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Open access

Fulya Baysal-Gurel and Ravi Bika

Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is a popular ornamental shrub and considered a hardy and tough plant that can thrive in different environmental conditions and resist diseases. However, powdery mildew, caused by Podosphaera physocarpi, can severelyaffect ninebark, deteriorating the ornamental value and making them unmarketable. Only a few studies have been done in managing powdery mildew of ninebark. The current study focuses on evaluating and identifying effective products (sanitizers, biorational products, and fungicides) for the management of powdery mildew disease of ninebark. A total of 12 treatments, including nontreated control, were studied. The experiment was arranged in randomized complete block design with four-single ‘Mindia Coppertina®’ ninebark plant per treatment and repeated twice. Powdery mildew disease severity, growth parameters, and phytotoxicity were assessed in the study. All treatments significantly reduced the powdery mildew disease severity and disease progress [area under disease progress curve (AUDPC)] compared with the nontreated control. The treatments, such as azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr at 0.17 and 0.23 g·L–1 total active ingredients (a.i.) applied, chlorothalonil + propiconazole at 1.12 mL·L–1 total a.i. applied, azoxystrobin + tebuconazole at 0.11 and 0.16 g·L–1 total a.i. applied, and giant knotweed extract [Reynoutria sachalinensis (0.5 mL·L–1 total a.i. applied)] were the most effective treatments in reducing disease severity and disease progress in both trials. The treatments had no significant effects on the plant growth parameters such as height and width. In Expt. 2, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr and hydrogen peroxide + peroxyacetic acid treated plants showed the low level of phytotoxic symptoms. The phytotoxicity of these two treatments in Expt. 2 could be related to higher environmental temperature during the experimental period.

Open access

Ravi Bika and Fulya Baysal-Gurel

The cut flower growers of the eastern and southern United States are threatened with postharvest meltdown of zinnia (Zinnia elegans), which reduces yield and income as well as limiting opportunities for production expansion. Disease symptoms such as bending of the stem just below the flower were visually apparent on zinnia cut flowers. The objective of this study was to identify the causal agent related to zinnia meltdown. A total of 20 symptomatic zinnia cut flower stems were collected from Tennessee. Several Fusarium-like colonies with micro and macroconidia were isolated from the base and bend area of stems on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and Fusarium-selective media. Morphological characterization, polymerase chain reaction, and sequencing of three representative isolates, FBG2020_198, FBG2020_199, and FBG2020_201, were conducted to confirm pathogen identification. The sequence identity of the isolates was >99% identical to Fusarium commune, and a combined phylogenetic tree grouped the isolates with the clade of F. commune from different host and geographical locations. To accomplish Koch’s postulates, a pathogenicity test was performed on ‘Benary’s Giant Golden Yellow’, ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’, and ‘Benary’s Giant Pink’ zinnia plants at vegetative (2 weeks after transplantation) or flower bud stage (1 month after transplantation) by drench, stem injection, and foliar spray of conidial suspension (1 × 105 conidia/mL). Similar symptoms of meltdown (floral axis bending just below the flower) were observed on inoculated zinnia cultivars 2 days after harvesting. Fusarium commune was re-isolated from the infected flower stems of all three cultivars but not from the noninoculated zinnia flower stems. Zinnia stem colonization by F. commune was statistically similar in all three tested cultivars regardless of plant growth stage and method of inoculation. This study confirms F. commune as being the causal agent of postharvest zinnia flower meltdown issue in Tennessee. In the future, possible sources of pathogen will be screened, and disease management recommendations will be developed.

Open access

Ravi Bika, Cristi Palmer, Lisa Alexander, and Fulya Baysal-Gurel

Botrytis cinerea is one of the problematic and notorious postharvest pathogens of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) cut flowers. It causes flower blight, leaf blight, and stem rot, reducing the ornamental value (such as longevity, color, and texture) of flowers, ultimately making them unsalable. The objective of this study was to identify effective conventional fungicides and biorational products for botrytis blight management on bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers that can be easily and readily adopted by growers of ornamentals. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip treatment applications were used in this study. For the whole-plant spray applications, bigleaf hydrangea plants were sprayed with treatment solution 3 days before harvesting flowers. For the dip applications, cut flowers were dipped in treatment solutions after harvest. For both application types, flowers were inoculated with B. cinerea spores once treatment solutions dried. Flowers were stored in cold storage for 3 days and then displayed in conditions similar to retail stores. Botrytis blight disease severity, marketability of flower (postharvest vase life), phytotoxicity, and application residue were assessed in the study. Treatments showed variable efficacy in managing postharvest B. cinerea infection in bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers. Preventive preharvest whole-plant spray and postharvest dip applications of isofetamid and fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin significantly reduced the postharvest botrytis blight disease severity and area under disease progress curve (AUDPC) compared with the positive control (nontreated, inoculated with B. cinerea). When applied as a postharvest dip, the fungicide fludioxonil and biofungicide Aureobasidium pullulans strains DSM 14940 and DSM 14941 effectively lowered the disease severity and disease progress (AUDPC). These effective treatments also maintained a significantly longer postharvest vase life of bigleaf hydrangea cut flowers compared with the nontreated, inoculated control. The longer vase life may be attributed to lowered botrytis blight disease severity and the resultant proper physiological functioning of flowers.

Open access

Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Ravi Bika, Christina Jennings, Cristi Palmer, and Terri Simmons

Magnolia trees (Magnolia sp.) are a popular choice for consumers when choosing flowering woody plants for landscapes. Magnolia species grow in a wide variety of both temperate and tropical locations. Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is one of the more popular magnolias due to its pleasing aesthetics: large showy flowers in a range of colors and evergreen foliage. However, magnolias can be affected by algal leaf spot. Algal leaf spot is caused by Cephaleuros virescens, which is a widespread plant parasitic green alga. There has been little research on how to treat algal leaf spot on magnolia plants. This study focuses on identifying effective biological- and chemical-based fungicides for the management of algal leaf spot disease of magnolia plants. Two experiments were conducted in a randomized complete block design with six replications per treatment and a total of 12 treatments, including a nontreated control. The first experiment (Expt. 1) was conducted in a shade house (56% shade) at McMinnville, TN, using southern magnolia plants. The second experiment (Expt. 2) was conducted at a commercial nursery in McMinnvillle, TN, in a field plot planted with ‘Jane’ magnolia (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ × Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’). The algal leaf spot disease severity, disease progression, plant marketability and growth parameters were evaluated. In both experiments, all treatments reduced algal leaf spot disease severity and disease progress in comparison with the nontreated control. In Expt. 1, copper octanoate, copper oxychloride, chlorothalonil water-dispersible granules, chlorothalonil suspension concentrate, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, hydrogen peroxide + peroxyacetic acid, and mono- and di-potassium salts of phosphorus acid + hydrogen peroxide reduced the disease severity and disease progress the most and were not statistically different from one another. In Expt. 2, azoxystrobin + benzovindiflupyr, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and copper oxychloride significantly reduced disease severity and disease progress (area under disease progress curve). Treatments had no deleterious effect on plant growth parameters such as height and width, and no phytotoxicity of applied treatments or defoliation was observed. Treated magnolia plants had better plant marketability compared with the nontreated control plants. The findings of this study will help growers to achieve better management of algal leaf spot disease on magnolia trees.

Open access

Anthony L. Witcher, Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Eugene K. Blythe, and Donna C. Fare

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a valuable nursery product typically produced as a field-grown crop. Container-grown flowering dogwood can grow much faster than field-grown plants, thus shortening the production cycle, yet unacceptable crop loss and reduced quality continue to be major issues with container-grown plants. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of container size and shade duration on growth of flowering dogwood cultivars Cherokee Brave™ and Cherokee Princess from bare-root liners. In 2015, bare-root liners were transplanted to 23-L (no. 7) containers and placed under shade for 0 months (full sun), 2 months (sun4/shade2), 4 months (sun2/shade4), or 6 months (full shade) during the growing season. In 2016, one-half of the plants remained in no. 7 containers and the other half were transplanted to 50-L (no. 15) containers and assigned to the same four shade treatments. In 2015, plant height was greatest with full shade for both cultivars, whereas stem diameter and shoot dry weight (SDW) were greatest in full shade for Cherokee Brave™. In 2016, both cultivars in no. 15 containers had greater plant height, stem diameter, root dry weight (RDW), and SDW. Full shade resulted in the greatest height, stem diameter, RDW, and SDW for Cherokee Brave™, and improved overall growth for ‘Cherokee Princess’. However, vigorous growth due to container size and shade exposure increased the severity of powdery mildew (Erysiphe pulchra) in both years. Substrate leachate nutrient concentration (nitrate nitrogen and phosphate) was greater in no. 15 containers but shade duration had no effect.

Open access

Lisa W. Alexander, Anthony L. Witcher, and Fulya Baysal-Gurel

Witchhazel (Hamamelis sp.) cultivars are now available in an array of forms and flower colors, including several native, pollinator-friendly cultivars. However, little is known about response of witchhazel cultivars to powdery mildew (Podosphaera biuncinata) or the growth and flowering characteristics of witchhazel cultivars in a nursery field production setting. To provide growth, flowering, and disease incidence data to nursery growers, a cultivar trial including 23 cultivars of witchhazel representing five species was planted Apr. 2016 in McMinnville, TN. Plant growth, flowering density, length of bloom, and foliar disease incidence were evaluated over three growing seasons between May 2016 and Oct. 2018. ‘Zuccariniana’ japanese witchhazel (H. japonica) and ‘Sunglow’ common witchhazel (H. virginiana) showed the greatest height increase during the trial, and ‘Sunglow’ also added the most width during the trial. Cultivars with negative height or width growth included Sweet Sunshine chinese witchhazel (H. mollis) and hybrid witchhazels (H. ×intermedia) Aphrodite, Twilight, and Barmstedt Gold. Ten of the 23 cultivars experienced winter injury in the form of stem necrosis. Root crown sprouts were observed for all cultivars at least once during the trial. ‘Wisely Supreme’ chinese witchhazel had the longest bloom period, followed by ‘Westerstede’ and ‘Twilight’ hybrid witchhazels, whereas ‘Quasimodo’ vernal witchhazel (H. vernalis) had the greatest density of flowers. The hybrid witchhazel cultivars Aphrodite, Nina, and Arnold Promise and the common witchhazel cultivars Green Thumb and Sunglow were resistant to powdery mildew under trial conditions in all 3 years. ‘Twilight’ and ‘Barmstedt Gold’ hybrid witchhazel, ‘Little Suzie’ common witchhazel, ‘Wisley Supreme’ chinese witchhazel, and ‘Shibamichi Red’ japanese witchhazel were moderately resistant to powdery mildew.