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Darren J. Hayes and Bryan J. Peterson

Several species of honeysuckle from Europe and Asia have proved to be invasive in North America, with substantial impacts on native ecosystems. Although shrubby honeysuckles of Eurasian origin have appeared on banned plant lists in North America and other parts of the world, cultivars of the edible blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) derived from Eurasian germplasm and marketed as honeyberry, Haskap, or sweetberry honeysuckle have recently been widely developed for agricultural use in North America, with little scrutiny of invasive potential in North America despite its documented invasion of the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. To gain insight into differences in growth strategies among congeners, we compared the growth of Eurasian L. caerulea with that of a closely related congener in North America [Lonicera villosa (Michx.) R. & S.] and two known invasive congeners from Eurasia (Lonicera tatarica L. and Lonicera xylosteum L.). In Expt. 1, L. villosa, L. caerulea, and L. tatarica were grown in #1 nursery containers after top-dressing with Osmocote Pro 17–5–11 4-month controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) at rates of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 g CRF/container. Across all fertilizer treatments, L. caerulea outperformed L. villosa by a factor of two for root and shoot dry weights, although L. tatarica produced more growth than either of the others and was more responsive to increasing CRF. However, L. caerulea more strongly resembled L. tatarica in form, producing leaves of greater individual size and producing significantly taller primary stems than L. villosa, evidence for prioritization of competitive growth. In Expt. 2, plants of the same taxa plus L. xylosteum were grown communally in #20 nursery containers, followed by a period in which each container was subjected to regular irrigation, withheld irrigation (dry treatment), or inundation (flooded treatment). Plant growth differed substantially among taxa, but moisture treatments did not affect growth significantly. As in Expt. 1, plants of L. caerulea in Expt. 2 produced greater dry biomass than plants of L. villosa and resembled the invasive Eurasian honeysuckles more strongly in size and form. We conclude Eurasian L. caerulea is distinct in growth rate and morphology from North American L. villosa. In light of these findings, the ecology and competitive ability of Eurasian L. caerulea may not be well predicted by ecological observations of its closely related North American congener.

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Darren J. Hayes and Bryan J. Peterson

We assessed adventitious root formation on stem cuttings of mountain fly honeysuckle [Lonicera villosa (Michx.) Schult.] in separate experiments using overhead mist and subirrigation systems. The concentration of applied potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) and the proportions of coarse perlite and milled peatmoss in the propagation medium were varied within both systems. Across treatments, 98% of cuttings in the overhead mist system and 85% of cuttings in the subirrigation system produced roots. In the overhead mist system, root volume, root dry weight, and number of root tips were greatest among cuttings treated with 4000 to 12,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA and stuck into 100% perlite. In the subirrigation system, root dry weight was not significantly affected by K-IBA concentration, but the greatest root volume and number of root tips were produced by cuttings treated with 8000 or 12,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA and stuck into 100% perlite. Despite the natural affinity of mountain fly honeysuckle for moist, organic soils, all of the 18 rooted cuttings we planted in a landscape trial survived and grew appreciably with minimal care over 2 years in a mineral field soil. We conclude that cuttings of mountain fly honeysuckle can be propagated readily by overhead mist or subirrigation, that root system quality is improved substantially by increasing K-IBA concentration and using coarse perlite without peatmoss, and that mountain fly honeysuckle can be grown in typical horticultural landscapes.

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Bryan J. Peterson, Olivia Sanchez, Stephanie E. Burnett and Darren J. Hayes

Overhead mist (OM) facilitates the propagation of stem cuttings by preventing transpirational water loss. However, drawbacks to OM include the application of large volumes of water, potentially unsanitary conditions, irregular misting coverage, and leaching of foliar nutrients. We explored three alternatives to OM that might avoid these problems by applying moisture below, rather than overhead. These included 1) a submist (SM) aeroponic system configured to provide intermittent mist only to the rooting zone, 2) a subirrigation (SI) system that provided water via capillary action through perlite from a reservoir maintained below the base of each cutting, and 3) a subfog (SF) aeroponic system that was configured to provide constant fog only to the rooting zone. To initiate each system, we wetted perlite or filled reservoirs using either water or quarter-strength Hoagland solution. Stem cuttings of ‘Wizard Mix’ coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides) were propagated in the systems for 21 days. Cuttings in the SM system produced more than three times as many roots as cuttings in the OM system, with roots more than six times the length. Root dry weights averaged 28 mg for cuttings in the SM system, compared with only 3.5 mg among cuttings receiving OM. The SF and SI systems produced results broadly comparable to the OM. Fertilizer did not consistently improve rooting measures across the systems. Although we observed few fine roots on cuttings rooted using SM, they transplanted well into a soilless substrate and quickly produced new root growth. The SM system used less than 1/5 the water used by the SI system, and less than 1/50 the water used by the SF system. In comparison, a single OM nozzle operating for 10 seconds released about one-third of the total water lost through transpiration from each SM system over the entire experiment. Our results show that SM systems merit further evaluation for propagation of plants by stem cuttings.