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Cecil T. Pounders, Eugene K. Blythe, Donna C. Fare, Gary W. Knox and Jeff L. Sibley

This study reports on the performance of 34 clones of crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L., L. fauriei Koehne, and L. indica × L. fauriei hybrids) grown in field plots at four locations representative of different environments in the southeastern United States. Traits evaluated were spring leaf-out and initiation of flowering in the second season after field planting and plant height after 3 years of growth. Cluster analysis (Ward's method) was used for grouping and comparison of means across locations for each trait. Best linear unbiased prediction was used for estimating random effects in linear and generalized linear mixed models to better determine the general performance of the clones under a variety of environmental conditions. Each clone's trait stability was quantified using the regression of an individual genotype's performance for each of the three studied traits on an environmental index based on the trait mean for all genotypes grown in an environment. Sequence of clone leaf-out and size rankings were more stable across the environments than the sequence in which the various clones initiated flowering. L. fauriei clones and clones originating from the initial cross between L. indica and L. fauriei were generally later to leaf out, earlier to flower, and more vigorous growers than L. indica or the complex L. indica × L. fauriei clones that were evaluated. First flowering was affected by environmental variation more with interspecific hybrids than with L. fauriei and L. indica clones. Performance, particularly with respect to plant height, of several clones did not agree with previously published classifications. Information generated by this study will allow crapemyrtle breeders, landscape professionals, and consumers to better select the most appropriate crapemyrtle clone for a particular application.

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Xiaojie Zhao, Guihong Bi, Richard L. Harkess, Jac J. Varco, Tongyin Li and Eugene K. Blythe

Tall bearded (TB) iris (Iris germanica L.) has great potential as a specialty cut flower due to its fragrance and showy, multicolor display; however, limited research has been reported on optimal nitrogen (N) nutrient management for TB iris. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of N fertilizer rate on plant growth and flowering of ‘Immortality’ iris and determine the influence of both stored N and spring-applied N fertilizer on spring growth and flowering. On 14 Mar. 2012, rhizomes of ‘Immortality’ iris were potted in a commercial substrate with no starter fertilizer. Plants were fertigated with 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 mm N from NH4NO3 twice per week from 28 Mar. to 28 Sept. 2012. In 2013, half of the plants from each of the 2012 N rate were supplied with either 0 or 10 mm N from 15NH4 15NO3 twice per week from 25 Mar. to 7 May 2013. Growth and flowering data including plant height, leaf SPAD, number of fans and inflorescence stems, and length of inflorescence stem were collected during the growing season. Plants were harvested in Dec. 2012 and May 2013 to measure dry weight and N concentration in leaves, roots, and rhizomes. Results showed higher 2012 N rates increased plant height, leaf SPAD reading, and number of inflorescence stems at first and second blooming in 2012. Greater 2012 N rates also increased plant dry weight and N content in all structures, and N concentration in roots and rhizomes. Rhizomes (58.8% to 66.3% of total N) were the dominant sink for N in Dec. 2012. Higher 2012 N rates increased plant height, number of fans, and the number of inflorescence stems at spring bloom in 2013. In May 2013, N in leaf tissue constituted the majority (51% to 64.3%) of the total plant N. Higher 2012 N rates increased total dry weight, N concentration, and N content in all 2013 15N rates; however, leaf dry weight in all plants was improved by 2013 15N rate. Percentage of tissue N derived from 2013 15N (NDFF) decreased with increasing 2012 N rate. New spring leaves were the dominant sink (56.8% to 72.2%) for 2013 applied 15N. In summary, ‘Immortality’ iris is capable of a second blooming in a growing season, this second blooming dependent on N fertilization rate in current year. A relatively high N rate is recommended to produce a second bloom.

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Wheeler G. Foshee III, Eugene K. Blythe, William D. Goff, Wilson H. Faircloth and Michael G. Patterson

A field experiment was conducted from 1995 to 1999 in central Alabama to determine the effect of repeated applications of glyphosate herbicide on young ‘Sumner’ pecan trees. Herbicide treatments were applied on ‘Sumner’ pecan trees varying in age from newly established (first growing season) to established fourth-year growing season trees. Measurements taken included tree mortality, trunk cross-sectional area, nut yield, and nut quality in the third and fourth years of the study. Glyphosate applications were targeted at the lowest 5 to 8 cm of the tree trunk (“standard” treatment), a percentage (lowest 33%, 67%, or 100%) of the tree trunk below the first scaffold limb, or a percentage (lowest 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) of tree foliage to simulate situations ranging from minor spray drift to major misapplication. No adverse effects were detected when glyphosate was applied to trunks, regardless of tree age. However, repeated application of glyphosate to 75% to 100% of tree foliage resulted in a significant reduction of growth and, in some cases, tree death. Results indicate that limited contact of glyphosate with the lowest 5 to 8 cm of the trunk of the young pecan tree, which usually occurs during conventional orchard weed management, is unlikely to result in adverse effects on young pecan trees.

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Eugene K. Blythe, Cecil Pounders, Michael Anderson, Earl Watts and Barbara Watts

Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.) is a popular and widely planted herbaceous perennial in the landscape, with over 78,000 cultivars registered with the American Hemerocallis Society. Daylily performs well in full sun, heat, humidity, and periods of dry weather, and has generally been considered to be pest free. However, a rust disease (Puccinia hemerocallidis) was introduced in the United States on imported plants in 2000, quickly spreading to become a widespread problem on daylily in and beyond the southern United States. In Aug. 2013, 575 daylily cultivars (mostly newer hybrids) were surveyed for daylily rust in a large landscape planting that had not received any fungicide treatment during the 2013 growing season. Weather conditions during the growing season were favorable for daylily rust. Individual clumps were rated as 1 (no or little visual sign of infection), 2 (moderate infection), or 3 (severe infection). In this survey, 119 cultivars (21%) received a median rating of 1 or 1.5, 230 cultivars (40%) received a rating of 2, and 226 (39%) received a rating of 2.5 or 3. Most cultivars were represented by a single clump, and may thus be more susceptible to daylily rust than a single rating might indicate. Diploid cultivars were associated with lower daylily rust severity ratings than tetraploid cultivars.

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Anthony L. Witcher, Eugene K. Blythe, Glenn B. Fain and Kenneth J. Curry

Wood-based substrates have been extensively evaluated for greenhouse and nursery crop production, yet these substrates have not been evaluated for propagation. The objective of this study was to evaluate processed whole loblolly pine trees (WPT) (Pinus taeda) as a rooting substrate for stem cutting propagation of a range of ornamental crops. Substrates included processed WPT, pine (Pinus sp.) bark (PB), and each mixed with equal parts (by volume) peatmoss (PM) (WPT:PM and PB:PM, respectively). Substrate physical (air space, container capacity, total porosity, bulk density, and particle size distribution) and chemical [pH and electrical conductivity (EC)] properties were determined for all substrates. Rooting percentage, total root length, total root volume, and total shoot length were evaluated for four species in 2008 and five species in 2009. Substrate air space was similar between PB and WPT in the 2008 experiment, and likewise between PB:PM and WPT:PM. In the 2009 experiment, PB and WPT had similar substrate air space. The addition of PM to PB and WPT resulted in reduced air space and increased container capacity in both experiments. The proportion of fine particles doubled for PB:PM and WPT:PM compared with PB and WPT, respectively. Substrate pH for all substrates ranged from 6.0 to 6.9 at 7 days after sticking (DAS) cuttings and 6.9 to 7.1 at 79 DAS. Substrate EC was below the acceptable range for all substrates except at 7 DAS. Rooting percentage was similar among substrates within each species in both experiments. The addition of PM resulted in significantly greater total root length for PB:PM and WPT:PM compared with PB and WPT, respectively, for five of the eight species. Shoot growth was most vigorous for PB:PM compared with the other substrates for all species. The study demonstrated a range of plant species can be propagated from stem cuttings in whole pine tree substrates alone or combined with PM.

Open access

Melinda A. Miller-Butler, Barbara J. Smith, Brian R. Kreiser and Eugene K. Blythe

Strawberry anthracnose diseases are caused primarily by three Colletotrichum species: C. acutatum J.H. Simmonds, C. fragariae A.N. Brooks, and C. gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc. Molecular markers are being used in breeding programs to identify alleles linked to disease resistance and other positive agronomic traits. In our study, strawberry cultivars and breeding germplasm with known anthracnose susceptibility or resistance to the three anthracnose-causing Colletotrichum species were screened for two sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers linked to the Rca2 gene. The Rca2 resistant allele SCAR markers were associated with varying degrees of significance for a strawberry plant’s anthracnose resistance to C. fragariae but not to C. acutatum or C. gloeosporioides. Although the presence or absence of the markers associated with the Rca2 resistance gene is an imperfect indicator of anthracnose resistance, it may serve as a useful starting point in selecting germplasm for breeding programs.

Free access

Diana R. Cochran, Richard L. Harkess, Patricia R. Knight, Maria Tomaso-Peterson, Eugene K. Blythe and Charles H. Gilliam

Regalia®, a commercial extract of giant knotweed [Fallopia sachalinensis F. Schmidt (synonyms: Reynoutria sachalinensis (F. Schmidt) Nakai, Polygonum sachalinense F. Schmidt, Tiniaria sachalinesis (F. Schmidt) Janch.)], was evaluated for its potential to enhance drought tolerance of container-grown impatiens (Impatiens walleriana Hook. f. ‘Super Elfin XP White’). In two separate experiments, Regalia® was foliar-applied once a week for 4 weeks at four different rates (0, 5, 10, or 15 mL·L−1). In Expt. 1, Regalia® was applied to impatiens grown under three target substrate volumetric water contents (TVWCs): 85%, 55%, or 25%. In Expt. 2, Regalia® was applied to impatiens watered with 1, 3, or 6 days between waterings (DBW). In Expt. 1, root dry weight (RDW) of impatiens receiving applications of Regalia® at the 0.5× rate was greater compared with the 0.0× rate across all TVWCs. Additionally, soluble protein content was greater after Regalia® application at the 0.5×, 1.0×, or 1.5× rates compared with the 0.0× rate for plants grown at 55% TVWC. In Expt. 2, leaf greenness (SPAD) and leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn) were greater with Regalia® applied at the 0.5× and 1.0× rates compared with the 0.0× rate, respectively. Soluble protein content was greater in impatiens treated with Regalia® at the 1.5× rate and 1 DBW and the 0.5× rate with 3 DBW compared with the 0.0× rate with 1 or 3 DBW. However, there was no indication that impatiens grown under different moisture levels had increased drought tolerance after application of Regalia®.

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Jordan M. Craft, Christian M. Baldwin, Wayne H. Philley, James D. McCurdy, Barry R. Stewart, Maria Tomaso-Peterson and Eugene K. Blythe

Traditional hollow-tine (HT) aerification programs can cause substantial damage to the putting green surface resulting in prolonged recovery. Despite the growing interest in new and alternative aerification technology, there is a lack of information in the literature comparing new or alternative technology with traditional methods on ultradwarf bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis (Burtt-Davy)] putting greens. Therefore, the objective of this research was to determine the best combination of dry-injection (DI) cultivation technology with modified traditional HT aerification programs to achieve minimal surface disruption without a compromise in soil physical properties. Research was conducted at the Mississippi State University golf course practice putting green from 1 June to 31 Aug. 2014 and 2015. Treatments included two HT sizes (0.6 and 1.3 cm diameter), various DI cultivation frequencies applied with a DryJect 4800, and a noncultivated control. The HT 1.3 cm diameter tine size had 76% greater water infiltration (7.6 cm depth) compared with the DI + HT 0.6 cm diameter tine size treatment. However, DI + HT 0.6 cm diameter tine size had greater water infiltration at the 10.1 cm depth than the noncultivated control. Results suggest a need for an annual HT aerification event due to reduced water infiltration and increased volumetric water content (VWC) in the noncultivated control treatment. It can be concluded that DI would be best used in combination with HT 1.3 or 0.6 cm diameter tine sizes to improve soil physical properties; however, the DI + HT 0.6 cm diameter tine size treatment resulted in minimum surface disruption while still improving soil physical properties compared with the noncultivated control.