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H. Brent Pemberton* and Ursula K. Schuch

Rose (Rosa sp.) cultivars Blue Girl and Mister Lincoln were harvested bare-root on 1 Nov. 2001 and 22 Nov. 2002 from a commercial nursery in Arizona. Grade 1 plants were then potted and forced to flowering in either Tucson, Ariz., or Tyler, Texas. Total chilling hours were calculated as the number of hours that the plants were exposed to a temperature below 7 °C in the field and during shipping and cold storage. Data were recorded when the petals on the first flower beg an to reflex. Overall, the number of flowering shoots and plant performance was positively correlated to digging date, weeks of cold and total chilling hours received. Days from potting to flower were negatively correlated to weeks of cold storage and chilling hours. However, when the data were separated by location, the number of flowering shoots, the percentage flowering shoots, and plant performance was positively correlated to weeks of cold and chilling hours in Arizona, but was positively correlated to digging date in Texas. Days from potting to first leaf unfolding were recorded in Arizona only and were negatively correlated to weeks of cold storage and chilling hours. Days from potting to flower were negatively correlated to chilling hours at both locations and also to weeks of cold storage in Texas. The increase in chilling from two or four weeks of cold storage increased the number of flowering shoots and performance rating of plants forced in Arizona during both seasons, but only for the 2001 season in Texas. During the 2002 season in Texas, these responses were not influenced by cold storage, but were greater than those seen during the 2001 season. In Arizona, days from potting to flower were greater in 2001 than 2002, and decreased in response to cold storage in 2001, but not in 2002.

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H. Brent Pemberton and William R. Roberson

Long days are known to hasten flowering of Petunia hybrida. However, breeding of modern standard-type petunia cultivars has reduced this response. With the introduction of new genetics involved in the creation of trailing-type petunias, many cultivars have been observed to have a strong photoperiodic response to the point that it is an issue for late winter or early spring flowering cropping cycles. In order to characterize this photoperiodic response in modern seed-grown trailing-type petunia cultivars, seed of 51 cultivars of trailing petunias (Petunia hybrida) were sown in November in 288 plug trays. When established about 4 weeks later, uniform plants were selected and transplanted individually to 15-cm pots. Plants were exposed to either natural days or a 4-hour night interruption using incandescent light from 2200 to 0200 HR each day until flowering. A minimum night temperature of 17 °C was maintained. Days to first flower from sowing ranged from 72 to 117 days. Generally, the night interruption treatment hastened flowering. However, the degree of hastening ranged from 4 and 5 days for `Ramblin' Burgundy Chrome' and `Ramblin' Lilac Glo', respectively, to 27 and 32 days for `Tidal Wave Cherry' and `Tidal Wave Hot Pink', respectively. Effects of night interruption treatment on plant architecture will also be presented.

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H. Brent Pemberton and William E. Roberson

The East Texas Bedding Plant Pack and Garden Performance Trials began several years ago at the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton (Overton Center) with the goal of providing information on greenhouse and field performance of bedding plant varieties to the local bedding plant industry and consumers of these products. The program began with local trials that have now expanded in scope with the Smith County Master Gardeners Association playing an integral role in performing the trials. Entries are received from most of the major ornamental seed companies doing business in the United States giving the regional industry access to the only comprehensive greenhouse performance trials in this part of the country. Performance evaluation data is important to this industry since it has a wholesale value of over $500 million in the northeast Texas region, of which over $100 million is bedding plant production. The field performance trials are now replicated at the Overton Center, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (Dallas Arboretum) and the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Dallas (Dallas Center), giving over 5 million consumers in the northeast Texas region the opportunity to see how promising new plants from all over the world perform in the local climate. Plants that grow well in this climate have the potential to reduce inputs needed for production and use in the home or commercial landscape. Many of the top performing varieties from the bedding plant trials are also chosen to be part of the Coordinated Education and Marketing Assistance Program (CEMAP), a statewide testing program headquartered at the Dallas Center in which entries vie for designation as Texas Superstar plants. The comprehensive benefit of the East Texas Bedding Plant Pack and Garden Performance Trials is the link between the rural bedding plant producers and the urban consumers which serves as a basis for improving the quality of life for the citizens of Texas.

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H. Brent Pemberton and William E. Roberson

Field grown `Mr. Lincoln' rose plants were dug and wrapped in plastic to reduce moisture loss during transport to the lab. Plants were then pruned, weighed, and returned to the plastic cover. After recording initial weights, plants were allowed to dry for 0, 1, 4, 7, or 24 hours at 16°C. Plants were then oven dried, potted, or soaked in water for 20 hours before potting for each drying time treatment. The potted plants were forced to first flower in a glasshouse at which time growth measurements were made. Undried plants had a moisture content of 48%. Seven hours drying reduced moisture content to 41%, but had no effect on growth or flowering. The 24 hour drying time resulted in a plant moisture content of 33%, a plant loss of 44%, and delayed growth initiation and flowering by up to 15 days compared to undried controls. Soaking after 24 hours drying increased plant survival from 38 to 75%. Plants that survived the excessive drying produced flowering growth comparable to plants with a moisture content of > 40%. A critical moisture level for rose plant survival was found to be between 33 and 41%.

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Garry V. McDonald and H. Brent Pemberton

Cut flower production in a low-input greenhouse for winter and spring holiday sales was evaluated. Low-input structure was a plastic covered Quonset greenhouse modified with sides that could be manually raised or lowered. Sides were raised on mild days for ventilation and remained closed for minimum heating for the few brief periods of sub-freezing temperatures characteristic of the local winter climate. Bulbs of tulip (Tulipa sp L.) cultivars `Maureen', `Negrita', and `Oxford' were dry cooled for 12 weeks and planted in December for Valentine's Day forcing. 30% shading did not significantly increase stem length in `Maureen' and `Oxford' but did increase stem length in `Negrita'. `Oxford' was at a harvestable stage for the. Valentine's Day market, but not `Maureen' or `Negrita'. All cultivars were of an acceptable quality. Plugs of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) cultivars `Appleblossom', `Potomac white', and `Rocket Rose' were planted in late winter at 4 and 6 inch spacing and were either pinched or not pinched. For all cultivars, pinching resulted in higher yield but lower grade. Four inch spacing had a slightly larger number of higher grade stems possibly due to stretching. `Appleblossom' and `Potomac White' were florist grade, whereas `Rocket Rose' was more appropriate for mass marker For both tulip and snapdragon, cultivar evaluation is necessary to determine suitable market strategy.

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Titus M. Kyalo and H. Brent Pemberton

Rooted liners of Rosa cvs. Meijikatar and Meirutral were potted into 11 cm pots and placed into growth chambers. One chamber provided 14 hours of light with 30C/21C (day/night) air temperature (HTLD) and another chamber provided 8 hours of light with 21C/17C (day/night) air temperature (LTSD). PPF was 725 μmoles m-2 s-1 in both chambers. When plants were established, they were pinched and forced to flower. Simulated shipping for 4 days at 16C in darkness resulted in a shorter shelf-life when placed in an interior environment at 21C with a continuous PPF of 30 μmoles m-2 s-1 and compared to non-shipped plants. In addition, LTSD grown plants exhibited a shorter shelf-life than HTLD grown plants. When Meirutral plants were sprayed to runoff 24 hours prior to shipping, 2 mmolar (aminooxy)acetic acid (AOA) increased the shelf-life to the same length as the non-shipped plants and 2 mmolar silver thiosulphate (STS) increased the shelf-life to longer than the non-shipped plants. However, AOA did not increase shelf-life over that of shipped plants for Meijikatar whereas STS increased the shelf-life to that of the non-shipped plants.

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H. Brent Pemberton and William E. Roberson

The East Texas Bedding Plant Pack and Garden Performance Trials are performed as an interaction between the plant material source companies, the plant producer companies, volunteers, and retail consumers. The Overton Trial Site is located near a concentration of bedding plant growers ($80 million annual wholesale value) which is part of the close to $500 million in ornamental plant production in northeast and north central Texas, about half of the state industry value. The spring and fall trials consist of two phases. The greenhouse phase consists of assessing production performance for use by the crop production industry. Crops are usually finished in packs (36 cells per flat), but larger size containers are used as needed according to species. Height control is a major issue and specific issues have been addressed. This is one way that publishable data can be generated by these trials. The garden phase consists of assessing garden performance in a replicated field setting at the Overton site. Garden performance is also assessed for many of the entries at sites at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the Texas A&M Univ. Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Dallas. An integral part of the trials are the volunteers who, as members of the Smith County Master Gardener Association, donate hundreds of hours of labor to the seeding, transplanting, and garden establishment phases of the trials. In addition, a web site has been initiated as the only practical way to share the data and hundreds of images that are generated each trial season.

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William A. Black, David H. Byrne and H. Brent Pemberton

Forty-five rose genotypes including modem cultivars and rose species were evaluated in a field trial for resistance to black spot caused by Marssonina rosae. The trial was designed as a randomized block with four replications at two sites. The plots were planted at College Station (East Central Texas) and Overton (Northeast Texas). Ratings were done for the percentage of leatlets with black spot lesions and for leaf defoliation. These ratings were taken four times during the growing season from May to October 1993. Preliminary results indicate a high degree of resistance in the ten species studied, Modem cultivars were equally divided into moderate resistance, low resistance, and susceptible with only four showing high resistance. Disease pressure was higher and occurred earlier in the season at the Overton site. Disease pressure was highest at both sites in late spring and again in fall. Pressure was lowest in August after a prolonged period without rain. Introduction during the growing season of a previously unseen race of the pathogen was observed by the performance of the cultivar Sunbright.

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David Shupert, David H. Byrne and H. Brent Pemberton

Research with the Basye Rose Breeding and Genetic Program at Texas A&M University has developed rose populations to use to study the genetic nature of leaf, stem, and several other rose traits. The rose populations are from the backcross of Rosachinensis`Old Blush' to WOB (interspecific hybridization of the diploid parents Rosawichuariana `Basye's Thornless' and `Old Blush'). The qualitative trait of presence of stem prickles and the quantitative traits of stem prickle density and leaflet number were observed in three field locations. Two locations are in College Station, Texas, and one location in Overton, Texas. The qualitative trait of presence of stem prickles supports the reported monogenic modes of inheritance. The presence of stem prickles (dominant) had a segregation ratio of 1:1 for prickles: no prickles. Prickle density and leaflet number demonstrated a quantitative mode of inheritance. For prickle density the genotype was significant and environment was nonsignificant. For leaflet number the genotype/generation was significant and environment was nonsignificant. This shows that genotype influences prickle density and leaflet number expression. The genotype by environment interaction was nonsignificant for all traits.

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William A. Black, David H. Byrne and H. Brent Pemberton

Five commercial cultivars and one species of rose were evaluated in a field trial for resistance to blackspot caused by Marssonina rosae. The trial was set up as a split-plot with two treatments. Each subplot was either protected on a weekly basis with a fungicide application to control blackspot or left to progress naturally with the disease. The trial was evaluated for blackspot resistance and for growth characteristics. Only the one species, Rosa roxburghii, was disease-free in both situations. Two cultivars, Peace and Sunflare, were the least resistant. They averaged 65% defoliation and a 50% infection rating. This corresponded to a 50% reduction in height and a 90% reduction in fresh weight of the plant. `Red Radiance' had ≈20% less defoliation than the two above cultivars, which was reflected by a 20% increase in growth. `Old Blush' had a higher resistance rating, but its propensity to quickly drop its foliage upon infection left it with a similar growth reduction as `Red Radiance'. `Carefree Wonder' was the most-resistant commercial cultivar. It had only a 43% decrease in fresh weight. `Red Radiance' and `Carefree Wonder' both displayed much greater defoliation during December, whereas the other susceptible cultivars showed the same degree of defoliation as earlier in the season.