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  • Author or Editor: Desmond R. Layne x
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Growth of pawpaw (Asimina triloba) seedlings in containers was examined in a factorial greenhouse experiment with four treatment levels of the slow-release fertilizer, Osmocote 14-14-14 (14N- 6.1P-11.6K), incorporated in Pro-Mix BX potting substrate at 0, 0.13, 0.26 or 0.81 kg·m-3 (0, 0.22, 0.44, or 1.37 lb/yard3) and three treatment levels of liquid-feed fertilizer of Peters 20-20-20 (20N-8.7P-16.6K) water-soluble fertilizer at 0, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (ppm). When plants were harvested 18 weeks after sowing, seedlings subjected to the highest rate of Osmocote 14-14-14 at 0.81 kg·m-3 and liquid-feed at 500 mg·L-1 had the greatest total biomass, about 3-fold greater than nonfertilized plants. In a separate greenhouse experiment, growth of seedlings was examined with Osmocote 14-14-14 as the sole fertilizer source at six treatment levels of: 0, 0.81, 2.22, 4.43, 8.86, or 17.7 kg·m-3 (0, 1.37, 3.74, 7.47, 14.9, or 29.9 lb/yard3). Early seedling growth was hastened in the 2.22 kg·m-3 treatment rate, but delayed in 17.7 kg·m-3 treatment rate, when compared to nonfertilized control plants. When seedlings were harvested 17 weeks after sowing, plants had the greatest shoot, root, and total dry weight with Osmocote 14-14-14 at a rate of 2.22 kg·m-3. Root:shoot ratio decreased from about 1.5 without Osmocote 14-14-14, to about 0.65 at rates of 2.22 kg·m-3 or greater. Based on the results of this study, the slow-release fertilizer, Osmocote 14-14-14, can be used effectively as a sole fertilizer source when incorporated into potting substrate at a rate of 2.22 kg·m-3 or at a reduced rate of 0.81 kg·m-3 when supplemented with weekly applications of liquid-feed fertilizer at a rate of 500 mg·L-1 of Peters 20-20-20, to enhance production of container-grown pawpaw seedlings.

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Replicated trials were conducted in Summers 1998 and 1999 at two commercial orchards (A and B) to determine the influence of a metalized, high density polyethylene reflective film (SonocoRF) and aminoethoxyvinylglycine (ReTain), on fruit red skin coloration and maturity of `Gala' apples (Malus sylvestris var. domestica). There were four experimental treatments: 1) nontreated control; 2) reflective film (RF); 3) ReTain; and 4) RF + ReTain. RF was applied 4 weeks before anticipated start of harvest by laying a 5-ft-wide (150-cm) strip on each side of the tree row in the row middle. ReTain was applied 4 weeks before harvest at the commercial rate in one orchard and at 60% of the commercial rate in a second test. ReTain delayed fruit maturity. Fruit from RF trees had a significantly greater percent surface red color than fruit from trees not treated with RF. Fruit from RF + ReTain were significantly redder and had higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) than fruit from trees treated with ReTain alone. There were no differences in size, fruit firmness or starch content between fruit from RF and RF + Retain. RF appears to be a method to increase red skin coloration in `Gala' apples treated with ReTain without adversely impacting maturity.

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Replicated trials were conducted during the summers of 1998 and 1999 at commercial orchards in South Carolina to determine the influence of ground application of a metalized, high density polyethylene reflective film on fruit red skin color and maturity of peach (Prunus persica) cultivars that historically have poor red coloration. At each site there were two experimental treatments: 1) control and 2) reflective film (film). Film was applied 2 to 4 weeks before anticipated first harvest date by laying a 150-cm (5-ft) wide strip of plastic on either side of the tree row in the middles. Treatment areas at a given farm ranged from 0.25 to 0.5 ha (0.5 to 1.0 acre) in size and each treatment was replicated four times at each site. At harvest, two 50-fruit samples were picked from each plot per treatment. All fruit were sized and visually sorted for color (1 = 0% to 25%, 2 = 26% to 50%, 3 = 51% to 75%, and 4 = 76% to 100% red surface, respectively). A 10-fruit subsample was selected following color sorting and evaluated for firmness and soluble solids concentration (SSC). All cultivars tested (`CVN1', `Loring', `Bounty', `Summer Gold', `Sunprince', `Cresthaven' and `Encore') experienced significant increases in percent red surface when film was used in 1998 and 1999. This color improvement ranged from 16% to 44% (mean = 28%). On average, fruit from film were 4.2 N (0.9 lb force) softer and had 0.3% higher SSC than control fruit. Growers harvested more fruit earlier and in fewer harvests for film. Fruit size was not affected by film. Reflected solar radiation from film was not different in quality than incident sunlight. Film resulted in an increase in canopy air temperature and a reduction in canopy relative humidity during daylight hours.

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Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a native North American tree that has potential as a new fruit crop or for use in landscapes, but until recently, little information has been available to nurseries on containerized production of this species. Pawpaw seedlings develop a strong taproot with a fragile root system, which can be easily damaged upon digging; therefore, most nurseries propagate trees in containers. Pawpaw seed requires stratification for optimal germination and seed is sensitive to desiccation. The seed also cannot tolerate freezing temperatures [<-15 °C (5.0 °F)]. A well-aerated potting substrate with a high sphagnum peat moss component (>75% by volume), cation exchange capacity, and water holding capacity can be used effectively in container production. Tall containers should be used to accommodate the developing taproot of seedlings. The slow-release fertilizer Osmocote 14-14-14 (14N-6.1P-11.6K) incorporated into Pro-Mix BX potting substrate can be used effectively as the sole fertilizer source at a treatment rate of 2.22 kg·m-3 (3.742 lb/yard3) in containerized pawpaw production. It can also be used at a lower rate of 0.81 kg·m-3 (1.365 lb/yard3) when supplemented with weekly applications of 500 mg·L-1 (ppm) of Peters 20-20-20 (20N-8.78P-16.6K) liquid-feed fertilizer. Bottom heating [32 °C (89.6 °F)] of container-grown pawpaw seedlings results in greater lateral and total root dry weight than in seedlings grown at ambient temperature [24 °C (75.2 °F)], which could increase the rate of establishment of seedlings in the field. Bottom heating of container-grown pawpaw seedlings could decrease both the time to produce a saleable plant and the cost of heating greenhouses. Growth of containerized pawpaw seedlings is enhanced by low to moderate shading with polypropylene shade fabric (28% or 51%) outdoors and low shading (33%) in the greenhouse, in a manner typical of that reported for other shade-preferring plants. Low to moderate shading of pawpaw seedlings grown outdoors greatly increases leaf number, total leaf area, and total plant dry weight compared to nonshaded seedlings, suggesting that commercial nurseries can improve production of containerized pawpaw seedlings using a shading regime outdoors.

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Beginning in 1993, 12 institutions and individuals and The PawPaw Foundation (PPF) embarked on a joint venture to evaluate commercially-available, named pawpaw (Asimina triloba) varieties and PPF's advanced selections within and outside of the pawpaw's native range. Each Pawpaw Regional Variety Trial (PRVT) planting, consists of about 300 trees, with five to eight replications (blocks) of 28 grafted scion varieties per block in a randomized complete block design (10 named varieties and 18 clones selected in the PPF orchards at the University of Maryland Experiment Stations at Queenstown and Keedysville, Md.). Variables being examined in the trial include climatic effect, culture, pests, growth, fl owering, yield, and fruit characteristics. In 1995, PRVT plantings were established in Kentucky (Princeton, Ky.), Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina. In 1998, a second planting was established in Kentucky (Frankfort, Ky.). In 1999, PRVT plantings were established in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, and Ohio. In the Frankfort planting, 95% of the trees have survived. Based on height and trunk diameter measurements taken from 1998 to 2001, most selections displayed good vigor. The variety PA-Golden had the best early fruit production as evidenced by the fact that five of eight trees had fruit in 2001. In the Princeton, planting, only 54% of the trees have survived. The selections `Sunfl ower', `PA-Golden', `NC-1', `Wilson', 1-23, 8-20, and 9-58 showed the best fruit production and survival rates (>63%) in 2001. Based on limited data collected so far in the Kentucky trials, `PA-Golden' and `Sunfl ower' have performed well in the two locations and other varieties and PPF selections show promise.

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Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is an under-exploited small tree with commercial potential as a fruit crop, ornamental tree, and source of secondary products with insecticidal and medicinal properties. It is most often propagated from seeds that are recalcitrant and must be stored moist at a chilling temperature. Seeds display combinational (morphophysiological) dormancy. Endogenous, physiological dormancy is broken by about 100 days of chilling stratification followed by a period of warm moist conditions where the small embryo develops prior to seedling emergence about 45 days after the warm period begins. Pawpaw cultivars with superior fruit characteristics are propagated by grafting onto seedling understocks. The most common practice is chip budding. Other methods of clonal propagation have proven problematic. Pawpaw can be propagated from cuttings, but only in very young seedling stock plants. Micropropagation from mature sources is not yet possible, but shoot proliferation has been accomplished from seedling explants and explants rejuvenated by induction of shoots from root cuttings of mature plants. However, rooting of microcuttings and subsequent acclimatization has not been successful.

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