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  • Author or Editor: Brent Pemberton x
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Liners of Rosa `MEIrutral' (=Red Sunblaze) were potted in 11.5-cm pots using Fison's Sunshine Mix no. 2 amended with 0%, 10%, 20%, or 30% composted poultry litter (PL) by volume. Plants were grown for 3 weeks before cutting back to 5 cm for final forcing (short-cycle) and were fertilized with 200 mg N/liter from 20N–8.9P–16.6K on a three feed and one leach schedule for the duration of the experiment. By flowering, plants growing in the 30% PL media were dead or stunted. However, there was little difference in total number of flowers, days to flower, and root and shoot dry weight between the other treatments. Media pH rose from 6.6 to 7.4 and EC rose from 0.7 to 6 millimhos with increasing PL content. This result alone could explain the poor growth in the highest PL rate treatment. However, tissue N levels were supraoptimal for the 20% and 30% PL rates, and tissue P levels were excessive for all PL rates. If a high-quality source of composted PL is available, it could be used as a media component for potted rose production at rates <20%, but monitoring of pH and EC and modifying fertilization techniques may be necessary to ensure success.

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A strain of Rhizoctonia solani was isolated from wax begonia (Begonia Semperflorens-Cultorum hybrids) plants in garden evaluation trial plots. This strain was then used to test for disease tolerance in a controlled environment experiment. Inoculated plants of 12 cultivars were evaluated for disease development and the area under the disease progress curve was calculated. No plants were disease free, but `Stara White', `Stara Pink', and three colors from the Party series exhibited greater disease tolerance than `Ambassador Coral', `Ambassador Deep Rose', and two experimental varieties. `Stara White', `Party Pink Bronze Leaf', and `Party White Bronze Leaf' were more tolerant than `Cocktail Vodka', an industry standard. When the same cultivars were grown in field garden evaluation plots, `Cocktail Vodka', four colors from the Stara series, and three colors from the Party series exhibited superior garden performance and flowering ratings to `Ambassador Coral' and an experimental `Rose' cultivar. For most cultivars, garden performance was correlated to disease tolerance. However, `Cocktail Vodka' exhibited good garden performance despite having a high level of disease in the inoculation experiment, indicating that other factors may be involved in determining garden performance.

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Rose rosette disease (RRD) is incited by a negative-sense RNA virus (genus Emaravirus), which is vectored by a wind-transported eriophyid mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus). Symptoms include witches broom/rosette-type growth, excessive prickles (thorns), discolored and distorted growth, and, unlike most other rose diseases, usually results in plant death. RRD is endemic to North America and was first described in Manitoba, Wyoming, and California in the 1940s. It has spread east with the aid of a naturalized rose species host and has become epidemic from the Great Plains to the East Coast of North America on garden roses in home and commercial landscapes where losses have been high. The disease was suggested to be incited by a virus from the beginning, but only recently has this been confirmed and the virus identified. The presence of the vector mite on roses has been associated with RRD since the first symptoms were described. However, more recently, the mite was demonstrated to be the vector of the disease and confirmed to transmit the virus itself. As a result of the RRD epidemic in North America and its effects on the national production and consumer markets for roses, a research team comprising five major universities (Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Delaware), a dozen growers and nurseries (all regions), six rose breeding programs (California, Wisconsin, Texas, and Pennsylvania), the major rose testing programs (Earth-Kind and AGRS), the major rose organization (American Rose Society), and the major trade organization AmericanHort has formed. This research project has been funded by the Specialty Crops Research Initiative through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the short-term objective of improving and disseminating best management practices (BMPs) and the long-term goal of identifying additional sources of resistance and developing the genetic tools to quickly transfer resistance into the elite commercial rose germplasm.

Open Access

Variation in floral characteristics and growth habits within the native range of the North American wildflower Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Wooton & Standl. suggest potential for breeding and selection efforts to develop improved cultivars for commercial and residential landscapes. Toward that end, experiments in vegetative propagation were performed to enable perpetuation of unique germplasm. Stem development stage, applications of auxin, genotypic variation, and the effects of bottom heat applications were assessed to determine impacts on rooting percentages and adventitious root system quality measures. Younger apical stem sections rooted more readily and produced better quality root systems than more lignified basal stem cuttings. Optimal rooting percentages and rooted cutting quality ranged from 0.10% to 0.30% IBA (indole-3-butyric acid) quick dips, with 0.30% being optimal for most genotypes. Application of 26 °C bottom heat improved rooting ability in both cool and warm seasons compared with ambient and bottom heat of 32 °C. Bottom heat of 32 °C improved most rooting measures over ambient during the cool season, but not during the warm season. The degree of improvement in adventitious rooting associated with various developmental stage, auxin quick dips, and bottom heating varied among accessions of R. columnifera, suggesting that adventitious rooting characteristics should be evaluated as a selection criterion for cultivar development within this species.

Open Access

Variation in floral characteristics and growth habits within the native range of the North American wildflower Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Wooton & Standl. suggests potential for breeding and selection efforts to develop improved cultivars for commercial and residential landscapes. Experiments in seed propagation were performed to enable perpetuation of unique germplasms. Overnight hydration, storage condition variations, stratification and scarification, and seed maturation effects were assessed to determine impacts on viability and percent germination. Overnight hydration had no impact on percent germination. Germplasm had a significant effect on germination for all remaining experiments. Seed maintained viability at the same rate through 18 months, when slight reductions were noted. Cold storage at 3 °C had no effect on viability or percent germination of dry seed compared with storage at 23 °C. All three germplasms exhibited increased percent germination with some stratification period, and declined significantly in percent germination with all acid scarification treatments. Experiments indicated that most germplasms benefit from between 30 to 60 days of cold, moist stratification. There was a significant interaction effect among germplasms, location on the inflorescences, and maturity stages for R. columnifera. Data suggest that seed should be harvested as close as possible to when natural dispersal would occur for optimum germination. The degree of improvement in viability and percent germination associated with harvesting at various developmental stages, seed pretreatments, and storage conditions suggests that to achieve germination success, pretreatments should be used for propagation of seed from mature inflorescences and that variation can be expected within different genotypes of this species.

Open Access

The objective of this study was to identify the specific weeks and night lengths when poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) flowering is most sensitive to high temperatures. One experiment was conducted in greenhouses under natural daylength (ND) conditions at lat. 34.7°N starting on 4 Sep, and a second experiment was conducted in growth chambers with an initial night length (NL) of 11 hours 01 minutes that was increased by 2 min/d to simulate ND conditions through September and October. Each week, one group of plants was moved from a moderate-temperature environment [22 °C average daily temperature (ADT)] to a high-temperature environment 28 °C ADT. Each group of plants spent 1 week in the high-temperature environment before returning to the moderate-temperature environment. The temperature treatments lasted for 7 or 8 weeks for the growth chamber and greenhouse studies, respectively. Additional groups of plants were kept in either the moderate- or high-temperature environment for the entire treatment period as controls. Four cultivars were used in the greenhouse study: Advent Red, Freedom Red, Prestige Red, and Tikal Red; only Prestige Red was used in the growth chamber study. Advent Red was identified as the most heat-tolerant cultivar followed by Tikal Red, Freedom Red, and Prestige Red. ‘Advent Red’s’ period of sensitivity to high temperatures ranged from 4 Sep to 1 Oct. ‘Tikal Red’s’ period of sensitivity to high temperature ranged from 11 Sep to 8 Oct. ‘Freedom Red’ had a longer period of high-temperature sensitivity: from 11 Sep to 22 Oct. ‘Prestige Red’ had the longest period of sensitivity to high temperatures encompassing 4 Sep to 29 Oct, and 11 hours 01 minute to 12 hours 37 minutes NL for the greenhouse and growth chamber studies, respectively. Within periods of sensitivity to high temperatures, time to visible bud and anthesis were most affected by high temperatures in earlier weeks, and final bract color development and time to first bract color were more affected by high temperatures during the latter weeks. As cultivars varied in their duration of sensitivity to high temperatures, duration, as well as magnitude of response to high temperature, should be considered in future breeding projects.

Open Access

In this study, we surveyed the initial whitefly (Aleyrodidae) populations on rooted poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cuttings at two commercial greenhouse facilities in both 2017 and 2018 to determine the initial whitefly population at the beginning of poinsettia production and surveyed finished poinsettias at multiple retailers in Tyler, TX, over 2 years to determine whitefly densities considered acceptable by retailers. The initial whitefly population (mean ± se) for all poinsettias was 0.02 ± 0.02 (2017) and 0.33 ± 0.13 (2018) nymphs per plant for grower facility A and 0.05 ± 0.05 (2017) and 0.02 ± 0.01 (2018) nymphs per plant for grower facility B. Of the total 2417 rooted poinsettia cuttings inspected at both locations over 2 years, 29 cuttings had whitefly nymphs (1.2%), 18 had pupae (0.7%), and 23 had exuviae (1.0%). On finished poinsettias sampled at retailers, 4.38 to 40.38 immatures (nymphs + pupae) per plant were found within 60 seconds for any given retailer over the 2 years. We found poinsettias with as many as 220 immatures and 32 adults on a single plant at retailers. This study is the first to quantify densities of whiteflies at retail stores over multiple years.

Open Access

Conjoint analysis can be used to simultaneously investigate consumer preferences on multiple attributes and levels. Our objective was to gain insight regarding consumer preferences for attributes and levels attributed to Ratibida columnifera, a wildflower of potential commercial interest. A ratings-based conjoint analysis using petal color (bicolor, marble, red, yellow), petal shape (circular, oval, notched, lobed), petal number (less than 10, more than 10), and price ($10.00, $15.00, $20.00) was conducted to elucidate part-worth utility from data from 1000 subjects recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a crowdsourcing marketplace. Subjects were then clustered according to their conjoint utility scores. In addition to the conjoint analysis, a principal component analysis was performed based on native plant knowledge of the respondent. Conjoint results revealed that petal color was the most important attribute in decision making, followed by price, petal shape, and petal number. Utility values revealed preference for bicolor petals, followed by red, yellow, and marbled color petals. Preference for price went from least expensive to most expensive. Circular petals were favored over oval, notched, and lobed. Subjects also preferred to have 10 petals or more, vs. less than 10 petals. Cluster analysis yielded three consumer segments, which differed in their utility values. These clusters differed in both demographics and R. columnifera preferences. Overall, consumers preferred R. columnifera with partial (bicolor) or complete red coloration over other options, lower prices, more petals, and entire circular or oval petals.

Open Access

Twenty-one cultivars of vegetative annuals were treated with 0%, 50%, or 100% of the production fertilization rate of 300 mg·L−1 N starting 2 weeks before and continuing until harvest. At harvest, plant width, flower number, and quality rating were measured. The plants were then placed in a simulated interior environment where flower number was counted and quality rating was assigned to each plant weekly for 3 weeks. Overall, 14% of the cultivars maintained a marketable quality (i.e., quality rating of ≥3.0 of 5) for 3 weeks, 43% for 2 weeks, 38% for 1 week, and one cultivar did not maintain quality during the postharvest evaluation. Reduced end-of-production fertilization rate (EPFR) resulted in higher quality ratings for at least one additional week of simulated shelf life for three cultivars, including ‘Dreamtime Copper’ bracteantha (Bracteantha bracteata), ‘Vanilla Sachet’ nemesia (Nemesia ×hybrida), and ‘Bridal Showers’ sutera (Sutera hybrida). ‘Comet White’ and ‘Sunlight’ argyranthemum (Argyranthemum frutescens) retained flowers an additional 2 weeks and ‘Caritas Lavender’ angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia), ‘Dreamtime Copper’ bracteantha, ‘Liricashowers Deep Blue Imp.’ and ‘Starlette Trailing Purple’ calibrachoa (Calibrachoa hybrid), ‘Vanilla Sachet’ nemesia, ‘Cascadias Pink’ petunia (Petunia ×hybrida), and ‘Bridal Showers’ sutera retained flowers an additional 1 week when treated with 0% compared with 50% or 100% EPFR. Four cultivars had decreased plant width at harvest with 0% EPFR. These results indicate that reducing fertilization 2 weeks before harvest can prolong shelf life of some vegetative annuals. Differences in the length of shelf life and responses to reduced EPFR occurred among cultivars of all the affected species. Reduced EPFR did not increase the shelf life of two species, including diascia (Diascia ×hybrida) and lantana (Lantana camara).

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