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David J. Roberts and Dennis J. Werner

Cercis is an ancient member of Fabaceae, often cultivated as an ornamental tree, and can be found in numerous regions around the world. Previous studies have reported Cercis canadensis as being diploid with 2n = 2x = 14. However, there have been no further investigations into ploidy and genome size variation among Cercis taxa. A study was conducted to evaluate the relative genome size and ploidy levels of numerous species, cultivars, and botanical varieties of Cercis, representing taxa found in North America, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition, the genome size of Bauhinia forficata, a close relative of Cercis, was also determined. Genome size estimates (2C values) were determined by calculating the mean fluorescence of stained nuclei via flow cytometry. Propidium iodide was used as the staining agent and Glycine max was used as an internal standard for each taxon analyzed. Genome size estimates for all Cercis sampled ranged from 0.70 to 0.81 pg with an average size of 0.75 pg. The genome size of B. forficata was found to be smaller than any other Bauhinia sp. currently on record, with an average size of 0.87 pg. This study confirmed an initial estimation of the genome size of Cercis chinensis and found that floral buds of Cercis proved to be an excellent source of plant tissue for obtaining intact nuclei. All species, botanical varieties, and cultivars of Cercis surveyed for this study had remarkably similar genome sizes despite their wide range of distribution. This information can facilitate a better understanding of phylogenetic relationships within Cercideae and Cercis specifically.

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Karim Al-Juboory, Robert M. Skirvin, and David J. Williams

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Christine E. Thuring, Robert D. Berghage, and David J. Beattie

Plants suitable for extensive green roofs must tolerate extreme rooftop conditions, and the substrates in which they grow must fulfill horticultural and structural requirements. Deeper substrates may retain more water for plants during dry periods, but will also weigh more, especially when near saturation. A study in central Pennsylvania was conducted to evaluate the influence of substrate type and depth on establishment of five green roof plants. Two stonecrops [white stonecrop (Sedum album) and tasteless stonecrop (Sedum sexangulare)], one ice plant (Delosperma nubigenum), and two herbaceous perennials [maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) and saxifrage pink (Petrorhagia saxifraga)] were planted in three depths (30, 60, and 120 mm) of two commercially available green roof substrates (expanded shale and expanded clay). Study flats inside a plasticulture tunnel received three drought treatments (no drought, 2 weeks early drought, and 2 weeks late drought). The two stonecrops performed well under most conditions, although tasteless stonecrop was stunted by early drought. Ice plant only grew well when provided with water. When subjected to any drought, the herbaceous perennials had the fewest survivors in the expanded shale. Saxifrage pink flowered profusely wherever it survived. The study plants were most affected by substrate depth, except for maiden pink, which responded solely to drought. When subjected to early drought conditions, the herbaceous perennials did not survive in 30 mm of either substrate, or in 60 mm of expanded shale. Although the stonecrops performed well in 60 mm of substrate when subjected to drought, their performance was superior in the expanded clay compared with shale.

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David A. Bender, Roland E. Roberts, and Frank J. Dainello

Watermelon is grown under a range of moisture regimes from rainfed to heavily irrigated, but water requirement patterns are not well documented. Drip irrigation and plastic mulch provide the opportunity to control water applications to optimize yield and quality. Water applied through subsurface drip irrigation was measured in two watermelon trials in 1998 (25 seeded and 20 seedless cultivars) and 1999 (26 seeded and 14 seedless cultivars) at Lubbock, Texas. Melons were transplanted in plastic-covered raised beds 13.6 m long spaced 2 m apart. Irrigation was applied when morning soil moisture tension measured by tensiometers exceeded 20 kPa. Watermelon yields ranged from 50 to 100 t·ha-1 with excellent quality. Weekly water use averaged 14 mm during the first 3 weeks of establishment then increased to 28 mm during the next 3 weeks as plants were running and blooming. During the 5-week fruit-enlargement period, water uptake averaged 57 mm, then decreased as full fruit size was attained. Similar uptake patterns in both years suggest that meaningful crop coefficients for scheduling watermelon irrigation could be based on phenological growth stages.

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David A. Bender, J. Wayne Keeling, and Roland E. Roberts

Large weeds, particularly amaranths, are a serious impediment to mechanical harvesting of jalapeno peppers. Several herbicides were applied in 1998 and 1999 postemergence topical (PT) to commercial fields when peppers had four to six leaves, or postdirected (PD) with a shielded sprayer ≈1 month later, and evaluated for crop injury, weed control, and effects on yield. Treatments were applied to four-row plots 9 m long with a CO<subscript>2 backpack sprayer. PT treatments included pyrithiobac sodium at 0.036, 0.053, or 0.071 kg·ha–1 a.i. with nonionic surfactant or crop oil concentrate, metolachlor at 1.68 kg·ha–1 a.i., and oxyfluorfen at 0.14 or 0.28 kg·ha–1 a.i.. PD treatments consisted of the same rates of pyrithiobac sodium with nonionic surfactant only, and the same rates of oxyfluorfen. Pyrithiobac sodium PT caused significant chlorosis (reduction in SPAD chlorophyll) in new foliage and reduction in plant height after 1 week, but plants recovered with no effect on final plant height, chlorophyll, or yield. No significant difference was observed between the two adjuvants. Metolachlor had no measurable effect on pepper growth or yield. Oxyfluorfen PT killed young apical tissue and caused chlorosis of immature leaves. Plants recovered, but plant height was reduced by 14% to 28% and yield by 11% to 43%. PD treatments had no effect on pepper growth or yield. All herbicides provided adequate weed control under light pressure. Pyrithiobac sodium appears to have potential as a postemergence herbicide for control of amaranth in jalapeno peppers.

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Robert J. McNeil, David O. Medders, and Ramiro Guzman

Six freezing protectant products were sprayed at label rates on 1-year-old `Hass' avocado trees. Control trees were sprayed with water. Treatments were applied three times at monthly intervals, 20 Dec., 20 Jan., and 20 Feb. The products tested were Copper Count-N, Champ, Frostguard, Frost Shield, Anti Stress 550, and Insulate. Two separate orchard areas were treated, one with additional freezing protection by a wind machine and the other with no wind machine. Freezing temperatures and subsequent leaf damage occurred on 4 Jan., which was 2 weeks after the first treatment. The wind machine protected area experienced 2 h at or below 30 °F, with a minimum temperature of 29 °F, while the area without a wind machine experienced 5.5 h at or below 30 °F with a minimum temperature of 27.9 °F. One hundred mature leaves per tree were rated as to any freezing damage, slight damage (1% to 33%), moderate damage (33% to 66%), or severe damage (66% to 100%). All six freezing protectant products consistently reduced the percentage of leaves with freezing damage below that of the water-treated control trees, except in one instance, for all four categories of leaf freezing damage evaluated in both orchard areas—that with and that without a wind machine. Damage was reduced by approximately half for some of the treatments as compared to control trees. Data for some or all freezing protectant products was statistically different (less) than the control in two freezing damage categories (slight and moderate) in the area without a wind machine, however, data was not statistically different between freezing protectant products.

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David G. Himelrick, Robert M. Pool, and Philip J. McInnis

Several cryoprotectant chemicals were tested for their ability to increase the freeze resistance of grapevine (Vitis labruscana Bailey) leaf and dormant bud tissue. DuPont Surfactant WK, ethylene glycol, and BRIJ 35 were effective in lowering the low-temperature exotherm (LTE) in `Concord' grape buds below controls by 5.4, 5.1, and 3.9C, respectively, in March. Measurements taken in April showed BRIJ 35 and Surfactant WK to be notably superior to the other products, giving LTEs 14.1 and 12.2C below controls, respectively. Ethylene glycol, Frostguard, and Frost Free were less effective. LTEs were also significantly decreased in grape leaf disks 4.1C by BRIJ 35, 2.1C by Frostguard, and 0.4C by Frost Free treatments. Chemical name used: trimethylnonylpolyethoxyethanol (DuPont Surfactant WK).

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Peter R. Hicklenton, Julia Y. Reekie, Robert J. Gordon, and David C. Percival

Seasonal patterns of CO2 assimilation (ACO2), leaf water potential (ψ1) and stomatal conductance (g1) were studied in three clones (`Augusta', `Brunswick', and `Chignecto') of lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) over two growing seasons. Plants were managed in a 2-year cycle of fruiting (year 1) and burn-prune (year 2). In the fruiting year, ACO2 was lowest in mid-June and early September. Rates peaked between 10 and 31 July and declined after fruit removal in late August. Compared with the fruiting year, ACO2 in the prune year was between 50% and 130% higher in the early season, and between 80% and 300% higher in mid-September. In both years, however, mid-season maximum ACO2 for each clone was between 9 and 10 μmol·m–2·s–1CO2. Assimilation of CO2 increased with increasing photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) to between 500 and 600 μmol·s–1·m–2 in `Augusta' and `Brunswick', and to between 700 and 800 μmol·s–1·m–2 in `Chignecto'. Midday ψ1 was generally lower in the prune year than in the fruiting year, reflecting year-to-year differences in soil water content. Stomatal conductance (g1), however, was generally higher in the prune year than in the fruiting year over similar vapor pressure deficit (VPD) ranges, especially in June and September when prune year g1 was often twice that observed in the fruiting year. In the fruiting year, g1 declined through the day in response to increasing VPD in June, but was quite constant in mid-season. It tended to be higher in `Augusta' than in the other two clones. Stomatal closure imposes limitations on ACO2 in lowbush blueberries, but not all seasonal change in C-assimilative capacity can be explained by changes in g1.

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David R. Bryla, Elizabeth Dickson, Robert Shenk, R. Scott Johnson, Carlos H. Crisosto, and Thomas J. Trout

A 3-year study was done to determine the effects of furrow, microspray, surface drip, and subsurface drip irrigation on production and fruit quality in mature `Crimson Lady' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees. Furrow and microspray irrigations were scheduled weekly or biweekly, which is common practice in central California, while surface and subsurface drip irrigations were scheduled daily. Trees were maintained at similar water potentials following irrigation by adjusting water applications as needed. Tree size and fruit number were normalized among treatments by pruning and thinning each season. Surface and subsurface drip produced the largest fruit on average and the highest marketable yields among treatments. Drip benefits appeared most related to the ability to apply frequent irrigations. Whether water was applied above or below ground, daily irrigations by drip maintained higher soil water content within the root zone and prevented cycles of water stress found between less-frequent furrow and microspray irrigations. With furrow and microsprays, midday tree water potentials reached as low as –1.4 MPa between weekly irrigations and –1.8 MPa between biweekly irrigations, which likely accounted for smaller fruit and lower yields in these treatments. To reduce water stress, more frequent irrigation is probably impractical with furrow systems but is recommended when irrigating during peak water demands by microspray.

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Robert L. Long, Kerry B. Walsh, David J. Midmore, and Gordon Rogers

A common practice for the irrigation management of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. reticulatus group) is to restrict water supply to the plants from late fruit development and through the harvest period. However, this late fruit development period is critical for sugar accumulation and water stress at this stage is likely to limit the final fruit soluble solids concentration (SSC). Two field irrigation experiments were conducted to test the idea that maintaining muskmelon plants free of water stress through to the end of harvest will maximise sugar accumulation in the fruit. In both trials, water stress before or during harvest detrimentally affected fruit SSC and fresh weight (e.g., no stress fruit 11.2% SSC, weight 1180 g; stress fruit 8.8% SSC, weight 990 g). Maintaining plants free of water stress from flowering through to the end of harvest is recommended to maximise yield and fruit quality.