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James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

Bedding plant seedlings were obtained as plugs from commercial sources, transplanted into 10-cm pots, and grown using standard commercial procedures. When plants reached a marketable stage, they were treated with Hydretain, moved to a heavy shaded bench in the greenhouse, and time to first wilt was determined. At wilt, plants were given 180 ml of water, and time to second wilt was observed. Hydretain was applied directly to the media in a volume of 90 ml per pot. Hydretain dilutions in water were 1:4, 1:9, 1:14, 1:19, and 0:1 (controls). Time to first wilt in 'Red Elite' geraniums was 11, 10, 9, 10, and 5 days, respectively. For 'Little Bright Eyes' vinca, first wilt was in 7, 8, 5, 5, and 4 days; and time from treatment to second wilt was 18, 14, 11, 10, and 8 days, respectively. For 'Super Elfin Red' impatiens, first wilt was in 5, 4, 4, 3, and 3 days; and the water absorbed was 121, 167, 172, 132, and 148 ml, respectively. Second wilt was in 7, 7, 8, 5, and 5 days, respectively.

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James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

Euphorbia pulcherrima cvs. Freedom, SUPJIBI, and Celebrate 2 were sprayed with paclobutrazol or a tank mix of daminozide and chlormequat at week 40, 41, 42, 43, or 44. Application time had little effect on plant size. The tank mix had greater efficacy on `Freedom' but not on the other cultivars. Interactions for bract size indicated: 1) time of application had less effect on `Freedom', 2) there was little difference between the chemicals on `SUPJIBI', but the tank mix had greater efficacy on the other cultivars, and 3) the tank mix had greater efficacy than paclobutrazol during weeks 41, 42, and 43.

`Freedom', `Celebrate 2', `SUPJIBI', and `V-14 Glory' were planted on 8 or 15 Aug. and placed under short days on 12, 19, or 26 Sept. `Freedom' reached anthesis between 30 Oct. and 6 Nov., about 5 days before `SUPJIBI' and `Celebrate 2' and 7-10 days ahead of `V-14 Glory'. `Freedom' planted in Aug. and given short days 14 days apart flowered only 7 days apart (40 to 47 days from start of short days), but when planted in Sept. flowering was in 54 days and each long day resulted in 1 day delay in flowering.

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Rebecca A. Schnelle and James E. Barrett

The influence of several environmental and cultural factors on the efficacy of paclobutrazol liner dips were evaluated for three species of bedding plants: ‘Fancy’ scaevola (Scaevola aemula), ‘Suncatcher Plum’ petunia (Petunia ×hybrida), and ‘Double Fiesta Rose’ impatiens (Impatiens walleriana). The impact of paclobutrazol concentration in the dip solution, location of treatment, root substrate moisture status, and time in the dip solution were investigated. Before the liner dip application, the rooting substrate was brought to a specific percentage of container water capacity (20%–100%). Liners were then dipped in a paclobutrazol solution of the prescribed concentration (1–16 mg·L−1) for a prescribed time interval (10–300 s) in a specific location (open-wall greenhouse, polyethylene-glazed greenhouse under 80% shade fabric, three-wall potting shed, or building interior). Plant size data were collected when the untreated control plants reached a marketable stage. Paclobutrazol concentration and root substrate moisture status had a significant effect on size control, but location and dip duration did not. Size suppression varied by species. Following a liner dip at 2 mg·L−1, scaevola, impatiens, and petunia plants were 44%, 26%, and 11% smaller than the untreated controls, respectively. Petunia plants dipped in a 8 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol solution with substrate moisture status of 100%, 90%, 80%, 70%, 50%, or 20% of container capacity were 11%, 8%, 25%, 30%, 41%, or 42% smaller than the untreated control, respectively (30 s dip duration, open-wall greenhouse). Petunia plants dipped in a solution of 8 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol for 10, 30, 120, or 300 s were all between 18% and 23% smaller than the control (50% of container capacity, open-wall greenhouse). Petunia plants dipped in an 8 mg·L−1 paclobutrazol solution in all four locations were all 20% to 21% smaller than the untreated control.

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Jennifer K. Boldt and James E. Barrett

A daminozide plus chlormequat chloride tank mix spray was applied to six Coleus cultivars or breeding lines at different times during propagation. For UF 03-8-10 and `Coco Loco', plants sprayed on day 7 or day 10 were shorter than control plants at transplant, but plants sprayed on day 13 were not. Other cultivars did not respond to single applications. Five of the six cultivars responded to application on days 7 and 13. Plants of UF 03-8-3 and `Coco Loco' were significantly shorter than control plants at transplant. Plants of UF 03-8-10, UF 03-6-1, and UF 03-17-8 were shorter than control plants at 3 weeks after transplant. `Hurricane Louise' did not respond to the tank mix. A second study found a cultivar specific response to three chemical treatments applied as a spray on day 10 of propagation. At transplant, UF 03-8-10, UF 03-8-3, UF 03-6-1, and `Coco Loco' plants sprayed with the tank mix at 2500 plus 1500 mg·L-1, respectively, were significantly shorter than the control plants. A uniconazole spray at 2 mg·L-1 reduced elongation in UF 03-8-10, UF 03-8-3, and UF 03-6-1, compared to control plants. Ethephon at 250 mg·L-1 reduced elongation in UF 03-8-10, UF 03-8-3, and `Coco Loco' plants. None of the chemical sprays reduced elongation in `Hurricane Louise' at the concentrations applied. Ethephon increased axillary branching in all cultivars, and induced lower leaf abscission in UF 03-17-8 and `Hurricane Louise'; leaf malformation in UF 03-6-1 and `Coco Loco'; and color alteration in UF 03-6-1, UF 03-8-3, and `Coco Loco'.

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Rebecca A. Schnelle and James E. Barrett

The paclobutrazol liner dip is a plant growth regulator application technique that is becoming widespread in the commercial bedding plant industry. This technique, in which plug trays are dipped in a solution of paclobutrazol before transplant, is an efficient method for applying this growth regulator to a large number of plants. In previous studies, significant variability in size control was documented following liner dip treatments with identical solution concentrations. To elucidate the causes of this variability, three bedding plant species with varying levels of paclobutrazol sensitivity (Petunia ×hybrida, Impatiens wallerana, and Scaevola aemula) were treated with paclobutrazol liner dips under various conditions. Four factors identified in previous studies that may impact the efficacy of paclobutrazol liner dips were evaluated in this study. The age of the cuttings at the time of treatment ranged from 2 to 4 weeks after propagation. The light intensity incident to the plants from 2 h before through 2 h following the time of treatment ranged from about 1000 μmol·m-2·s-1 in a greenhouse to 5 μmol·m-2·s-1 indoors. The relative moisture content of the plug media before the treatment was saturated or at 25%, 50%, or 80% dry down by weight, based on air-dried media. The amount of time the plug media remained in the paclobutrazol solution was 10 s, 30 s, or 2 min. Data were collected on stem elongation 3 weeks after transplanting and again 2 weeks later. The results confirm that all four factors tested interact with the concentration of paclobutrazol in the dip solution to determine the control in stem elongation achieved by the treatment.

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James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

Impatiens L. wallerana Hook., Salvia splendens Sello ex Nees, Tagetes erecta L., and Petunia hybrida Vilm. plants in 610-cm3 pots were sprayed with either uniconazole or paclobutrazol at concentrations from 10 to 160 mg·liter-1. For all species, both chemicals reduced plant size compared with untreated control plants, and the effect increased with higher concentrations. Uniconazole produced smaller plants than did paclobutrazol at similar concentrations. For impatiens, salvia, and marigold, there was an interaction between chemical and concentration; the degree of difference between the effects of the chemicals was greater at higher concentrations. For these three species, uniconazole elicited a quadratic response and reached saturation within the concentrations used; however, these concentrations were still in the linear portion of the dose response curve for paclobutrazol. Chemical names used: (2RS,3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-2-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)pentan-3-ol (paclobutrazol); (E)-(+)-(S)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-pent-1-ene-3-ol (uniconazole).

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James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

`V-14 Glory' poinsettias in 15-cm pots were pinched on 24 Sept. and given long days until 8 Oct. Chemical treatments were paclobutrazol drench, paclobutrazol spray, or daminozide/chlormequat (D/C) spray. Time of application was between 8 Oct. and 12 Nov. Heights ranged between 27 and 31 cm. D/C reduced bract size more than paclobutrazol spray, and for both, later treatments had greater affect. Paclobutrazol drench did not have a significant affect.

A second experiment had two cultivars, `Freedom' and `V-14'; three paclobutrazol concentrations, 0.2, 0.3 or 0.4 mg per pot; and three application times, 30 Sept., 14 Oct. or 28 Oct. Treatment on 30 Sept. produced the smallest bracts. The cultivar × concentration interaction was significant with 0.4 mg reducing bract size for `Freedom' but not `V-14'. Treatments on 28 Oct. had less effect on height than the other two dates. `Freedom' were shorter than `V-14'. and higher concentrations had more effect on `Freedom' than `V-14'.

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Christopher B. Cerveny, James L. Gibson and James E. Barrett

Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata L. Jack) and Texas Star [Tecoma stans (L.) Juss.] are two tropical ornamentals which have become popular in the specialty floriculture crop market because of their outstanding flower characteristics. Unfortunately they are difficult to root and little has been published on how to propagate them effectively. Therefore, the objective of our experiment was to determine the optimum physiological age of stem tissue necessary to effectively root 2-node stem cuttings. Forty-five cm shoots of Murraya were harvested on 27 June and 7 Sept. 2005, and divided into 2-node stem cuttings representing the top, middle, and bottom sections of the stem (soft-wood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood, respectively). Cuttings were measured for stem length and diameter, dipped in a 1,500 mg·L–1 solution containing indolebutyric acid (IBA) 1%: napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) 0.5%, and propagated under mist for 10 weeks in a 4 perlite: 1 vermiculite substrate (by volume). Tecoma followed a similar regime but were harvested once on 13 Sept. and evaluated 4 weeks after planting. Both species were evaluated for percent survival and rooting quality on a 1 to 5 scale; 1 = poor, 5 = best. Stem quality differences in Tecoma cuttings were shown, but did not influence rooting performance or percent survival. Murrayacuttings indicated a similar trend suggesting that age of tissue is not an important factor when propagating these species. However, when comparing the two harvest dates, data from Murraya cuttings showed an increase in survival from 79% and 95% and an increase in rooting quality from 2.72 to 4.26 when harvested in June compared to Sept., respectively. Cuttings harvested in Sept. were also shown to be 17% shorter with a 126% larger diameter than those harvested in June. These data suggest a trend toward a seasonal effect when harvesting cuttings of Murraya paniculatain Florida. Further studies should be conducted to verify this trend and to identify the ideal season for propagation.

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Brent M. Chapman, James E. Barrett and Terril A. Nell

Catharanthus roseus `Cooler Peppermint' were grown under four different watering regimes [well-watered (WW), wilt plus 1 day (W+1), wilt plus 3 days (W+3), and wilt plus 1 day during the last 2 weeks only (L W+1)] and two different light levels [1100 and 750 μmol·m–2·s–1]. Stress treatments affected finished plant size and leaf area as well as stomatal conductance, water potential and time to wilt during two dry-down periods imposed at the end of an 8-week production cycle. W+3 plants were 50% smaller with 50% less leaf area compared to WW plants. During the second dry-down period, WW plants in high light wilted in 2 days vs 4 days for the W+3 plants. Similarly, WW plants in low light wilted in 3 days vs 6 days for the W+3 plants. The W+3 plants maintained significantly higher water potentials and greater stomatal conductances than the other treatments throughout both dry-down periods.

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G.H. Pemberton, Terril A. Nell and James E. Barrett

Senescence of gladiolus flowers, like many geophytes, does not involve a climacteric burst of ethylene. Eleven gladiolus cultivars were screened and all were non-climacteric (NC) for both respiration and ethylene production. Average ethylene levels for individual flowers were 0.5 μl C2H4/kg per h or less. As in other NC flowers, protein synthesis may be linked to senescence. Our goal was to identify specific proteins that were involved in the senescence process that could be used as indicators of postharvest longevity. SDS-PAGE protein profiles of cut gladiolus flowers were determined from a tight bud stage to senescence. Both increases and decreases were observed in major polypeptides that may be connected to postharvest flower longevity. Total protein content of gladiolus flower petals decreased by ≈70% during the profile period. This could explain the relatively short postharvest life of 3 to 5 days for individual gladiolus flowers. Total protein profiles were probed with an ACC synthase antibody to establish the relationship of this enzyme in NC senescence.