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  • Author or Editor: J. B. Kring x
  • HortScience x
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Field studies were conducted for three seasons, Fall 1988, and Spring and Fall of 1989 on the effect of six mulch colors: blue, orange, red, aluminum, white or black (fall or spring), and yellow on fruit yields and on insect vectors of `Sunny' tomato, In Fall 1988, in a single harvest, fruit size was greater and total marketable yields were higher with blue than with aluminum and yellow mulches. In Spring 1989 early yields of large (> 70 mm) and marketable fruit were higher with aluminum and red than with yellow and blue mulches. In Fall 1989 early yield of large fruit was higher with white than with yellow mulch. Early marketable yields were highest with white and aluminum mulches. Total yields of large fruits were highest with orange and blue mulches but marketable yields were similar with all six mulch colors. The fewest number of aphids, thrips and whiteflies were trapped on aluminum mulch. Blue mulch attracted the largest number of aphids and thrips. Red mulch attracted whiteflies. The three insects are important vectors of several virus diseases.

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The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), was associated with symptoms of a silverleaf disorder of acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo L. cvs. Table King Bush and Table Ace) in cage studies in the greenhouse. Symptoms appeared on uninfested leaves that developed after plants were infested with the whitefly. When the infested lower leaves were removed and the young leaves protected from infestation with insecticides, new growth was asymptomatic or nearly so and symptomatic leaves remained symptomatic. Symptom expression was related more to nymphal density than to adult density since the relationship between log nymph density and symptoms was linear when adult densities were equal.

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A new disorder of fruit has been observed on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) in Florida. The disorder, termed irregular ripening, was associated with field populations of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and is characterized by incomplete ripening of longitudinal sections of fruit. An increase in internal white tissue also was associated with whitefly populations. In field cage studies, fruit on tomato plants not infested with the sweetpotato whitefly exhibited slight or no irregular ripening, whereas fruit from infested plants did. Fruit from plants on which a whitefly infestation had been controlled before the appearance of external symptoms exhibited reduced symptoms compared to fruit from plants on which an infestation was uncontrolled.

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