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Flower cluster thinning effects were investigated on A-2274, a large-fruited, seedless table grape selection from the Univ. of Arkansas Grape Breeding Program. The objective of the study was to evaluate flower cluster thinning as a method to enhance cluster size and fill. Treatments included thinning to one flower cluster per shoot, removing one-half of each cluster, and a control (no flowers removed). Each treatment consisted of three, single-vine replications, with each vine being pruned to 32 buds. Removal of entire flower clusters (to one per shoot) resulted in larger clusters and a trend toward higher cluster fill ratings. Berry mass, number of clusters per vine, and yield per vine were unaffected by flower cluster treatment. Berries per cluster were reduced by the partial flower cluster removal treatment. Flower cluster thinning to one cluster proved a beneficial practice in increasing cluster characteristics of this promising selection.

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Two new seedless grape cultivars were released in 1999 from the grape breeding program at the Univ. of Arkansas. `Jupiter' is the fifth release from the program. `Jupiter' is blue-fruited, has large berries, non-slipskin texture, and a mild muscat flavor. Yields of `Jupiter' were very good in replicated trials, and hardiness is also adequate for production in all areas of the South. `Jupiter' ripens 5 days later than `Venus', but earlier than `Mars' or `Reliance'. `Neptune' is the sixth release and first white-fruited cultivar from the program. It has medium-sized berries, large clusters, non-slipskin texture, and a mild, fruity flavor. Yields of `Neptune' were moderate in replicated trials. `Neptune' ripens 17 days later than `Venus' and 3 days earlier than `Mars'. Both cultivars were developed and evaluated with a commercial cultural system including routine fungicide applications, and fungicides will be required to reliably produce these cultivars. Neither of these cultivars has been tested in a Pierce's Disease region of the United States, and it is not anticipated that either will have resistance to this disease.

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Blue Ridge, Cape Fear, Georgiagem, and O Neal southern highbush blueberry cultivars were grown for 5 years on a fine sandy loam soil in a comparison of plants either mulched with uncomposted pine sawdust and woodchips or nonmulched. Other cultural practices were identical and all plants received the same amount of trickle irrigation. A significant mulch × cultivar interaction for yield and mulch × plant age interactions for yield, individual berry weight, and plant volume were found. Cape Fear was the highest-yielding mulched cultivar, followed by Blueridge, Georgiagem, and O Neal. Mulched plants had higher yields and produced larger plants. Average individual berry weight was greater for mulched plants in the first year of harvest, but not different among treatments in other years. The data reveal that these southern highbush cultivars performed similar to northern highbush (Vaccinicum corymbosum L.) in their need for mulching for adequate production on upland soils.

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Abstract

Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) was grown under growth room conditions with two photoperiodic treatments, short day and long day. Each treatment received a total of 13 hours light per 24 hour cycle, either continuously (13H) or as an interrupted night treatment (131) with 1 hour of light in the middle of the dark period. In addition to the previously reported changes in dry matter yield of herb, oil yield, growth habit and flowering, the photoperiodic treatments strongly influenced the proportions of several individual monoterpenes in peppermint. The long day treatment resulted in reduced levels of menthofuran, pulegone, menthyl acetate and limonene as well as increased levels of menthone, menthol, neo menthol acetate (+ unknown), trans-sabenine hydrate, cineole and β pinene + sabenine.

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Abstract

Oil yield of peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) per unit area obtained from plant density treatments 30 and 40 plants/m2, reached a maximum early in the growing season, whereas oil yield from the lower density treatment, 10 plants/m2, continued to increase even at a menthol content of 50%. The latter density treatment yielded less oil per unit area. At the 2 highest densities, herb harvested at a stage when oil contained 45% free menthol resulted in maximum oil yield and optimum oil quality. Delaying harvest once the above stage had been reached resulted in increased levels of menthol but at the expense of increased levels of menthofuran and decreased oil yields. As the growing season progressed, menthol and menthyl acetate contents of oil increased while menthone decreased. This effect was accelerated at the high plant densities.

Open Access

A spring application of 19 g CO(15NH2)2/plant at 2.49% atom percent enrichment was made in Mar. 1995 on 2-year old, field-grown `Arapaho' blackberry plants. Individual plants were harvested during the study at preharvest (late May), postharvest (mid-July), and early dormancy (late October). The following plant parts were separated for analysis: roots, primocanes, floricanes, primocane leaves, floricane leaves, fruits. Soil samples were also taken from within the drip line of the plants at each sample date. Plant tissues were washed, dry weights measured and ground for acid digestion, total N determination and 15N analysis. Samples were measured for 15N atom percent abundance by a isotope ratio spectrometer. The whole-plant dry matter in creased during the season from 53 g in May to 153 g in October. Plants sampled in October had a greater amount of dry matter in roots than in any other tissue. There was a decreased total N content in all vegetative tissues (leaves and canes) from May to October. The maximum fertilizer 15N percent recovery was 43% (October) and the minimum was 12% (May) from the total plant tissues. Compared to other plant tissues, floricane leaves and primocanes recovered significantly more fertilizer 15N in May, while roots and primocane leaves recovered more in October. Floricanes and fruits did not increase in 15N levels during the sampling period. Fertilizer 15N recovered in the soil amounted to 35.5% of the applied with 4.5% found in the inorganic fraction, 31% in the organic fraction. There were no statistical differences in percent recovery of the fertilizer 15N among sample dates in the topsoil. October 15N percent recovery was much lower than May in the subsoil, indicating a downward movement of N by leaching. Averaging all sample dates, 59.5% of the labeled fertilizer was accounted for in the plant and soil, with the remaining portion probably lost via volatilization, leaching, and/or denitrification.

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A planting of sawdust-mulched highbush blueberries (cv. Bluecrop) was established on a Captina silt loam at the Univ. of Arkansas Research and Extension Center, Fayetteville, in 1994. Nitrogen rate and method of delivery treatments were begun that year and continued through the first two fruiting years (1996 and 1997). Rates included 0, 67, 134, 201, and 268 kg·ha-1 N using ammonium sulfate during the fruiting years (one-half and two-thirds these rates in 1994 and 1995, respectively), and methods of delivery included dry, surface-applied, and fertigation. Total N for the year was applied in three applications for the dry application and in 12 applications using fertigation. Neither yield nor berry mass were statistically significantly affected by N rate or method of delivery. Also, method of delivery had little effect on foliar levels of any macro- and microelements. Rate of N influenced foliar N most years, with the highest N rate increasing foliar N the greatest. The N rate required to consistently achieve adequate foliar N levels (minimum of 1.6% N) was 134 kg·ha-1. Foliar levels >2.0% were common with the two highest N rates. Foliar Mg and Mn were also influenced by N rate, with the lowest Mg level found for the highest N rate, while excess foliar Mn (800 to 100 ppm) was common with the higher N rates in 1997.

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Although several new southern highbush blueberry cultivars have been introduced, little is known about their shelflife quality. Five southern highbush cultivars and three advanced selections were harvested from plantings at Clarksville, Ark. and held at 5C, 95% RH for 21 days followed by 1 day at 20C. `Gulf Coast' fruit had the most and `A109' the least weight loss after storage (12% and 6%). `Gulf Coast' fruit were rated softest after storage, Anthocyanin content was highest in `Cape Fear' and lowest in `MS108' (142 and 57 abs. units/g FW, respectively). After storage, total anthocyanin content increased 60% in `Cape Fear' and `O'Neal' fruit. Fruit pH was higher in stored fruit but titratable acidity decreased only in `ONeal', `Sierra', and `G616' fruit. Results indicate that southern highbush blueberries cultivars show great variability in shelflife quality.

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