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  • Author or Editor: David Williams x
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In three experiments, damage caused by twospotted spider mite (TSSM; Tetranychus urticae Koch) was correlated with the quality of ivy geranium [Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L'Her ex Aiton], and the action threshold for TSSM on ivy geranium was developed. Ivy geranium quality was measured as overall plant quality—plant size and form, and leaf greenness and glossiness—leaf browning, and leaf distortion. Young plants with high initial TSSM numbers (30 TSSM/plant) exhibited the greatest damage, suggesting that monitoring for TSSM early in the plant production cycle is necessary to prevent extensive damage. The leaf distortion index and overall plant quality were correlated with cumulative TSSM density and marketability in 4-week-old plants infested with 30 TSSM, whereas leaf browning was not correlated with either. Thus, either leaf distortion or overall plant quality can be used to measure economic damage resulting from TSSM. The action threshold for TSSM on ivy geranium was determined using overall plant quality. When the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot, is used to control TSSM, the action threshold was found to be 2 TSSM/leaf. Results also showed that fertilizer combinations of 8 or 24 mm nitrogen and 0.32, 0.64, or 1.28 mm phosphorus had no effect on cumulative TSSM density. When P. persimilis was released at predator: prey ratios of 1:60, 1:20, and 1:4, TSSM damage, measured as both leaf distortion and overall plant quality, was significantly reduced at 1:4 and 1:20, but not at 1:60. A 1:4 rate resulted in the most marketable plants. These results suggest that P. persimilis should be released at a rate of 1:4 when the TSSM action threshold is reached.

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This study was undertaken to determine if endogenous IAA content and axillary bud development correlate with phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) induction and russet spotting (RS) susceptibility among RS susceptible and resistant cultivars of Iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Final levels of ethylene-induced PAL activity and RS development were highly correlated among cultivars, field conditions, and harvest dates. Harvested Iceberg lettuce midribs contained relatively low amounts of free IAA (maximum of 5.2 ng·g-1 fresh weight). There was poor correlation between free IAA content in lettuce leaf midribs and final RS development among all cultivars, growing conditions, and harvest dates. Axillary bud development, as measured by the number of visible buds per head, bud weight, or bud length, were not significantly correlated with final RS development or midrib IAA content. Cultivars with higher initial free IAA content lost much of their IAA after 8 days storage at 5C in air ± ethylene.

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A survey was conducted with 130 retail garden centers in Alabama to assess personnel training. The 59 item survey was mailed to 472 employees of these garden centers on 1 June 1992 requesting the amount, frequency, and methods of training they had received from their current employer. 176 surveys were returned for a 37% response rate. 69% of employees received verbal policies and standards from their employer when hired, whereas only 37% were given a written job description of responsibilities. 42% of the employees had received some kind of formal training with 56% received all of their training on an individual basis. Of the employees who received training in small groups, it was performed one to three times among 47% of employees and more than 10 times with 25% of employees. Significant decreases were shown in the amount of training received between the first week and the end of the first six months on the job. The results suggest not enough emphasis is being placed on employee training in the management and operation of retail garden centers in Alabama.

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The eriophyid mite, Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, vectors the causal agent, Rose rosette virus (RRV), that results in rose rosette disease. Parts of the southeastern United States have remained free of the disease, except for infected plant material introductions that were eradicated. A survey of sampling points through Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi (n = 204) revealed the southeastern border of RRV. The presence of RRV in symptomatic plant tissue samples (n = 39) was confirmed by TaqMan-quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Samples were also collected at every plot for detection of eriophyid mites, specifically for P. fructiphilus. Three different species of eriophyid mites were found to be generally distributed throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Most of these sites (n = 60) contained P. fructiphilus, found further south than previously thought, but in low populations (<10 mites/gram of tissue) south of the RRV line of incidence. Latitude was found to be significantly correlated with the probability of detecting RRV-positive plants, but plant hardiness zones were not. Plot factors such as plant size, wind barriers, and sun exposure were found to have no effect on P. fructiphilus or the presence of RRV. The reason for the absence of RRV and low populations of P. fructiphilus in this southeast region of the United States are unclear.

Open Access