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James E. Barrett, Carolyn A. Bartuska and Terril A. Nell

Experiments with' White Christmas' and `Carolyn Wharton' caladiums (Caladium × hortulanum Birdsey), croton (Codiaeum variegatum), brassaia (Brassaia actinophylla Endl.), `Annette Hegg Dark Red' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind.), and `Super Elfin Red' and `Show Stopper' impatiens [Impatiens wallerana (L.) Hook.f.] determined effectiveness of paclobutrazol in solid spike form as compared to media drench applications for height control. Paclobutrazol drenches and spikes were effective for all crops tested, with a similar concentration response for all, except that drenches had greater efficacy than spikes on caladium. A reduced effect was observed when spikes were placed on the medium surface of `Super Elfin Red' impatiens, while placement in the middle of the pot or around the side was equally effective. These results indicate that the spike formulation of paclobutrazol has potential to provide adequate size control for floriculture crops with the possible exception of rapidly developing crops, such as caladiums. Chemical name used: (2RS, 3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl-) penten-3-ol (paclobutrazol).

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Trinidad Reyes, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

`Tara' and `Boaldi' were fertilized with 150 and 450 ppm from 20N–4.7P–16.6K soluble fertilizer and moved at flowering to postproduction conditions (21 ± 2C and 10 μmol·m–2·s–1). Shipping was simulated for 1 week at 26C. `Tara' exhibited burned leaf margins (necrosis) and chlorosis following shipping. At 150 ppm, leaves had brown, dried margins, but the damage did not progress indoors. Necrosis was worse at 450 ppm. Leaf chlorosis/necrosis of non-shipped plants at the 450 fertilizer level did not appear until the 3rd week indoors. At experiment termination, no leaf damage occurred in non-shipped `Tara' or `Boaldi' with 150 ppm. `Boaldi' did not show damage after shipping regardless of the treatment but symptoms (necrosis and wilting of leaves) evolved during the first 2 weeks indoors on plants fertilized with 450 ppm. A 50% reduction in root soluble carbohydrates was found at the highest fertilizer rate at flowering, suggesting that leaf chlorosis/necrosis is related to carbohydrate depletion in chrysanthemum.

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Thea M Edwards, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

Increased rates of senescence and ethylene related damage of potted flowering plants have been observed in supermarket produce areas where flowers and climacteric produce are displayed together. Ethylene levels in produce areas were found to average 20 ppb. An open system of clear glass chambers with fiberglass lids was designed to simulate retail supermarket conditions. The chambers were kept in postharvest rooms where light level and temperature could be controlled. In a 3 by 3 by 3 Box-Behnken design, Sunblaze `Candy' miniature potted roses were exposed to three levels of ethylene, 20, 40, and 80 ppb, for 1, 2, and 4 days. The three light levels used were: 0, 7, and 14 μmol·m-2·s-1. Ethylene damage was based on leaf and bud drop and decreased flower longevity.

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Ahmed A. Al-Badawy, James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

To evaluate importance of paclobutrazol residues on surfaces, begonia (Begonia semperflorens) cv. Whisky and chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora) cv. Coral Davis plants were grown in flats sprayed with paclobutrazol at 0, 50, 100, 200 and 400 ppm.

For begonia, the plant heights at 2 and 4 weeks after treatments were decreased by 39 to 49% and by 55-69%, respectively. The overall change in height ranged from 2.1 to 4.9 cm compared to 15.3 cm for the control plants.

For chrysanthemum, a reduction in plant height was observed and the overall change in height ranged from 2.9 to 5.6 cm compared to 28.8 cm for the control plants.

Based on these results, there is a potential for paclobutrazol to affect non-target plants when subirrigation is used.

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G.H. Pemberton, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

Senescence of gladiolus flowers, like many geophytes, does not involve a climacteric burst of ethylene. Eleven gladiolus cultivars were screened and all were non-climacteric (NC) for both respiration and ethylene production. Average ethylene levels for individual flowers were 0.5 μl C2H4/kg per h or less. As in other NC flowers, protein synthesis may be linked to senescence. Our goal was to identify specific proteins that were involved in the senescence process that could be used as indicators of postharvest longevity. SDS-PAGE protein profiles of cut gladiolus flowers were determined from a tight bud stage to senescence. Both increases and decreases were observed in major polypeptides that may be connected to postharvest flower longevity. Total protein content of gladiolus flower petals decreased by ≈70% during the profile period. This could explain the relatively short postharvest life of 3 to 5 days for individual gladiolus flowers. Total protein profiles were probed with an ACC synthase antibody to establish the relationship of this enzyme in NC senescence.

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William M. Womack, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

Dormant-budded `Prize' azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) were held at 2C, 7C, 13C, or 18C for 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks then forced in walk-in growth chambers (29C day/24C night). Holding at 2C delayed flowering by 5-7 days over 7C and 13C. Plants held at 2C, 7C, or 13C for at least 4 weeks had approximately 50% buds showing color at marketability (8 open flowers). Plants held at 18C never exceeded 35% buds showing color at marketability. Increase in buds showing color was not apparent for plants were held at 7C, 13C, or 18C for more than 6 weeks; however, holding at 2C resulted in increasing percentages of buds showing color for holding periods longer than 6 weeks. Plants chilled at 13C and 18C showed significant increases in bud abortion after 8 or 10 weeks of cooling with most plants never reaching marketability (8 open flowers). These plants also had an increased proliferation of bypass shoots during cooling and forcing over other treatments.

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José A. Monteiro, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

The effect of two temperature regimes (29 °C day/24 °C night and 24 °C day/18 °C night) and of a 4-hour night interruption, during production, was studied on postproduction flower longevity and bud drop of 'Meirutral' and 'Meidanclar' potted, miniature roses (Rosa L. sp.). High production temperatures increased postproduction flower longevity and decreased postproduction bud drop. In 'Meidanclar', the high production temperature increased incidence of malformed flowers. No effects of night interruption could be shown on either postproduction flower longevity or bud drop.

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José A. Monteiro, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

Research was conducted to investigate the relationship between flower respiration and flower longevity as well as to assess the possibility of using miniature rose (Rosa hybrida L.) flower respiration as an indicator of potential flower longevity. Using several miniature rose cultivars as a source of variation, four experiments were conducted throughout the year to study flower respiration and flower longevity under interior conditions. For plants under greenhouse as well as interior conditions, flower respiration was assessed on one flower per plant, from end-of-production (sepals beginning to separate) up to 8 days after anthesis. Interior conditions were 21 ± 1 °C and 50 ± 5% relative humidity with a 12-hour photoperiod of 12 μmol·m-2·s-1 (photosynthetically active radiation). Flower respiration was higher if the plants were produced during spring/summer as compared to fall/winter. `Meidanclar', `Schobitet', and `Meilarco' miniature roses had higher flower respiration rates than `Meijikatar' and `Meirutral'. These two cultivars with the lowest respiration rates showed much greater flower longevity if grown during spring/summer as compared to fall/winter. The three cultivars with the higher respiration rates did not show differences in flower longevity between seasons. For plants under greenhouse or interior conditions, flower respiration was negatively correlated with longevity in spring/summer but a positive correlation between these parameters was found in fall/winter. During spring/summer, flower respiration rate appears to be a good indicator of potential metabolic rate, and flowers with low respiration rates last longer.

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James E. Barrett, Carolyn A. Bartuska and Terril A. Nell

Paclobutrazol drench treatments were evaluated for efficacy on Caladium ×hortulanum (Birdsey) cultivars Aaron, White Christmas, and Carolyn Wharton. Drenches at 2.0 mg/pot did not reduce height of `Aaron' and `White Christmas' plants when applied 1 week after planting, but 2.0 mg applied at 3 weeks after planting did result in shorter plants. The difference for time of application may be due to the amount of roots present to take up paclobutrazol when applied. In two factorial experiments, there were no interactions between cultivar and time of application or amount of chemical. Paclobutrazol at 0.5 mg/pot resulted in plants that were shorter than the controls. Higher amounts of paclobutrazol provided additional reductions in height, but there was variation between the experiments for degree of effect with amounts >1 mg. Generally, commercially acceptable height control was provided by paclobutrazol drench treatments at 0.5 and 1.0 mg/pot applied 3 weeks after planting. Chemical names used: (2RS,3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl-pentan-3-ol (paclobutrazol).

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Ahmed A. Al-Badawy, James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

Paclobutrazol was applied as soil drench to potted petunia, and the treated plants were shorter than untreated ones. Three types of compost were then made from the treated and untreated plants: the shoots, the medium (including roots), and both shoots and medium. They were mixed with Vergro Klay Mix at the ratios of 0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, and 40% (v/v). In a factorial experiment, plugs of Begonia semperflorens cv. Gin were planted in the media with compost. Plants grown in media containing paclobutrazol residue were shorter and had less dry weight compared to those grown in media containing no paclobutrazol residue. Compost ratios at 5% and 40% reduced plant height to 65% and 42% and shoot dry weight to 55% and 20% of the control plants, respectively. These results indicate that residues from plants treated with paclobutrazol may carry over in soil of landscape beds and affect the growth of subsequent crops grown in that soil.