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Eastern U.S. blackberries (Rubus subgenus Rubus) have advanced in recent years in production and quality of cultivar choices. Mainly a pick-your-own and local sales item of the early 1990s and before, the increased presence of blackberries in retail grocery stores in the last 10 years has broadened the market for this small fruit. Cultivars that can be shipped and have extended shelf life have been the cornerstone of this expansion. Also, off-season production in Mexico has provided fruit for retail marketing during most months of the year. Further advances in production, marketing, and consumption can be achieved with the continuation of improved cultivar development and expansion of production technology.

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In a database system that allows for quick and accurate querying, PediTrack generates pedigrees in an easily understandable format. Other pedigree programs are available commercially, but are often expensive, specific to certain organisms, or unadaptable for specific programmatic use. PediTrack allows a personal computer (PC) user with Microsoft Access version 2000 or higher to use the simple program without charge. This software is widely available and easily adaptable to a variety of breeding program functions. PediTrack does not perform any calculations, so the initial program size is small (<2 megabytes). The program consists solely of the basic framework for housing pedigree information and reporting pedigrees based on those records.

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Blue Ridge, Cape Fear, Georgiagem, and O Neal southern highbush blueberry cultivars were grown for 5 years on a fine sandy loam soil in a comparison of plants either mulched with uncomposted pine sawdust and woodchips or nonmulched. Other cultural practices were identical and all plants received the same amount of trickle irrigation. A significant mulch × cultivar interaction for yield and mulch × plant age interactions for yield, individual berry weight, and plant volume were found. Cape Fear was the highest-yielding mulched cultivar, followed by Blueridge, Georgiagem, and O Neal. Mulched plants had higher yields and produced larger plants. Average individual berry weight was greater for mulched plants in the first year of harvest, but not different among treatments in other years. The data reveal that these southern highbush cultivars performed similar to northern highbush (Vaccinicum corymbosum L.) in their need for mulching for adequate production on upland soils.

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Southern highbush blueberry, a hybrid of northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) and southern-adapted Vaccinium species, has the potential to meet the need for an early-ripening blueberry in the southern U.S. southern highbush cultivars can ripen up to one month earlier than the earliest rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) cultivars currently grown in the southern U.S. However, chilling requirement and cold-hardiness are cultivar-dependent for southern highbush and cultivar testing has been necessary to determine the cultivars best adapted to specific hardiness zones. In a 4-year study at Hope, Ark. (hardiness zone 7b), several southern highbush cultivars were evaluated for productivity, fruit quality and reliability of cropping. Yields were based on 1089 plants/acre (2690 plants/ha) for southern highbush cultivars and 605 plants/acre (1494 plants/ha) for rabbiteye cultivars. `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' showed the most adaptability at this location, yielding on average 11,013 lb/acre (12,309 kg·ha-1) and 10,328 lb/acre (11,543 kg·ha-1) respectively, compared to 4882 lb/acre (5456 kg·ha-1) for `Premier' (rabbiteye) over 4 years. `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' also rated well for plant vigor and fruit quality. We would recommend `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' for commercial planting in southwest Arkansas and believe these cultivars have production potential for other areas of the southern U.S. that have similar hardiness zones and soil type to southwest Arkansas.

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Six experiments were conducted using three cultivars to investigate the impact of water electrical conductivity (EC) and the addition of nutrients to vase solutions on postharvest quality of cut rose (Rosa hybrids) stems. Postharvest quality of cut ‘Freedom’ rose stems was evaluated using solutions containing either distilled water with sodium chloride (DW+NaCl) or DW+NaCl with the addition of a commercial floral preservative (holding solution containing carbohydrates and biocide) to generate a range of EC values (Expts. 1 and 2). The third experiment compared the effect of different EC levels from the salts NaCl, sodium sulfate (Na2SO4), and calcium chloride (CaCl2). The fourth experiment investigated EC’s impact on rose stems with the addition of two rose cultivars (Charlotte and Classy). When ‘Freedom’ stems were subjected to DW+NaCl, the longest vase life was achieved with 0.5 dS·m–1. The addition of holding solution not only extended vase life but also counteracted the negative effects of high EC with maximum vase life occurring at 1.0 dS·m–1. Furthermore, stems in the holding solution experienced significantly less bent neck and the flowers opened more fully than those in DW. Stems placed in DW with a holding solution also experienced more petal bluing, pigment loss, necrotic edges, and wilting than those held in DW alone. This effect was likely due to increased vase life. Salt solutions containing Na2SO4 and CaCl2 resulted in extended vase life at 1.0 dS·m–1, but increasing salt levels decreased overall vase life. As EC increased, regardless of salt type, water uptake also increased up to a maximum at 0.5 or 1.0 dS·m–1 and then continually declined. Maximum vase life was observed at 1.5 dS·m–1 for cut ‘Charlotte’ stems, and at 1.0 dS·m–1 for ‘Classy’ with the addition of a holding solution. Physiological effects were different based on cultivar, as observed with Charlotte and Freedom flowers that opened further and had less petal browning than Classy flowers. ‘Freedom’ had the greatest pigment loss, but this effect decreased with increasing EC. Further correlational analysis showed that in water-only solutions, initial and final EC accounted for 44% and 41% of the variation in vase life data, respectively, whereas initial pH accounted for 24% of variation. However, the presence of carbohydrates and biocides from the holding solution was found to have a greater effect on overall vase life compared with water pH or EC. Finally, in Expts. 5 and 6, cut ‘Freedom’ stems were subjected to DW solutions containing 0.1, 1, 10, or 100 mg·L–1 boron, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, or zinc. None of these solutions increased vase life. Conversely, 10 or 100 mg·L–1 boron and 100 mg·L–1 copper solutions reduced vase life. Finally, the addition of NaCl to a maximum of 0.83 dS·m–1 increased the vase life in all solutions. These analyses highlight the importance of water quality and its elemental constituents on the vase life of cut rose stems and that the use of a holding solution can overcome the negative effects of high EC water.

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A survey of worldwide blackberry (Rubus spp.) production was conducted in 2005. Results indicated there were an estimated 20,035 ha of blackberries planted and commercially cultivated worldwide, a 45% increase from 1995. Wild blackberries still make a significant contribution to worldwide production, with 8000 ha and 13,460 Mg harvested in 2004. There were 7692 ha of commercially cultivated blackberries in Europe, 7159 ha in North America, 1640 ha in Central America, 1597 ha in South America, 297 ha in Oceania, and 100 ha in Africa. Worldwide production of cultivated blackberries was 140,292 Mg in 2005. Of the blackberry area worldwide, 50% was planted to semierect cultivars, 25% to erect, and 25% to trailing types. ‘Thornfree’, ‘Loch Ness’, and ‘Chester Thornless’ were the most important semierect types, and ‘Brazos’ and ‘Marion’ the most common erect and trailing types, respectively. In general, erect and semierect cultivars are grown for fresh market and trailing cultivars for processing. Fresh fruit are usually picked into the final container in the field, whereas 75% of trailing blackberries for processing are picked by machine. Common production problems are reported. Production systems for field-grown blackberry differ with type grown and region. For example, in Mexico, production systems are modified to extend the production season for ‘Tupy’ and other erect-type cultivars from mid-October to June. Organic blackberry production is expected to increase from the 2528 ha planted in 2005. An estimated 315 ha of blackberries were grown under tunnels, mainly to protect against adverse weather and target high-priced markets. Based on this survey, there may be 27,032 ha of commercial blackberries planted worldwide in 2015, not including production from harvested wild plants.

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Consumer horticulture encompasses a wide array of activities that are practiced by and of interest to the gardening public, garden-focused nongovernmental organizations, and gardening-related industries. In a previous publication, we described the current lack of funding for research, extension, and education in consumer horticulture and outlined the need for a strategic plan. Here, we describe our process and progress in crafting a plan to guide university efforts in consumer horticulture, and to unite these efforts with stakeholders’ goals. In 2015, a steering committee developed a first draft of a plan, including a mission statement, aspirational vision, core values, goals, and objectives. This draft was subsequently presented to and vetted by stakeholders at the 2015 American Society for Horticultural Science Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardeners (CHMG) working group workshop, a 2015 Extension Master Gardener Coordinators’ webinar, and a 2015 meeting in Washington, DC. Feedback received from these events is being used to refine and focus plan goals and objectives. The most recent working draft of the plan can be found on the website, where stakeholders and other interested parties can register to receive updates and to provide input into the process.

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Each year a wide variety of new cultivars and species are evaluated in the National Cut Flower Trial Programs administered by North Carolina State University and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Stems of promising and productive cultivars from the National Trial Program were pretreated with either a commercial hydrating solution or deionized (DI) water and placed in either a commercial holding solution or DI water. Over 8 years, the vase life of 121 cultivars representing 47 cut flower genera was determined. Although there was cultivar variation within each genus, patterns of postharvest responses have emerged. The largest category, with 53 cultivars, was one in which a holding preservative increased vase life of the following genera and species: acidanthera (Gladiolus murielae), basil (Ocimum basilicum), bee balm (Monarda hybrid), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hybrids), campanula (Campanula species), celosia (Celosia argentea), common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), coral bells (Heuchera hybrids), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), ladybells (Adenophora hybrid), lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), pinkflower (Indigofera amblyantha), seven-sons flower (Heptacodium miconioides), shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans). Hydrating preservatives increased the vase life of four basils, coral bells, and sunflower cultivars. The combined use of hydrator and holding preservatives increased the vase life of three black-eyed susan, seven-sons flower, and sunflower cultivars. Holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 14 cultivars of the following genera and species: ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), false queen anne's lace (Ammi species), knotweed (Persicaria hybrid), lisianthus, pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), yarrow (Achillea millifolium), and zinnia. Hydrating preservatives reduced the vase life of 18 cultivars of the following genera and species: feverfew, lisianthus, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, seven-sons flower, shasta daisy, sneezeweed, sweet william, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. The combined use of hydrating and holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 12 cultivars in the following genera and species: false queen anne's lace, feverfew, pincushion flower, sneezeweed, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. Data for the remaining 50 cultivars were not significant among the treatments; these genera and species included beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), black-eyed susan, blue mist (Caryopteris clandonensis), calendula (Calendula officinalis), campanula, cleome (Cleome hasserliana), common ninebark, dahlia (Dahlia hybrids), delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), flowering peach (Prunus persica forma versicolor), heliopsis (Heliopsis helianthoides), hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa), hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), larkspur (Consolida hybrids), lily of the nile (Agapanthus hybrid), lisianthus, lobelia, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, scented geranium (Pelargonium hybrid), sunflower, sweet william, and zinnia.

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Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade), and southern highbush (Vaccinium spp.) blueberries grown at seven locations in six southern states were sampled in 1988 and 1989 to determine foliar elemental levels among blueberry cultivars and types. Across locations, elemental levels of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Al were similar for highbush and southern highbush types. Rabbiteye elemental levels were different from highbush and southern highbush for N, P, K, Ca, S, Mn, Cu, and Al. Rabbiteye blueberries appear to have different foliar levels, and may require species-specific standards for nutritional monitoring of plantings.

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