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Douglas G. Bielenberg and Ksenija Gasic

Inexpensive plug-and-play temperature controllers have recently become available. These allow a chest freezer to be programmed easily to hold a desired set point across a range of biologically relevant temperatures. Installation can be completed in a few minutes using consumer-grade chest freezers. We used these temperature controllers to create five temperature-controlled chambers at 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 °C. We demonstrated the use of these controlled-temperature chambers with two biologic assays: floral budbreak of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] stem cuttings and germination of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) seeds. We used the budbreak and germination rates at multiple temperatures to estimate base temperatures and thermal time requirements for development.

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Douglas G. Bielenberg, Ying Wang, Gregory L. Reighard and Albert G. Abbott

`Evergrowing' (evg) peach is a naturally occurring mutant unable to enter winter dormancy in response to dormancy inducing conditions. The evg mutant is one of only two described mutants affecting winter dormancy in woody perennial trees. The evg mutation segregates as a single recessive gene and previous work by our group has fine mapped the trait between flanking markers separated by 3.3 centiMorgans. This region was physically mapped using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library from and a contig of overlapping genomic fragments identified. We have utilized several approaches to complete the sequencing of a 132 kilobase region of the peach genome derived from three overlapping BACs that encompass the complete EVG gene containing region. We present here our analysis and annotation of the genomic region, including putative and experimentally verified gene coding sequences. A primary feature of the region is a large tandem duplication of a region containing a MADS-box type DNA binding transcription factor resulting in six similar copies of the gene, all of which appear to be expressed at the mRNA level in wild-type germplasm. Hybridization analysis revealed the presence of a large deletion in the mutant genome. Five of the identified genes fall within the evg mutation and represent new candidates for the control of entrance into winter dormancy.

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Nicholas Menchyk, Douglas G. Bielenberg, Samuel Martin, Clint Waltz, Hong Luo, Frank Bethea Jr. and Haibo Liu

As a result of the increasing popularity of fine-leafed zoysiagrasses on golf courses, a 2-year field study was conducted to assess ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr.] putting green performance at The Cliff’s Communities Turfgrass Research Facility in Marietta, SC. Factors included four nitrogen (N) fertility rates and two trinexapac-ethyl (TE) regimes. Foliar applications of 0, 4.9, 9.8, and 14.7 kg·ha−1 N were made once weekly for 7 and 15 weeks in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Trinexapac-ethyl was tank-mixed and applied weekly for 7 weeks during July to August at 0 or 0.017 kg a.i./ha totaling 0.120 kg a.i./ha for both growing seasons. Putting green performance was measured by assessing turf quality (TQ), ball roll distance (BRD), surface firmness (SF), leaf tissue nutrient concentrations, and thatch accumulation. Turfgrasses receiving 4.9 kg N/ha weekly exhibited acceptable TQ and greater SF and BRD than plots receiving 14.7 kg N/ha weekly on all rating dates in 2010 before seasonal dormancy. Trinexapac-ethyl reduced clipping yield by 15% to 43% and influenced BRD, SF, and tissue nutrient concentration across the 2-year study. Surface firmness decreased as total N input increased during the 2010 growing season and is presumably the result of an increase in leaf tissue causing a cushioned putting surface. Linear regression of thatch accumulation and SF were analyzed and found to be significant at four rating dates in 2010 indicating that as thatch organic matter increased, SF decreased. Nitrogen input for ‘Diamond’ zoysiagrass putting greens grown in the transition zone should begin at 73.5 kg·ha−1/year with supplemental N applications applied as needed.

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Robert F. Polomski, Douglas G. Bielenberg, Ted Whitwell, Milton D. Taylor, William C. Bridges and Stephen J. Klaine

Intensive production of container-grown nursery and greenhouse crops in soilless substrate may result in significant leaching of nutrients and pesticides. The resulting runoff can escape from production areas and negatively impact surface and ground water. Constructed wetlands (CWs) have been shown to be a simple, low-technology method for treating agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastewater. We investigated the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) removal potential by a vegetated, laboratory-scale subsurface flow (SSF) CW system. Over an 8-week period, five commercially available aquatic garden plants received a range of N and P (0.39 to 36.81 mg·L−1 N and 0.07 to 6.77 mg·L−1 P) that spanned the rates detected in nursery runoff. Whole plant dry weight was positively correlated with N and P supplied. Highest N and P recovery rates were exhibited by Thalia geniculata f. rheumoides Shuey and Oenenathe javanica (Blume) DC. ‘Flamingo’, Phyla lanceolata (Michx.) Greene also had high P recovery rates. The potential exists for using SSF CWs to concomitantly produce aquatic garden plants and attenuate nutrients in a sustainable nursery enterprise.

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Robert F. Polomski, Douglas G. Bielenberg, Ted Whitwell, Milton D. Taylor, William C. Bridges and Stephen J. Klaine

Commercial nurseries use large amounts of water and nutrients to produce container-grown plants. The large volume of runoff containing nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) that leaves nurseries can contaminate surface and groundwater. Subsurface flow-constructed wetlands have been shown to effectively treat agricultural, industrial, and residential wastewater and to be well-suited for growers with limited production space. We investigated the possibility of using commercially available aquatic garden plants in subsurface-constructed wetlands to remove nutrients in a laboratory scale, gravel-based system. Seven popular aquatic garden plants received N and P from Hoagland's nutrient solution every 2 days for 8 weeks. These rates (0.39 to 36.81 mg·L−1 of N and 0.07 to 6.77 mg·L−1 P, respectively) encompassed low to high rates of nutrients found at various points between the discharge and inflow points of other constructed wetland systems currently in use at commercial nurseries. Plant biomass, nutrient recovery, and tissue nutrient concentration and content were measured. Whole plant dry weight positively correlated with total N and P supplied. Louisiana Iris hybrid ‘Full Eclipse’, Canna × generalis Bailey (pro sp.) ‘Bengal Tiger’, Canna × generalis Bailey (pro sp.) ‘Yellow King Humbert’, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott ‘Illustris', Peltandra virginica (L.) Schott, and Pontederia cordata L. ‘Singapore Pink’ had the greatest N recovery rates. The P recovery rates were similar for the cannas, Colocasia esculenta ‘Illustris’, Louisiana Iris ‘Full Eclipse’, Pe. virginica, and Po. cordata ‘Singapore Pink’. The potential exists for creating a sustainable nursery and greenhouse production system that incorporates a subsurface-constructed wetland planted with marketable horticultural crops that provide remediation and revenue.