development on apples is related to preharvest environmental conditions, perhaps through effects on endogenous antioxidant concentrations In 1989 we examined effects of maturity, light, and preharvest temperatures (< 10°C) on endogenous antioxidant levels in the fruit at harvest and on scald development after long-term storage in 0°C air. Cortland apple trees were sprayed with 500 ppm ethephon 1 month before normal harvest to create maturity differences. Fruit on other Cortland trees were bagged 1 month prior to harvest to reduce light interception. Samples also were harvested from other Cortland trees after exposures to different numbers of hours < 10°C, Hours < 10°C before harvest were negatively correlated to scald development. Ethephon treatment decreased scald incidence, and bagging increased it, The total lipid-soluble antioxidant activity increased with increasing hours < 10°C and with ethephon treatment, while bagging of fruit slightly decreased this antioxidant activity. To better understand the relationships between preharvest factors and antioxidant levels, individual antioxidants, including ascorbic acid, α tocopherol, anthocyanins and glutathione, are being analyzed.