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  • Author or Editor: David W. Wolfe x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Average global surface temperatures are predicted to rise due to increasing atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Attempts to predict plant response to CO2 must take into account possible temperature effects on phenology and reproductive sink capacity for carbohydrates. In this study, we investigated the effects of atmospheric CO2 partial pressure [35 Pa ambient CO2 (aCO2) vs. 70 Pa elevated CO2 (eCO2)] and temperature (26/15 vs. 35/21 °C day/night) on short- and long-term net CO2 assimilation (An) and growth of red kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). During early vegetative development [14-31 days after planting (DAP)], An, and relative growth rate (RGR) at eCO2 were significantly greater at the supra-optimum (35/21 °C) than at the optimum (26/15 °C) temperature. At 24 DAP, the CO2 stimulation of An by eCO2 was 49% and 89% at optimum and supra-optimum temperature, respectively, and growth enhancement was 48% and 72% relative to plants grown at aCO2. This high temperature-induced growth enhancement was accompanied by an up-regulation of An of eCO2-grown plants. In contrast, during later reproductive stages (31-68 DAP) the eCO2 stimulation of An was significantly less at the supra-optimum than at optimum temperature. This was associated with reduced seed set, greater leaf carbohydrate accumulation, and down-regulation of An at the higher temperature. At final harvest (68 DAP), the eCO2 stimulation of total dry weight was 31% and 14% at optimum and supra-optimum temperature respectively, and eCO2 stimulation of seed dry weight was 39% and -18% at optimum and supra-optimum temperature, respectively. These data indicate substantial shifts in the response to eCO2 during different phenological stages, and suggest that impaired reproductive development at high temperature could reduce the potential for CO2 stimulation of photosynthesis and productivity in bean and possibly other heat-sensitive species.

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Greenhouse experiments were conducted in 1987 and 1988 to evaluate the effect of timing of a 4-day flooding stress on growth and yield of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Bush Blue Lake 274, BBL). Plant survival was reduced when flooding was imposed at postflowering growth stages, but most plants survived when flooded before flowering or when reproductive development was prevented by deflowering. Early yields of surviving plants were very low in all flooded treatments, regardless of timing, in both years. Total yield response to timing of flooding was linear in 1987, with lowest yields when flooding was imposed at later growth stages. The trend was not linear in 1988, but in both years the latest flooding treatment (36 days after planting) had few surviving plants and no measurable pod yield. Additional greenhouse experiments revealed that leaf conductance of BBL and another bean cultivar, Luna (LN), declined within the first day of flooding. This decline was concomitant with one in leaf water potential and photosynthesis (Pn) in BBL, but decline of these responses occurred 1 to 2 days later for LN. After 4 days of flooding, Pn fell to near 0 for BBL, and to 15% of the prestress value for LN. Pn of both cultivars had recovered to 18.5 μmol·m-2·s-1 10 days after termination of flooding. LN had a larger adventitious root biomass, higher percentage of adventitious roots, and a consistently lower leaf: root ratio than BBL during recovery.

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Several polyethylene and fabric row cover materials, and clear and black polyethylene mulch, were evaluated in a 2-year field study. For cucumbers [Cucumis sativus (L.)], visible wilting and slowed growth rates of young transplants exposed to cold nights were minimized when grown under row covers that maintained high humidities and higher air and soil temperatures than in the exposed controls. Early cucumber yields were increased 2- to 6-fold by the use of covers. In contrast, tomatoes [Lycopersicon esculentum (Mill.)] showed no significant early yield increases, but a 63% reduction in early yield in 1985 under a perforated clear polyethylene cover. The frequency and duration of daytime air temperatures exceeding 35C had a negative impact on tomato fruit size, quality, and percentage marketable. For cucumber, the relationship between cumulative degree days (during the covered interval) and biomass, early, and total yields was linear (r 2 between 0.70 and 0.82) with positive slope. Tomato yields could not be accurately predicted using this approach, but correlations were improved (for the 1985 data set) by using modified degree-day formulas incorporating a negative high-temperature factor.

Open Access

A 3-year field study conducted on an Eel silt loam soil (Aquic Udifluvent) compared cabbage (Brussica oleracea L. capitata group), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and sweet corn (Zea mays L.) for their growth and yield response to an artificially compacted soil layer beginning at about the 10-cm depth. Slower growing cabbage seedlings in compacted plots were more subject to flea beetle damage than the uncompacted controls. Prolonged flooding after heavy rainfall events in compacted areas had a more adverse effect on cabbage and snap bean than on cucumber or sweet corn. Sweet corn showed almost no growth reduction in one of the three years (1993) when relatively high fertilizer rates were applied and leaf nitrogen deficiencies in compacted plots were prevented. Maturity of cabbage, snap bean, and cucumber was delayed, and the average reduction in total marketable yield in (direct-seeded) compacted plots was 73%, 49%, 41%, and 34% for cabbage, snap bean, cucumber and sweet corn, respectively. Yield reduction in transplanted cabbage (evaluated in 1993 only) was 29%. In a controlled environment greenhouse experiment using the same soil type and similar compaction treatment as the field study, compaction caused a reduction in total biomass production of 30% and 14% in snap bean and cabbage, respectively, while cucumber and sweet corn showed no significant response. The growth reductions of snap bean and cabbage in the greenhouse could not be attributed to compaction effects on soil water status, leaf turgor, nutrient deficiency, or net CO, assimilation rate of individual leaves. Root growth of sweet corn was least restricted by the compacted soil layer. The contrast between our field and greenhouse results indicates that the magnitude of yield response to compaction in the field was often associated with species sensitivity to secondary effects of compaction, such as prolonged flooding after rainfall events, reduced nutrient availability or uptake, and prolonged or more severe pest pressure.

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