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J.G. Williamson and E.P. Miller

Three experiments were conducted in north-central Florida to determine the effects of fall defoliation on flower bud initiation and yield of southern highbush (SHB) blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid). In 1998, randomly selected upright shoots of mature, field-grown `Misty' and `Sharpblue' plants were hand-defoliated at monthly intervals beginning 4 Sept. and ending 7 Dec. In 1999, a similar study was conducted using different plants of the same cultivars. Representative shoots were defoliated at monthly intervals beginning 14 Sept. and ending 15 Dec. Additional shoots were also partially defoliated by removing the distal two-thirds of each leaf at monthly intervals from 15 Oct. through 15 Dec. In a third experiment, 2-year-old container-grown `Star' SHB plants were completely defoliated at monthly intervals beginning 13 Sept. and ending 15 Dec. In each experiment, control shoots, or plants ('Star'), were not defoliated. Although there were differences among cultivars and years, all cultivars tested demonstrated negative effects on reproductive growth and development from September and October defoliations. For `Sharpblue', reduced fruit yield from early fall defoliation appeared to be due to fewer fruit set per flower bud. However, for `Misty', reduced fruit yield from early fall defoliation was the result of large reductions in flower bud numbers as well as fewer fruit set per flower bud. September and October defoliations of `Star' reduced yields or delayed fruit ripening. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate the importance of maintaining healthy foliage through October in the lower southeastern United States for adequate flower bud initiation and high yields of SHB blueberry the following spring.

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J.G. Williamson and E.P. Miller

Field-grown `Misty', `Star', and `Southmoon' southern highbush, and `Climax' rabbiteye blueberry plants were sprayed to drip with 0, 7.7 and 15.4 g·L–1 concentrations of hydrogen cyanamide in north central Florida on 17 Dec. 1997 and 6 Jan. 1998. Plants were dormant with slightly swollen flower buds (stage 2) at the times of applications. The extent and earliness of vegetative budbreak were increased by both hydrogen cyanamide sprays. Hydrogen cyanamide also increased mean fruit fresh weights and reduced fruit development periods for `Misty', `Southmoon' and `Climax' but not for `Star'. Yield response to hydrogen cyanamide was variable among cultivars. Fruit yields of `Misty' and `Climax' increased slightly by 7.7 g·L–1 sprays and decreased significantly by 15.4 g·L–1 sprays. In that case, increased fruit yields appeared to be the result of greater mean fruit fresh weights while reduced yields resulted from significant flower bud thinning that occurred at the highest spray concentration. Both hydrogen cyanamide spray concentrations increased fruit yield for `Southmoon' and decreased fruit yield for `Star' when compared to controls. Spray date had no effect on fruit yield and little effect on fruit development period. Hydrogen cyanamide has potential for increasing fruit quality and earliness of some blueberry cultivars that are grown in the lower southeastern United States.

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J.G. Williamson and E.P. Miller

Growth and yield of ‘Misty’ and ‘Star’ southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid) plants that were grown in pine bark culture were evaluated under several rates of granular or liquid fertilizers. Granular fertilizer resulted in larger canopy volumes and slightly greater annual fruit yield than liquid fertilizer. In 2003 and 2004, canopy growth increased linearly as fertilizer rate increased up to the highest rate tested [81 g nitrogen (N), 11.8 g phosphorus (P), and 44.6 g potassium (K) per plant per year]. Similarly, a positive relationship was found for fruit yield and fertilizer rate during all 3 years. Berry yield was positively correlated with canopy size, and there was no relationship between fertilizer rate and berry yield per canopy volume, indicating that yield and canopy volume increased proportionally with increased fertilizer rate. Mean ‘Star’ berry weight was greater for granular fertilizer treatments than for liquid fertilizer treatments, but mean berry weight of ‘Misty’ was unaffected by fertilizer form. At the end of the experiment, visual examination of eight plants excavated by hand indicated that root systems of blueberry plants were primarily located in the pine bark layer with very few roots penetrating into the underlying soil. Limited water and nutrient holding capacities of pine bark, coupled with frequent irrigations to the shallow root systems in pine bark culture, probably resulted in considerable nutrient leaching and a high fertilizer requirement.

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Jeffrey G. Williamson and E.P. Miller

In 1998, representative canes of mature, field-grown, `Misty' and `Sharpblue' southern highbush blueberry were hand-defoliated on 4 Sept., 2 Oct., 6 Nov., 7 Dec., or not defoliated. The experiment was repeated in 1999. Randomized complete-block designs with 11 (1998) or 10 (1999) replications were used. The early defoliation treatments (4 Sept. and 2 Oct.) resulted in reduced flower bud number per unit length of cane for `Misty', but not for `Sharpblue', when compared with later defoliation treatments or controls. A similar response to early defoliation was found both years for both cultivars. The later defoliation treatments (6 Nov. and 7 Dec.) had no significant effect on flower bud number compared to controls. Early defoliation had a negative effect on flower bud development for both cultivars. Flower buds that developed on canes defoliated on 4 Sept. or on 2 Oct. had smaller diameters than flower buds on canes defoliated on 6 Nov., 7 Dec., or on non-defoliated canes. Fruit fresh weight per unit cane length was less for the September and October defoliation treatments than for the December defoliation treatment or controls. These results support the need for summer pruning and a effective summer spray program to control leaf spot diseases that often result in early fall defoliation of southern highbush blueberries grown in the southeastern United States.

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Brian E. Whipker, Terri Kirk, P. Allen Hammer and William B. Miller

`Nellie White' Easter lilies were grown under two day/night temperature regimes, a positive differential temperature (+DIF) of 15.5C night / 21C day temperature or a negative differential temperature (-DIF) of 19.4C night / 14.4C day temperature. At anthesis the plants were divided into 15 leaf-node segments, starting from the plant base (nodal position 0-15). The segments were further subdivided into leaf, stem and flower tissue parts, with fresh and dry weights being recorded, and tissue being analyzed for NH4-N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, Cu, B, Fe, Mn, and Zn.

Of the elements studied, only P content was statistically different at the DIF treatment × nodal position × tissue type interaction. Total 1eaf P per segment was higher in the -DIF plants, with the concentration increasing from 0.19 mg at nodal position O-15 up to the 1.34 mg at nodal position 46-60, compared to 0.16 and 0.76 mg, respectively, for the +DIF plants. There were also significant differences at the DIF treatment × tissue type, with -DIF leaf tissue having a higher total content of P, K, Mg, Ca, Na and B, while Cu was lower, than the +DIF leaf tissue. Results indicate that the distribution of nutrients in Easter lily plants are affected by growing temperature regimes.

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B.I. Reisch, R.M. Pool, W.B. Robinson, T. Henick-Kling, J.P. Watson, K.H. Kimball, M.H. Martens, G.S. Howell, D.P. Miller, C.E. Edson and J.R. Morris

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp and E. Stover

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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Brian M. Schwartz, Wayne W. Hanna, Lisa L. Baxter, Paul L. Raymer, F. Clint Waltz, Alec R. Kowalewski, Ambika Chandra, A. Dennis Genovesi, Benjamin G. Wherley, Grady L. Miller, Susana R. Milla-Lewis, William C. Reynolds, Yanqi Wu, Dennis L. Martin, Justin Q. Moss, Michael P. Kenna, J. Bryan Unruh, Kevin E. Kenworthy, Jing Zhang and Patricio R. Munoz

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Emily E. Hoover, Richard P. Marini, Emily Tepe, Wesley R. Autio, Alan R. Biggs, Jon M. Clements, Robert M. Crassweller, Daniel D. Foster, Melanie J. Foster, Peter M. Hirst, Diane Doud Miller, Michael L. Parker, Gregory M. Peck, Jozsef Racsko, Terence L. Robinson and Michele R. Warmund

Researchers have collected a considerable amount of data relating to apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars and rootstocks over the past 30 years, but much of this information is not easily accessible. The long-term goal of our working group is to increase access to this information using online technology available through eXtension. In eXtension, researchers and extension personnel are developing a community of practice (CoP) to increase the quality and amount of online information for individuals interested in our work [referred to as a community of interest (CoI)]. For this project, our CoI is broadly defined as commercial apple producers, nursery professionals, county extension educators, Extension Master Gardeners, home gardeners, and consumers. Our CoP is developing diverse educational tools, with the goals of increasing productivity, profitability, and sustainability for commercial apple production. Additionally, we will provide other members of our CoI access to research-based, reliable information on the culture of apples. We chose to begin our focus on cultivars and rootstocks adapted to the eastern United States and will add other U.S. regions as our resources and interest in our project grows.