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  • Author or Editor: Charles S. Vavrina x
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The effects of transplant depth on lodging and yield were evaluated in five experiments in Florida and Massachusetts. `Cherry Bomb', `Jupiter', and `Mitla' pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) transplants were set at three depths so that the soil surface was even with the top of the rootball, the cotyledon leaf, or the first true leaf. Seedlings set to the depth of cotyledon leaves or to the first true leaf lodged less than did those set to the top of the rootball. No yield differences were recorded among treatments in Massachusetts; however, total weight of red fruit was greater in treatments that lodged less in 1 of the 2 years, suggesting that lodging delayed maturity. Soil temperature in Massachusetts declined at the level of the rootball as planting depth increased.

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Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) seedlings treated with various biological preparations exhibited increased root and shoot growth both in the greenhouse and during subsequent field establishment. Early fruit set and pod development showed signs of possible yield improvement by the treatments, but treatment differences were not apparent at first harvest. Data from subsequent harvests did show yield increases with some preparations. Treatment organisms appeared to activate or induce systemic resistance to bacterial spot (Xanthomonas campestris) infestation though not to the level shown by Actigard (Novartis). Crop/treatment response under soil solarization, fumigation, and compost amended conditions will be discussed.

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Eight different tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplant production methods were tested during two growing seasons (1993-94) to determine their effectiveness in increasing both establishment rate and yield. Seven-week-old greenhouse grown transplants of `Hypeel 696' were shipped from Florida to Pennsylvania and planted at the Pennsylvania State Univ. Horticulture Research Farm. Transplants were also grown at the Pennsylvania State University to compare their growth with that of southern-grown plants. In 1993, increased nutrient levels during the last 10 days of transplant production significantly increased transplant size, establishment rate, and early yields, while the addition of Hydretain®, an aid to water retention and uptake, significantly increased total yield. In 1994, plants from Florida that were chilled for 7 days before transplanting and the Pennsylvania-grown plants had faster establishment rates than did nonchilled plants from Florida, but differences in yield were nonsignificant. Chilled and Pennsylvania-grown plants had significantly higher soluble carbohydrate levels in leaves, stems, and roots than did nonchilled and Florida-grown plants, while nutrient-conditioned plants had higher levels in leaves and stems. Establishment rate was not correlated with carbohydrate level. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Total fruit yield of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai] in Florida field tests was unaffected by transplant age (3, 4, or 5 weeks from seeding) or modular cell size (18.8, 30.7, or 60.5 cm3), but was affected by trial year. A further study revealed that early and total fruit yields at two field sites were unaffected by transplant age, ranging from 3 to 13 weeks, when grown in the same modular cell size (34 cm3), but were affected by field trial site. We conclude that transplant age or modular cell size is of little importance relative to post-transplanting conditions (site or year) in influencing watermelon fruit yield.

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`Jupiter' and `Verdel' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) transplants set to the depth of cotyledon leaves or to the first true leaf yielded more fruit than transplants set to the top of the rootball. Increased yields and early stand establishment criteria (number of leaves, leaf area, plant weight, and plant height) suggest that planting pepper transplants deeper than is now common is commercially beneficial in Florida. Deeper plantings may place pepper roots in a cooler environment and reduce fluctuations in soil temperature. Moderated soil temperature, in conjunction with earlier fertilizer and water acquisition, may give deeper-planted pepper plants a competitive edge in growth.

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Abstract

The plant growth regulator tetcyclasis applied as a seed treatment [75% wettable powder (WP)] had growth-retarding effects on sweet corn (Zea mays L. ‘Silver Queen’), and modified water use. Tetcyclasis at rates of 0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 g a.i./kg of seed significantly retarded top growth, while having no effect on root length for 28 days after planting. Water use on a per gram of plant tissue basis tended to be lower under cool-season conditions and equal under warm-season conditions among tetcyclasis seed treatments as compared to nontreated controls. Chemical names used: 5- (4-chlorophenyl)-3,4,5,9,10-pentaaza-tetracyclo(5,4,l,02,6,08,11) dodeca-3,9-diene (tetcyclasis).

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The Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System (DRIS) was developed to incorporate the importance of nutrient balance into plant analysis. Yield and plant analysis data from five fertilizer trials conducted in the field during 2 years, using `Granex 33' onions (Allium cepa L.), were entered into a data bank. The trials consisting of a N4 × P4 × K4 × S4, a N4 × P4 × K4 × plant density4, two N4 × P4 × K4, and a 4N × 6S factorial were conducted on sandy Ultisols in Georgia. Significant yield responses resulted from the addition of P and N. Leaf samples were analyzed for N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Mn, Zn, Cu, and B. Nutrient data were expressed in ratio form, and the population with yields >45 Mg·ha–1 were used to calculate the DRIS norms. The proposed norms for N, P, K, Mg, and Cu were tested using published data from independently conducted field and greenhouse studies. By accurately diagnosing the most limiting nutrients, these norms successfully predicted yield responses to treatment. Preliminary norms for S, Ca, Mn, Zn, and B were determined but not tested.

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`Tropical Quick' Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L., Pekinensis Group) was planted three times at 2-week intervals in Spring 1991 (direct-seeded) and two times in Fall 1991 (transplanted) in double rows on polyethylene-mulched beds to evaluate N source and rates. Calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, urea, urea-ammonium nitrate solution (Uran), and urea-calcium solution (Nitro-Pius) were applied preplant at 67,112, and 157 kg N/ha. The two later spring planting dates, compared with the earliest date, resulted in greater head fresh weights and higher insect damage incidence, but lower tipburn and flowering incidence. The earlier fall planting resulted in greater head fresh weight but a much higher flowering incidence than the later planting. Irrespective of planting date, head fresh weight increased quadratically, and tipburn and flowering incidence decreased linearly with increasing N rate. Although N source affected head fresh weight and tipbum incidence, differences were too small to be of practical value.

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Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. cvs. Superstar and Mission) transplants were grown in cellular seedling trays of polystyrene or styrofoam, with individual cells ranging in volume from 7 to 100 cm3, transplanted to the field, and grown to maturity in Florida and Indiana during the 1993 and 1994 growing seasons. Seedling leaf area, shoot and root weights before transplanting, and shoot dry weight 20 days after transplanting increased linearly with increasing cell volume in Florida. Thirty days after transplanting, vine length showed significant linear and quadratic trends with respect to cell volume in Indiana. In Florida, early and total yields increased linearly as transplant cell volume increased for `Mission' in both years and for `Superstar' in 1994. In Indiana, early yields increased linearly as transplant cell volume increased for `Mission' in 1994 and for `Superstar' in both years, but cell volume did not consistently affect total yield. Transplant tray effects on early and total yield unrelated to linear or quadratic effects of cell volume occurred in both locations, but these effects were not consistent.

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