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- Author or Editor: J. Benton Storey x
Tropical horticultural crops can be the spark that builds student interest in horticulture. They are a refreshing alternative to the temperate crops that most of our curricula are necessarily built around. Students who become familiar with production problems and opportunities between 30° north and south latitudes are better equipped to compete in the world economy. HORT 423 covers tropical ecology, soils, atmosphere, and many major crops. Beverage crops studied are cacao, coffee, and tea. Fruit and nut crops include bananas, mango, papaya, pineapple, dates, oil palm, coconut, macadamia, cashew, and Brazil nuts. Spices such as vanilla, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cassia, and cloves are studied. Subsistence crops such as cassava, yam, taro, pigeon peas, chick peas, vegetable soy beans, and black beans round out an exciting semester that draws students. HORT 423 is a 3-hour-per-week lecture demonstration course supplemented with slides from the tropical countries. Many students simultaneously enroll in a 1-hour HORT 400 course that is taught during the 1-week spring break in a tropical country. Recent trips have been two each to Costa Rica and Guatemala. These study trips are gaining in popularity. For more information about HORT 423 consult the world wide web at http://http.tamu.edu:8000/~c963/a/h423main.html.
Interactive television was successfully used in the fall semester, 1997, to teach a graduate course on nutrition of horticultural plants to resident students at TAMU—College Station and distance education students at TAMU—Commerce, TAMU—Texarkana, and Tarleton State Univ. These campuses are connected with fiber-optic telephone lines, which constitutes the Trans-Texas Video Conference Network. This medium was used by county extension agents, who are working toward graduate degrees, to progress toward graduation and a higher salary. The lab portion of the course was taught on the College Station campus, but distance sites received only the lecture portion with an option to come to College Station in the summer to take the lab as a separate 1-hour, week-long course.
The Trans Texas Video Conference Network (TTVN) has been linked to all Texas A&M Univ. campuses and most of the Regional Research and Extension Centers. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has funded an aggressive project of establishing TTVN class rooms in many departments across the College Station campus, including The Horticultural Science Dept. in 1997. The first two Hort courses taught were HORT 422 Citrus and Subtropical Fruits in Fall 1996 and HORT 418 Nut Culture in Spring 1997. This extended the class room 400 miles south to Weslaco, 300 miles north to Texarkana and Dallas, and 700 miles west to El Paso. Students at each site had video and audio interaction with the professor and with each other. Advantages included the availability of college credit courses to areas where this subject matter did not previously exist, which helps fulfill the Land-grant University Mission. Quality was maintained through lecture and lab outlines on Aggie Horticulture, the department's Web home page, term papers written to ASHS serial publicationspecifications, and rigorous examinations monitored by site facilitators. Lecture presentations were presented via Power Point, which took about twice as long to prepare than traditional overhead transparencies. Administrative problems remain, but will be solved when the requested Distance Education Registration Category is initiated so that subvention credit can be shared. The lecture portion of the graduate course, HORT 601 Nutrition of Horticultural Plants, will be taught in the fall semester 1997 at eight sites throughout the state.
Horticulture production management positions that have been filled by paraprofessionals for many years are gradually becoming available to better qualified men and women with horticultural degrees. Although some horticultural industries had long sought horticultural graduates for their management positions, others have only recently become aware of the larger profits available to them through fewer mistakes made by horticultural graduates. It is true that the young, inexperienced graduate from the various horticulture departments around the country will need to be trained in procedures peculiar to the company that has employed them. In fact, most successful enterprises insist on training their own personnel in their particular operational procedures. However, a basic knowledge of olericulture, ornamentals, pomology, plant growth and development, propagation, genetics, pathology, entomology, soils, nutrition, systematics, and all other segments of horticulture must be obtained through a good course of study in horticulture to prepare the graduate so that he or she may make the contribution needed by industry.
It is time for horticulturists to control their own destinies. Too often, we have assumed a defensive posture with respect to our academic and research programs. Those professions that have developed systems for accrediting their academic programs—engineering, landscape architecture, forestry, medicine, veterinary medicine—seem to have more clout than horticulture. Yet, horticulture is no less of a profession and must be recognized as such immediately if we are to maintain and enrich courses, degree programs, and opportunities for our graduates.
Irrigated pecans in the southwestern United States have been planted in every soil imaginable, and tree performance has become highly soil-dependent. Desperate attempts to deal with this poor soil selection has led to advancements in soil management, consisting primarily of physical measures, such as chiseling and trenching. Chemical amendments appear to have played a secondary or supplemental role. Meanwhile, soil structural degradation, mainly compaction and aggregate destruction, began to cause poor water penetration, die-back of deep roots, and resultant loss of tree vigor. These problems have been dealt with primarily by chiseling. In the future, spiking and sodded-floor management are likely to become increasingly important. Scientific examination of soil management practices has lagged, but has provided some rationale and targets for soil management. H should play an increasingly important role in refining these measures and in establishing a comprehensive soil management program in which the soil is viewed as a plant growth medium and an integral component of cost-effective orchard management.
Pollarded `Wichita' pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wang) K. Koch] trees received 2 g uniconazol (UCZ) per tree using four application methods (trunk band, canopy soil injection, crown soil injection, and crown drench). All application methods increased trunk diameter but reduced shoot length, number of lateral shoots per terminal, nodes per terminal, internode length, and leaflets per compound leaf. Only the crown drench reduced leaf area. Area and dry weight per leaflet, and leaflet chlorophyll concentration were not affected by UCZ application. Effectiveness in growth reduction, as assessed by shoot elongation, was crown soil drench > crown soil injection > canopy soil injection > trunk band > control. All application methods increased viviparity. However, total yield per tree, nut size, and percentage of kernel were not affected. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazol).
Irrigated production of pecans in the southwestern United States started with notoriously inefficient flood irrigation along river basins. Today, most surface-irrigated orchards are laser-leveled, and many orchards in upland areas are under sprinkler or drip irrigation. Technical and scientific knowledge for improving water management also has evolved from studying drought effects on tree performance to an improved understanding of water relations, salt effects, evapotranspiration processes, and the distribution of water and salts in irrigated fields. Yet, many growers still experience difficulties with water management and may benefit from maintaining the soil water suction above saturation but below 30 to 40 cb until shuck opening. The soil salinity should be kept below 2.5 dS·m−1, and irrigation water should be applied to essentially the entire root zone for optimum tree growth. Due to extreme soil variability existing in most irrigated fields of the southwestern region, these guidelines alone are not adequate. Soil profiles, root distributions, water quality, and irrigation methods may have to be examined to improve water management.
Objectives of this experiment were: 1) to determine what effect a soil spike aerator had on nut quality and yield, and 2) to determine whether soil compaction influenced nut quality and yield.3) to determine whether tree stress influenced nut quality or yield on pecan trees In 1990, a randomized design was set up in a 33 year old orchard on Westwood silty clay loam with 3 main treatment factors: 1990 nut size (measure of tree stress), aeration, and cultivar. Location for this experiment was the Adriance Orchard on the Texas A&M Plantation - Brazos River flood plain. Nut quality was determined by the % kernel and # nuts/kg. Yield was measured in kg per tree. Results after two years showed that aeration increased the nut size of stressed trees in 1991 and non-stressed trees in 1992 Yield was unaffected by aeration in both years but stressed trees produced lower yields in 1992. Aeration increased nut size, but not significantly from 119 nuts/kg to 111 nuts/kg in 1991. There was a significant increase with aeration in 1992 from 121 nuts/kg to 113 nuts/kg. Yield and % kernel were not significantly different for both years with aeration Stress did not increase % kernel in either 1991 or 1992 but nut size was larger on non-stressed trees for both years. Stressed trees produced fewer nuts per tree in 1992.