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  • Author or Editor: Daniel Leskovar x
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Irrigation methods, rates, timing, and frequency may influence the physical and chemical properties of the growing media thereby affecting root initiation, elongation, branching, development and dry matter partitioning between roots and shoots.

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Pepper cv. `Jupiter' plants were field-grown from containerized transplants produced with either overhead (SPl) or sub-flotation (SP2) irrigation, or from direct seeding, in 3 years. Shoot and root growth were measured at frequent intervals. At planting, SPl transplants had larger basal root length and numbers than SP2 transplants. At the end of the growth period, basal, lateral, and taproot dry weights accounted for 81, 15, and 4% of the total for transplants, and 25, 57, and 18% of the total for direct-seeded plants. The coordination of growth (linear logarithm relationship) between root and shoot, changed after fruit set only in transplants. Over all seasons, transplants exhibited significantly higher yields than direct-seeded pepper plants.

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Effective nutrition and irrigation are important nursery strategies to produce high-quality seedlings able to withstand heat and drought stress in the field. The objectives of this study were 2-fold, first to identify the influence of two nitrogen (N) levels (75 and 150 mg·L−1) and two fertigation (FR) methods, overhead (OH) and flotation (FL) of artichoke (Cynara cardunculus cv. Green Globe Improved) transplants on root/shoot growth and leaf physiology during the nursery period. A repeated greenhouse experiment was conducted and morphophysiological measurements were determined at 4 and 7 weeks after seeding (WAS). The second objective was to determine the impact of the nursery treatments (FR method and N level) on the subsequent crop growth and yield under three field irrigation methods [surface drip, subsurface drip, and overhead-linear system (OH-L)]. Field measurements were conducted at 50 and 150 days after field transplanting (DAT) during Fall–Winter 2015. Transplants fertilized with 75 mg·L−1 N (low N) had improved root components as compared to those with 150 mg·L−1 N (high N), especially at 4 WAS. The low N transplants had higher root surface area, root length, root branching, thinner root diameter, and less shoot area than the high N transplants. Wilting for low N transplants was 13.5% less than that for high N at 5 DAT, with a total yield similar or slightly higher than those of high N. Although growth of OH and FL transplants was statistically similar at transplanting, those irrigated with OH (greenhouse) had a 10% higher yield than FL irrigated transplants, regardless of the field irrigation method evaluated. Overall, low N level (75 mg·L−1 N) applied with OH irrigation in the nursery positively improved the transplant root system and transplant quality of artichoke seedlings.

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Shoot and root growth changes in response to handling and storage time in `Sunny' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplants were investigated. Transplants, 45 days old, were stored either in trays (nonpulled) or packed in boxes (pulled) for 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 days at 5 and 15C. Also, 35-day-old nonpulled and pulled transplants were kept in darkness at 20/28C for 0, 1, 2, or 3 days. At SC, pulled transplants had longer and heavier stems, a higher shoot: root ratio, higher ethylene evolution, and lower root dry weight than nonpulled transplants. At 15C, pulled transplants had more shoot growth than nonpulled transplants. Nonpulled, initially 35-day-old transplants had heavier shoots and roots and higher (7.0 t·ha-1) yields of extra-large fruit than pulled transplants (4.1 t·ha-1), but there were no differences in the total yields of marketable fruits.

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ABA and drought stress were evaluated on growth morphology and dry weight of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) seedlings subjected to continuous watering (CV) or alternate watering (AW) subflotation irrigation. When ABA (10-4 m) was sprayed on to leaves 28, 32, or 37 days after seeding (DAS), leaf growth was limited relative to the controls. Root dry weight, basal root count, and diameter decreased in AW compared with CW-treated seedlings. ABA did not influence root growth of the transplants or subsequent total fruit yield. When ABA was applied to leaves at 20,23, or 29 DAS, there was a transient inhibition of leaf weight increase, but root growth was unaffected. Exogenous ABA may have a practical application as a substitute for drought stress to control transplant growth in the nursery. Chemical name used: abscisic acid (ABA).

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Transplants produced with overhead or subirrigation and plants from direct seeding using primed or nontreated `Jupiter' bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) seeds were evaluated for growth and yield in the field for 3 years. Early in development, overhead-irrigated (01) transplants had more basal root elongation than subirrigated (SI) transplants; however, root growth differences caused by irrigation systems in the greenhouse were minimized during late ontogeny in the field. Basal, lateral, and taproot dry weights accounted for 81%, 15%, and 4% of the total for transplants and 25%, 57%, and 18% of the total for direct-seeded plants. Direct-seeded plants maintained a more-balanced root, stem, leaf, and fruit dry matter partitioning than transplants, which allocated more dry weight (per unit of root growth) to stems, leaves, and fruits. Over all seasons, transplants exhibited significantly higher and earlier yields than direct-seeded pepper plants, and total yields were similar between SI and OI transplants and between primed and nontreated seeds.

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Studies were conducted to examine the effects of pruning treatments applied to spring-transplanted bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) on marketable fruit yield in late summer and fall. Control plants were set in the field in early May 1997 (Oklahoma) and Apr. 1998 (Oklahoma and Texas) and harvested weekly into October (Oklahoma) or periodically into December (Texas). In 1997, all four treatments (involving height and method of pruning) reduced total marketable fruit weight, but differences among treatments were nonsignificant. In Oklahoma in 1998, plants were mowed on 27 July at an average height of ≈24 cm. Mowed plants produced less total marketable fruit weight but more U.S. Fancy fruit than did control plants, while weight of U.S. No. 1 fruit was not affected. In Texas in 1998, plants mowed on 4 Sept. at a height of ≈20 cm produced more than twice the weight of U.S. No. 1 fruit and fewer cull fruit than did control plants. Nonpruned transplants set in the field in Summer 1998 (both Oklahoma and Texas) produced low marketable yields. Maintaining spring-transplanted bell peppers is a viable technique for fall pepper production, and the highest total marketable yields may be obtained if these plants are not mowed. However, mowing offers an opportunity for increased fall production of premium fruit, and mowed plants would be easier to manage than nonpruned plants.

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Studies were conducted to examine the effects of pruning treatments applied to spring-transplanted bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) on marketable fruit yield in late summer and fall. Control plants were set in the field in early May 1997 (Oklahoma) and Apr. 1998 (Oklahoma and Texas) and were harvested weekly into October (Oklahoma) or periodically into December (Texas). In 1997, there were no differences in total marketable fruit weight among four treatments involving height and method of pruning, but all reduced total marketable fruit weight relative to the control. In Oklahoma in 1998, the control was compared to plants mowed on 27 July at an average height of ≈24 cm. Mowed plants produced less total marketable fruit weight but more U.S. Fancy fruit than control plants. Also, control and mowed plants did not differ in weight of U.S. no. 1 fruit. In Texas in 1998, the control was compared to plants mowed on 4 Sept. at a height of ≈20 cm. Mowed plants produced more than double the weight of U.S. no. 1 fruit and fewer cull fruit than control plants. Nonpruned transplants set in the field in Summer 1998 (Oklahoma and Texas) gave low marketable yields. Maintaining spring-transplanted bell peppers is a viable technique for fall pepper production, and the highest total marketable yields may occur if these plants are not mowed. However, mowing offers an opportunity for increased fall production of premium fruit, and mowed plants would be easier to manage than unpruned plants.

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The effect of cell volume and age of `Texas Grano 1015Y' onion transplants on survival, growth, and yield were evaluated. Transplant ages and cell volume were 5, 7, 9, and 11 weeks (W) and 6.5 cm3 and 20.0 cm3 in Florida; and 6, 8, 10, and 12W, and 4.0 and 7.1 cm3 in Texas. In Florida, total yields were unaffected by transplant age and cell volume, but jumbo size bulbs increased with increasing age from 5 to 9W in 6.5 cm3 cells. Bulb size increased significantly for 11W transplants only in 20.0 cm3 cells. In Texas, survival was reduced for 6W compared to ≥8W transplants. At planting, root count increased linearly with age. Cell volume did not affect root count, plant height, or leaf number, but shoot dry weight was greater in 7.1 cm3 compared to 4.0 cm3. Total jumbo and large size yields were highest for ≥10W in 7. 1 cm3 and ≥8W in 4.0 cm3 cells. Total yields were unaffected by cell size but seedlings in 4.0 cm3 had a 16% decrease of jumbo size compared to 7.1 cm3. The use of 10 and 12W transplants produced in small cell sizes may be viable for onion establishment.

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