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  • Author or Editor: Gregory A. Lang x
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To examine the effect of timing and severity of summer pruning on flower bud initiation and vegetative growth, 4-year-old `Bing' cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) were pruned at 31, 34, 37, 38, or 45 days after full bloom (DAFB) with heading cuts 20 cm from the base of current-season lateral shoot growth, or at 38 DAFB by heading current-season lateral shoot growth at 15, 20, 25, or 30 cm from the base of the shoot. The influence of heading cut position between nodes also was examined by cutting at a point (≈20 cm from the shoot base) just above or below a node, or in the middle of an internode. Summer pruning influenced the number of both flower buds and lateral shoots subsequently formed on the shoots. All of the timings and pruning lengths significantly increased the number of both flower buds and lateral shoots, but differences between pruning times were not significant. There was significantly less regrowth when shoots were pruned just below a node or in the center of an internode, rather than just above a node, suggesting that the length of the remaining stub may inhibit regrowth somewhat. The coefficient of determination (r 2) between flower bud number and regrowth ranged from -0.34 to -0.45. In young high-density sweet cherry plantings, summer pruning may be useful for increasing flower bud formation on current-season shoots. The time of pruning, length of the shoots after pruning, and location of the pruning cut can influence subsequent flower bud formation and vegetative regrowth.

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A detached leaf disk assay for screening sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) genotypes for susceptibility to powdery mildew (PM) [Podosphaera clandestina (Wallr.:Fr.) Lev.] was developed by evaluating the effects of photoperiod (24 hours light, 0 hours light, 14 hours light/10 hours dark), substrate nutrient content (sterile distilled water, 1% sucrose), leaf age (old, young, emergent), and leaf explant size (intact leaf, 30 mm, 20 mm) on PM growth on leaves from the susceptible cultivar Bing. The only parameter described that had a significant (P ≤ 0.001) effect on PM growth was leaf age. Old leaves, designated as the third fully expanded leaf from the basal end of current-year's shoot growth, were never infected with PM under controlled inoculations. In the absence of significant differences between treatments, those parameters with the highest treatment means were selected for subsequent evaluation. To test the leaf disk assay, 14 sweet cherry cultivars were screened in two experiments, and rated according to level of PM susceptibility. Rank sum comparison of results from cultivars used for leaf disk screening agreed with earlier field rankings of the same cultivars. The developed leaf disk assay greatly reduced the space required to screen sweet cherry cultivars, and was a repeatable and objective predictor of field resistance that may be useful for screening germplasm or breeding populations.

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Most sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars grown commercially in the Pacific Northwest U.S. are susceptible to powdery mildew caused by the fungus Podosphaera clandestina (Wall.:Fr.) Lev. The disease is prevalent in the irrigated arid region east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Little is known about genetic resistance to powdery mildew in sweet cherry, although a selection (`PMR-1') was identified at the Washington State Unive. Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center that exhibits apparent foliar immunity to the disease. The objective of this research was to characterize the inheritance of powdery mildew resistance from `PMR-1'. Reciprocal crosses between `PMR-1' and three high-quality, widely-grown susceptible cultivars (`Bing', `Rainier', and ëVaní) were made to generate segregating progenies for determining the mode of inheritance of `PMR-1' resistance. Progenies were screened for susceptibility to powdery mildew colonization using a laboratory leaf disk assay. Assay results were verified by natural spread of powdery mildew among the progeny seedlings in a greenhouse and later by placement among infected trees in a cherry orchard. Progenies from these crosses were not significantly different (P > 0.05) when tested for a 1:1 resistant to susceptible segregation ratio, indicating that `PMR-1' resistance is conferred by a single gene, which we propose to designate as PMR-1.

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Prohexadione-Ca (P-Ca) and ethephon (ETH) were evaluated as potential inhibitors of growth and promoters of early flowering for high density orchard management of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) trees on vigorous rootstocks. Single applications (P-Ca at 125 to 250 mg·L-1 active ingredient (a.i.) or ETH at 175 to 200 mg·L-1 a.i.) to young, nonfruiting sweet cherry trees produced short-term, generally transient reductions in terminal shoot elongation, and did not stimulate flower bud formation. Tank-mix applications (P-Ca + ETH) usually produced a stronger, possibly synergistic, reduction in shoot growth rate. Single tank-mix applications either increased subsequent flower bud density on previous season shoots or had no effect; when a second application was made three weeks later to the same trees, subsequent flower bud density on previous season shoots and spurs on older wood increased ≈3-fold over untreated trees. Yield efficiency (g·cm2 trunk cross-sectional area) also increased nearly 3-fold. Chemical names used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon); calcium 3-oxido-4-propionyl-5-oxo-3-cyclohexene carboxylate (prohexadione-Ca); polyoxyethylene polypropoxypropanol, dihydroxypropane, 2-butoxyethanol (Regulaid); aliphatic polycarboxylate, calcium (Tri-Fol).

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A personal computer-based method was compared with standard visual assessment for quantifying colonization of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) leaves by powdery mildew (PM) caused by Podosphaera clandestina (Wallr.:Fr.) Lev. Leaf disks from 14 cultivars were rated for PM severity (percentage of leaf area colonized) by three methods: 1) visual assessment; 2) digital image analysis; and 3) digital image analysis after painting PM colonies on the leaf disk. The third technique, in which PM colonies on each leaf disk were observed using a dissecting microscope and subsequently covered with white enamel paint, provided a standard for comparison of the first two methods. A digital image file for each leaf disk was created using a digital flatbed scanner. Image analysis was performed with a commercially available software package, which did not adequately detect slight differences in color between PM and sweet cherry leaf tissue. Consequently, two replicated experiments revealed a low correlation between PM image analysis and painted PM image analysis (r2 = 0.66 and 0.46, P ≤ 0.0001), whereas visual assessment was highly correlated with painted PM image analysis (r2 = 0.88 and 0.95, P ≤ 0.0001). Rank orders of the 14 cultivars differed significantly (P ≤ 0.05) when PM image analysis and painted PM image analysis were compared; however, rankings by visual assessment were not significantly different (P > 0.05) from those by painted PM image analysis. Thus, standard visual assessment is an accurate method for estimating disease severity in a leaf disk resistance assay for sweet cherry PM.

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Most sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars grown commercially in the Pacific Northwestern states of the United States are susceptible to powdery mildew, caused by the fungus Podosphaera clandestina (Wall.:Fr.) Lev. The disease is prevalent in the irrigated arid region east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Little is known about genetic resistance to powdery mildew in sweet cherry, although a selection (PMR-1) was identified at Washington State Univ.'s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center that exhibits apparent foliar immunity to the disease. The objective of this research was to determine the inheritance of powdery mildew resistance from PMR-1. Reciprocal crosses were made between PMR-1 and three high-quality, widely-grown susceptible cultivars (`Bing', `Rainier', and `Van'). Resultant progenies were screened for reaction to powdery mildew colonization using a laboratory leaf disk assay. Assay results were verified by natural spread of powdery mildew among the progeny in a greenhouse and later by placing them among infected trees in a cherry orchard. Segregation within the progenies for powdery mildew reaction fit a 1 resistant: 1 susceptible segregation ratio (P ≤ 0.05), indicating that resistance to powdery mildew derived from PMR-1 was conferred by a single gene.

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Young sweet cherry (Prunus avium) trees are typically upright, vegetatively vigorous, and nonprecocious, taking 5 to 6 years to come into production. To produce fruit in high-density orchards by year 3 or 4, development of lateral shoots for potential fruiting is critical in year 2 or 3. An experiment was designed to promote lateral branching on 2-year-old trees. The experiment was conducted in a commercial orchard in Roosevelt, Wash., with `Bing' and `Van' on the vigorous rootstocks Mazzard and Colt. The trees were planted at 415 trees per acre with three scaffolds trained into a “V” canopy design. The experimental variables were treatments with and without Promalin (1.8% BAP plus 1.8% GA4+7), applied at a ratio of 1:3 in latex paint at green tip stage; superimposed on these treatments were either heading cuts of each scaffold to 2 m long (or tipping the scaffold if it was <2 m), removing four to five buds subtending the terminal bud, a combination of heading and bud removal, or controls. On trees that were not treated with Promalin, three additional treatments included either removing subtending buds at budbreak, or removing buds at multiple locations along the scaffold at green tip or at budbreak. New lateral shoots were counted 4 weeks after budbreak, and the quality of the shoots (shoot diameter and angle of emergence) was measured at the time of summer pruning. Interactions between Promalin, bud manipulation, and pruning will be discussed in relation to development of canopy structure.

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Commercially-produced, endodormant `Gloria' azaleas were placed into temperature × duration dormancy-breaking treatments at 2 month intervals to characterize seasonal variation in floricultural performance. Given the standard industry practice to break bud dormancy is 6 weeks at 3.5 to 7.2 C, three temperatures (3.5, 7.5, 11.5 C) and four durations (2, 4, 6, 8 weeks), plus a non-chilled control, were used to examine the contribution of each dormancy-breaking factor to subsequent floricultural quality. Treatment-Induced leaf abscission and flowering were quantitated, including days to Initial flowering and 50% flowering. Flowering response of dormant-budded azaleas produced during late spring and early summer (chilled during summer and early fall, respectively) was primarily and positively related to chilling duration, with only a minor influence of chilling temperature. In contrast, flowering of fall-produced endodormant plants (chilled during late fall) was best at 3.5 C, regardless of duration. Across all intervals, control plants averaged a leaf loss rate of 3 to 4 per day, suggesting a steady-state turnover rate. While leaf abscission was higher in all chilling-treated plants, those produced during fall and given the standard (or longer) chilling treatment exhibited about twice the total abscission (averaging as much as 20 leaves per day) as plants produced at other times, resulting in a clear reduction in plant foliar quality.

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Premature leaf blackening in Protea severely reduces vase life and market value. The current hypothesis suggests that leaf blackening is induced by a sequence of events related to metabolic reactions associated with senescence, beginning with total depletion of leaf carbohydrates. It is thought that this carbohydrate depletion may induce hydrolysis of intercellular membranes to supply respiratory substrate, and subsequently allow vacuole-sequestered phenols to be oxidized by polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD) (Whitehead and de Swardt, 1982). To more thoroughly examine this hypothesis, leaf carbohydrate depletion and the activities of PPO and POD in cut flower Protea susannae × P. compacta stems held under light and dark conditions were examined in relationship to postharvest leaf blackening. Leaf blackening proceeded rapidly on dark-held stems, approaching 100% by day 8, and was temporally coincident with a rapid decline in starch concentration. Blackening of leaves on light-held stems did not occur until after day 7, and a higher concentration of starch was maintained earlier in the postharvest period for stems held in light than those held in dark. A large concentration of the sugar alcohol, polygalatol, was maintained in dark- and light-held stems over the postharvest period, suggesting that it is not involved in growth or maintenance metabolism. Polyphenol oxidase activity in light- and dark-held stems was not related to appearance of blackening symptoms. Activity of PPO at pH 7.2 in light-held stems resulted in a 10-fold increase over the 8-day period. Activity in dark-held stems increased initially, but declined at the onset of leaf blackening. There was no significant difference in POD activity for dark- or light-held stems during the postharvest period. Total chlorophyll and protein concentrations did not decline over the 8-day period or differ between light- and dark-held stems. Total phenolics in the dark-held stems increased to concentrations ≈30% higher than light-held stems. Consequently, the lack of association between membrane collapse, leaf senescence, or activities of oxidative enzymes (PPO or POD) with leaf blackening does not support the hypothesis currently accepted by many Protea researchers. An alternative scenario may be that the rapid rate of leaf starch hydrolysis imposes an osmotic stress resulting in cleavage of glycosylated phenolic compounds to release glucose for carbohydrate metabolism and coincidentally increase the pool of free phenolics available for nonenzymatic oxidation. The physiology of such a carbohydrate-related cellular stress and its manifestation in cellular blackening remains to be elucidated.

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Abstract

Plant dormancy has a major impact on the cultivation of plants, influencing such processes as seed germination, flowering, and vegetative growth. The diversity of plant tissues that exhibit, or contribute to the manifestation of, dormancy is great, and there appear to be numerous mechanisms of dormancy induction or release. This complexity was discussed by Romberger (55) nearly 25 years ago. Yet his analysis of the unresolved challenges in dormancy research is still valid today, for the overall understanding of dormancy is limited. This lack of understanding may be due, in part, to the abundance of terminology that has arisen without a nomenclatural framework in which to classify and relate the events being described.

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