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Jung-Myung Lee and Du-Hyun Kim

Dry-heat (DH) treatment has been extensively used for inactivation of some seed-borne virus and Fusarium disease in many vegetable crops, especially in cucurbitaceous vegetables. Strains of tobamovirus (cucumber green mottle mosaic virus; CGMMV) could be successfully inactivated by treating the infected seeds at 75 °C for 72 h. However, DH-treated seeds frequently exhibit slow and poor germination and abnormal seedling characteristics, such as distorted, white streaked, and punctured cotyledons in the seedlings. The moisture content in seed coat and inner cotyledons fell down to below 1% in DH-treated seeds when treated at 75 °C or higher. However, when the seeds were treated at 65 °C, final moisture content in the DH-treated seeds were maintained at about 2.5% to 3.5%. Seeds absorbed moisture above 20% at 100% RH, 9% to 10% at 73% RH, and 4% to 5% at 28% RH, respectively. When the intact and DH-treated seeds were exposed to conditions of varying relative humidity, DH-treated seeds absorbed atmospheric moisture at a much slower rate than the intact seeds in all tested cultivars, and this is thought to be one of the major reasons for slower germination in DH-treated seeds. The inactivation of virus, comparison of respiration of seeds, and endogenous gibberellic acid contents will also be presented.

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S.L. Grange, D.I. Leskovar, L.M. Pike, and B.G. Cobb

Poor and inconsistent germination is a problem in triploid watermelon. Nicking was shown effective in improving germination in triploid cultivars. In this experiment, we examined the effects of high and low medium moisture, and nicking on diploid and triploid seed germination. Germination for the diploid cultivar was unaffected by any treatment. At high moisture conditions, triploid seed germination was severely reduced to less than 15%, while nicking significantly improved germination up to 40%. However, this increase is still not commercially acceptable. When seed morphological components were measured for each cultivar, triploid seeds had a larger and highly variable air space as compared to the diploid seed. The data confirm that seed germination is not inhibited by the seedcoat alone, but appears to be highly sensitive to excessive water conditions.

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Adán Fimbres Fontes, Raúl Leonel Grijalva Contreras, and Manuel de Jesús Valenzuela Ruíz

The area of olives in the region of Caborca has been increasing in the last years to 4500 ha. Olives in other regions do not need the application of water, but at Caborca, evaporation is greater than rainfall. Because of this, an experiment was conducted in 1998 to determine the optimum water requirements for olives (table olives) in a sandy loam soil (flooded irrigation). The results indicated that the greatest yield (16.27 kg/tree) was with 90% and 80% depletion (15.8 kg/tree) of the available moisture (AM) in the soil (1-m depth) and the lowest yield (8.46 kg/tree) was with 100% depletion and 60% depletion of the available moisture in the soil. The total water applied with the 90% depletion of the AM was of 146.77 cm (1.467 m).

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Krishna Nemali* and Marc van Iersel

Monitoring moisture status of the growing medium is essential as growth and quality of greenhouse crops largely depend on the amount of available water. Recently, two new types of moisture sensors have been developed (ECH2 O, Decagon devices, Inc., Pullman, Wash.; Theta probe ML2X, Delta -T devices Ltd., Burwell, Cambridge, U.K.). We studied the performance of these sensors for measuring the volumetric water content (VWC) of a soilless growing medium. We also tested the sensitivity of these sensors to temperature and electrical conductivity (EC) of the growing medium. Our results indicate that these sensors can be calibrated and used effectively for measuring a wide range of moisture contents in the growing medium; however media specific calibration may be required. Regression analysis indicated that the output of ECH2 O probes was affected by changes in the EC and temperature of the growing medium. Effects of EC were too small to be of practical significance, while the measured VWC increased by 0.003 m3/m3 for each °C increase in temperature. The output from the Theta Probe was not affected by changes in the EC or temperature of the growing medium. In a comparison study, both probes were found to give similar estimates of the VWC of the growing medium within the common range seen under greenhouse production.

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Bharat P. Singh and Wayne F. Whitehead

The effect of soil moisture and pH levels on the vegetative growth of amaranth were studied in the greenhouse during 1990-91. Three soil pH levels: 4.5, 5.3, and 6.4 and four soil water levels: 3, 6, 12 and 18% (w/w) comprised the treatments of the two studies. The plants grown in pH 6.4 were significantly taller and had greater leaf area than plants grown in pH 5.3 or 4.7 soil. There was a significant decrease in all above ground plant parts with each increase in soil acidity. The top fresh weight of plants grown in 5.6 and 4.7 pH soil were 27% and 73% lower, respectively, than plant grown in 6.4 pH soil. Plant grown in 3% soil water had significantly lower leaf, stem and root fresh weights than other soil water levels. There was no significant difference in the performance of plants grown in 6, 12 or 18% soil water, suggesting that amaranth plant is adapted to a wide range of soil moisture conditions.

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Gregory E. Welbaum, Zhen-Xing Shen, Jonathan I. Watkinson, Chun-Li Wang, and Jerzy Nowak

, Boone, IA). Soilless growing medium was autoclaved (134 °C, 200 kPa, 20 min steam cycle) before treatment to compare moisture-retention patterns of steam-treated and nontreated samples. During and after priming, soilless medium, vermiculite, and soil

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J.H. Edwards, D.R. Smith, C.H. Gilliam, and D.C. Erbach

Excessive moisture is a problem in evaluating recycled paper products as mulch to replace other common mulch materials and in landscape and container uses. To isolate the water associated with soil and/or media, two recycled paper products, pellets or crumble, were used as mulches in trade gallon containers in a greenhouse. Pine bark, pellets, and crumble needed to obtain standard mulch depth were enclosed in plastic mesh. These mulches were placed in containers that contained 1 kg of a 7 pine bark : 1 sand media. All containers were saturated with tap water for 24 hours. Mulches were placed on each container and allowed to drain for 1 hour. Weights of media, mulch, and media and mulch were obtained every 24 hours for a total of 312 hours. Water content of the media was not influenced by any of the mulch treatments. Water content of the paper products was increased by a factor of two. Pine bark mulch water content was zero 96 hours after an initial dry down cycle began, while the water content of pellet and crumble were 100 and 90 cm of water. Total water content of the media plus the mulch was increased by 30% to 35% when compared to pine bark mulch alone. However, the increase was associated with the water content of the waste paper mulch.

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S. Grange, D.I. Leskovar, L. Pike, and G. Cobb

Triploid watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] consumption is increasing in the U.S. However, some of the original problems, poor and inconsistent germination, still exist. Seeds of several triploid and diploid watermelon cultivars were subjected to a variety of treatments to improve germination. Control and scarified seeds, by nicking, were incubated at 25 or 30 °C in either 5 or 10 mL H2O or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Triploid seed germination was strongly inhibited in all cultivars when seeds were at 10 mL of the H2O or H2O2; both nicking and H2O2 increased germination, but not equal to rate of the control in 5 mL H2O or H2O2. Germination of diploid cultivars was unaffected by any treatment. Seed morphological measurments indicated that triploid seed has a smaller embryo with a large and highly variable (CV = 105%) air space surrounding the embryonic axis as compared with the diploid seed. These data suggests that triploid watermelon seed germination is not inhibited by the seedcoat thickness alone. Seed moisture plays a significant role in germination, emergence, and stand uniformity.

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S. Grange, D.I. Leskovar, L. Pike, and G. Cobb

Triploid watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] consumption is increasing in the United States However, some of the original problems, poor and inconsistent germination, still exist. Seeds of several triploid and diploid watermelon cultivars were subjected to a variety of treatments to improve germination. Control and scarified seeds, by nicking, were incubated at 25 or 30 °C in either 5 or 10 mL H2O or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Triploid seed germination was strongly inhibited in all cultivars when seeds were at 10 mL of H2O or H2O2; both nicking and H2O2 increased germination but not equal to rate of the control in 5 mL H2O or H2O2. Germination of diploid cultivars was unaffected by any treatment. Seed morphological measurments indicated that triploid seed has a smaller embryo with a large and highly variable (cv = 105%) air space surrounding the embryonic axis as compared with the diploid seed. These data suggests that triploid watermelon seed germination is not inhibited by the seed coat thickness alone. Seed moisture plays a significant role in germination, emergence, and stand uniformity.

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Ted S. Kornecki, Francisco J. Arriaga, and Andrew J. Price

rye such as a soft dough might be ideal for mechanical termination. Most agricultural extension services recommend ending the cover crop at least 2 weeks before planting the cash crop to prevent the cover crop from competing for soil moisture