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Iftikhar Ahmad, John M. Dole, M. Aslam Khan, M. Qasim, Tanveer Ahmad and A.S. Khan

Present status and future prospects of cut rose (Rosa ×hybrida) flower production and postharvest management in Punjab, Pakistan, were investigated. Cut roses were the leading flower crop in the area under study, but production systems and practices were outdated and primitive, resulting in cut stems that were not acceptable in international markets. The majority of growers (65%) had only basic education (grade 10 or less) and 57% had small landholdings (<1 ha); therefore, they did not have modern production techniques and resources for high-quality cut rose production. Moreover, lack of production and postharvest facilities, ignorance of both public and private resources, and poor production and postharvest practices were prevalent. Growers' training regarding production and postharvest management would be required to lift the quality standards of this industry up to the international level. However, a positive trend was observed in cut rose businesses as more than half of growers (52%) entered into the business during last 5 years. In addition, 30% of growers were in business over 10 years, indicating that cut rose production can provide a sustained income for producers. This analysis of the cut rose industry in Punjab can serve as a model for other countries whose cut flowers industries are at a similar stage of development.

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John M. Dole, Frankie L. Fanelli, William C. Fonteno, Beth Harden and Sylvia M. Blankenship

Optimum postharvest handling procedures were determined for Dahlia `Karma Thalia', Lupinusmutabilis ssp. cruickshankii`Sunrise', Papaver nudicaule `Temptress', and Rudbeckia`Indian Summer.' Dahlia harvested fully open had a vase life of 7–10 days in deionized (DI) water that was increased by 1.5–2 days using commercial holding solutions (Chrysal Professional 2 Processing Solution or Floralife Professional). Neither floral foam nor 0.1–1.0 ppm ethylene had any effect on vase life. One week of cold storage at 1 °C reduced vase life up to 2 days. The longest vase life, 12–13 days, was obtained when floral buds, showing a minimum of 50% color, were harvested at the breaking stage (one petal open) and placed in 2% or 4% sucrose or a commercial holding solution. Lupinus flowers held in DI water lasted 8–12 days; 1 week cold storage at 1 °C reduced vase life by 3 days. Florets and buds abscised or failed to open when exposed to ethylene; STS pretreatment prevented the effects of ethylene. Commercial holding solutions increased Papaver vase life to 7–8 days from 5.5 days for stems held in DI water. While stems could be cold stored for 1 week at 1 °C with no decrease in vase life, 2 weeks of cold storage reduced vase life. Flowers were not affected by foam or ethylene. Rudbeckia had a vase life of 27–37 days and no treatments extended vase life. Stems could be stored at 2 °C for up to 2 weeks and were not ethylene sensitive. Floral foam reduced the vase life over 50%, but still resulted in a 13-day vase life.

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John M. Dole, Frankie L. Fanelli, William C. Fonteno, Beth Harden and Sylvia M. Blankenship

Optimum postharvest handling procedures were determined for Linaria maroccana `Lace Violet', Trachelium`Jemmy Royal Purple', and Zinnia elegans `Benary's Giant Scarlet' and `Sungold.' A 24-hour 10% or 20% sucrose pulse increased the vase life of Linaria by 2–4 days, resulting in a vase life of 9 days as compared to 5 days for control flowers held in deionized (DI) water. Use of floral foam and cold storage at 1 °C for 1 week decreased vase life. Treatment with either 0.1 or 1.0 ppm ethylene had no effect. The use of a commercial holding solution (Floralife Professional or Chrysal Professional 2 Processing Solution) or 2% or 3% sucrose increased vase life 4–10 days. For cut Trachelium, ethylene caused florets to close entirely or stop opening; 1-MCP and STS prevented these ethylene effects. Stems tolerated 4 days of 1 °C storage, but 1 week or more of storage reduced the 14-day vase life of unstored flowers to 9 days. Stems in 2% or 4% sucrose had a longer vase life compared to DI water. While the use of floral foam was not detrimental when used with sucrose solutions, it reduced vase life when sucrose was not used. Zinnia stems could not be cold stored for 1 week at 1 °C due to loss of turgidity and cold damage. Stems stored dry at 5 °C regained turgidity and averaged a vase life of 14 days; however, petals remained slightly twisted and curled after being in the vase for several days. Treatment with ethylene had no effect. Floral foam reduced vase life to 9–10 days.

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Douglas C. Sanders, Dennis J. Osborne, Mary M. Peet, John M. Dole and Julia L. Kornegay

Many potential students, because of distance from the university campus and/or job requirements, cannot take traditional courses on-campus. This group of learners is “place-bound”—a group of learners who may be employed full-time, most likely married with job responsibilities and/or other situations demanding most of their attention. The Horticultural Science Department and Graduate School at N.C. State University are addressing place-bound limitations in several ways, including the creation and offering of a Graduate Certificate Program in Horticultural Science via distance education (DE). By using DE, high demand, low-seat-available classes can offer additional enrollment for credit. Second, courses can be offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery methods. Also, courses offered collaboratively among institutions can generate a level of interest and enthusiasm that may not exist for “home-grown” courses. Such efforts as these promise to help meet continuing education demands of “non-traditional” students. These include Cooperative Extension's more than 120 Horticultural Crops Extension Agents (“field faculty”) and over 300 other field faculty whose interests include horticultural topics.

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Kenneth E. Conway, John M. Dole, Theresa L. Bosma and Niels O. Maness

Field seedling emergence of four african marigold (Tagetes erecta) breeding lines, A-975, E-1236, I-822, and `Orange Lady', was examined using three or four spring sowing dates and either osmotic or solid matrix priming. Delayed sowing decreased emergence time. Sowing from middle to late April [average soil temperatures 77.0 to 84.2 °F (25 to 29 °C)] resulted in the highest total emergence percentages. Greater fl ower quantities [4.9 to 5.1 million/acre (12.11 to 12.60 million/ha)] and estimated yield [7.5 to 10.8 tons/acre (16.81 to 24.20 t·ha-1)] indicate mid to late April is the optimum time period for direct sowing unprimed seed in the southern Great Plains. Differences between lines were evident in emergence parameters and fl ower harvest data for each year examined, but results were inconsistent from year to year. However, A-975 and E-1236 produced harvestable fl owers most quickly, about 15 d before I-822, which could result in an additional harvest during a season. Osmotic priming of E-1236 and I-822 seed shortened emergence time, increased emergence uniformity, and increased total emergence percentage at early sowing dates as compared to both solid matrix primed and unprimed seed.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and John M. Dole

Preplant bulb soaks of ancymidol, flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole; foliar sprays of flurprimidol; and substrate drenches of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole were compared for height control of `Prominence' tulips (Tulipa sp.). Height control was evaluated at anthesis in the greenhouse and 10 days later under postharvest conditions. Substrate drenches of ancymidol, flurprimidol, and paclobutrazol resulted in adequate control using concentrations of 0.5, 0.5, and 1 mg/pot a.i. (28,350 mg = 1 oz), respectively. At these concentrations, ancymidol drenches cost $0.06/pot and paclobutrazol drenches $0.03/pot. Since flurprimidol is not yet available and no price is available, growers will need to assess the cost compared to ancymidol and paclobutrazol. Flurprimidol foliar sprays at <80 mg·L–1 (ppm) were ineffective in controlling height during greenhouse forcing, but during postharvest evaluation 80 mg·L–1 resulted in 14% shorter plants than the untreated control. Preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol, paclobutrazol, and uniconazole at concentrations of 25, 50, and 10 mg·L–1, respectively, effectively controlled plant height. Preplant plant growth regulator soaks are a cost-effective method of controlling plant height of tulips because of the limited amount of chemical required to treat a large quantity of bulbs.

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Brian A. Krug, Brian E. Whipker, Ingram McCall and John M. Dole

Three experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of plant growth regulators (PGRs) on `Tete a Tete', `Dutch Master', and `Sweetness' narcissus (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). Ethephon foliar sprays (500 to 2500 mg·L-1) and substrate drenches of flurprimidol and paclobutrazol (0.25 to 4 mg/pot a.i.) did not control height during greenhouse forcing of `Tete a Tete' at any concentration trialed. Stem stretch was controlled during postharvest evaluation with ethephon foliar sprays ≥1000 mg·L-1, flurprimidol substrate drenches ≥0.5 mg/pot a.i., and paclobutrazol substrate drenches of 4 mg/pot a.i. A second experiment investigated preplant bulb soaks of flurprimidol (10 to 40 mg·L-1) applied to `Dutch Master' and `Tete a Tete' narcissus bulbs. Flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks controlled postharvest stretch on `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master' at concentrations ≥15 and ≥10 mg·L-1, respectively. A third experiment was conducted with paclobutrazol (75 to 375 mg·L-1) on `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master' and three concentrations of flurprimidol on `Sweetness' to determine optimal soak recommendations. Paclobutrazol preplant bulb soaks ≥75 mg·L-1 controlled postharvest stretch of `Tete a Tete' and `Dutch Master', while 37.5 mg·L-1 of flurprimidol controlled postharvest stretch of `Sweetness'. Based on the results of these experiments, growers can now select a PGR to help control excessive plant growth.

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Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad B. Rafiq, John M. Dole, Bilal Abdullah and Kinza Habib

Favorable agro-climatic conditions and comparatively cheaper and readily available human resources offer a promising business opportunity to cut flower production in Pakistan. Presently, growers are limited to traditional cut flower crops such as rose (Rosa hybrids), gladiolus (Gladiolus hybrids), marigold (Tagetes erecta), and tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) because of unavailability of improved new species and cultivars. To diversify cut flower production in Pakistan, a study was conducted to evaluate the production and postharvest performance of different cultivars of delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), and stock (Matthiola incana) in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. ‘Guardian White’ delphinium had the shortest time to harvest first marketable stems (160 days) with comparatively shorter stems (87.7 cm). Whereas ‘Aurora White’ and ‘Aurora Blue’ were high-temperature tolerant and produced attractive racemes with longer stems; 112.0 and 99.7 cm, respectively. All cultivars lasted about 7 days in distilled water (DW). ‘Cheerful White’ stock had the shortest cropping time and produced highest quality double flowers with longest stems (51.8 cm) compared with other cultivars tested. Vase solution of 4% sucrose supplemented with 100 mg·L−1 silver nitrate (AgNO3) extended the vase life of ‘Cheerful White’ stock up to 11.8 days compared with 8.2 days in DW. Pulsing with 10% sucrose supplemented with 100 mg·L−1 AgNO3 extended the longevity of ‘Lucinda Dark Rose Double’ stock (10.2 days) similar to vase solution of 4% sucrose plus 100 mg·L−1 AgNO3; however, ‘Lucinda Dark Rose Double’ stock produced shorter stems than ‘Cheerful White’. ‘Appleblossom’ snapdragon produced >10 marketable stems per plant with highest quality attractive flowers, and stout stems, which lasted 10.8 days in 4% sucrose vase solution supplemented with 100 mg·L−1 AgNO3. Among tested species/cultivars, all exotic species/cultivars produced uniform high quality stems resulting in higher productivity as compared with local cultivars and were favorably appraised by flower growers/retailers and are best suited for diversification of local cut flower industry.

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Theresa L. Bosma, Janet C. Cole, Kenneth E. Conway and John M. Dole

Canterbury bells (Campanula medium `Champion Blue') seeds were primed using calcined clay at 68 °F (20 °C) for 1, 3, or 5 days at water potentials (Ψ) of -25, -20, -18, or -16 bars (-2.5, -2.0, -1.8, or -1.6 MPa). Germination was fastest (3.0 to 3.1 days) after priming with a Ψ of -18 or -16 bars for 5 days. Seeds primed for 3 or 5 days with moisture present germinated faster than nonprimed seeds, but time to 50% germination (T50) was longer when seeds were primed for 1 day regardless of Ψ compared to nonprimed seed. Germination uniformity decreased (time from 10% to 90% germination, T10-90, increased) as Ψ increased. Although a curvilinear relationship existed between T10-90 and priming duration, T10-90 did not differ between nonprimed seeds and seeds in any priming treatment except those primed for 3 days with 20% moisture (-16 bars). Priming did not affect total germination percentage (97%).

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Paul B. Hedman, John M. Dole, Niels O. Maness and Jeffrey A. Anderson

The postharvest biosynthesis of ethylene and CO2 was measured at 0, 12, 24, and 48 h after harvest and the effects of exogenous applications of 0.0, 0.2, or 1.0 μl·liter–1 ethylene for 20 h was observed on eight speciality cut flower species. Helianthus maximilliani (Maximillian's sunflower), Penstemon digitalis (penstemon), Achillea fillipendulina [`Coronation Gold' (yarrow)], Celosia plumosa [`Forest Fire' (celosia)], Cosmos bipinnatus [`Sensation' (cosmos)], Buddleia davidii (butterfly bush), and Weigela sp. (weigela) exhibited a climacteric-like pattern of ethylene production followed by a steady rise in CO2 production. Echinacea purpurea (coneflower) ethylene biosynthesis was not significant during the 48-h period after harvest. Vase life of coneflower, yarrow, celosia, cosmos, and butterfly bush was not affected by exogenous ethylene. Exogenous ethylene applications to Maximillian's sunflower, penstemon, and weigela resulted in flower abscission and decreased vase life, indicating that they are probably ethylene-sensitive cut flower species.