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Controlling the elongation of ornamental plants is commonly needed for shipping and aesthetic purposes. Drought stress can be used to limit elongation, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to plant growth regulators (PGRs). However, growers can be reluctant to expose plants to drought stress because they do not want to negatively affect overall plant quality and marketability. Knowing how and when stem elongation is affected by water availability will help to increase our understanding of how elongation can be controlled without reducing plant quality. Rooted Hibiscus acetosella Welw. ex Hiern. cuttings were grown in a growth chamber set to a 12-hour photoperiod at 25 °C. Two plants of similar size were used for each replication of the study to compare growth under well-watered and drought-stressed conditions. Time lapse photography was used to determine the diurnal patterns of elongation over the course of the replications. Evapotranspiration was measured using load cells. Well-watered and drought-stressed plants had similar diurnal patterns of elongation and evapotranspiration, demonstrating that both follow circadian rhythms and are not just responding to environmental conditions. Stem elongation was greatest at night and coincided with evapotranspiration decreases, with greatest elongation shortly after the onset of darkness. Elongation was minimal between 800 and 1000 hr when evapotranspiration increases. During the drought-stress portion of the replications, elongation of drought-stressed plants was 44% less than well-watered plants. Final plant height and shoot dry weight for the drought-stressed plants were 21% and 30% less than well-watered plants, respectively. Total leaf area, number of leaves, and number of new visible internodes were greater for well-watered plants than drought-stressed plants. Average length of visible internodes and leaf size were similar for drought-stressed and well-watered plants. If growers want to use drought stress for elongation control, they should ensure that plants are drought stressed before the onset of and during the dark period, when most elongation occurs.

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Salvia coccinea is a valuable flowering annual that attracts hummingbirds and bees to the garden, but few cultivars are commercially available. There is a limited range of petal colors and no leaf variegation. This research aimed to improve the ornamental value of S. coccinea by inducing mutations with ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS). The standard, red-flowered species was selected for treatment by exposing seeds to 0%, 0.4%, 0.8%, or 1.2% EMS for 8, 12, or 24 hours. The optimal treatment rate was determined to be 1.2% EMS for 8 hours, which generated desirable mutations near the median lethal dose (LD50). The M1 population had a 53% germination rate and was completely morphologically uniform. By the M2, mutations included differences in leaf shape and flower size in addition to albina, chlorina, virescens, and chimeral chlorophyll changes. A 1% mutation rate was achieved in this breeding program with seven unstable mutations and six stable mutations. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values were measured to determine differences in chlorophyll content between lethal albina mutations, chartreuse chlorina and virescens mutations, and typical leaf color. Future work will investigate the stability and heritability of chlorophyll variegation by hybridizing these selections with coral-flowered accessions of S. coccinea.

Open Access

The effect of container design on physical parameters of media with different bulk densities was evaluated. A significant interaction between container design and media for water-holding capacity and air space was found. A container with a polyester fabric bottom had the largest media air space and the smallest water-holding capacity after 24 h of drainage when placed on a column of sand to allow for free drainage from the container medium. For the media tested, a blend of composted pine bark and hardwood bark (PB:HB) appeared to have good physical characteristics for a container medium in the container designs that were evaluated. Container design should be considered when selecting a container medium because physical parameters of a given medium will be influenced.

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Salvia is a genetically diverse genus in the Lamiaceae family, with hundreds of species distributed globally. With base chromosome numbers ranging from 6 to 19 and ploidy levels ranging from diploid to octoploid, the genus has been proposed to be subdivided based on molecular data rather than morphology. However, little is known about total DNA content across the genus. The DNA content of 141 Salvia genotypes were analyzed using flow cytometry. Samples of Salvia were stained with propidium iodide and compared with the internal standards Pisum sativum ‘Ctirad’ and Solanum lycopersicum ‘Stupické’ to generate estimations of DNA content. Holoploid 2C genome sizes of the analyzed Salvia ranged from 0.63 pg to 6.12 pg. DNA content showed a wide distribution across chromosome number, ploidy, and clade. The wide distribution of DNA content across the genus further indicates the diversity of Salvia and may be useful for future breeding efforts.

Open Access

Seasonal, stem and leaf cold hardiness levels of male and female plants of Ilex purpurea Hassk. and Ilex rotunda var. microcarpa (Lindl. ex Paxton) were determined over two winter seasons. The samples for the cold hardiness studies were taken from established plants growing at the Univ. of Georgia Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens in Savannah. Each month, 40 stem cuttings (4 to 5 inches long) were sent by overnight mail for evaluation. The plants were prepared for laboratory freezing exposure tests within 2 h of receiving. The samples were visually evaluated after freezing exposure to estimate their cold hardiness. In general, Ilex purpurea was more cold-hardy than I. rotunda var. microcarpa over both seasons tested, except in midwinter (Jan. 1998 and Feb. 1999) where I. rotunda var. microcarpa was more cold-hardy than I. purpurea. Ilex purpurea attained cold hardiness earlier in the fall and lost its hardiness later in the spring. In general, few consistent differences were observed between the cold hardiness of male and female plants within species.

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The objective of this study was to determine differences in the bulk anthocyanin content of bark tissue of container-grown red maple (Acer rubrum L. and Acer ×freemanii E. Murray) at two Georgia locations with different environmental conditions. Rooted cuttings and tissue-cultured plantlets of eight cultivars were grown in either Blairsville or Tifton, Ga. [U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6b and 8a; American Horticultural Society (AHS) Heat Zones 5 and 8, respectively], from June 1995 until Dec. 1996. Bark tissue from twigs of trees grown in Blairsville was visually redder and contained more total anthocyanin than did that of trees grown in Tifton. Levels of total anthocyanins were higher (P = 0.0007) at Blairsville (0.087 mg·g-1, N = 48) than at Tifton (0.068 mg·g-1, N = 47). At both locations the levels were highest in `Landsburg' (`Firedance'™), followed by `Franksred' (`Red Sunset'™) and `October Glory'. This is the first report to quantify anthocyanin differences in bark tissue of container-grown trees. Cooler nights in Blairsville might have contributed to increased coloration by reducing respiratory losses, thus leaving more carbohydrates available for pigment production.

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Stem cuttings of golden euonymus (Euonymus japonicus `Aureo-marginatus'), shore juniper (Juniperus conferta `Blue Pacific'), white indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica `Alba'), and `Red Cascade' miniature rose (Rosa `Red Cascade') were successfully rooted in plugs of a stabilized organic substrate that had been soaked in aqueous solutions of the potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) at 0 to 75 mg·L–1 before inserting the cuttings. Cuttings were rooted under intermittent mist in polyethylene-covered greenhouses with rooting periods appropriate for each species. Rooting percentages showed some increase with increasing auxin concentration with juniper cuttings, but were similar among treatments for the other three species. Number of roots per rooted cutting increased with increasing auxin concentration with cuttings of juniper, Indian hawthorn, and rose, and was greatest using around 60 mg·L-1 K-IBA for cuttings of juniper and Indian hawthorn and 30 to 45 mg·L-1 K-IBA for cuttings of rose.

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This experiment compared the effect of fall fertilization on freeze hardiness of evergreen vs. deciduous azaleas (Rhododendron). Beginning in Spring 2003, a 2 × 3 factorial experiment was conducted in Athens, Ga., on container plants grown outdoors under nursery conditions involving two taxa (R. canescens and R. ×satsuki `Wakaebisu') and three fall fertigation regimes (Aug.–Sept., 75 mg·L-1 of N; Aug.–Nov., 75 mg·L-1 of N; and Aug.–Nov., 125 mg·L-1 of N). On 15 Nov. and 17 Dec. 2003 and 16 Jan., 18 Feb., and 19 Mar. 2004, plant stem tissue was harvested and exposed to 10 progressively lower temperature intervals between –3 °C and –30 °C under laboratory conditions in order to estimate azalea freeze hardiness. Freeze hardiness was affected by fertilizer and taxa treatments, but there were no significant interaction effects in this study. The timing of freeze hardening was not significantly different among the two species over time, and the fall fertilizer treatments did not affect the timing of hardening. Compared to the industry standard (75 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Sept.), R. canescens that received extended fertilization at the high rate (125 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Nov.) was less freeze hardy in November, December, and January, and R. ×satsuki was less freeze hardy in December. However, when compared to the industry standard, the low rate of extended fertilization (75 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Nov.) did not affect azalea freeze hardiness.

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Temperature sensitivity of net photosynthesis (PSN), dark respiration, and chlorophyll fluorescence was evaluated among three taxa of hollies including I. aquifolium, I. cornuta, and I. rugosa. Variations in foliar heat tolerance among these species were expressed as differential temperature responses for PSN. Temperature optima for PSN was 22.0, 26.3 and 27.9 umol·m–2·s–1 for I. rugosa, I. cornuta, and I. aquifolium, respectively. Differences in temperature optima for PSN and thermotolerance of PSN appeared to result from a combination of stomatal and nonstomatal limitations. At 40°C, potential photosynthetic capacity, measured under saturating CO2, was 4.1, 9.4, and 14.8 μmol·m–2·s–1 for I. rugosa, I. aquifolium, and I. cornuta, respectively. Based on these results, I. rugosa was identified as the most heat-sensitive species followed by I. aquifolium then I. cornuta. Comparative tolerance to root-zone inundation was evaluated among 14 holly taxa. Following 8 weeks of flooding, four of the taxa: I. cornuta `Burfordii', I. × `Nellie R. Stevens', I. cassine, and I. × attenuata `Foster's #2' performed remarkably well during and after flooding with photosynthetic rates > 40% of the controls, root ratings >75% of the controls, <5% of the foliage showing deterioration, and 100% survival. Conversely, I. crenata `Convexa', Ilex × meserveae `Blue Princess', I. rugosa and I. aquifolium `Sparkler' did not tolerate flooding well as indicated by severely depressed photosynthetic rates, deterioration of foliage and roots, and decreased survival. The remaining taxa were intermediate.0

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American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a deciduous shrub native to the southeast United States and is grown primarily for its metallic-purple fruit that develop in the fall. There are also pink- and white-fruiting and variegated forms but these traits are rare in nature and there is no information available regarding their inheritance. Also, there is confusion regarding self-compatibility and the presence of apomixis in Callicarpa L. Crosses were performed to investigate the genetics of fruit color, self-compatibility, and apomixis in american beautyberry. Test crosses between C. americana (CA) and C. americana ‘Lactea’ (CAL) suggested that white fruit is recessive to purple. White fruit appears to be controlled by a single recessive gene for which we propose the name white fruit and the gene symbol wft. Although there were only a limited number of progeny grown, crosses between CA and ‘Welch’s Pink’ suggest that purple is dominant to pink. Test crosses between CAL and ‘Welch’s Pink’ are needed to draw conclusions; however, we propose that purple, pink, and white fruit are controlled by an allelic series for which we suggest the gene symbols Wft > wft p > wft. Segregation ratios suggested that all progeny in the study developed through sexual hybridization. All genotypes used in the current study were self-compatible.

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