Viticulture in Michigan is limited by a cool and humid climate and as a result, there is a problem of harvest season cluster rot, especially in cultivars with compact cluster morphology. Economically important wine grape varieties in eastern North America possess varying susceptibility to harvest season cluster rot. Some important cultivars that are susceptible are Pinot gris, Pinot noir, Riesling (Vitis vinifera L.) as well as Seyval and Vignoles (French–American hybrids or interspecific hybrid cultivars). A common characteristic of these cultivars is the compactness of the berries held on the cluster rachis. The aim of this work was to determine whether a quantified amount of leaf removal or a temporary reduction in carbon assimilation at the beginning of bloom would reduce fruit set and cluster compactness. Vines subjected to removal of four or six basal leaves had an average fruit set reduction of ≈45% from a non-treated control. Cluster weight and berries per cluster were similarly reduced with a greater effect on the basal than the apical cluster of the shoot. Reduced fruit set was associated with a reduction in cluster compactness and harvest season rot. This was also reflected in yield and basic fruit chemistry parameters associated with the importance of basal leaves to the developing cluster. Multiple applications of stylet oil at different time intervals resulted in significant reduction in net photosynthesis (Pn). A single application had no significant impact on Pn, whereas multiple applications reduced leaf assimilation rates. However, this reduction in Pn did not reduce fruit set or improve cluster compactness. There was a strong negative effect of early leaf removal in Year 1 on vine performance in Year 2; this carryover effect increased shootless nodes per vine, reduced the number of clusters per shoot and per vine, and dramatically reduced fruit set and consequently yield per vine.
Paolo Sabbatini and G. Stanley Howell
Letizia Tozzini, Paolo Sabbatini, and G. Stanley Howell
Viticulture in Michigan is often limited by cool and humid climate conditions that impact vine growth and the achievement of adequate fruit quality at harvest. Sugars, pH, acids, and yeast available nitrogen (YAN) are indices of quality and, as such, of suitability for wine production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of foliar nitrogen (N) fertilization applied as a 1% w/v urea solution at veraison as a method to increase canopy N availability during the fruit ripening stage. To test the effect on different source sink conditions, we imposed three levels of defoliation (0%, 33%, and 66% of leaves removed per vine) and measured net photosynthetic rate (Pn), leaf efficiency parameters, yield components, and fruit quality parameters. Apical leaf Pn was increased by the 33% defoliation (+12% from the undefoliated control) and by the urea application (+6%) 2 weeks after veraison. In basal leaves we observed a reduction in chlorophyll content (SPAD) and maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm) as a result of the defoliation treatment and secondarily by the N application, which resulted in a reduction in Pn. Therefore, mean shoot Pn was unaffected by the treatments. Although neither main nor lateral shoot growth was increased by any defoliation treatment, both percent soluble solids (%SS) and berry weight were significantly reduced by the 66% defoliation treatment. Application of urea increased yeast available amino acids by 20% but did not impact %SS or other chemical parameters indicating a different accumulation pathway for sugars and amino acids in the berry.
Eric J. Hanson and G. Stanley Howell
Mature `Concord' vines (Vitis labrusca L.) were excavated at 2- to 4-week intervals through the season to study seasonal changes in vine N concentration. Vine N content began increasing 2 weeks after budbreak, increased most rapidly from mid-May to mid-July, and declined between fruit maturation and the beginning of leaf senescence. Vine N content was lowest at budbreak (18 g) and maximum at fruit maturity (75 g). This change represented a net accumulation of 57 g N/vine or 77 kg N/ha. In a separate study, `Seyval blanc' vines were treated with double 15N-labeled ammonium nitrate at either budbreak or bloom. Labeled N was applied as a spray beneath vines to simulate a broadcast vineyard application. Vines were excavated when leaves began to senesce in October, partitioned into various components, and analyzed by mass spectrophotometry to determine fertilizer-derived N content. Vines had recovered statistically similar percentages of fertilizer N applied at budbreak (7.1%) and bloom (10.6%). The low recovery of fertilizer N likely resulted from the method of fertilizer application, the presence of a competitive grass sod between the rows, and relatively high native soil N levels.
William R. Nail and G. Stanley Howell
Potted grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. `Chardonnay') were inoculated with conidial suspensions of the grapevine pathogen causing powdery mildew of grape (GPM) (Uncinula necator (Schw.) Burr.). Leaves of inoculated and noninoculated vines were studied for the effects of varying light (PAR) and CO2 concentrations on factors affecting carbon assimilation. GPM reduced carboxylation efficiency (k), net CO2 assimilation rate (A), stomatal conductance (g s), and internal CO2 concentration (Ci) under ambient CO2, A max at >900 ppm CO2, stomatal limitations to A (lg), and photochemical efficiency (Φ) on diseased leaves, while having no effect on the CO2 compensation point (Γ) or the light compensation point (cp). GPM had no significant effect on chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm).
Jennifer L. Dwyer, N. Curtis Peterson, and G. Stanley Howell
The nursery industry continues to develop improved methods for successfully overwintering container-grown nursery stock. Experiments were conducted using several different species of woody ornamentals ranging from species known to be cold hardy to cold tender. Eighteen species were subjected to temperatures ranging from 20F to -20F and observed for post-stress performance and viability. Rates and timing of acclimation, mid-winter hardiness, and deacclimation of seven species were determined by examining the shoots for injury after subjecting them to controlled freezer conditions. The roots of the same seven species were exposed to three different overwintering systems: in a polyhouse, pot-to-pot above the ground, and pot-in-pot below the ground. Cold hardiness of root and shoot systems and the effects of warming temperatures on shoots were determined as well as the post-stress performance of each species. Results of this research will be presented.
Kathleen M. Kelley, N. Curtis Peterson, and G Stanley Howell
The loss of container-grown nursery stock during winter months may be due to lack of root hardiness when exposed to cold temperatures. After Euonymus alatus `Compactus', Weigela florida `Java Red', and Hibiscus syriacus `Paeonyflora' reached midwinter hardiness, replicates of each cultivar were subjected to 12 hours of 21°C followed by 12 hours of 0°C each 24-hour period for up to 16 days. Controlled temperature freezing was conducted after each 48-hour period, with temperatures ranging from –6 to –27°C to determine the level of root hardiness. Plants were placed in a greenhouse environment to observe post-stress performance. Weigela was the most cold hardy, followed by Euonymus and Hibiscus. In general, the early accumulation of warming temperatures decreased root hardiness and delayed budbreak, with a noticeable loss of vigor. Results of this research will be presented.
David P. Miller, G. Stanley Howell, and James A. Flore
The measurement of whole-plant CO2 uptake integrates leaf-to-leaf variability, which arises from such sources as angle of incident radiation, source/sink relationships, age, and biotic or abiotic factors. Respiration of above-ground vegetative and reproductive sinks is also integrated into the final determination of whole-plant CO2 assimilation. While estimates of whole-plant CO2 uptake based on single-leaf determinations have been used, they do not accurately reflect actual whole-plant assimilation. Chambers were constructed to measure gas exchange of entire potted grapevines. The design and construction are simple, inexpensive, and easy to use, allowing for the measurement of many plants in a relatively short time. This enables the researcher to make replicated comparisons of the whole-plant CO2 assimilation of various treatments throughout the growing season. While CO2 measurement was the focus of this project, it is also possible to measure whole-plant transpiration with this system.
Jennifer L. Dwyer, N. Curtis Peterson, and G. Stanley Howell
Studies were conducted with Physocarpus, Weigela, Hibiscus, Euonymus, Forsythia, Spiraea, Lonicera, and Taxus to evaluate the effects of warming temperatures on shoot dehardening. Container-grown plants were stored pot-in-pot, allowing shoots to receive natural outdoor conditions until early March. Control plants remained at 0C (32F), while treatment plants were placed in a temperature-controlled chamber at 21C (70F) and given up to 8 days of warming. Controlled-temperature freezing was used to evaluate plant hardiness. Hardiness levels of Weigela, Spiraea, and Forsythia rapidly decreased after 1 day of warming and again after the 7th day. Hibiscus gradually decreased in hardiness until the 7th day. The influence of polyhouse storage, in which plants were stored pot-in-pot, on the dehardening of Weigela, Hibiscus, and Euonymus was compared to outdoor storage, where plants were stored pot-in-pot. The warming effects of the polyhouse decreased the cold hardiness of the species studied. Results of the warming effects will be presented.
Shijian Zhuang, Letizia Tozzini, Alan Green, Dana Acimovic, G. Stanley Howell, Simone D. Castellarin, and Paolo Sabbatini
Achieving desired fruit quality at harvest in cool climate conditions is a challenge, especially for red varieties, and the typical inability of fruit to reach technological maturity is a critical contributing factor requiring examination. To probe this issue, this research investigated the impact of two levels of crop thinning and of basal leaf removal at three phenological stages in the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons in Michigan. Experiments were conducted at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) in Benton Harbor. Using ‘Cabernet franc’ (Vitis vinifera L.) vines, yield components (yield per vine, pruning weight, and cluster and berry weight) and basic fruit composition traits [total soluble solids (TSS), pH, titratable acidity, anthocyanins, and phenolics) were studied to investigate the effect of cluster thinning and basal leaf removal on vine performance and fruit quality at harvest. Neither of the treatments significantly impacted TSS in either of the two seasons. Cluster thinning treatment successfully altered cropload ratio, indexed as Ravaz Index (RI), independently of the time of application. Basal leaf removal increased exposed berry temperature, cluster light exposure, and subsequent anthocyanin and phenolic content of the berry in both seasons, again independent of application date, whereas cluster thinning was effective only in 2012. Crop thinning coupled with basal leaf removal resulted in an increased efficiency in anthocyanin accumulation in relation to TSS accumulation, expressed as anthocyanin:sugar, in both years. This is significant because it offers potential for vineyard management practices aiming to improve fruit quality in cool climates where the onset of anthocyanin accumulation could be reduced and decoupled from sugar accumulation.