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Philip L. Forsline, James R. McFerson, and Warren F. Lamboy

The USDA–ARS active collection of Malus includes over 2500 accessions maintained as field-grown trees at the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU), Geneva, N.Y. Nearly 30% of this collection is presently cryopreserved as dormant buds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colo., as a backup security collection. Successful bud-grafting recovery rates (≥40%) after one to four years of cryogenic storage have been documented for over 675 of 750 accessions tested. However, current protocols dictate budwood collection at PGRU from late December through early March, when buds are thought to be optimally acclimated for desiccation and slow freezing to –30°C, our pretreatment for cryopreservation. This causes a processing bottleneck. Our observations suggest temporary storage of budwood at –4°C after field harvest is possible, but we had not tested this directly. Therefore, we collected budwood from four accessions representing different levels of cold tolerance on six dates from January to March, 1995. Dormant buds were processed for cryopreservation monthly after storage in sealed bags at –4°C for 1 to 6 months. Recovery rates ranged from 55% to 100%. Neither collection date nor length of storage at –4°C affected rate of recovery. These results suggest we can significantly increase the throughput and efficiency of our cryopreservation efforts, thereby enhancing management and security of the Malus collection.

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L-Y. Li and J.H. Lieth

Greenhouse crop production involves high rates of energy input to implement a greenhouse microclimate that results in high productivity levels, correct crop timing, and desired product specifications. Producing quality crops while maintaining low energy consumption is achievable through improved crop management and environment control strategies. In this study, greenhouse crops and their microclimate were treated as an integrated system that was driven by solar radiation and external energy input. A set of simulation models were developed to describe the greenhouse climate, the crop, and their dynamic interactions. The temperature and light regimes were simulated using the greenhouse energy budget under typical weather patterns. The crop model simulated growth and development of several ornamental greenhouse crops. Coupling the crop model with the greenhouse energy model resulted in a system that allows determination of optimal strategies for crop management and environmental control. This greenhouse/crop system can be used to assist growers with formulating strategies of greenhouse production management.

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Shangchun Hu, Gail Hansen, and Paul Monaghan

Stormwater ponds are widely used in urban developments to control and clean stormwater and add aesthetic appeal to the landscape. This dual function of residential stormwater systems can create conditions at odds for the optimal performance of either function. This investigation sought to discover connections between aesthetics, plants, design, maintenance, and municipal codes as a means to improve water quality and stormwater pond appearance. To establish the connections between visual quality and environmental function, we conducted five focus groups, four interviews with landscape professionals, and reviewed regulatory codes for 46 municipalities. We concluded that homeowner preferences and the social influence of neighbors were closely linked to design, codes, and management issues. Insights gained include the shared social value of wildlife viewing and aesthetic preferences for diverse, but maintained shoreline planting.

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Jill A. Montgomery, Ray A. Bressan, and Cary A. Mitchell

Obtaining uniform mechano-dwarfing of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. seedlings within dense plantings is problematic. Alternative forms of mechano-stimulation were applied to seedlings in effort to obtain uniform growth reduction compared with undisturbed controls in both greenhouse and controlled growth environments. Arabidopsis grown under low photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) artificial light grew upright with limited leaf expansion, which enhanced mechano-responsiveness compared to that of rosette-growing plants under filtered sunlight or high PPF artificial light. Hypocotyls of seedlings grown at PPFs >60 μmol·m-2·s-1 elongated less and had 6% less sensitivity to mechanical stress than seedlings grown at PPFs <60 μmol·m-2·s-1. Fluorescent lamps alone (F) or fluorescent plus incandescent (F+I) lamps were compared for seedling responses to mechanical stress. Under F lighting, hypocotyl elongation was reduced 25% to 40% by twice-daily brush or plate treatments, and brushed seedlings exhibited more growth reduction than did plate treatments. Seedlings grown under F+I lamps exhibited similar stress-induced growth reduction compared to seedlings grown under F only, but stressed F+I seedlings lodged to a greater extent due to excessive hypocotyl elongation. Temperature-response studies using standardized F-only lighting indicated increased hypocotyl elongation but decreased leaf expansion, and decreased mechano-responsivity to brushing over the temperature range from 20 to 28 °C. Daylength studies indicated similar degrees of mechano-inhibition of hypocotyl elongation over the daylength range of 12, 16, 20, and 24 hours, whereas fresh weight of stressed seedling shoots declined compared to controls. A combination of environmental growth parameters that give repeatable, visual mechanical dwarfing of Arabidopsis include low-PPF fluorescent lighting from 55 to 60 μmol·m-2·s-1, ambient temperatures from 22 to 25 °C, and twice-daily brush treatments.

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Jerry C. Leyte and Charles F. Forney

Forced-air cooling rates of highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) packaged in 6-oz (177-mL) or 1-pt (473-mL) clamshell containers were affected by positions of vent holes in corrugated flats. Most rapid cooling occurred in flats with vents across the top of the flat. Additional vents aligned in front of clamshells resulted in more rapid and uniform cooling than vents placed between clamshells. Vent holes in the bottom of flats had no effect on cooling rates. Clamshells cooled more slowly in the front of the pallet where cold air entered than in the back of the pallet where cold air exited. Fruit in 6-oz clamshells cooled faster than fruit in 1-pt clamshells.

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Antonio Figueira and Jules Janick

In vitro culture of axillary cotyledonary shoots of Theobroma cacao L. (cacao) under increasing CO2 concentration from ambient to 24,000 ppm (culture tube levels) significantly increased total shoot elongation, number of leaves, leaf area per explant, and shoot dry and fresh weight. Although light was necessary for the CO2 response, the effect of various photon fluxes was not significant for the measured growth parameters. Net photosynthesis estimated on the basis of CO2 depletion in culture tubes increased 3.5 times from 463 to 2639 ppm CO2, and increased 1.5 times from 2639 to 14,849 ppm CO2, but declined from 14,849 to 24,015 ppm CO2. Ethylene concentration in culture vessels increased under enriched CO2 conditions. Depletion of nutrients (fructose, K, Ca, Mg, and P) from the medium was increased under enriched CO2 conditions.

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Amanda Bayer, John Ruter, and Marc W. van Iersel

Excessive irrigation and leaching are of increasing concern in container plant production. It can also necessitate multiple fertilizer applications, which is costly for growers. Our objective was to determine whether fertilizer and irrigation water can be applied more efficiently to reduce leachate volume and nutrient content without negatively impacting aboveground growth of Gardenia jasminoides ‘MAGDA I’. Plants were fertilized with one of three rates of a controlled-release fertilizer (subplots) (Florikan 18–6–8, 9–10 month release; 18.0N–2.6P–6.6K) [100 (40 g/plant), 50 (20 g/plant), and 25% of bag rate (10 g/plant)] and grown in 5.4-L containers outside for 137 days. Soil moisture sensor-controlled, automated irrigation was used to provide plants with one of four irrigation volumes (whole plots) (66, 100, 132, or 165 mL) at each irrigation event. All plants were irrigated when the control treatment (66 mL irrigation volume, 100% fertilizer treatment) reached a volumetric water content (VWC) of 0.35 m3·m−3. Plants in the different irrigation treatments were irrigated for 2, 3, 4, or 5 minutes, thus applying 66, 100, 132, or 165 mL/plant in the different irrigation treatments. Fertilizer rate had a greater effect on aboveground growth than irrigation volume with the 25% fertilizer rate resulting in significantly lower shoot dry weight (18.7 g/plant) than the 50% and 100% rates (25.3 and 27.3 g/plant respectively). Growth index was also lowest in the 25% fertilizer rate. Leachate volume varied greatly during the growing season due to rainfall and irrigation volume effects on leachate were most evident during the third, eighth, and ninth biweekly leachate collections, during which there was minimal or no rainfall. For these collections the control treatment of 66 mL resulted in minimal leachate (less than 130 mL over the 2-week leachate collection period), whereas leachate volume increased with increasing irrigation volumes. Pore water electrical conductivity (EC), leachate EC, NO3-N content, and PO4-P content were all highest with the 100% fertilizer rate, with the 66 mL irrigation treatment having the highest leachate EC for all fertilizer treatments. Cumulative leachate volumes for the 66 and 100 mL irrigation treatments were unaffected by fertilizer rate, whereas the 132 and 165 mL had greater leaching at the 25% fertilizer rate. Lower irrigation volumes resulted in reduced water and nutrient leaching and higher leachate EC. The higher leachate EC was the result of higher concentration of nutrients in less volume of leachate. The results of this study suggest that a combination of reduced fertilizer rates (up to 50%) and more efficient irrigation can be used to produce salable plants with reduced leaching and thus less environmental impact.

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Rebecca G. Bichsel, Terri W. Starman, and Yin-Tung Wang

Experiments were conducted to determine how nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) rate and fertilizer termination time affect the growth and flowering of a Dendrobium nobile Lindl. hybrid, Dendrobium cv Red Emperor ‘Prince’. Nitrogen, P, and K were tested in separate experiments as a factorial combination of five rates and three termination dates (1 Sept., 1 Oct., and 1 Nov. 2005). Nitrogen and K rates were 0, 50, 100, 200, and 400 mg·L−1. Phosphorus rates were 0, 25, 50, 100, and 200 mg·L−1. Levels of the nutrients not being tested were held constant. For all nutrients, ending fertilization on 1 Sept. resulted in greater or similar pseudobulb thickness compared with ending fertilization on 1 Oct. or 1 Nov. Pseudobulbs grew taller as the N rate increased, peaking at 100 and 200 mg·L−1. There were interactions between the N rate and fertilizer termination time on all reproductive characteristics. For all fertilizer termination times, flower number increased once N was applied. When ended on 1 Nov., 200 and 400 mg·L−1 N caused a delay to reach anthesis. All P rates resulted in taller plants with equally more nodes when compared with 0 mg·L−1. As the K rate increased from 0 to 100 mg·L−1, plant height increased, with no further increase at higher rates. The number of leaves remaining increased as N and K rates increased up to 200 mg·L−1. Total flower number and flowering node number increased as the K rate increased to 100 mg·L−1 (terminated on 1 Sept.) or 50 mg·L−1 (terminated on 1 Oct. or 1 Nov.). In the fourth experiment, only N was ended at four termination times, whereas all other nutrients continued to be supplied until flowering. Control plants received all fertilizer elements until flowering. The duration of N application did not affect vegetative or flowering characteristics. No aerial shoots were observed as a result of prolonged application of N at all rates. In summary, 100 mg·L−1 N, 25 mg·L−1 P, and 100 mg·L−1 K are recommended for optimal vegetative growth and reproductive development of Dendrobium cv Red Emperor ‘Prince’.

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Said Ennahli and Sorkel Kadir

Variability due to soil types, topography, and climate within a vineyard influences grapevine physiological parameters and fruit quality. Technical feasibility of using precision Geographic Information System (GIS) as a viticulture tool to improve vineyard management and increase wine quality will be investigated. The study was conducted in an experimental vineyard where rows consist of plots with 24 cultivars and selections randomly planted and managed similarly. Monitored vineyard parameters collected by Global Positioning System (GPS) location include soil characteristics, soil moisture, vine growth, crop load, and fruit characteristics. Geospatial maps are used to differentiate yield between the cultivars and selections as high, medium, or low. Production was determined from each variety/selection within the vineyard. Yield parameters were number of clusters, cluster weight, and weight of 50 berries; fruit composition (such as pH), titratable acidity, soluble solids concentration, and anthocyanins were measured. Maps for each factor will be derived via GIS tools and spatial analysis will be conducted to assess which spatial variability factor has more effect on grapevine physiology, yield, and fruit quality. This type of analysis can be used by grape growers to achieve specific wine characteristics in a large or small vineyard by controlling all sources of variability, leading to the ability to perform precision viticulture in the future, with low cost.

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Elisabet Claveria, Jordi Garcia-Mas, and Ramon Dolcet-Sanjuan

Homozygous doubled haploid lines (DHLs) from new cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) accessions could be useful to accelerate breeding for resistant varieties. DHLs have been generated by in vitro rescue of in vivo induced parthenogenic embryos. The protocol developed involves the following: 1) induction of parthenogenic embryos by pollinating with pollen irradiated with a Co60 γ-ray source at 500 Gy; 2) in vitro rescue of putative parthenogenic embryos identified by their morphology and localized using a dissecting scope or X-ray radiography; 3) discrimination of undesirable zygotic individuals from the homozygous plants using cucumber and melon SSR markers; 4) determination of ploidy level from homozygous plants by flow cytometry; 5) in vitro chromosome doubling of haploids; and 6) acclimation and selfing of selected lines. Codominant markers and flow cytometry confirmed the gametophytic origin of plants regenerated by parthenogenesis, since all homozygous lines were haploids. No spontaneous doubled haploid plants were rescued. Chromosome doubling of haploid plants was accomplished by an in vitro treatment with 500 μm colchicine. Rescue of diploid or chimeric plants was shown by flow cytometry, prior to their acclimation and planting in the greenhouse. Selfing of colchicine-treated haploid plants allowed for the perpetuation by seed of homozygous lines. The high rate of seed set, 90% of the lines produced seed, facilitated the recovery of inbred lines. Despite some limiting factors, parthenogenesis is routinely used in a cucumber-breeding program to achieve complete homozygosity in one generation. Breeding for new commercial hybrid cultivars will be accelerated. DHLs are ideal resources for genomic analyses.