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Andrew C. Bell and Mary M. Peet*

Environmental restoration of streams and wetlands in North Carolina is creating a growing demand for commercially available native plant material. Recent changes in the tobacco industry have resulted in decreased production leaving some tobacco greenhouses, once utilized for a few months, empty year-round. Identifying alternative crops that can be grown in tobacco greenhouses will provide valuable income to economically distressed tobacco growers. The floatation system (sub-irrigation) employed in the production of tobacco transplants in greenhouses is similar to that utilized by some native plant nurseries to produce wetland and riparian species. Local production of this plant material can enhance restoration project goals by increasing utilization of regional germplasm in this industry and reducing the risk of importing exotic pests with material shipped from out-of-state. To research these possibilities, we constructed a demonstration tobacco greenhouse with multiple float beds. Three commercially available media, including a tobacco seedling mixture, were tested. No differences were observed among the plants grown in different media. After one growing season, we have identified close to 20 species, woody and herbaceous, that can be successfully grown in a traditional tobacco greenhouse with minimal input or alternation to the structure or normal production practices. Additional research is needed, however, to address optimal production criteria.

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Andrew C. Bell, Thomas G. Ranney, Thomas A. Eaker, and Turner B. Sutton

Fire blight, caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora (Burrill) Winslow et al., is one of the most destructive diseases of plants in the Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae. Artificial inoculations, using E. amylovora strain E2002a, were conducted to determine levels of resistance to fire blight among taxa of flowering pears (Pyrus L. spp.) and quince (Chaenomeles Lindl. spp.). The level of resistance was measured as the length of the fire blight lesion as a percentage of overall shoot length. Considerable variation in resistance was observed among both pears and quince. Pyrus ussuriensis Maxim. `Prairie Gem' was highly resistant with a lesion length of 1% of the total shoot length. Pyrus calleryana Decne. `Bradford' was intermediate with a 50% lesion length while P. calleryana `Chanticleer' was significantly more resistant with a lesion length of 31%. Nine pear taxa were highly susceptible and did not differ significantly from 100% disease severity (total shoot death). Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nak. `Contorta' was highly resistant with a lesion length of 15%. Six quince taxa, including C. × superba (Frahm) Rehd. `Cameo', `Texas Scarlet', and `Jet Trail' were highly susceptible while nine other taxa showed intermediate resistance.