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  • Author or Editor: John Ruter x
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Seeds of Sophora secundiflora (Ort.) Lag ex. DC. (mescal bean) were scarified with hot water or concentrated sulfuric acid to determine an optimal pretreatment for successful germination. Scanning electron micrographs indicated that the acid scarification treatment removed the seed cuticle. One-year-old seeds were successfully stored and germinated ≈2 days sooner than from the current year if both were given an acid pretreatment. Germination rate increased as acid pretreatment time increased from 30 to 120 minutes. Soaking seeds in water at room temperature or in hot water (initially 93C) for 24 hours had no effect on germination.

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In 1991, a cooperative project with the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., was initiated in Tifton, Ga. (USDA hardiness zone 8a) to evaluate red maples (Acer rubrum L.) potentially suitable for the coastal plain region of the southeastern U.S. Greatest annual height growth across all cultivars over 6 years was for `Alapaha', a seedling selection from southern Georgia with annual height growth of 35 inches (88.0 cm), and several seedling selections from northern Florida with annual height increases in excess of 33 inches (86.0 cm). Selections showing the least average annual height growth were NA-56024 and NA-57772 (`Red Rocket'). For commercially available cultivars, the most dependable for fall color in Tifton was `October Glory'®. In addition, two new selections from the National Arboretum have also shown excellent fall color—`Somerset' and `Brandywine'.

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Swamp sunflower (Helianthus simulans) is an underused perennial plant native to the southeastern United States that produces an abundance of golden yellow inflorescences in the fall. It is a vigorous grower and tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions, growing in wetland and nonwetland habitats. Swamp sunflower warrants wider use in perennial beds and landscapes, and research on production practices to make plants more suitable for shipping could promote its production. This study evaluated the effects of plant growth regulators (PGRs) on the growth and floral attributes of the swamp sunflower. Treatments were applied to rooted cuttings in 1-gal pots as a substrate drench of 1, 2, 4, or 6 mg/pot paclobutrazol; 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 mg/pot flurprimidol; or water (control)/pot for Expt. 1. A second experiment (Expt. 2) applied 4, 6, or 8 mg/pot paclobutrazol; 2, 4, or 6 mg/pot flurprimidol; or water (control)/pot. Six weeks after treatment (WAT) for Expt. 1, paclobutrazol applied at 4 and 6 mg/pot and flurprimidol at 2 and 4 mg/pot resulted in smaller plants (as reflected by growth index) by 29%, 34%, 22%, and 48%, respectively, compared with the control. Furthermore, at the termination (6 WAT) of Expt. 1, the highest rate of flurprimidol produced the smallest plants, with the exception of the highest rate of paclobutrazol. By 6 WAT, plants treated with the highest rate of paclobutrazol and flurprimidol had lower dry weights and higher chlorophyll measurements than control. All PGR treatments for Expt. 2 resulted in smaller plants than the control by 27% to 36% at 4 WAT and 23% to 41% at 6 WAT. Differences for internode length and flower diameter were observed for Expts. 1 and 2, respectively. Results from these experiments suggest a substrate drench application of 6 mg/pot paclobutrazol or 4 mg/pot flurprimidol can be used for producing smaller plants compared with nontreated plants for swamp sunflower under greenhouse conditions.

Open Access

Ilex crenata Thunb. `Rotundifolia' split-root plants were grown for 3 weeks at root-zone temperatures of 30/30, 30/34, 30/38, 30/42, 34/34, 38/38 and 42/42. The 38 C root-zone temperature treatment was the upper threshold for a number of growth and physiological parameters. A portion of the root system grown at near optimum temperatures could compensate in terms of shoot growth for part of the root system exposed to supraoptimal root-zone temperatures up to the 38 C critical threshold. Higher root-zone temperatures did not affect photosynthetic rates or root:shoot ratios, but altered photosynthate partitioning to different stem and root sinks. Although no differences were found for total 14C partitioned to the roots, partitioning of the 14C into soluble and insoluble fractions and the magnitude of root respiration and exudation were influenced by treatment. Heating half of a root system at 38 C increased the amount of 14C respired from the heated side and increased the total CO2 respired from the non-heated (30 C) half. Exposure of both root halves to 42 C resulted in membrane damage which increased the leakage of 14C photosynthates into the medium.

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Respiration of excised Ilex crenata `Rotundifolia' roots as influenced by root-zone growth temperature and buffer solution temperature was measured in the presence and absence of SHAM and KCN. Respiration rates of roots excised from plants grown for three weeks at root-zone temperatures of 30, 34, 38, and 42 C decreased linearly as root-zone temperature increased when the buffer solution was maintained at 25 C. When the buffer solution temperature was the same as the root growth temperature, no differences in respiration rate were found. When plants were grown at a root-zone temperature of 30 C, respiration was maximal at 34 C and decreased to a minimum at 46 C. Above 46 C, stimulation of O2 consumption occurred which was presumed to be extra-mitochondrial. CN-resistant pathway activity decreased at a buffer solution temperature of 46 C which was similar to the critical threshold temperature (48±1.5 C) for `Rotundifolia' holly roots.

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High root-zone temperatures have been shown to affect photosynthate partitioning, respiration, nitrogen nutrition and growth of `Rotundifolia' holly. The loss of chlorophyll and protein in shoots of other plants in response to high root-zone temperatures has been documented. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to look at the effects of supraoptimal root-zone temperatures on RUBISCO activity, leaf protein and photosynthetic pigment levels.

Soluble protein levels in leaves increased linearly as root-zone temperature increased from 30 to 42 C. RUBISCO activity per unit protein and per unit chlorophyll responded quadratically to root-zone temperatures. Total chlorophyll, chlorophyll a & b, and carotenoid levels decreased linearly with increasing root-zone temperature. It is possible that `Rotundifolia' holly was capable of redistributing nitrogen to maintain RUBISCO activity for photosynthesis.

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Respiration of excised Ilex crenata (Thunb.) `Rotundifolia' roots as influenced by root-zone growth temperature and buffer solution temperature was measured in the presence and absence of salicylhydroxamic acid (SHAM) and potassium cyanide (KCN). Respiration rates of roots excised from plants grown for 3 weeks with root-zones at 30, 34, 38, or 42C decreased linearly with increased root-zone growth temperatures when the buffer solution was maintained at 25C. When the buffer solution was the same temperature as the root growth temperature, respiration rates were similar. Respiration in roots from plants grown with the root zone at 30C was maximal with the buffer solution at 34C and decreased to a minimum at 46C. Above 46C, a presumably extra-mitochondrial stimulation of O2 consumption occurred. The activity of the CN-resistant pathway was fully engaged (P' = 0.99) when roots were grown at 30C and buffer solution was at 25C (30-25). CN-resistant pathway activity decreased with `the buffer solution at 46C.

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The genus Pavonia is one of the largest genera in the Malvaceae species; it is mainly distributed in South America. Three species of Pavonia were identified based on different flower colors and potential for landscape use in the southeastern United States. These species produce a large amount of seed at the end of the blooming season, which is not ideal for ornamental use. To reduce the seed set, gamma irradiation was used for mutation induction and propensity to induce compactness and sterility. A preliminary study indicated that the seed of Pavonia hastata would germinate at irradiation rates up to 2000 Gy. Seeds of three species were treated with six different dose rates ranging from 0 Gy to 1000 Gy to determine the ideal rate for Pavonia breeding and how gamma irradiation affected seed germination. M1 (the first mutant generation) P. lasiopetala and P. missionum were sown in 2018 and planted in the field at the University of Georgia Durham Horticulture Farm on 1 May 2019, as were M2 (the second mutant generation) seeds of P. hastata. Seed germination in 2019 showed no significance due to treatment but significance due to species and species by treatment interaction. Field evaluation performed in 2019 indicated that height was not influenced by irradiation for any of the three species but that the width index was. Flower diameter and leaf area of P. missionum became smaller as the irradiation rate increased, but the other two species showed no trends. Chlorophyll mutations were observed on P. hastata at the 1500 Gy level, which has attractive traits for ornamental use.

Open Access