Leaf physiology and growth parameters of Aucuba japonica (Thunb.) cv. Variegata were assessed under conditions of full sun (photosynthetic photon flux = 1531 to 2073 μmol·m-2·s-1) and under shadecloth (light transmittance of 69%, 47%, and 29% full sun) over 2 years. Two days after treatment initiation, net CO2 assimilation (A) was proportional to light level, although stomata1 conductance to water vapor (gs) was not influenced by shading. Subsequently, A, gs, transpiration rate, and water use efficiency of 100% sun-grown plants were often <50% that of shade-grown plants. After 1 month of exposure to 100% sun, leaves were chlorotic and necrotic; plant appearance was normal for plants grown under shadecloth. The growth index and total, leaf, stem, and root dry weights were inversely related to light level. Relative water content and chlorophyll concentration in leaves that had expanded before treatment initiation were reduced with increasing levels of irradiance, but these variables were not altered in leaves produced after treatment initiation. Plants from all treatments experienced dieback when transplanted to the field under conditions of full sun. We conclude that A. japonica is shade obligate, performing best with exposure to 47% of full sunlight.
Homalodisca coagulata (Say) is a xylem-feeding leafhopper that is the principal vector of many economically important diseases resulting from infection by Xylella fastidiosa (i.e., plum leaf scald, phony peach disease). We have previously established that high abundances and high consumption rates of H. coagulata occur on host species with high amide concentrations in the xylem fluid. Several lines of research suggest that selection of “marginal hosts” (those that typically have low abundances of leafhoppers) may be influenced by ovipositional, as well as feeding, preferences. In northern Florida, Euonymus japonica consistently has the highest densities of eggs and young nymphs, but is only a marginal host for adults. Adults caged on this host feed little and have a short longevity. In contrast, young insects (second instar) caged on the host have high survivorship rates and assimilate dietary nutrients with high efficiency. H. coagulata are abundant on Prunus germplasm in northern Florida during the month of June, but only occasionally visit Prunus after this period. In a study of 10 Prunus scion/rootstock combinations, we established that abundances of H. coagulata on Prunus during the peak period were correlated to leafhopper consumption rates. During summer, when Prunus serves as a marginal host, leafhopper abundances are tightly coupled to fecundity rates. Understanding of ovipositional preference may be central to our understanding of Xylella acquisition. These preliminary experiments suggest that leafhoppers may sample xylem fluid during ovipositional selection, as they preferentially select ovipositional sites that have proper nutrient profiles for development of young nymphs (“mother knows best”). Although consumption rates are low for marginal hosts, repeated probing for ovipositional preference may contribute to the spread of diseases caused by X. fastidiosa.
Homalodisca coagulata (Say), a xylem-fluid feeding leafhopper, vectors diseases induced by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa such as phony peach disease and Pierce's disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate plant factors that influence feeding. H. coagulata were confined to stems of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). Osmolarity, amino acid and organic acid concentrations of xylem fluid were maximum during the morning for peach and declined thereafter; xylem fluid chemistry of crape myrtle followed a less distinct trend. Irrigated plants had higher concentrations of organic constituents and feeding rates were higher on these plants. Feeding rates and xylem fluid tensions, were maximum during midday; feeding did not occur at night. In separate experiments feeding rates were greatly reduced at xylem tensions >1.5 MPa.
`Colonial' tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum Mill.) plants were grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch, drip irrigation, and preplant-N rates of 0, 67, 134, 202, or 269 kg·ha-1. Petiole sap was collected 7 and 13 weeks after transplanting. Concentrations of NO3-N, free amino acids, total amino acids, and total-N (the sum of NO3-N and amino acid-N) were examined as functions of the rate of N fertilization. Also, each of these compounds was used as an independent variable as a predictor of fruit yield. Seven weeks after planting, the concentrations of NO3-N and 15 of 18 of the free amino acids were correlated with the rate of N fertilization, but concentrations of bound or total amino acids were not. The amount of NO3-N accounted for 37% of the total-N in the 0 kg·ha-1 treatment, and up to 83% in the 202 kg·ha-1 treatment. NO3-N was highly correlated with total-N for both nonhydrolyzed and hydrolyzed sap (R2 = 0.98). Thirteen weeks after transplanting, neither the concentration of NO3-N nor that of amino acids, other than asparagine, glutamine, and proline, were significantly related to the rate of N fertilization. On both dates, concentrations of glutamine plus glutamic acid were correlated with rate of N fertilization whether expressed as absolute values or as percentage values. N fertilization rate and the concentration of NO3-N or total-N were related to total fruit yield (R2 = 0.69 to 0.74), and marketable fruit yield (R2 = 0.78 to 0.82). N-fertilization rate and petiole sap concentrations of NO3-N or total-N were also correlated with the N contained in total or marketable yield. Petiole sap variables measured 13 weeks after transplanting were not significantly correlated with fruit yield or the quantity of N contained in the fruit. Free, bound, or total amino acids in petiole sap were not as well correlated with fruit yield parameters as were N-fertilization rate, NO3-N, or total-N in petiole sap.
Carbon and nitrogen budgets were determined for `Colonial' (spring) and `Equinox' (fall) tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch and supplied with preplant-N at 0, 67, 134, 202, or 269 kg·ha–1. For both spring and fall experiments, we quantified the partitioning of dry matter, N, and C, and determined marketable and total yield. In the spring study, the concentration of N in leaves, stems, and in total plants increased linearly with level of N fertilization, whereas a quadratic relationship described the amount of N contained in the fruit (maximum with 202 kg·ha–1). Quadratic relationships occurred between rate of fertilization and leaf weight, stem weight, total plant weight, marketable yield, and total yield in the spring study, with maximum values at 134 or 202 kg·ha–1 rates of N fertilization. In the fall crop, fewer significant relationships occurred between dependent variables and rate of N fertilization, and coefficients of determination tended to be much lower than in the spring study. The fraction of N in leaves, stems, and roots (fall study only) was influenced by N fertilization. Effects of N fertilization on the fraction of C partitioned to any plant part was either nonsignificant or significant at P = 0.05. Total yield was related to N fertilization in a quadratic manner, but marketable yield was significantly affected only in the spring study. In both studies, increasing the rate of N fertilization reduced the C: N linearly for all tissues. In all cases, the quantity of N partitioned to vegetative tissue was at least 65% of that partitioned to the fruit, and the quantity of C in the plant was at least 74% of that in the fruit. In conclusion, although N fertilization above 202 kg·ha–1 generally increased the concentration and total amount of N in vegetative tissues, it did not increase yield. Also, the highest rate of N fertilization (269 kg·ha–1) resulted in a much lower efficiency of applied N [defined as: (N plant + N fruit)/N applied], and a much higher level of residual soil nitrate-N.
Tomato spotted wilt (TSW) is caused by a Tospovirus [tomato spotted wilt virus (TSVW)] and is vectored by thrips. TSW is a major impediment to tomato production worldwide and has been identified as the most significant limitation in the southeastern United States. The objectives of this study were to quantify the impact of polyethylene mulch type (black, metalized, Heat stripe, and Sonoco printed) and insecticide (alternating applications of spinosad and methamidophos) on midafternoon soil temperature under the mulch, reflected photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), vegetative growth, flower number, incidence of TSW, yield, and fruit quality of ‘FL-47’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). Midafternoon soil temperature during April and May (10-cm depth) averaged 2 to 4 °C higher under black mulch compared with the other mulches. The reflectance of PPF was highest for metalized mulch (up to two-thirds of PPF in full sunlight) followed by Heat stripe, Sonoco printed, and black mulch. In the presence of a full plant canopy, PPF reflectance was greatly reduced. The incidence of TSW [as determined visually and confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)] was very high in 2002 and relatively low in 2003. Stem weight was significantly reduced in the black mulch treatment; however, plant height, leaf weight, or total numbers of flowers were not influenced by mulch type. For both years, the incidence of TSW on black mulch was significantly greater than that of the other mulch treatments for most sampling dates. The application of insecticides reduced percentage TSW on the last two sampling dates in both years. In 2002, but not 2003, yield per hectare was affected by mulch type. In both years, mulch type did not influence yield per plant and percentage marketable fruit, and insecticide applications increased yield per hectare, yield per plant, and percentage marketable fruit.
The threecornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistillus festinus (Say), is a major pest to production of a wide variety of crops. Herbivory by this insect is often highly detrimental because of girdling of petioles and shoots. Although girdling by this hopper has been recorded on a variety of hosts, the physiological effects of girdling have been examined primarily on one host (Glycine max). We examined the physiological effects of girdling by four densities of hoppers on Arachis hypogaea (L.) cv. Florarunner. Densities of 0, 2, 4, and 6 hoppers per plant were maintained for a 1-week period on peanuts grown in cages in a greenhouse. Effects of hopper herbivory on growth (shoot elongation and increases in plant dry weight) and whole-plant chemistry (carbon, nitrogen, and amino acid analysis) were determined at the end of the 1-week feeding experiments, and again at 2-week intervals until maturation of plants. Differences in plant growth or chemistry were not apparent at the conclusion of the feeding experiment. However, plants subjected to the highest rates of herbivory showed pronounced deleterious effects 2 to 6 weeks after girdling had occurred. Mean shoot growth was decreased by nearly 40% and plant dry weight was reduced by roughly 20%. Foliar nitrogen concentrations were also significantly reduced; peanuts subjected to high rates of herbivory contained 30% less foliar protein that control plants. This delayed response to girdling appeared to be in part attributed to increased rates of shoot and petiole breakage well after girdling occurs. Girdles became more brittle as shoots matured and hardened with maturity. Effects of girdling may be particularly detrimental to yield, as effects are most pronounced as plants are entering the reproductive stage.