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  • Author or Editor: James D. Spiers x
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Warm temperature exposure during winter has reportedly resulted in the apparent negation of chilling in several fruit species. This study was conducted to investigate the floral and vegetative response of two pistillate kiwifruit cultivars to intermittent warm temperature interruption during chilling accumulation. Dormant 1-year-old canes of Actinidia chinensis ‘AU Golden Dragon’ and Actinidia deliciosa ‘AU Fitzgerald’ were collected in December 2018 and 2019 (334 and 360 chilling units, respectively), shortly after leaf abscission. Canes were cut to 10 nodes after removing the first six basal nodes, placed in jars filled with distilled water, and transferred to respective chilling treatments. Treatments included continuous chilling (CC) (in addition to base chilling) at 1-week (168 chilling units) increments (0–5 weeks) and chilling exposure at the same increments with intermittent warm temperature (WT). For the WT treatments, each week of chilling was followed by 3 days of exposure to warm conditions. Chilling and warm temperature exposure were simulated by 7/4 °C and 25/17.2 °C (day/night) air temperatures, respectively, using separate climate-controlled growth chambers. After treatments, canes were forced in a third chamber at 21.1 to 25.0 °C with light-emitting diode lighting. Vegetative budbreak, floral bud number (from here on defined as floral response), and floral development stage were recorded for each cane at 2-day intervals. For ‘AU Golden Dragon’, WT did not result in any reduced floral response at any of the observed chilling levels. However, lower mean floral response was observed with WT, as compared with CC for ‘AU Fitzgerald’ at 5 weeks of chilling over the 2 years (P = 0.05). WT also lessened the effect of apical dominance with respect to vegetative/floral response to node position for both cultivars. Chilling type had no significant effect on vegetative response in either cultivar. Estimated chilling requirements (CC) in this experiment were similar to those reported previously for these cultivars. Results suggest that A. chinensis cultivars may respond more favorably than A. deliciosa to the erratic winter temperature patterns experienced in the southeastern United States.

Open Access

Commercial kiwifruit production often requires substantial inputs for successful pollination. Determining the length of time that female flowers can be successfully pollinated can aid management decisions concerning pollination enhancement. The purpose of this research was to determine the effective pollination period (EPP) for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and ‘AU Fitzgerald’. Either 30 (2013) or 32 (2014, 2015) flowers of ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ were hand pollinated each day for 1 to 5 (2013) days after anthesis (DAA) or 1 to 7 DAA (2014, 2015), and then isolated to prevent open pollination. Anthesis was considered the day the flower opened. Similarly, ‘AU Fitzgerald’ flowers were pollinated and then isolated 1 to 6 DAA in 2013 and 1 to 7 DAA in 2015. For ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ in 2013, fruit set was consistent over the 5-day period, but fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreased between 1 and 3 and 4 and 5 DAA. In 2014, fruit set decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number each decreased in a linear trend. In 2015, fruit set also decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas all other responses decreased linearly. Based on fruit set in 2014 and 2015, the EPP for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ was 6 DAA. The EPP for ‘AU Fitzgerald’, however, was more variable. In 2013, fruit weight, fruit size index and seed number decreased between 1 and 4 and 5 and 6 DAA, suggesting that the EPP was 4 DAA. In 2015, fruit set remained consistent over the 7-day period with fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreasing linearly. Differences in temperature and the alternate bearing tendency of kiwifruit species likely contributed to the discrepancies between the years for the EPP. For each cultivar, reductions in fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed before an observed decrease in fruit set. Greater fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed when flowers were pollinated within the first few DAA, with results varying thereafter.

Free access

This research focused on the effects of nitrogen fertilization on jasmonic acid accumulation and total phenolic concentrations in gerbera. The phytohormone jasmonic acid is known to regulate many plant responses, including inducible defenses against insect herbivory. Phenolics are constitutive secondary metabolites that have been shown to negatively affect insect feeding. Gerbera jamesonii `Festival Salmon Rose' plants were grown in a growth chamber and subjected to either low fertilization (only supplied with initial fertilizer charge present in professional growing media) or high fertilization (recommended rate = 200 mg·L-1 N). Plants were fertilized with 200 mL of a 15N–7P–14K fertilizer at 0 or 200 mg·L-1 N at each watering (as needed). Treatments consisted of ±mechanical wounding with a hemostat to one physiologically mature leaf and the subsequent harvest of that leaf at specified time intervals for jasmonic acid quantification. Total phenolics were measured in physiologically mature and young leaves harvested 0 and 10 hours after ±mechanical wounding. Low-fertility plants had reduced aboveground dry mass, were deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus, and had about a 10× higher concentration of total phenolics when compared to high fertility plants. In low-fertility plants, young leaves had greater concentrations of phenolics compared to physiologically mature leaves. There were no differences in total phenolics due to wounding. The effect of nitrogen fertilization on jasmonic acid accumulation will also be discussed.

Free access

This study evaluated the influence of insecticides on gas exchange, chlorophyll content, vegetative and floral development, and plant quality of gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii Bolus `Festival Salmon'). Insecticides from five chemical classes were applied weekly at 1× or 4× their respective recommended concentration. The insecticides used were abamectin (Avid), acephate (Orthene), bifenthrin (Talstar), clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil (Triact), and spinosad (Conserve). Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were reduced in plants treated with neem oil. Plants treated with neem oil flowered later—and at 4× the recommended label concentration had reduced growth, based on lower vegetative dry mass (DM) and total aboveground DM, reduced leaf area, thicker leaves (lower specific leaf area), higher chlorophyll content (basal leaves), and reduced flower production. Plants treated with acephate at 4× the recommended label concentration were of the lowest quality due to extensive phytotoxicity (leaf chlorosis). Plants treated with 1× or 4× abamectin or spinosad were of the highest quality due to no phytotoxicity and no thrips damage (thrips naturally migrated into the greenhouse). The control plants and plants treated with 1× bifenthrin had reduced quality because of thrips feeding damage; however gas exchange was not negatively affected.

Free access

This research focused on the influence of insecticides on plant growth, gas exchange, rate of flowering, and chlorophyll content of chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev cv. Charm) grown according to recommended procedures for pot plant production. Five insecticides were applied at recommended concentrations at three different frequencies: weekly (7 days), bi-weekly (14 days), or monthly (28 days). A separate treatment was applied weekly at 4× the recommended concentration. Insecticides used were: acephate (Orthene®) Turf, Tree & Ornamental Spray 97), bifenthrin (Talstar®) Flowable), endosulfan (Thiodan®) 50 WP), imidacloprid (Marathon®) II), and spinosad (Conserve®) SC). Phytotoxicity occurred in the form of leaf burn on all acephate treatments, with the greatest damage occurring at the 4× concentration. Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were influenced primarily by the degree of aphid and/or spider mite infestation—except for acephate and endosulfan treatments (weekly and 4×), which had reduced photosynthesis with minimal insect infestations. Plants receiving imadacloprid monthly had the greatest leaf dry mass (DM). Plants treated with acephate had lower leaf and stem DM with bi-weekly and 4× treatments. Spinosad treatments at recommended concentrations had reduced stem DM, in part due to aphid infestations. The flower DM was not significantly different among treatments. There were treatment differences in chlorophyll content as measured with a SPAD-502 portable chlorophyll meter.

Free access

This research focused on the influence of insecticides on gas exchange, chlorophyll content, vegetative and floral development, and overall plant quality of gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii var. `Festival Salmon'). Insecticides from five chemical classes were applied weekly at 1× and 4× the recommended concentrations. Insecticides used were: abamectin (Avid® 0.15 EC), acephate (Orthene® Turf, Tree & Ornamental Spray 97), bifenthrin (Talstar® Nursery Flowable), clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil (Triact® 70), and spinosad (Conserve® SC). Phytotoxicity occurred in the form of leaf chlorosis on all acephate treatments, with the greatest damage occurring at the 4× concentration. Photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were significantly reduced in plants treated with neem oil extract. Plants treated with the neem oil extract (1× and 4×) flowered later and had reduced growth [lower shoot dry mass (DM) and total DM]. Plants that received 4× the recommended concentration of neem oil extract had reduced leaf area, thicker leaves (lower specific leaf area), higher leaf chlorophyll content, and reduced flower production, as determined by flower number and flower DM. Plants treated with acephate 4× concentration were the lowest quality plants due to extensive phytotoxicity (leaf burn), which also reduced photosynthesis. The highest quality plants were treated with spinosad and abamectin due to zero phytotoxicity and/or no thrips damage (thrips naturally migrated into the greenhouse). The control plants and plants treated with bifenthrin 1× were not marketable due to thrips damage; however, plant growth characteristics and gas exchange were not statistically different.

Free access