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Peter C. Andersen and Brent V. Brodbeck

There is increasing interest in the culture of satsuma citrus in the states bordering the northern Gulf of Mexico. Yield, tree size, and fruit quality of mature ‘Owari’ and ‘Brown Select’ satsuma (Citrus unshiu Marcovitch) on Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. (‘Rubidoux’ and ‘Flying Dragon’) were evaluated in north Florida. Canopy area and volume, yield, and fruit quality data were analyzed as a 2 × 2 factorial design with scion and rootstock as the main effects. There were no scion × rootstock interactions. Overall average yield per tree was 16, 88, 91, 143, and 101 kg in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively. Yield was influenced by scion (higher for ‘Brown Select’) in three of five years, and by rootstock every year (higher for ‘Rubidoux’). Yield per tree was ≈2-fold greater for trees on ‘Rubidoux’ compared with ‘Flying Dragon’; the highest yield was recorded for ‘Brown Select’ on ‘Rubidoux’. Yield per m2 canopy area was often similar since canopy area was often ≈2-fold greater for trees on ‘Rubidoux’. For three of the five years, fruit weight was greater for ‘Brown Select’ (average = 157 g) than ‘Owari’ (average = 146 g), with no rootstock effect. Soluble solids of juice averaged 10.0 °Brix and were higher for trees on ‘Flying Dragon’ than on ‘Rubidoux’ in three of five years. Juice pH averaged 3.67 and was unaffected by scion or rootstock. Trees were not subjected to freeze protection and were not damaged by minimum temperatures as low as −9.4 °C, except for 2014/15. A rating of defoliation after a freeze on 19 Nov. 2014 (−5.6 °C) indicated that cold hardiness varied by scion (greater for ‘Brown Select’) and rootstock (greater for ‘Rubidoux’). Differences in cold hardiness did not persist when assessed later in the winter. Successful satsumas production can be achieved in north Florida in the absence of a severe freeze event.

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Peter C. Andersen, Brent V. Brodbeck and R. F. Mizell III.

Homalodisca coagulata (Say), a xylem-fluid feeding leafhopper, vectors diseases induced by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa such as phony peach disease and Pierce's disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate plant factors that influence feeding. H. coagulata were confined to stems of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). Osmolarity, amino acid and organic acid concentrations of xylem fluid were maximum during the morning for peach and declined thereafter; xylem fluid chemistry of crape myrtle followed a less distinct trend. Irrigated plants had higher concentrations of organic constituents and feeding rates were higher on these plants. Feeding rates and xylem fluid tensions, were maximum during midday; feeding did not occur at night. In separate experiments feeding rates were greatly reduced at xylem tensions >1.5 MPa.

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Peter C. Andersen, Brent V. Brodbeck and Russell F. Mizell III

The xylophagous leafhopper Homalodisca coagulata Say is an important vector of diseases caused by the bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa (e.g., Pierce's disease, phony peach disease, plum leaf scald, etc.). Neither leafhoppers or X. fastidiosa can be controlled by chemical sprays. For many plant species there is no resistant germplasm. H. coagulata is highly polyphagous, and within Prunus spp. host preference ranges from moderate (plum) to low (peach). The abundance, feeding and performance of H. coagulata on many unrelated plant species have been previously correlated with the amino acid profile, and particularly the amides in xylem fluid. We tested Prunus scion/rootstock combinations, which provided for a range of xylem fluid chemistry, on the behavior (abundance, feeding) and performance (survivorship, fecundity, body weight and body composition) of H. coagulata. Leafhopper abundance on various rootstock/scion combinations was determined seasonally. During the period of peak abundance (June 14 to 30) feeding rates and performance indices were determined. Leafhopper abundance and feeding increased with an increased concentration of amino acids. Abundance and feeding rate were most highly correlated with the amides in xylem fluid; performance indices were influenced by the amides and certain essential amino acids. Lower consumption rates decreased survivorship, reduced body dry weight and the carbon concentration of surviving insects.

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Brent V. Brodbeck, Peter C. Andersen and Russell F. Mizell III

Homalodisca coagulata (Say) is a xylem feeding leafhopper that is the principal vector of many economically-important diseases resulting from infection by Xylella fastidiosa (i.e., plum leaf scald, phony peach disease, Pierce's disease). Xylem fluid consists primarily of dilute concentrations of amino acids, organic acids and inorganic ions, and thus provides less nitrogen and carbon for herbivorous insects than any other plant tissue. Despite these nutritional constraints, H. coagulata is highly polyphagous. To assess how H. coagulata subsists on this dilute food source we examined host utilization by different instars on Lagerstroemia indica L. (preferred adult food source) and Euonymus japonica Thumb. (preferred ovipositional site).

Different instars survived and utilized nutrients at varying rates on the two hosts. Second instar nymphs survived at higher rates on E. japonica and utilized nitrogen more efficiently than on L. indica, yet assimilated nitrogen was less as a result of lower feeding rates. Adults on L. indica were more successful than those on E. japonica, used carbon more efficiently, and assimilated higher quantities of both carbon and nitrogen. Efficiencies of nutrient utilization were high for E. coagulata compared to other types of insects with assimilation efficiencies of specific compounds often exceeding 90%.

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Peter C. Andersen, Brent V. Brodbeck and Russell F. Mizell III

Homalodisca coagulata (Say) is a xylem-feeding leafhopper that is the principal vector of many economically important diseases resulting from infection by Xylella fastidiosa (i.e., plum leaf scald, phony peach disease). We have previously established that high abundances and high consumption rates of H. coagulata occur on host species with high amide concentrations in the xylem fluid. Several lines of research suggest that selection of “marginal hosts” (those that typically have low abundances of leafhoppers) may be influenced by ovipositional, as well as feeding, preferences. In northern Florida, Euonymus japonica consistently has the highest densities of eggs and young nymphs, but is only a marginal host for adults. Adults caged on this host feed little and have a short longevity. In contrast, young insects (second instar) caged on the host have high survivorship rates and assimilate dietary nutrients with high efficiency. H. coagulata are abundant on Prunus germplasm in northern Florida during the month of June, but only occasionally visit Prunus after this period. In a study of 10 Prunus scion/rootstock combinations, we established that abundances of H. coagulata on Prunus during the peak period were correlated to leafhopper consumption rates. During summer, when Prunus serves as a marginal host, leafhopper abundances are tightly coupled to fecundity rates. Understanding of ovipositional preference may be central to our understanding of Xylella acquisition. These preliminary experiments suggest that leafhoppers may sample xylem fluid during ovipositional selection, as they preferentially select ovipositional sites that have proper nutrient profiles for development of young nymphs (“mother knows best”). Although consumption rates are low for marginal hosts, repeated probing for ovipositional preference may contribute to the spread of diseases caused by X. fastidiosa.

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Peter C. Andersen, Brent V. Brodbeck and Russell F. Mizell III

Diurnal variations in the chemical composition of xylem fluid have been established for many plant species exhibiting positive root pressure; similar patterns have not been well documented in transpiring plants. Diurnal changes in plant water status and xylem fluid chemistry were investigated for `Flordaking' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch], `Suwannee' grape (Vitis hybrid), and `Flordahome' pear (Pyrus communis L.). Xylem tension was maximum at 1200 or 1600 hr and declined to <0.5 MPa before dawn. Xylem fluid osmolarity ranged from 10 to 27 mm and was not correlated with diurnal patterns of xylem tension. The combined concentration of amino acids and organic acids accounted for up to 70%, 45%, 55%, and 23% of total osmolarity for irrigated P. persica, nonirrigated P. persica, Vitis, and P. communis, respectively. The concentration of total organic compounds in xylem fluid was numerically greatest at 0800 or 0900 hr. For irrigated P. persica the osmolarity of xylem fluid was reduced by 45% from 0800 to 1200 hr, 1 h after irrigation, compared to only a 12% reduction from 0800 to 1200 hr for nonirrigated trees. Asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamine, and glutamic acid were mainly responsible for diurnal changes in the concentration of total amino acids and organic N for P. persica; the diurnal variation in organic N for Vitis was due to glutamine. Arginine, rather than the amides, was the primary source of organic N in xylem fluid of P. communis, and there was no consistent diurnal change in the concentration of amino acids or organic N. The predominant organic acids in all species examined were citric and malic acids. No consistent diurnal trend occurred in the concentration of organic acids or sugars in xylem fluid.

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Peter C. Andersen, Brent V. Brodbeck and Russell F. Mizell 111

The effects and interactions of water stress and nutrient solution on water relations and concentrations of amino acids, organic acids and sugars in xylem fluid of `Methley' plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) and `Carolina Beauty' crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.) during midday were determined. Container-grown plants were irrigated with water or nutrient solution (i.e., osmolarity = 138 mm) for 15 days, then irrigation was either continued or terminated for the next 5 days. The experiments were analyzed as factorial designs for each species separately, with the nutrient solution and irrigation status the last 5 days as the main factors. Xylem fluid tension increased ≈ 2- to 3-fold and leaf conductance to water vapor and transpiration were reduced ≈ 10-fold by withholding irrigation for both species; plant water relations of L. indica were also influenced by the nutrient solution. For both species, the osmolarity of xylem fluid was not altered by withholding irrigation. The predominant organic compounds quantified in both species were amides (i.e., glutamine and asparagine), arginine, and citric and malic acids. Sugars represented a small proportion (i.e., generally ≤ 1%) of total osmolarity. Irrigation altered the chemical profile of amino acids and organic acids to a greater degree than the nutrient solution. Water stress induced a 3-fold increase in total organic acids in xylem fluid of both species. The osmolarity and the concentration of most organic compounds in xylem fluid of P. salicina were not significantly affected by the nutrient solution. Arginine increased markedly in concentration by withholding irrigation or with the application of nutrient solution for L. indica. The concentration of most organic compounds did not vary greatly in response to variations in soil water or nutrient status. In conclusion, soil water-or nutrient-mediated changes in plant water relations exceeded changes in xylem fluid chemistry.

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Peter C. Andersen, Fred M. Rhoads, Steven M. Olson and Brent V. Brodbeck

`Colonial' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants were grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch, drip irrigation, and preplant-N rates of 0, 67, 134, 202, or 269 kg·ha-1. Petiole sap was collected 7 and 13 weeks after transplanting. Concentrations of NO3-N, free amino acids, total amino acids, and total-N (the sum of NO3-N and amino acid-N) were examined as functions of the rate of N fertilization. Also, each of these compounds was used as an independent variable as a predictor of fruit yield. Seven weeks after planting, the concentrations of NO3-N and 15 of 18 of the free amino acids were correlated with the rate of N fertilization, but concentrations of bound or total amino acids were not. The amount of NO3-N accounted for 37% of the total-N in the 0 kg·ha-1 treatment, and up to 83% in the 202 kg·ha-1 treatment. NO3-N was highly correlated with total-N for both nonhydrolyzed and hydrolyzed sap (R 2 = 0.98). Thirteen weeks after transplanting, neither the concentration of NO3-N nor that of amino acids, other than asparagine, glutamine, and proline, were significantly related to the rate of N fertilization. On both dates, concentrations of glutamine plus glutamic acid were correlated with rate of N fertilization whether expressed as absolute values or as percentage values. N fertilization rate and the concentration of NO3-N or total-N were related to total fruit yield (R 2 = 0.69 to 0.74), and marketable fruit yield (R 2 = 0.78 to 0.82). N-fertilization rate and petiole sap concentrations of NO3-N or total-N were also correlated with the N contained in total or marketable yield. Petiole sap variables measured 13 weeks after transplanting were not significantly correlated with fruit yield or the quantity of N contained in the fruit. Free, bound, or total amino acids in petiole sap were not as well correlated with fruit yield parameters as were N-fertilization rate, NO3-N, or total-N in petiole sap.

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Brent V. Brodbeck, Julieanne Stavisky, Peter C. Andersen and Joseph E. Funderburk

The threecornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistillus festinus (Say), is a major pest to production of a wide variety of crops. Herbivory by this insect is often highly detrimental because of girdling of petioles and shoots. Although girdling by this hopper has been recorded on a variety of hosts, the physiological effects of girdling have been examined primarily on one host (Glycine max). We examined the physiological effects of girdling by four densities of hoppers on Arachis hypogaea (L.) cv. Florarunner. Densities of 0, 2, 4, and 6 hoppers per plant were maintained for a 1-week period on peanuts grown in cages in a greenhouse. Effects of hopper herbivory on growth (shoot elongation and increases in plant dry weight) and whole-plant chemistry (carbon, nitrogen, and amino acid analysis) were determined at the end of the 1-week feeding experiments, and again at 2-week intervals until maturation of plants. Differences in plant growth or chemistry were not apparent at the conclusion of the feeding experiment. However, plants subjected to the highest rates of herbivory showed pronounced deleterious effects 2 to 6 weeks after girdling had occurred. Mean shoot growth was decreased by nearly 40% and plant dry weight was reduced by roughly 20%. Foliar nitrogen concentrations were also significantly reduced; peanuts subjected to high rates of herbivory contained 30% less foliar protein that control plants. This delayed response to girdling appeared to be in part attributed to increased rates of shoot and petiole breakage well after girdling occurs. Girdles became more brittle as shoots matured and hardened with maturity. Effects of girdling may be particularly detrimental to yield, as effects are most pronounced as plants are entering the reproductive stage.