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  • Author or Editor: J. Lindstrom x
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Leyland cypress (×Cupressocyparis Leylandii) is becoming increasingly important as a live-cut Christmas tree yet it differs from trees currently familiar to most customers. Results of a consumer survey provide an opportunity for growers to adjust planting and marketing decisions. Questionnaires were completed while respondents displayed the tree at their residences. Opinions about the tree referred to tree features and compared them with features of other types of Christmas trees and inquired about the care given to the tree and its disposal. In general, respondents were consistent in their favorable assessment of Leyland cypress as a live Christmas tree with respect to several characteristics including tree shape twig density, and maintenance of fresh appearance over time. Recycling was the primary form of tree disposal.

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It is more important than ever to produce a quality Christmas tree because of increasing competition in the Christmas tree market. Grade standards are intended to reflect quality, as defined by the consumer, to the grower. The USDA revised a set of voluntary standards for Christmas trees effective October 30, 1989. The existence of different grade standards cause the existence of several prices that correspond to each grade. The price differentials among grades should reflect the quality or desired consumer attribute. Therefore, a description of a grade that is not reflective of that desired by the consumer can lead to missallocation of resources by producers resulting in economic losses. The new USDA standards did not include consumer opinion information into the new standards, therefore, we feel these standards are more applicable to producer-wholesale transactions, and not that of the producer-consumer. It was found that over 75% of surveyed growers in Georgia sold almost 80% of their trees as choose and cut, not wholesale. Consumer demand will drive the Christmas tree market and, therefore, consumer preferences need to be incorporated into the grade standards.

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This experiment compared the effect of fall fertilization on freeze hardiness of evergreen vs. deciduous azaleas (Rhododendron). Beginning in Spring 2003, a 2 × 3 factorial experiment was conducted in Athens, Ga., on container plants grown outdoors under nursery conditions involving two taxa (R. canescens and R. ×satsuki `Wakaebisu') and three fall fertigation regimes (Aug.–Sept., 75 mg·L-1 of N; Aug.–Nov., 75 mg·L-1 of N; and Aug.–Nov., 125 mg·L-1 of N). On 15 Nov. and 17 Dec. 2003 and 16 Jan., 18 Feb., and 19 Mar. 2004, plant stem tissue was harvested and exposed to 10 progressively lower temperature intervals between –3 °C and –30 °C under laboratory conditions in order to estimate azalea freeze hardiness. Freeze hardiness was affected by fertilizer and taxa treatments, but there were no significant interaction effects in this study. The timing of freeze hardening was not significantly different among the two species over time, and the fall fertilizer treatments did not affect the timing of hardening. Compared to the industry standard (75 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Sept.), R. canescens that received extended fertilization at the high rate (125 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Nov.) was less freeze hardy in November, December, and January, and R. ×satsuki was less freeze hardy in December. However, when compared to the industry standard, the low rate of extended fertilization (75 mg·L-1 of N, Aug.–Nov.) did not affect azalea freeze hardiness.

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The extent of Chilades pandava Horsfield herbivory among 85 Cycadaceae species was determined by three evaluators in a common garden setting in Thailand to identify patterns that may improve horticultural and conservation management practices. The significant differences in herbivory damage from this invasive lepidopteran pest ranged 8.7-fold among the species. Phylogenetic sections of this monogeneric cycad family did not correspond to the relative differences among the species, and country of nativity was also not informative for this purpose. We suggest the Cycas L. species that share native habitat with this butterfly or the closely related Theclinesthes onycha Hewitson are among the least damaged taxa when they are comingled with other Cycas species in a common landscape. Grouping the most damaged Cycas species together in a managed landscape may reduce costs associated with plant protection. The inclusion of non-native Cycas plants in gardens nearby native Cycas habitats carries the potential of disrupting the delicate specialist relationship that native butterfly populations have with host Cycas species.

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A survey was conducted to investigate consumer preferences in a Christmas tree purchase. The survey asked about consumers' socioeconomic status, customer loyalty and on farm buying habits, specific tree preferences, and preferences of live versus artificial trees. Fifty-three percent of the 148 respondents were male and 61% were between the ages of 25-44. Thirty-three percent had 3 children, 50% were college graduates and 59X had a family income greater than $35,000. Sixty-eight percent purchased their tree at the same farm as they did the previous year, 62% traveled from 1-10 miles to the farm, 50% of trees were purchased by December 8, and 70% of the purchases were during the afternoon. The most common tree selected was a 6-7 ft. Virginia Pine and selection time ranged from 5-30 minutes. Compared to an artificial tree, respondents cited messiness, difficulty to carry and trouble to remove as major drawbacks of choose-and-cut Christmas trees. This was particularly evident in female and elderly respondents.

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Hardened and nonhardened whole plants of three potato species, Solanum tuberosum L., S. acaule Bitt., and S. commersonii Dun., and one interspecific cross, `Alaska Frostless' (S. tuberosum x S. acaule) were placed in a low-temperature chamber capable of maintaining -4 ± 0.5C for 6 or 12 hours. The chamber was designed to control the root temperature independently from the rest of the plant. Cold acclimation did not affect the ability of any of the potatoes tested to undercool (supercool). Solanum tuberosum and `Alaska Frostless' did not undercool for the times and temperatures tested and in all cases were killed. Whole plants of S. acaule and S. commersonii undercooled, in some cases, for up to 12 hours. When plants of S. acaule froze, they were severely injured, although their hardiness levels were reported to be lower than the temperature to which they were exposed in this study. Whenever leaves and stems of S. commersonii were frozen they were not injured. Once the soil was allowed to freeze, all plants, in all cases, were frozen.

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A `Montmorency' sour cherry planting was established on 20 clonal rootstocks in April, 1987, as part of the NC-140 cherry rootstock trial. After 5 seasons scion/rootstock combinations showed a 2.5-fold range in trunk circumference. During the fifth season there was a 6-day range in bloom date, a 4-fold range in growth rate, a 7.5-fold range in yield and a 3-fold range in yield efficiency as influenced by rootstock. Trees on GM 9 were the smallest, had the lowest yields, smallest fruit and were among the lowest in yield efficiency. Mahaleb has been the standard cherry rootstock in Utah. Rootstocks whose trees were comparable or exceeded those on mahaleb in both yield and yield efficiency during the fifth season included 148-1, 196-13 and M×M 2. Differences were also observed in root sucker tendency.

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Differential thermal analysis (DTA) has great potential as a quick and convenient cold hardiness determination method in plants. It measures freezing events inside of plant samples by detecting exotherm(s) produced when water changes from liquid to solid phase. DTA is highly sensitive to the experimental conditions and it has been reported to be ineffective among different fruit crops after acclimation of floral buds has occurred. The objective of this project was to establish DTA as a rapid and accurate method to predict peach floral bud cold hardiness from acclimation to deacclimation as compared with the traditional standard artificial freezing test. Floral buds of ‘Elberta’ and ‘Flavorich’ peach cultivars were subjected to DTA and artificial freezing tests throughout the winters of 2015–16 and 2016–17. Before deacclimation, two distinct exotherms, low-temperature exotherms (LTE) and high-temperature exotherms (HTE), were normally detected from floral bud DTA analyses. After deacclimation, DTA tests yielded only a few LTEs. However, incubation of floral buds at −2 °C overnight before the cooling process of DTA tests yielded an increased number of LTEs for both seasons in comparison with samples directly run using DTA without incubation. Similarly, after deacclimation started, the temperature in which LTE occurred was correlated (r = 0.59–0.86) with LT50 (lethal temperature that damaged 50% of floral buds) when DTA samples were treated overnight at −2 °C. In our study, pretreatment of floral buds at −2 °C overcame the inability of DTA to detect LTEs after deacclimation, which improved the ability and reliability of DTA to detect LTEs for more than 50% of the buds used per date per cultivar. DTA is a promising method to predict cold hardiness of peach plants.

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Abstract

Rooted cuttings of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex. Klotzsch cvs. Annette Hegg Dark Red and Eckespoint C-1 Red) were grown under a 16-hour photoperiod in aggregate culture to determine the influence of NH4-N and NO3-N on plant growth. Plant height, number of nodes, and shoot dry weight were reduced with NH4 in comparison to NO3.NH4:NO3 combinations containing more than 50% (6 meq) NO3 produced superior growth. Stunting, leaf chlorosis and abscission, and stubby brown roots were observed on plants receiving any level of NH4 in the nutrient solution and increased in severity as the NH4 concentration increased. Inferior growth observed with the NH4 treatments was not due solely to the higher levels of Cl and SO4 in those solutions.

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