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C.D. Stanley, A.A. Csizinszky, G.A. Clark and J.W. Prevatt

Combinations ofvarious vegetable crop species grown in multiple-cropping sequences using microirrigation on a sandy soil were evaluated for production potential and changes in normal cultural management An initial fall-season fresh-market tomato crop was followed immediately by a winter-season crucifer crop (cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage), which was followed by a spring-season cucurbit crop (cucumber, zucchini squash, or muskmelon). Studies were conducted over a 3-year period in southwestem Florida. Results showed that when cropping sequences were compared on a basis of a derived relative value index (RVI), the sequence of tomato-cauliflower-zucchini squash significantly outperformed other sequences. Several management concerns particular to the production system (crop residue removal and interference, plastic mulch deterioration and damage, and weed control) were identified and discussed. The potential savings when cropping sequences are compared to individual crop production resulted in net savings (dollar savings less additional production costs) that ranged from $565 to $1212/acre ($1396 to $2993/ha) and $614 to $1316/acre ($1516 to $3251/ha) for the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons, respectively.

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C. A. Clark, R. A. Valverde, J. A. Wilder-Ayers and P. E. Nelson

Symptoms of chlorotic leaf distortion (CLD) develop on vigorously growing sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) plants during sunny weather. They include chlorosis and twisting of young, expanding leaves and the appearance of white material on the adaxial leaf surfaces. The white material consisted of extramatrical fungal mycelia and Fusarium macroconidia. Fusarium lateritium Nees was isolated from surface-sterilized vine segments, leaf primordia, apical meristems, flower parts and true seeds of plants with CLD. Meristem-tip-culture-derived plants (mericlones) did not develop symptoms when grown for extended periods under disease-conducive conditions in the greenhouse. The fungus was not isolated from mericlones or other plants which had remained symptomless in the greenhouse but was isolated from lower nodes of symptomless plants from growers' fields. Symptoms developed on 84% of 185 mericlones of nine sweetpotato genotypes inoculated with F. lateritium isolated from CLD-affected plants. The pathogen was reisolated only from inoculated mericlones.

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A.Q. Villordon, C.A. Clark, R.A. Valverde, R.L. Jarret and D.R. LaBonte

Previous work by our group has detected the presence of a heterogeneous population of Ty1-copia-like reverse transcriptase retrotransposon sequences in the sweetpotato genome. Recently, we detected the presence of putatively active Ty1-copia-like reverse transcriptase sequences from a virus-infected `Beauregard' sweetpotato clone. In the current study, we report the differential detection of putatively stress-activated sequences in clones from seedling 91-189. The clones were infected with different combinations of virus isolates followed by extraction of leaf RNA samples at three sampling dates (weeks 2, 4, and 6) after inoculation. After repeated DNAse treatments to eliminate contaminating DNA, the RNA samples were subjected to first strand cDNA synthesis using random decamer primers followed by PCR analysis utilizing Ty1-copia reverse transcriptase-specific primers. Through this approach, we detected amplified fragments within the expected size range (280-300 bp) from clones infected with isolates of sweetpotato leaf curl (SPLC) and feathery mottle viruses (FMV) (week 2 and 6) and FMV (week 4). We were unable to detect PCR products from the noninfected clones or the other infected samples. The data suggests that specific viruses may be involved in the expression of these Ty1-copia-related reverse transcriptase sequences. It also appears that sampling at various dates is necessary to detect putative activity over time. This preliminary information is essential before proceeding to the construction and screening of cDNA libraries to isolate and fully characterize the putatively active sweetpotato Ty1-copia-like retrotransposon sequences. Through the partial or complete characterization of sweetpotato Ty1-copia elements, sequences that correspond to cis-regulatory element(s) can be identified and further studied for their roles in responding to specific stress factors.

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Michele A. Stanton, Joseph C. Scheerens, Richard C. Funt and John R. Clark

We investigated the response of staminate and pistillate floral components of Prime-Jan™ and Prime-Jim™ primocane-fruiting blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) to three different growth chamber temperature regimes, 35.0/23.9 °C (HT), 29.4/18.3 °C (MT), and 23.9/12.8 °C (LT). Temperature was negatively related to flower size and morphological abnormalities in floral structures were evident in 41% and 98% of the MT- and HT-grown plants, respectively. The viability (stainability) of pollen from LT- and MT-grown Prime-Jan™ flowers exceeded 70%; that of Prime-Jim™ pollen was significantly reduced (<40%) by the MT regime. Pollen in-vitro germinability was negatively influenced by temperature but was unaffected by cultivar. LT-grown pollen held at 23.9 °C retained 63% of its original germinability over a 32-hour period; the germinability of LT-grown pollen held at 35.0 °C was decreased by 97% from its original level after 16 hours. Virtually all flowers cultured under HT conditions were male-sterile, exhibiting structural and/or sporogenous class abnormalities including petaloidy, malformation of tapetal cells, and microspores or failure of dehiscence. The duration of stigma receptivity, pistil density, and drupelet set were also negatively influenced by increasing temperature; values for these parameters of floral competency among control plants were reduced by 51%, 39%, and 76%, respectively, in flowers cultured under HT conditions. Herein, flowering and fruiting parameters and presumably the yield potential of Prime-Jan™ and Prime-Jim™ were adversely affected by increased temperature. However, assessment of their adaptative response to heat stress under field conditions awaits experimentation.

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Michele A. Stanton, Joseph C. Scheerens, Richard C. Funt and John R. Clark

We investigated the responses of staminate and pistillate floral components of Prime-Jan and Prime-Jim primocane-fruiting blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) to three different growth chamber temperature regimens, 35.0/23.9 °C (HT), 29.4/18.3 °C (MT), and 23.9/12.8 °C (LT). Temperature was negatively related to flower size, and morphologically abnormal floral structures were evident in 41% and 98% of the MT- and HT-grown plants, respectively. Anthers of LT- and MT-grown plants dehisced. The viability of pollen (as deduced through staining) from Prime-Jan grown at LT or MT exceeded 70%, whereas that of Prime-Jim pollen was significantly reduced (<40%) by the MT regimen. In vitro pollen germinability (typically <50%) was negatively influenced by temperature but was unaffected by cultivar. Pollen useful life was diminished under HT conditions; LT-grown pollen held at 23.9 °C retained 63% of its original germinability over a 32-h period, while the germinability of that held at 35.0 °C for 16 hours decreased by 97%. Virtually all flowers cultured under HT conditions were male sterile, exhibiting structural or sporogenous class abnormalities including petaloidy and malformation of tapetal cells or microspores; HT anthers that were present, failed to dehisce. Stigma receptivity, pistil density, and drupelet set were also negatively influenced by increased temperature; values for these parameters of floral competency among control plants were reduced by 51%, 39%, and 76%, respectively, in flowers cultured under HT conditions. In this study, flowering and fruiting parameters, and presumably the yield potential of Prime-Jan and Prime-Jim, were adversely affected by increased temperature. However, their adaptive response to heat stress under field conditions awaits assessment.

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E.E. Albregts, G.A. Clark, C.D. Stanley, F.S. Zazueta and A.G. Smajstrla

Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) was grown for two seasons with microirrigation. Preplant fertilizer treatments of zero, one, two, three, and four times the basic N and K rate of 17 and 15 kg·ha–1, respectively, were applied each season. Additional N and K were applied twice weekly through the microirrigation system at 1.12 and 0.92 kg·ha–1·day–1, respectively. Total marketable fruit yield and marketable fruit per plant were not affected by preplant fertilizer rate. The percentage of marketable fruit increased with increased preplant fertilizer to the 51N–45K (three times basic rate) kg·ha–1 rate the first season. Average fruit weight increased the first season but decreased the second season with increased preplant fertilizer. Plants were larger the first season in treatments receiving preplant fertilizer.

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P. Olienyk, A.R. Gonzalez, A. Mauromoustakos, W.K. Patterson, C.R. Rom and J. Clark

Clingstone peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Allgold] trees were fertilized once with 45 or 90 kg N/ha at budbreak or twice with 22.5 or 45 kg N/ha at budbreak and after harvest. A nonfertilized control was included. Fruits from all treatments were made into puree, and objective and subjective qualities were evaluated. Puree from the N treatments and the control did not show significant differences in Color Difference Meter (CDM) `L' and hue angle, pH, titratable acidity (TA), soluble solids concentration (SSC), SSC: TA ratio, viscosity, ascorbic acid, Ca, K, phenolic and nitrates concentration. Puree from the control and 22.5 kg N/ha applied twice had significantly lower CDM `a', `b', and chroma values than from the other treatments. The split applications of N significantly reduced levels of Ca and ascorbic acid. N rate and number of applications interacted for `a' and K. When N was applied twice at 22.5 kg·ha-1, `a' and K decreased, but this response was absent when N was applied twice at 45 kg·ha-1. Puree from the nonfertilized control was rated lower by panelists for sensory quality than that from the fertilized trees. Peach puree from trees fertilized once with 45 kg N/ha at budbreak had the best overall sensory quality.

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J.E. Barrett, R.K. Schoellhorn, C.A. Bartuska, D.G. Clark and T.A. Nell

Uniconazole was applied as a spray to the surface of container media prior to planting bedding plant plugs. This medium spray was compared to a standard whole-plant spray applied 2 weeks after planting. For petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Vilm.) and coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides L.) the efficacy of the medium spray was similar to the whole-plant spray. However, for impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook. f.) and vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.] the medium spray had greater efficacy than the whole-plant spray. Increased concentrations of uniconazole in the medium spray decreased plant height; however, the effect of higher concentrations was greater in a medium with out pine bark compared to a medium with pine bark as a component. In the above experiments, uniconazole was applied in a volume of 200 mL·m-2. In a test where spray volume varied, there was a negative linear relationship between plant height and spray volume. Chemical name used: (E)-(+)-(S)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-pent-1-ane-3-ol (uniconazole).

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K.S. Ling, C.A. Clark, C. Kokkinos, J. R. Bohac, S.S. Hurtt, R. L. Jarret and A. G. Gillaspie

Sweet potato virus disease (SPVD) is the most devastating virus disease on sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] world wide, especially in East Africa. However, weather it is present in the U.S. is unknown. SPVD is caused by co-infection of sweetpotato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and sweetpotato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV). Presence of two other potyviruses, sweetpotato virus G (SPVG) and Ipomoea vein mosaic virus (IVMV) has also been confirmed in the U.S. Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV), a whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) transmitted Begomovirus, also has the potential to spread to commercial sweetpotato fields and poses a great threat to the sweetpotato industry. The U.S. collection of sweetpotato germplasm contains about 700 genotypes or breeding lines introduced from over 20 different countries. Newly introduced sweetpotato germplasm from foreign sources are routinely screened for major viruses with serology and graft-transmission onto indicator plants (Ipomoea setosa). However, a large portion of this collection including heirloom cultivars or old breeding materials has not been systemically screened for these major sweetpotato viruses. In this study, a total of 69 so-called heirloom sweetpotato PI accessions were evaluated for their virus status. We used Real-time PCR to detect five sweetpotato viruses, including four RNA viruses (SPCSV, SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV) and one DNA virus (SPLCV). A multiplex Real-time RT-PCR system was developed to detect three RNA viruses (SPFMV, SPVG, and IVMV). Preliminary data indicated that about 15% of these heirloom sweetpotato germplasm carried at least one of these viruses tested. Details on virus infection status will be presented.

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Don R. La Bonte, Arthur Q. Villordon, Christopher A. Clark, Paul W. Wilson and C. Scott Stoddard