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  • Author or Editor: C. Rom x
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The highly weathered, mineral, and often eroded and acidic soils of the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas generally have low soil organic matter (SOM) concentrations as a result of rapid organic matter turnover rates in the warm, moist climate. Orchard management practices that can improve SOM may also improve other soil quality-related variables for sustained production, which is an explicit goal for the National Organic Program (NOP). Therefore, beginning in Mar. 2006 and continuing for seven seasons, annual applications of municipal green compost, shredded office paper, wood chips, and mow-blow grass mulch groundcover management systems (GMS) in combination with composted poultry litter, commercial organic fertilizer, or a non-fertilized control as a nutrient source were implemented to evaluate their ability to alter near-surface soil quality in a newly established, organically managed apple orchard in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas. The SOM concentration in the top 10 cm averaged 1.5% across all treatments at orchard establishment in 2006, but by 2012, SOM concentration had increased in all GMS and more than doubled to 5.6% under green compost. Similarly, soil bulk density in the top 6 cm, which averaged 1.34 g·cm−3 among treatment combinations in 2006, decreased in all GMS by 2012. Either green compost or shredded paper had the largest concentration of total water-stable aggregates across all aggregate size classes in the top 7.5 cm, whereas no differences among GMS were observed in the 7.5- to 15-cm soil depth. Green compost applied alone or in combination with commercial fertilizer had the largest estimated plant-available water (17.9% v/v) among all treatment combinations. Many soil quality-related variables measured in the various organic GMS had numerically greater values compared with an adjacent conventionally managed orchard on the same soils. Implementation of these GMS appears to provide apple producers in the Ozark Highlands and similar regions a tangible means of meeting NOP requirements for improving soil quality concurrent with production of certified organic crops. The findings also have implications for conventionally managed orchards, which have maintaining or improving soil quality as a management goal.

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Insecticides were compared for control of codling moth (Cydia pomonella) and oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta), and effects on european red mites (Panonychus ulmi) and predatory mites (Neoseiulus fallacis) in `Red Delicious' apple trees (Malus ×domestica). Ten days after treatment with azinphosmethyl, celerylooper (Anagrapha falcifera) nuclear polyhedrosis virus, rotenone-pyrethrin, or codling moth granulosis virus, fruit damage by larval codling moth and oriental fruit moth was significantly less than trees treated with Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki or water (control). Trees treated with azinphosmethyl or celery looper nuclear polyhedrosis virus had fewer damaged fruit where larvae exited than did other treatments. By 21 days after the last treatment, all treatments had significantly more wormy or damaged fruit than did azinphosmethyl. At 10 days after treatment, the two viruses were more deleterious to codling moth than to oriental fruit moth causing a <1:3 ratio of these larvae compared to >3:1 ratio for the other treatments. On 16 June, 100 predatory mites were released onto the trunk of each tree. The minimum ratio of predatory mites to european red mites (>1:10) that favors biological control of european red mites occurred in all treatments by 14 July, except those treated with azinphosmethyl or rotenone-pyrethrin that had significantly more cumulative mite days of european red mites than the other treatments. The use of azinphosmethyl delayed biological control of the european red mites until 27 July whereas rotenone-pyrethrin treatment never attained biological control of the mites.

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Effects of 8 peach seedling rootstocks on tree growth, survival, and fruit yield of ‘Redhaven’ and ‘Loring’ peach scion cultivars were tested in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Lovell seedling rootstock was a standard for comparison. Six years of data indicated that Siberian C was not an acceptable rootstock because tree survival and fruit yield were low. Halford was equivalent to Lovell for tree growth, fruit yield, and survival. Fruit size was unaffected by rootstock. Nemaguard and 2 North Carolina selections were resistant to root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) but they were not resistant to ring nematodes [Criconemella xenoplax (Raski) Luc and Raski]. Soil fumigation improved tree survival in nematode-infested soil.

Open Access

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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