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  • Author or Editor: Jeff Main x
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Three treatments were used to evaluate the effects of missing plants on sweetpotato yield: a single plant missing, two adjacent plants missing and two plants missing separated by a single plant. Individual plant yields of the four plants in the same row in each direction from the missing hill were taken. Yields were also taken from corresponding plants in the rows on each side of the row with the missing plant. A plot therefore consisted of three rows with the center row containing eight or nine plants and one or two missing hills and the other two rows containing nine to 12 plants. A single missing plant tended to increase yield of all grades of the plant in the same row next to the missing hill, but differences were nonsignificant. Two missing plants did not result in individual plant differences, but did increase overall plot yield of jumbo and cull grades. The single plant between two missing hills produced a greater number of small-sized No. 1 roots. No. 1 yield of plants in adjacent rows across from the single plant produced lower No. 1 yields.

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Seedling plants from the three parents `Resisto', `Southern Delight', and `L86-33', along with three pot sizes (3.8-, 10.2-, and 17.7-cm diameters) were evaluated. Root characteristics evaluated in both the greenhouse and field included: number, length, diameter, length diameter ratio (L:D), size, skin color, flesh color, internal cambium ring (color and width), and the number of lateral and secondary roots. After greenhouse evaluation, plants were transplanted to the field. The 3.8-cm pot did not produce enough roots in the greenhouse for evaluation. In the 10.2-cm pots, greenhouse root number was correlated with the yield, root size, and L:D, and negatively correlated with skin color in the field. Flesh color was correlated with smoothness and flesh color in the field. In the 17.8-cm pots, flesh color, smoothness, and skin color in the greenhouse were correlated with the same character in the field. Skin color was also negatively correlated with smoothness in the field. No differences were found in field yield due to pot size. Results from one season showed that the 10.2-cm pot was effective for greenhouse selection of flesh color, skin color, and smoothness in seedling sweetpotato plants.

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Seventeen plant bed fertilizer treatments including different rates of N, P, and K were evaluated for the effect on plant production and sweetpotato yield. `Beauregard' storage roots were bedded. Treatments were 0, 40, 80 lb N/ac; 0, 80, 160 lb P/ac; or 0, 75, 150, and 300 lb K/ac. Each nutrient was evaluated in a separate trial. After the first cutting, half of the N treatments and all P and K treatments had 40 lb N/ac top-dressed on the beds. For the first cutting the high rate of N (80 lb/ac) had a higher green weight than the low rate of 0 lb/ac. There wer no other differences found in the first or second cuttings for plant production or yield. Plant bed fertilization also had no effect on transplant survival.

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Various workers have attempted to develop a root piece planting system for sweetpotato, similar to the system used commercially for potato, but attempts to select and breed sweetpotato clones adapted to root piece planting have met with mixed success. It has been hypothesized this is the result of significant genotype × environment effects, which are complicating phenotype screening. The aim of this work was to investigate genotype × environment interactions and yield stability of sweetpotato grown from cut root pieces. Ten sweetpotato clones were grown from cut root pieces in three locations over three seasons at sites in North Carolina and Mississippi. The study found sweetpotato clones grown from root pieces were influenced by both genetic and environmental factors and that the interaction was often complicated and dependent on the trait being measured. A significant genotype × environment interaction and yield instability were found to be present. Further work will be required to understand the nature of the genotype × environment effects; however, the results suggest programs aiming to develop sweetpotato clones adapted to root piece planting will need to use appropriate multienvironment screening so as to account for genotype × environment effects.

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