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Bruce L. Dunn and Carla Goad

Leaf nitrogen (N) and contact optical sensor sampling methods vary in the literature. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the best sampling procedure for correlating leaf N concentration to contact optical sensor readings. To investigate this, fertilizer rates of 0, 5, 10, or 15 g of 16N–9P–12K were applied as a topdress application on ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.) ‘Tokyo Red’. Soil plant analysis development (SPAD) and atLEAF chlorophyll meters were used every week for 5 weeks starting 30 days after planting. For each pot, SPAD and atLEAF measurements were taken from a single mature leaf from the middle to upper level of the plant at the leaf tip, blade, or base of the leaf not including the midrib. Weekly leaf foliar analysis consisted of collecting either fully developed leaves from a single plant, five plants, or 10 plants per, using only the tip, blade, or base of three leaves for total leaf N concentration per treatment. A significant position affect was seen in both SPAD and atLEAF sensors. For SPAD, sensor readings taken from the tip and blade of a leaf were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from the base of the leaf. All three positions for atLEAF were significantly different from each other. This indicates that sensor sampling location within a leaf will affect readings. A significant difference was observed among leaf sampling methods. Taking leaf samples from the tip and base had the highest leaf N concentrations and were not significantly different from each other but were significantly different from all other sampling methods, which were not significantly different from each other. Significant correlations were seen among all combinations of sensor positions and leaf N sampling methods except SPAD readings taken from the tip and leaf sampling from a single plant. Highest correlations (r = 0.7 to 0.8) were seen when SPAD readings were taken from the base of the leaf irrespective of leaf sampling method. Based on this experiment, either sensor could be used for correlating leaf N; however, growers should consistently collect sensor readings from the same location on a leaf to achieve consistent values and correlations.

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Amir Ali Khoddamzadeh and Bruce L. Dunn

Nitrogen (N) is an important component of proteins and chlorophyll, and has been correlated with optical sensors as a means to determine N status during crop production. In this experiment, chrysanthemum ‘Amico Bronze’ and ‘Jacqueline Yellow’ had initial controlled-release fertilizer rates of 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 g. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil Plant Analytical Development (SPAD), and atLEAF sensor readings were taken at 10, 17, 24, 31, 38, and 45 days after adding initial fertilizer treatments (DAT). NDVI was correlated with leaf N concentration at all sampling dates except 17 DAT. Values for NDVI increased linearly up to 31 DAT for all treatments then plateaued at 45 DAT. Values for SPAD were only correlated with leaf N at 24 DAT, whereas, NDVI was correlated as early as 10 DAT. The atLEAF sensor was not correlated with leaf N at any sampling date. With weeks combined, correlation analysis showed correlations among leaf N and fertilizer rates, fertilizer rates and SPAD, and SPAD with NDVI and atLEAF. Thirty-one days after initial fertilizer treatment, 10 pots per treatment per cultivar were supplemented as following: 15 g supplemented to the 0 g treatment, 10 g to the 5 g treatment, and 5 g to the 10 g treatment at 31 DAT. With supplemented fertilizer treatments (SFTs), NDVI increased weekly until 45 DAT for ‘Amico Bronze’, while SPAD values did not increase in any treatments. The greatest atLEAF values occurred with 10 (+5) g and 0 (+15) g N in both cultivars. All sensor readings were only taken on leaves without any flowers. The greatest number of flowers, plant height, and shoot dry weight occurred with 10 (+5) g of additional N, but no differences occurred between 5 (+10) g and 0 (+15) g for height and shoot dry weight. No correlations existed between fertilizer rates, SPAD, NDVI, and leaf N for SFT in either cultivar. In summary, results indicated that NDVI values correlated greater (P ≤ 0.05 and P ≤ 0.01) with leaf N than SPAD and atLEAF chlorophyll sensors. Supplemental fertilizer application improved plant quality in terms of number of flowers, plant height, and shoot dry weight for all treatments, indicating that SFT could be used to correct N deficiency during crop production; however, not in combination with nondestructive sensor readings because of inconsistencies in the ability of all three sensors to separate among fertilizer treatments during a short production schedule.

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Bruce L. Dunn and Jon T. Lindstrom

A protocol for producing fertile tetraploid forms of the hybrid Buddleja madagascarensis Lam. × B. crispa Benth. would enable introgression of orange flower, pubescence, and nondehiscent fruit characteristics found in section Nicodemia (Tenore) Leeuw. into B. davidii Franchet section Buddleja. Excised nodal sections of a single sterile diploid selection from that cross were treated in vitro with 3, 5, or 7 μm oryzalin concentrations for 1, 2, or 3 days or were left as an untreated control. A population of plants was generated from these cultures and transferred to the greenhouse. Treated plants were initially screened phenotypically for higher ploidy levels on the basis of stem thickness and leaf size. Those selected based on polyploidy characteristics were subjected to cytometric analysis, confirming that six tetraploid plants were generated. Nodal survival rates were dependent on oryzalin concentration and treatment duration. Significant increases in fertility accompanied polyploidy induction, because crosses between the newly developed tetraploids and B. davidii cultivars produced viable fertile plants. Chemical name used: 3,5-dinitro-N 4,N 4-dipropylsulfanilamide (oryzalin).

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Bruce L. Dunn and Jon T. Lindstrom

Controlled reciprocal crosses between Trichostema lanatum Benth. (section Chromocephalum F.H. Lewis) with Trichostema arizonicum A. Gray (section Paniculatum F.H. Lewis) and Trichostema purpusii Brandegee (section Rhodanthum Lewis) were successful in generating the first artificial hybrids in the genus. Crosses where T. lanatum was used as the female were unsuccessful. Leaf and floral morphology among the hybrids was typically intermediate. Female sterility was seen in the T. arizonicum × T. lanatum hybrids, and these hybrids also produced abnormally small, nonviable pollen grains. Propagation procedures are also presented. Although these species may be in different sections, their crossability suggests that they are closely related.

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Bruce L. Dunn and Jon T. Lindstrom

Ploidy level and fertility status are often the two biggest barriers a breeder must overcome when trying to incorporate novel characteristics among related taxa. This study was aimed at developing an efficient chromosome doubling method for Buddleja L., commonly known as butterfly bush, with the goal of equalizing the ploidy level and restoring the fertility of a diploid (2n=38) F1 interspecific hybrid that has a unique orange color but happens to be sterile. This method would ease the crossing of the hybrid to the tetraploid (2n=76) B. davidii Franch. cultivars commonly found in the industry. An antimitotic treatment of oryzalin was tested on 02-25-142 (B. madagascarensis Lam. × B. crispa Benth.) in vitro using nodal sections. A factorial of varying concentrations [3, 5, and 7 μM (micromolar)] by different exposure times (1, 2, and 3 day) plus controls was set up. Oryzalin appeared to be an efficient agent for chromosome doubling in Buddleja. Significant differences in the number of polyploids were not seen between chemical concentrations and exposure times. However, higher chemical concentrations and exposure times did have a significant effect on the number of nodes that survived tissue culture. Increased leaf size and color, stem thickness, shortened internode length, and upright growth habit were all good early phenotypic indicators of polyploidy induction as later confirmed by flow cytometry. Significant increases in pollen viability accompanied chromosome doubling as crosses between 02-25-142 × B. davidii cultivars produced viable seedlings.

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Li Jiang, Yun-wen Wang and Bruce L. Dunn

Hybridization at intraspecific, interspecific, and intergeneric levels is a well-known breeding strategy to create variations with desirable traits for ornamental flowers. A total of 161 crossing combinations were made on three taxonomic levels, including 12 intraspecific crossing combinations within L. chalcedonica and L. ×haageana, 102 interspecific crossing combinations within Lychnis spp., and 47 intergeneric crossing combinations between Lychnis spp. and Silene spp. Intraspecific crosses showed high cross-compatibility, which yielded mature seeds and progeny plants. Most of the interspecific crossings in genus Lychnis produced limited seed set and germination percentages; however, L. cognate, L . ×arkwrightii, and L. ×haageana showed high cross-compatibility and might be more closely related than other species in Lychnis. As a result of cross-incompatibility, crossing combinations between Lychnis spp. and Silene spp. produced few flowers that set seeds. Significant differences occurred in seed set between crossing combinations and their reciprocal crosses for interspecific and intergeneric crosses. For these hybrids with immature seeds, embryo rescue techniques with immature seed culture would be the only way to produce seedlings.

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Yun-wen Wang, Bruce L. Dunn and Daryl B. Arnall

Nitrogen (N) deficiencies can significantly reduce plant growth as well as flower quantity and quality. However, excessive N application leads to increased production costs and may cause water contamination as a result of runoff. Ground-based remote sensing of plant chlorophyll content offers the possibility to rapidly and inexpensively estimate crop N status. The objective of this study was to test the reliability of three different Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) measuring methods and Soil-Plant Analyses Development (SPAD) chlorophyll meter values as indicators of geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey) N status. Two potted geranium cultivars, Rocky Mountain White and Rocky Mountain Dark Red, were supplied with N at 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg·L−1 levels, respectively. NDVI readings were measured at 45 cm above the canopy or media of individual plants or 45 cm above the canopy of a group of plants (four plants treated with the same N rate were placed together). Significant correlations existed between indirect chlorophyll content measurements of SPAD values and NDVI readings regardless of four-pot group or single-pot measurements with N application rates and leaf N concentration. Using a cross-validation technique in discriminant analysis, 70.8% to 79.2% of sample cases were correctly categorized to the corresponding N statuses including very deficient, deficient, and sufficient. Therefore, ground-based, non-destructive measurements of a chlorophyll meter and pocket NDVI unit were able to indicate N status. Considering that flower color can interfere with NDVI measurements, the chlorophyll meter may better determine N content when flowers are present.

Open access

Hardeep Singh, Bruce Dunn, Mark Payton and Lynn Brandenberger

Nutrient-film technique (NFT) trials were conducted to quantify the effect of two different water-soluble hydroponic fertilizers (5N–4.8P–21.6K and 5N–5.2P–21.6K) on different cultivars of lettuce (Lactuca sativa), basil (Ocimum basilicum), and swiss chard (Beta vulgaris). Results indicated swiss chard yield was affected only by cultivars, with Fordhook Giant producing the greatest fresh weight across fertilizer treatments. For lettuce production, interaction between fertilizers and cultivars was significant. ‘Mirlo’ and ‘Rubysky’ had greater growth compared with other cultivars in both fertilizers, whereas Dragoon performed well using 5N–4.8P–21.6K, but not 5N–5.2P–21.6K. For basil, dry weight production showed a significant interaction between fertilizers and cultivars. ‘Largeleaf’ produced greater dry weight with 5N–4.8P–21.6K, whereas ‘Lemon’ produced greater dry weight with 5N–5.2P–21.6K. For nutrient concentration of leaves, the concentrations were within the recommended range for lettuce when fertilized with 5N–5.2P–21.6K. Nutrient concentrations varied by nutrient from the recommended range for basil, but there was no significant difference between fertilizers. For swiss chard, the nutrient concentrations were in the recommended range and there was no difference between fertilizers. Therefore, growers may need to use more than one type of fertilizer for different lettuce and basil cultivars for optimum production, whereas swiss chard cultivars can be selected based on yield regardless of fertilizer.

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Courtney D. DeKalb, Brian A. Kahn, Bruce L. Dunn, Mark E. Payton and Allen V. Barker

Four experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions in Oklahoma. Pelleted ‘Genovese’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) seeds were sown in polystyrene flats with six different blends of a peat-lite mix (PL0) and yard waste compost [YWC (this batch designated C0)] in 2012 for the first two experiments. The proportions by volume of PL0:C0 included 100%:0%, 80%:20%, 60%:40%, 40%:60%, 20%:80%, and 0%:100%. Seedling establishment was unaffected consistently, but there was a distinct decline in seedling height and dry weight between 100% PL0 and 80% PL0:20% C0, followed by smaller decreases as the percentage of compost increased in the blends. A third experiment was conducted in 2013 with a different batch of peat-lite (PL1) after the compost had aged 17 months (now designated C1). Treatments were 100% PL1, 80% PL1:20% C1, and 80% PL1:20% C1 mixed with sulfur (S) at 1, 2, or 3 lb/yard3 of blend to acidify the media. The 100% PL1 treatment delayed seedling emergence and suppressed height and dry weight relative to seedlings grown in 80% PL1:20% C1 blends. The PL1 subsequently was found to have been produced in 2010, and the wetting agent had apparently degraded. The aged 2012 compost (C1) was not inhibitory to basil seedling growth when blended at 20% with the PL1, and in fact restored utility to the PL1. The carbon:nitrogen ratio of the original 2012 compost (C0) was 10.8:1, suggesting stability. It appeared that the main reason the C0 compost was inhibitory was that mineralization was slow or immobilization occurred, causing a lack of plant-available nitrogen, especially nitrate. Treatments with S lowered pH of the media, but there were no differences in basil seedling growth between the unamended 80% PL1:20% C1 blend and blends with added S. A fourth experiment compared three peat-lite media: PL1; a batch of the same medium as PL1 that was produced in 2013 (PL2); and a different medium also produced in 2013 (PL3). Peat-lite media were either used unblended, or blended with 20% C1 or 20% C2 (a fresh batch of YWC obtained from the same facility that had produced the original C0). The unamended PL1 was again inhibitory to basil seedling establishment and development. The two “fresh” peat-lite media (PL2 and PL3) were not inhibitory and were similar to each other in performance. A blend of 80% PL2 or 80% PL3 with 20% compost produced similar (C2) or somewhat better (C1) results than were obtained with the unamended peat. We conclude that a blend of 80% peat-lite medium and 20% YWC can be used to produce basil transplants. However, producers must consider the quality of the peat-lite medium and the compost based on the age and composition of the components.

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Scott E. Renfro, Brent M. Burkett, Bruce L. Dunn and Jon T. Lindstrom