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  • Author or Editor: Charles J. Graham x
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Research is needed to better understand the influence of cell volume and fertility on watermelon transplant size and field performance in order to determine the most economic production practices. `Jubilee' watermelon transplants were grown using a 4 x 4 factorial experimental design consisting of 4 cell volumes (30.7, 65.5, 147.5, and 349.6 cm3) and 4 fertility rates (0, 1/4, 1/2, and full-strength Hoagland's solution). Transplant shoot dry weight significantly increased as cell volume and fertility increased. Increasing cell volume linearly increased watermelon number/ha and tons/ha for early and total harvest in 1995. The average weight per watermelon significantly increased for early-harvested fruit but not for total harvest as cell volume increased in 1995. Soluble solids concentration linearly increased with increasing cell volume for early and total harvests in 1995. Cell volume had no significant influence on the harvest parameters measured in 1997. In 1995, increasing fertility linearly increased watermelon number/ha and tons/ha for early harvests. Increasing fertility increased the soluble solids concentration linearly for early-harvested watermelons in 1997 but not in 1995. Fertility rate had no significant influence on any of the other harvest parameters measured in 1995 and 1997. The growing conditions and disease pressure in 1997 reduced melons/ha, yield, and soluble solids content when compared to 1995 values. The half-strength Hoagland's solution produced the greatest number of watermelons/ha, tons/ha, and the highest soluble solids concentration in 1995 and 1997. Pretransplant nutritional conditioning had no significant effect on total `Jubilee' watermelon production in Louisiana for 1995 and 1997.

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Pollarded `Wichita' pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wang) K. Koch] trees received 2 g uniconazol (UCZ) per tree using four application methods (trunk band, canopy soil injection, crown soil injection, and crown drench). All application methods increased trunk diameter but reduced shoot length, number of lateral shoots per terminal, nodes per terminal, internode length, and leaflets per compound leaf. Only the crown drench reduced leaf area. Area and dry weight per leaflet, and leaflet chlorophyll concentration were not affected by UCZ application. Effectiveness in growth reduction, as assessed by shoot elongation, was crown soil drench > crown soil injection > canopy soil injection > trunk band > control. All application methods increased viviparity. However, total yield per tree, nut size, and percentage of kernel were not affected. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazol).

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`Nemaguard' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] seedlings were grown hydroponically in a modified Hoagland's solution containing NO3N:NH4-N ratios of 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 and 0:100. The solutions contained 0 or 50 ppm aluminum supplied as Al(NO3)3·9H2O or AlNH4(SO4)2·12H2O. Analysis of pooled nitrogen source data revealed Al significantly reduced plant leaf area, height, total growth, and root:shoot ratio. Ammonium concentrations > 25% of supplied nitrogen significantly reduced leaf number, leaf area, height, lateral breaks, lateral growth, total growth, and leaf, stem, and root dry weights. Only height and dry weights (stem and root) for plants receiving 100% nitrate were significantly greater than plants receiving 25% of supplied nitrogen as NH4-N. Generally, phosphorus uptake significantly decreased in the presence of Al regardless of nitrogen source, but the greatest reductions occurred at high NH4-N concentrations.

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Peaches are often grown on sandy, low pH soils which may predispose plants to aluminum (Al) toxicity. Previous research has shown that peach (Prunus persica, L. Batsch) is not tolerant to Al and toxicity may be associated with occurence of peach tree short life syndrome. Current recommendations to control PTSL include soil calcium (Ca) applications to reduce soil acidity and Al availability. However, these applications often result in inconsistent responses. Objectives of this study were to determine if Ca would ameliorate the effects of Al toxicity and whether different Ca compounds would provide different responses.

Rootstock were grown in sand culture supplied with Hoagland's solution containing 16.7 mM aluminum Trees received weekly foliar sprays containing 12.5 uM calcium and 0.1% Chevron X-77 as a spreading agent. Calcium compounds tested included calcium chloride, formate, lactate, nitrate, phosphate, and sulfate. Stem dry weights were significantly increased by Ca lactate and sulfate, leaf dry weight by Ca lactate, and Ca formate significantly increased leaf retention. Nutrient concentrations and interactions in leaves, stems, and roots will be discussed.

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A field experiment was conducted to assess the effects of several foliar nutrient sprays on the vegetative growth of 'Jefferson' peach budded on 'Nemaguard' and 'Lovell' rootstocks planted on a site with a history of Peach Tree Short Life. The trees received foliar applications of 2 mN solutions of ammonium citrate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate, calcium phosphate, or a water control at 3 week intervals from April to August. Vegetative growth measurements were taken after one growing season. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) was significantly increased by ammonium citrate (TCSA=20.35 cm2), calcium citrate (TCSA=20.03 cm2), and calcium lactate (TCSA=19.91 cm2) when compared to controls (TCSA=16.75 cm2). Trees on 'Nemaguard' responded more to treatments than those on 'Lovell'. All nutrient sprays increased TCSA, lateral growth, terminal growth, and total tree growth on 'Nemaguard' rootstock. Terminal growth increased 12-36%, and total tree growth increased 18-51 % compared to control trees, but only ammonium citrate applications were significantly greater. Lateral growth and TCSA of treated trees increased 65-168% and 17-28%, respectively.

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Increasing cell volume or pretransplant nutrient conditioning (PNC) reduced the time to flowering for staminate and pistillate flowers in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai]. Larger cell volumes increased the number of early harvested watermelons and average watermelon weight in two of three studies. Similarly, larger cell volume increased the early and total yield per area of watermelons harvested in 1995 and 1998, but not in 1997. Effect of transplant cell volume on soluble solids varied seasonally. PNC increased the number of melons and the yield per area harvested early in 1995 and soluble solids in early harvested fruit in 1997, but had no significant effect on total `Jubilee' watermelon size or total production in Louisiana for 1995, 1997, or 1998. PNC offers the transplant grower little advantage, while increasing transplant cell size provides a grower with a better opportunity to produce increased early and total yields.

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Late spring freezes often result in significant flower bud kill in deciduous fruit trees. Some products have been marketed as frost protectant compounds which purportedly protect flower stigmas and ovaries from freezing injury and death. Two of these compounds, Frost Free and Frostgard, were tested at two locations in South Carolina over three years. Varieties `Junegold', `Loring', `Redhaven', and `Jefferson' were treated with Frost Free (FF) in years 1988-1990 and with Frostgard (FG) in 1990. Significant differences in fruit yield and vegetative growth occurred during this period, but no consistent trends were evident. In 1989, FF-treated `Redhaven' and `Jefferson' trees averaged 10.5 and 21.8 kg more fruit/tree than the controls. However, no lethal cold temperatures occurred during the bloom period. In 1990, FG-treated `Redhaven' trees averaged 8.0 kg more fruit/tree than the control trees. The fruit from FF-treated trees were lower in Brix, had less red color, and vegetative shoot growth was slightly greater than that of the FG and check trees. These data suggest that Frost Free may have plant growth regulator properties.

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Ornamental gingers are popular cut flowers and have been promoted as a promising potted flower crop because of unique foliage, long-lasting colorful bracts, and few pest problems. Rhizomes are the primary means of propagation in late spring followed by shoot growth and flowering, and plants enter dormancy under short days in the fall. Termination of dormancy is important for greenhouse forcing and extending the growing season. Manipulation of rhizome storage to satisfy dormancy requires investigation into the storage environment. It appears that controlling growth, development and flowering in geophytic plants is dependent on reserve accumulation, mobilization, and redistribution. Rhizomes of four ginger species (Curcuma alismatifolia Gagnep., C. roscoeana Wallich, Globba winittii C.H. Wright, and Kaempferia galanga L.) were stored for 0 to 16 weeks at 15, 20, or 25 °C to determine the effect on growth, flowering, respiration rates, and carbohydrate content. Upon completion of treatment application, rhizomes were planted in a peat moss:bark:perlite mix and placed in a greenhouse with 25 °C day/21 °C night temperatures with 40% shade. The production time, days to emergence (DTE) and days to flower (DTF), was reduced with an increase in storage temperature and duration for all species. DTE and DTF for Globba and Kaempferia were hastened when rhizomes were stored for 16 weeks at 25 °C. For C. alismatifolia, DTE and DTF were hastened when rhizomes were stored at 25 °C for at least 10 weeks. For C. roscoeana, storage at 25 °C for 14 or 16 weeks was found to hasten emergence. The response of respiration and carbohydrate concentration was not consistent with rhizome and plant growth responses.

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Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] is a member of the Juglandaceae family. During spring, pecan trees break their bud dormancy and produce new leaves and flowers. Carbohydrates stored in roots and shoots are thought to support the bloom and early vegetative growth during this time until new leaves start the full photosynthetic activity. Spring freeze is known for its damaging effects on pecan bud and flower growth and development. Pecan shoots with leaves and flowers from five scion–rootstock combinations were collected hours before and after a recent spring freeze (below 0 °C for 6 hours, 21 Apr 2021, Perkins, OK, USA). Morphologies of the leaf, bud, and catkin were visually observed, and the morphologies of the anther and pollen in paraffin sections were investigated by light microscopy. Soluble sugar and starch from bark and wood were analyzed using the anthrone reagent method. The Kanza–Mount showed the maximum damage to terminal leaves, buds, and catkins, whereas Maramec–Colby had the minimum damage only to leaves. Pollen grains were shrunk and reduced in number in the anthers in the protandrous Pawnee scions, whereas no pollen damage was observed in the protogynous Kanza scion. Furthermore, bark soluble sugar levels increased in all the scion–rootstock combinations after the freeze, which may indicate a physiological response to the cold stress. Overall, the extent of spring freeze damage of pecans is affected by the growth stage, types of scion and rootstock, and the scion–rootstock interactions. Furthermore, in addition to low temperature, scion–rootstock interactions also affected the starch and soluble sugar contents in wood and bark tissues.

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