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  • Author or Editor: Gregory A. Lang x
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Pollen deposition on the stigmatic surface of blueberry pistils was studied with regard to maximum pollen load and stigmatic fluid production (stigma receptivity). Three hybrid southern highbush cultivars (Vaccinium corymbosum L. with V. darrowi Camp, V. ashei Reade, and/or V. angustfolium Aiton), two northern highbush cultivars (V. corymbosum), and one hybrid half-high cultivar (V. corymbosum with V. angustifolium) were selfand cross-pollinated with counted pollen tetrads until saturation of the stigmatic surface occurred. Stigmatic saturation generally required 200 to 300 tetrads and was characterized by the cessation of stigmatic fluid production and the inability to absorb further tetrads. The loss of stigmatic receptivity was irreversible. Cross-pollination resulted in cessation of stigmatic fluid production at lower levels of tetrad deposition than did self-pollination, suggesting a potential pollen-stigma recognition phenomenon. Northern highbush, half-high, and southern highbush cultivars required 7% to 10%, 12% to 17%, and 14% to 21%, respectively, more self-pollen to develop the stigmatic saturation condition. The potential relation of the pollenstigma phenomenon to self-incompatibility mechanisms is discussed.

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Pollen from six southern highbush blueberry cultivars derived from Vaccinium corymbosum L. and one or more other species (V. darrowi Camp, V. ashei Reade, and V. angustifolium Aiton) was incubated on nutrient agar to determine tetrad viability, pollen tube growth rates, and incidence of multiple pollen tube germinations. `Avonblue' pollen had a significantly lower tetrad germination percentage than `Georgiagem', `Flordablue', `Sharpblue', `Gulfcoast', or `O'Neal', all of which had >90% viable tetrads. The in vitro growth rate of `O'Neal' pollen tubes was significantly higher than the growth rates of `Sharpblue' and `Georgiagem pollen tubes. Of those tetrads that were viable, more than two pollen tubes germinated from 83% and 91% of the `Gulfcoast' and `Sharpblue' tetrads, respectively, while only 11% of the `Flordablue' tetrads produced more than two pollen tubes. The total number of pollen tubes germinated per 100 tetrads ranged from 157 (`Flordablue') to 324 (`Sharpblue'), resulting in actual pollen grain viabilities ranging from 39% to 81%. Genetic differences in pollen vigor, as indicated by pollen viability, pollen tube growth rates, and multiple pollen tube germinations, may influence blueberry growers' success in optimizing the beneficial effects of cross-pollination on fruit development.

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`Gulfcoast' southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum × V. darrowi) plants were placed in 3 × 6 × 2.5 m net cages with one colony of honey bees per cage and one of three pollinizer treatments: “self (other `Gulfcoast' plants), “cross/highbush” (other southern highbush cultivars), or “cross/rabbiteye” (various rabbiteye blueberry cultivars). In addition to unlimited pollination, bee foraging was controlled on individual flowers by placing small bags over corollas after 0, 1, 5, or 10 visits. Fruit set, fruit weight, fruit development period, and seed number data were taken, as well as data to relate floral morphology to duration of bee foraging. All measures of fruiting increased significantly with increased bee visitation; the threshold for significant gains in production occurred between 1 and 5 visits. Ten visits generally provided a good approximation of unlimited pollination. Set, weight, and earliness of ripening was as good, or better, for fruit derived from rabbiteye pollen compared to fruit from self- or cross/highbush-pollination.

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We have previously demonstrated that a protein of ∼62 kD decreases in response to temperature during the final stages of chilling unit accumulation in dormant peach flower buds (Lang and Tao, 1991, HortSci. 26:733). To further examine proteins that potentially may be associated with endodormancy, floral buds, spurs, and/or shoots were collected during winter from `Anna' apple, various blueberry cultivars, `MidSouth' grape, `20th Century' pear, `Hawthorne' peach, and `Santa Rosa' plum. Soluble proteins were extracted and analyzed by one-dimensional SDS-PAGE. A major protein of ∼62 kD was present in plum, and lesser amounts of one or two similar proteins were found in blueberry, but not in apple or grape. The 62 kD peach protein originally found in buds was also present, in lesser proportions, in peach shoot xylem and phloem tissues, but not in petioles or seeds. Apple exhibited a major protein band at ca. 31 kD that may be a storage protein. The similarities and disparities in protein profiles between fruit crops, as well as changes that occur during winter, will be discussed with respect to dormancy, cold hardiness, and storage compounds.

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Plant dormancy research has long been stifled by the lack of appropriate biochemical markers to characterize the changing physiological status of dormant vegetative or reproductive buds. Two sets of experiments were conducted in an attempt to identify changes in soluble protein profiles during endodormancy of peach and blueberry reproductive apices. Bud samples from the peach cultivars `La Festival' (low chilling requirement) and `La White' (moderate chilling requirement) were taken every 15 days in the orchard during December and January, extracted for soluble proteins, and analyzed by one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Outshoots were forced at 25C in a growth chamber to determine the intensity of endodormancy. A further experiment utilized potted `Bluechip' and `Meader' (troth high chilling requirement) blueberry plants given varying periods of cold (4.5C) chamber treatment, followed by forcing at 25C in a growth chamber. Bud samples were taken following cold treatment for extraction and SDS-PAGE. The relationship of the resulting protein profiles to chilling unit accumulation and intensity of endodormancy will be discussed.

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Most sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars grown commercially in the United States are susceptible to powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Podosphaera clandestina (Wall.:Fr.) Lev. Recently, hybrid populations segregating for resistance to powdery mildew were developed by crossing a mildew-resistant sweet cherry selection, PMR-1, with the susceptible cultivars Bing, Rainier, and Van. Although segregation within these populations indicated a single gene was responsible for the powdery mildew resistance conferred by PMR-1, the gene action could not be determined. Therefore, a reciprocal cross between `Bing' and `Van' was made to determine the allelic state of the susceptible parents used previously. All progeny (n = 286) from this cross were susceptible to powdery mildew. This information, combined with results from previous segregation data, indicate the powdery mildew resistance gene is inherited in a dominant manner and is present in PMR-1 in the heterozygous allelic state. We have named this gene Pmr1. Furthermore, in combination with known pedigree information, we have been able to predict the susceptibility of more than 60 additional commercial and recently released sweet cherry cultivars.

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Fall application of 2-chloroethylphosphoric acid (ethephon) is known to delay spring budbreak in peach (Prunus persica). To study seasonal variation in peach response to dormancy-breaking plant bioregulators and their possible interaction with ethylene, peach shoots were cut in the field at various intervals during endodormancy. Shoots were dipped in the dormancy-breaking bioregulators hydrogen cyanamide (H2CN2, 100 mM) or gibberellic acid (KGA3, 130 μm), alone or in combination with 1.38 mM ethephon. Treated shoots were held in beakers of either tap water or 1 mM silver thiosulfate (STS), and placed in growth chambers with potassium permanganate traps, 12/12 h photoperiods and 21/26 C temperature regimes. Dormancy-breaking efficacy (apical budbreak at 21 days) of both bioregulators increased as endodormancy progressed. At all intervals, H2CN2, broke dormancy more effectively than KGA3. The addition of ethephon to H2CN2 application prior to any CU accumulation (20 Oct) had no effect on efficacy (80% budbreak), but its addition after accumulation of ∼50 CU (8 Nov) or ∼320 CU (14 Dec) reduced subsequent budbreak to 25% and 40%, respectively. The addition of ethephon to KGA3 applications reduced budbreak both prior to (27 Oct) and after (8 Nov) initial CU accumulation. STS in the beaker solution increased both the extent (27 Oct) and the rate (14 Dec) of KGA-induced budbreak The interaction of ethylene, bioregulator type, and endodormancy regulation will be discussed.

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Upright Fruiting Offshoots (UFO) is a novel high-density training system for sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) that produces fruit on multiple vertical leaders (“offshoots”) arising from a cordon-like trunk. The promotion of sufficient upright shoot number and uniform shoot distribution during establishment are key to development of this training system. Trunk angle, meristem management (selective bud retention and removal), and cordon height at establishment were evaluated for influence on shoot number, shoot distribution, total shoot length, and early fruiting potential. At planting, trunk angles of 45° or 60° from the horizontal resulted in increased shoot growth compared with 30°, and also increased shoot distribution when bud selection was not imposed. A cordon height of 45 cm increased total shoot length by 20% compared with a 60-cm cordon height. Bud selection (retaining buds for optimal upright shoot distribution and removing all others) improved canopy development by reducing the number of shoots in the terminal third of the cordon and increasing the number of shoots in the basal and middle thirds compared with no bud selection. Bud selection reduced fruiting potential in the 2nd and 3rd years compared with unmanaged treatments, but subsequently surpassed those treatments in projected annual yield in Year 4 and cumulative yield in Year 5. Bud selection increased total and average shoot length, and improved distribution while moderating early crop load potential. Planting angle, cordon height, and bud selection significantly impact canopy establishment of UFO trees by affecting shoot number, length, and distribution.

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Canopy fruit to leaf area ratios (fruit no./m2 leaf area, F:LA) of 7- and 8-year-old `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) on the dwarfing rootstock `Gisela 5' (P. cerasus L. × P. canescens L.) were manipulated by thinning dormant fruit buds. F:LA influenced yield, fruit quality, and vegetative growth, but there were no consistent effects on whole canopy net CO2 exchange rate (NCERcanopy). Trees thinned to 20 fruit/m2 LA had yield reduced by 68% but had increased fruit weight (+25%), firmness (+25%), soluble solids (+20%), and fruit diameter (+14%), compared to unthinned trees (84 fruit/m2). Fruit quality declined when canopy LA was ≈200 cm2/fruit, suggesting that photoassimilate capacity becomes limiting to fruit growth below this ratio. NCERcanopy and net assimilation varied seasonally, being highest during stage III of fruit development (64 days after full bloom, DAFB), and falling more than 50% by 90 DAFB. Final shoot length, LA/spur, and trunk expansion were related negatively to F:LA. F:LA did not affect subsequent floral bud induction per se, but the number of flowers initiated per bud was negatively and linearly related to F:LA. Although all trees were thinned to equal floral bud levels per spur for the year following initial treatment (2001), fruit yields were highest on the trees that previously had no fruit, reflecting the increased number of flowers initiated per floral bud. Nonfruiting trees exhibited a sigmoidal pattern of shoot growth and trunk expansion, whereas fruiting trees exhibited a double sigmoidal pattern due to a growth lag during Stage III of fruit development. Vegetative growth in the second year was not related to current or previous season F:LA. We estimate that the LA on a typical spur is only sufficient to support the full growth potential of a single fruit; more heavily-set spurs require supplemental LA from nonfruiting shoots. From these studies there appears to be a hierarchy of developmental sensitivity to high F:LA for above-ground organs in `Bing'/`Gisela 5' sweet cherry trees: trunk expansion > fruit soluble solids (Stage III) > fruit growth (Stage III) > LA/spur > shoot elongation > fruit growth (Stages I and II) > LA/shoot. Current season F:LA had a greater influence on fruit quality than prior cropping history, underscoring the importance of imposing annual strategies to balance fruit number with LA.

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Abstract

Fruit-bearing olive (Olea europaea L.) shoots were exposed to more than 100 ethylene (C2H4) treatments to determine if C2H4-induced abscission varied between leaves and fruits in response to manipulation of treatment concentration, duration, and total amount of exogenous C2H4. Nearly three-quarters of the treatments induced greater fruit abscission than leaf abscission on a percentage basis. The potential for optimization of C2H4-induced fruit abscission relative to leaf abscission was examined by calculating the fruit-to-Ieaf (F:L) abscission ratio. Of the treatments inducing at least 75% fruit abscission, the dose range of 150 to 370 μmol C2H4 gave ratios up to 13.3; however, results were highly variable and closely dependent on the interaction of concentration and duration. Response surfaces were created to depict this interaction. Desirable levels of fruit abscission occurred at durations > 30 hr and concentrations > 2 to 3 μl·liter−1. However, excessive leaf abscission occurred at durations of 24 to 48 hr, depending on concentration. Acceptable F:L ratios were found for about 30% of the surface, with the highest ratios occurring for treatments of 3 to 5 μl·liter−1 for 28 to 34 hr.

Open Access