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  • Author or Editor: James P. Syvertsen x
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Effects of air temperature, relative humidity (RH), and leaf age on penetration of urea through isolated leaf cuticles of `Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus×paradisi Macfad.) trees on `Carrizo' citrange (C. sinensis L. Osbeck × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. rootstock were examined. Intact cuticles were obtained from adaxial surfaces of `Marsh' grapefruit leaves of various ages. A finite dose diffusion system was used to follow movement of 14C-labeled urea from urea solution droplets across cuticles throughout a 4-day period. Within the first 4 to 6 hours after urea application, the rate of urea penetration increased as temperature increased from 19 to 28 °C, but there was no further increase at 38 °C. Increasing relative humidity increased urea penetration at 28 °C and 38 °C. Cuticle thickness, cuticle weight per area, and the contact angle of urea solution droplets increased as leaves aged. Cuticular permeability to urea decreased as leaf age increased from 3 to 7 weeks, but permeability increased in cuticles from leaves older than 9 weeks. Contact angles decreased with increased urea solution concentration on leaf surfaces that were 6 to 7 weeks old, but solution concentration had no effect on contact angle on cuticles from younger and older leaves. Changing urea solution pH from 8.0 to 4.0 could have an effect on the amount of urea penetrating the cuticle through the loss of urea from breakdown possibly due to hydrolysis. Results from this study define leaf age, environmental conditions, and formulation for maximum uptake of foliar-applied urea.

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15Nitrogen uptake, allocation, and leaching losses from soil were quantified during spring, for 4-year-old bearing `Redblush' grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi Macf.) trees on rootstocks that impart contrasting growth rates. Nine trees on either the fast-growing `Volkamer' lemon (VL) (C. volkameriana Ten & Pasq.) or nine on the slower-growing sour orange (SO) (C. aurantium L.) rootstocks were established in drainage lysimeters filled with Candler fine sand and fertilized with 30 split applications of N, totaling 76, 140, or 336 g·year-1 per tree. A single application of double-labeled ammonium nitrate (15NH 15 4NO3, 20% enriched) was applied at each rate to replicate trees, in late April. Leaves, fibrous roots, soil, and leachates were intensively sampled from each treatment over the next 29 days, to determine the fate of the 15NH 15 4NO3 application. Newly developing spring leaves and fruit formed dominant competitive sinks for 15N, accounting for between 40% and 70% of the total 15N taken up by the various treatments. Large fruit loads intercepted up to 20% of this 15N, at the expense of spring flush development, to the detriment of overall tree N status in low-N trees. Nitrogen supply at less than the currently recommended yearly rate of 380 g/tree exceeded the requirements of 4-year-old grapefruit trees on SO rootstock; however, larger trees on VL rootstock took up the majority of 15N from this rate over the 29-day period. Nitrogen-use efficiency declined with increasing N rate, irrespective of rootstock. The residual amounts of 15N remaining in the soil profile under SO trees after this time represented a significant N leaching potential from these sandy soils. Therefore, under these conditions, present N recommendations appear adequate for rootstocks that impart relatively fast growth rates to Citrus trees, but seem excessive for trees on slower-growing rootstock species.

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The effects of phosphorus (P) and of the mycorrhizal (M) fungus, Glomus intraradix, on the carbon (C) economy of sour orange (citrus aurantium L.) were determined during and following active M colonization. There were four treatments: mycorrhizal seedlings grown at standard-strength P (M1) and nonmycorrhizal (NM) plants grown at 1, 2 and 5 times standard-strength P (NM1, NM2 and NM5). Mycorrhizal colonization, tissue dry mass, P content, root length, leaf area, 14C partitioning and rate of c assimilation (A) were determined in five whole-plant harvests from 6 to 15 wks of age. In contrast to the effects of P nutrition on C economy in sour orange, M effects were generally subtle. Mycorrhizae increased the root biomass fraction, the root length/leaf area ratio, and the percent of 14C recovered from belowground components. Mycorrhizal plants had a higher percentage of belowground 14C in the respiration and soil fractions than did NM plants of equivalent P status. Mycorrhizal plants tended to have enhanced A at 8 wks but not at 7 or 12 wks. This temporarily enhanced A of M plants did not fully compensate for their greater belowground C expenditure, as suggested by apparently lower relative growth rates of M than NM plants of equivalent P status. Problems of interpreting the dynamic effects of mycorrhizae on C economy that are independent of p nutrition are discussed.

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The effects of 2 consecutive years of annual defoliation during the harvest season on fruit size, yield, juice quality, leaf size and number were examined in trees of the midseason cultivar `Hamlin' and the late-season cultivar `Valencia' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.]. In `Hamlin', removal of up to 50% of the leaves in late November had no effect on fruit yield, fruit number, fruit size, soluble solids yield, juice °Brix, and °Brix to acid ratio of juice the following year. In `Valencia', removal of 50% of the leaves in late March decreased fruit yield and soluble solids yield but did not affect Brix or the Brix to acid ratio of the juice. Leaf size of new flush was reduced by removal of 50% of the leaves in both cultivars but there was little effect on total canopy size. There were no measured effects of removing 25% of leaves from tree canopies. Thus, canopy growth, fruit yield, fruit quality, and leaf size were not negatively impacted when annual defoliations did not exceed 25% of the total canopy leaf area in `Valencia' and `Hamlin' orange trees for two consecutive years. Overall, fruit weight increased linearly with increasing ratio of leaf area to fruit number, suggesting that fruit enlargement can be limited by leaf area.

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The most important worldwide problem in citrus production is the bacterial disease Huanglongbing (HLB; citrus greening) caused by a phloem-limited bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The earliest visible symptoms of HLB on leaves are vein yellowing and an asymmetrical chlorosis referred to as “blotchy mottle,” thought to be the result of starch accumulation. We tested the hypothesis that such visible symptoms are not unique to HLB by stem girdling 2-year-old seedlings of two citrus rootstocks with and without drought stress in the greenhouse. After 31 days, girdling had little effect on shoot growth but girdling increased the relative growth rate of shoots in drought-stressed trees. Starch content in woody roots of non-girdled trees was three to 19 times higher than in girdled trees. In non-girdled trees, drought stress induced some starch accumulation in roots, but there were no effects of drought stress on root starch or sucrose in girdled trees. Girdling induced a 4-fold greater starch content in leaves on well-watered trees but leaf sucrose content was unaffected. Girdling reduced leaf transpiration in well-watered trees but net assimilation of CO2 was unaffected by girdling or leaf starch accumulation. Leaves on girdled trees clearly had visible blotchy mottle symptoms but no symptoms developed on non-girdled trees. The increase in leaf starch, up to 50% dry weight (DW), resulted in an increase in leaf DW per leaf area (LA) and an artificial reduction of many leaf nutrients on a DW basis. Most of these differences disappeared when expressed on a LA basis. Leaf boron (B), however, was inversely related to leaf starch when both were expressed on a LA basis. In the absence of HLB, girdling increased leaf starch, decreased root starch, and duplicated the asymmetric blotchy mottled visual leaf symptoms that have been associated with HLB-infected trees. This supports our contention that such symptoms generally attributed to HLB are not uniquely related to HLB infection, but rather are directly related to starch accumulation and secondarily to nutrient deficiencies in leaves.

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We determined if winter drought stress could delay flowering and fruit development of immature ‘Valencia’ sweet oranges to avoid young fruit loss during late-season mechanical harvesting. Beginning in December over three consecutive seasons (2007–2009), Tyvek® water-resistive barrier material was used as a rain shield groundcover under 13- to 15-year-old trees. There were three treatments: 1) drought = no irrigation and covered soil; 2) rain only = no irrigation, no cover; and 3) normal irrigation with rain and no cover. Covers were removed in February or March and normal irrigation and fertilization were resumed. The drought stress did not affect fruit yield, size, percentage juice, or juice quality of the current crop harvested in May and June relative to continuously irrigated trees. Drought stress delayed flowering by 2 to 4 weeks so that the immature fruit for next season's crop were smaller than on continuously irrigated trees during June but fruit growth caught up by September. During mechanical harvesting, previously drought-stressed trees lost fewer young fruit than continuously irrigated trees. Thus, winter drought stress effectively delayed flowering and avoided young fruit loss during late-season mechanical harvesting without negative impacts on yield or fruit quality of ‘Valencia’ orange trees.

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The combined effects of O3 and acid rain on freeze resistance, growth, and mineral nutrition were studied using broadleaf-evergreen citrus and avocado trees. Using a factorial design, `Ruby red' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) trees on either Volkamer lemon (Citrus volkameriana Ten. & Pasq.) or sour orange (Citrus aurantium L.) rootstock and `Pancho' avocado trees (Persea americana Mill.) on `Waldin' rootstock were exposed to O3 and acid rain for 8 months in open-top chambers under field conditions. The O3 treatments were one-third ambient (0.3X), ambient (1X), twice ambient (2X), or thrice ambient (3X). Ambient O3 concentrations averaged 39.1 nl·liter-3 over a 12-hour day. The acid rain treatments had a pH of 3.3, 4.3, or 5.3 and were applied to simulate long-term rainfall averages. In general, the effects of acid rain on growth and freeze resistance were small. Rain of high acidity (pH = 3.3) offset the negative effects of O3 on growth (total leaf mass) in avocado and grapefruit/Volkamer lemon trees. In contrast, rain of high acidity magnified the detrimental effects of O3 on electrolyte leakage of leaf disks at subzero temperatures, especially for citrus. Freeze resistance, determined by stem and whole-plant survival following freezing temperatures, was lower in the most rapidly growing trees. Consequently, for trees exposed to a combination of O3 and acidic rain, leaf electrolyte leakage did not correlate significantly with stem survival of freezing temperatures. We conclude that the danger of acid rain to citrus and avocado in Florida is rather slight and would only present a potential problem in the presence of extremely high O3.

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Previous work on citrus trees has shown that an interstock, grafted between the rootstock and scion combination, not only can improve tree growth, longevity, fruit production, and quality, but also can increase salinity tolerance. This research was designed to evaluate flooding responses of 2-year-old ‘Verna’ lemon trees [Citrus limon (L.) Burm.; VL] either grafted on ‘Sour’ orange (C. aurantium L.; SO) rootstock without an interstock (VL/SO) or interstocked with ‘Valencia’ orange (C. sinensis Osbeck;VL/V/SO) or with ‘Castellano’ orange (C. sinensis Osbeck; VL/C/SO). Well-watered and fertilized trees were grown under greenhouse conditions and half were flooded for 9 days. At the end of the flooded period, leaf water relations, leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, mineral nutrition, organic solutes, and carbohydrate concentrations were measured. Leaf water potential (Ψw), relative water content (RWC), net CO2 assimilation rate (ACO2), and stomatal conductance (g S) were decreased by flooding in all the trees but the greatest decreases occurred in VL/V/SO. The Ci/Ca (leaf internal CO2 to ambient CO2 ratio), Fv /Fo (potential activity of PSII) and Fv /Fm (maximum quantum efficiency) ratios were similar in flooded and non-flooded VL/SO and VL/C/SO trees but were decreased in VL/V/SO trees by flooding. Regardless of interstock, flooding increased root calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), and manganese (Mn) concentration but decreased nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) concentration. Based on the leaf water relations, gas exchange, and chlorophyll parameters, ‘Verna’ lemon trees interstocked with ‘Valencia’ orange had the least flooding tolerance. Regardless of interstock, the detrimental effect of flooding in ‘Verna’ lemon trees was the leaf dehydration which decreased ACO2 as a result of non-stomatal factors. Lowered ACO2 did not decrease the leaf carbohydrate concentration. Flooding decreased root starch in all trees but more so in VL/V/SO trees. Sugars were decreased by flooding in roots of interstocked trees but were increased by flooding in VL/SO roots suggesting that the translocation of carbohydrates from shoots to roots under flooded condition was impaired in interstocked trees.

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