Standardized seed vigor tests must be developed for greenhouse-grown flower species. Current vigor tests used to evaluate large-seeded agronomic crops are generally not useful for evaluating smaller-seeded flower species. One alternative is to use radicle length in seedlings grown under controlled environments as an indicator of seed vigor. For that purpose, a seed vigor test was developed that uses digital images taken using a flat bed scanner to measure radicle length in small-seeded flower species. A novel, cellulose substrate was used for germinating seeds. It provided similar moisture-holding properties to standard germination blotters used by commercial seed analysts, but is clear. This has allowed for quick image acquisition without removing seedlings from the petri dish. Correlations were made between seedling growth (radicle length, total seedling length, and total seedling area) with other vigor tests (saturated salts accelerated aging) and greenhouse plug flat emergence. For several seed lots of impatiens that varied in initial seed quality, radicle length after 4 days showed good correlations (>R2 = 0.79) with other measures of seed vigor for describing seed quality. This system is an improvement over other attempts to use computer-aided assessment of digital images because it provides digital images that do not vary due to external lighting; it uses software that can evaluate radicle length in a petri dish assay that does not require a slant-board for straight radicle growth; it relies on standard germination technics used by every seed lab; it uses a clear substrate to replace the opaque blotter to allow digital images to be taken within the petri dish; and accurate measurements of seedling parts is performed in under 2 min per petri dish.
Root and shoot development in Marigold `Little Devil Flame' was studied after being grown for varying lengths of time in 392-count plugs before transplanting to six-pack cells. Seedlings were grown for 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 days before transplanting to six-packs. All plants were measured at day 25. There was no significant difference in total root length, area and dry weight per plant or in leaf area and shoot dry weight per plant for seedlings transplanted from 0 to 15 days. Both total root dry weight and total shoot dry weight of seedlings transplanted on day 20 was reduced by 32% compared to seedlings that were not transplanted. Total root dry weight of seedlings transplanted at day 25 was reduced by 60% while total shoot dry weight of seedlings was reduced by 56% from those not transplanted. In a separate experiment, the growth rate of seedlings grown in plugs was sigmoidal (r2 = 0.98). Growth rate was significantly reduced between 20 and 25 days in the plug. These results suggest that root restriction in the plug may be a factor in the reduction of seedling growth following transplanting.
An interactive computer version of a traditional Extension educational publication was developed for delivery over the Internet. Large Trees for Kentucky Landscapes is a 40-page publication describing suggested species adapted to Kentucky conditions. It is illustrated with numerous color photographs. This type of Extension publication has a limited distribution because it is relatively expensive to publish. The digital version of this publication allows for inclusion of additional information and illustrations. It was designed to be interactive with the user selecting the species and the information about that species from a screen menu. The user also has the option to print a one page informational sheet on that species. The initial audience for this digital version of the publication is the county Extension agent and Division of Forestry personnel, but it may also be useful at retail horticultural outlets.
Three landscape fabrics, Magic Mat®, a heavy black plastic woven fabric with a fuzzy underside; Weed Mat®, a thin black plastic sheet with small holes; and Typar®, a dark gray spun bonded material, with and without a cover of organic oak bark mulch, were evaluated for weed control and ability of strawberry plant roots to establish through the fabrics over a 4-year period. Landscape fabrics reduced weed numbers for the first 3 years in comparison with the bare ground treatment. With few exceptions. the organic mulch did not improve the weed control capability of landscape fabrics. Fruit yield for the Weed Mat and Magic Mat treatments did not differ from the bare ground treatment, but was lower for the Typar treatment when averaged over organic mulch treatments. Fruit yield was higher where the organic mulch was used when averaged over all landscape fabric treatments. Fruit size was slightly larger for the bare ground and smallest for the Typar treatments during the first harvest season, but there was no difference in fruit size by the third year of harvest. Fruit size for the organic mulched plots was slightly larger than that for the unmulched plots the second year of harvest, but there was no difference for the first or third years. The number of strawberry runner plants that rooted and plant row vigor were greater for the Weed Mat, Magic Mat and plots without the landscape fabric than for the Typar plots, particularly in the second and third season. Rooting of runner plants and plant row vigor was better with organic mulch. Landscape fabric tended to reduce extent of rooting, especially in the first season, but it was improved by the application of organic mulch.