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Elizabeth Will and James E. Faust

A model was developed that will calculate the maximum number of containers that can be placed in a specified area. There are basically three patterns of container placement. First, “square” placement involves placing pots in parallel rows in both directions so that any four pots form a square. The other two methods involve staggered patterns in which any three containers form a triangle. In the “long staggered” pattern, the long rows are parallel to the long dimension of the bench or floor space, while in the “short staggered” pattern, long rows are parallel to the short dimension of the bench. Comparisons of spacing patterns were made using a range of greenhouse/bench dimensions and container sizes. In most cases, a staggered arrangement allowed a significant increase in the number of containers fitting on a bench as compared to square placement. For example, when 6-inch pots are placed pot-to-pot in an 8 × 50-foot greenhouse section or bench, “short staggered” or “long staggered” arrangement of containers permitted 10.4% to 11.9% more containers over that allowed by a square pattern. In general, the larger the bench or greenhouse section, the greater the benefit of staggered spacing. The difference between short and long staggered was usually less than 3%, and depended on the specific space dimensions. This model can be easily entered into a spreadsheet for growers to perform their own calculations.

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James E. Faust and Pamela Korczynski

In 1998, `Freedom Red' poinsettia stock plants were grown outdoors under 0%, 60%, and 80% shade cloth. The stock plants received a single pinch leaving 10 nodes below the pinch. Cuttings were harvested once per week for 3 weeks. The cuttings were propagated, transplanted, pinched, and grown to anthesis in the same greenhouses. After anthesis, the plants were dropped onto a concrete pad from increasing heights ranging from 10 to 70 cm. Stem breakage was recorded each time the plants were dropped. Stem breakage of the finished plants increased as the percentage of shade cloth over the stock plants increased and as cutting harvest week number increased. From the Week 1 cuttings, 0%, 8%, and 10% of the lateral stems broke off of plants from the 0%, 60%, and 80% shade cloth treatments when the plants were dropped 20 cm. From Week 2 cuttings, 6%, 30%, and 36% of the lateral stems broke off the 0%, 60%, and 80% shade treatments. From Week 3 cuttings, 0%, 29%, and 43% of the lateral stems broke off of the 0%, 60%, and 80% shade treatments that were dropped 20 cm. Thirty-six percent of the Week 3 cuttings broke off of the 80% shade treatment plants before anthesis, while none of the lateral shoots broke off of the 0% shade treatment until the plants were dropped from 40 cm.

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James E. Faust and Joanne Logan

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the National Solar Radiation Database to provide accessible solar radiation data to the research community for various uses. Previously, we created a series of monthly daily light integral (DLI) maps to provide a tool for horticulturists to estimate the potential growth and flowering responses for various plants throughout the year. The original DLI maps were based on solar radiation data from 239 sites recorded from 1961 to 1990. The DLI maps presented in this article were created from an updated database that included data from 1998 to 2009. This database provides higher resolution data modeled from satellite images of cloud cover. The data are presented in pixels with each pixel representing 100 km2 of land across the lower 48 United States and Hawaii, whereas the Alaska data are 1600 km2 pixels. The database provided global horizontal irradiance data that were converted to DLI (mol·m−2·d−1) using the conversion factor of 0.007265 mol (400–700 nm)·Wh−1 (400–2700 nm), which assumes that 45% of the solar radiation is in the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm) region and 4.48 μmol·J−1 is the conversion from radiometric to quantum units. The updated DLI maps provide more geographically precise data reflecting recent weather patterns. We present a comprehensive review of recent research exploring the growth and flowering responses of horticultural crops to DLI.

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James E. Faust and Larry W. Grimes

Stock plants of six herbaceous species (Antirrhinum ×hybrida `Primrose with Vein' L., Chrysocephalum apiculatum `Golden Buttons', Diascia ×hybrida `Sunchimes Coral' Link & Otto, Lavendula dentata `Serenity' L., Osteospermum ×hybrida `Zulu' L., and Verbena ×hybrida `Lanai Bright Pink' L.) received nine different pinch treatments. Stock plants received a first pinch treatment at one of three pinch heights [low (L1), middle (M1), and high (H1)] followed by a second pinch at one of three pinch heights [low (L2), middle (M2), and high (H2)] in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement. After the two pinches, cuttings were removed weekly from the stock plants. Cutting yield per stock plant increased as pinch height increased from L to H for both the first and second pinch for all species. A low first pinch followed by a low second pinch (L1L2) produced stock plants with the lowest cutting yield, while a high first pinch followed by a high second pinch (H1H2) produced the stock plants with the highest cutting yield for all species, e.g., the percentage increase in cutting yield was 133% for Antirrhinum, 98% for Chrysocephalum, 144% for Diascia, 80% for Lavendula, 250% for Osteospermum, and 44% for Verbena. This study suggests that pinch height during scaffold development of the stock plant is an important tool for increasing cutting production.

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James E. Faust and Larry W. Grimes

Stock plants of four vegetatively propagated annual species (Argyranthemum frutescens `Comet Pink', Nemesia fruticans `Plum Sachet' Venten., Osteospermum fruticosum `Zulu' L., and Verbena ×hybrida `Lanai Bright Pink' L.) were grown with one (P), two (PP), or three (PPP) pinches during the scaffold development phase. The number of pinches applied to all four species affected the yield and distribution of cuttings produced over time. P began to produce cuttings first; however, the rate (number of cuttings per week) of cutting production was relatively low resulting in the fewest total cuttings produced by the end of the experiment. Cutting harvest from PPP started 3 to 6 weeks after cuttings were initially harvested from P. However, the rate of increase in cutting production was greater in PPP than P for all species, except Osteospermum, so the total cutting yield of PPP equaled P after 3 to 5 weeks of cutting production. The final cutting yield for PPP was 38%, 38%, 20%, and 8% higher than P for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, Osteospermum, and Verbena, respectively. PP produced 24%, 17%, and 21% more total cuttings than P for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, and Osteospermum, respectively, while Verbena displayed no significant difference. At the termination of the experiment, the weekly rate of cutting production increased 66.3%, 84.0%, and 30.5% as pinch number increased from P to PPP for Argyranthemum, Nemesia, and Verbena, respectively. This study demonstrates that the number of pinches performed on stock plants during scaffold development can have a significant impact on the timing, the weekly production rate, and cumulative yield of cuttings harvested.

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James E. Faust, Elizabeth Will and Millie Williams

Graduate students received training in total crop management (TCM) techniques including pest scouting and trapping, nutritional monitoring, and graphical tracking of crop height. In 1995, one student visited five greenhouse businesses biweekly during the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) season to provide TCM training to one greenhouse employee per business. In 1996, a second student visited one greenhouse business every week during the poinsettia crop to conduct the TCM program for that business. The students benefited from the gained practical knowledge of greenhouse production techniques and TCM techniques, and they also benefited from the opportunity to visit commercial greenhouses and interact with staff throughout the production cycle for an entire crop. This program also provided the students with the opportunity to develop their teaching, communication and training skills. The participating growers benefited during this study from receiving useful production information and TCM training. An evaluation of the program conducted in 1998 indicated that four of the five participating businesses continue to use some TCM techniques, while two of the five have fully integrated the TCM program into their normal production routines.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Poor lateral branching sometimes occurs when certain poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cultivars are pinched. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of high temperatures on axillary bud development. In Expt. 1, `Red Sails' plants were grown in a high-temperature environment (HTE) of 27°C at night (8 hr) and 30°C (3 hr), 33°C (10 hr), and 30°C (3 hr) in the day for two months, then transferred to a 20°C environment. In Expt. 2, plants grown at 20°C were transferred into the same HTE described above for 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 days and were then moved back into the 20°C environment. Axillary buds were examined for viability at the end of each experiment. In Expt. 1, only 8% of the lateral buds forming in the HTE were viable, while 80% of the buds forming in leaf axils of leaves unfolding after the plants were transferred to the 20°C environment were viable. In Expt. 2, 80% of buds produced in axils of the first four leaves to unfold after the start of the experiment were viable in all the treatments. However, the percentage of viable buds in the axils of leaf numbers 5 to 8 was 100, 100, 100, 96, 56, and 0 for the plants placed in the HTE for 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 days, respectively. These data indicate day temperatures of 30 to 33°C adversely affect lateral shoot development of `Red Sails' poinsettia.

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Terri W. Starman and James E. Faust

Our objective was to determine the effect of planting date and pinching on flowering dates and plant size of field-grown garden mums. Experiments were conducted in the field during two consecutive growing seasons in 1997 and 1998. In one experiment, 15 to 20 cultivars were planted on five dates (14 May, 4 June, 25 June, 16 July, and 4 Aug.) and received no pinching, one manual pinch 2 weeks after potting, or two manual pinches 2 and 4 weeks after potting. In another experiment, four cultivars were planted at the five dates. Pinch treatments were control, one manual pinch, two manual pinches, one Florel spray at 500 mg·L–1, or two Florel sprays at the same time as the manual pinches but on separate plants. Data were collected for days to first color, first open flower, 10 open flowers, and full bloom. Height and width were measured at 10 open blooms. Although the 1998 season was warmer and caused heat delay, the flowering data followed the same trends as the 1997 experiments. Pinching delayed flowering for the early plant dates. Pinching did not affect plant height or plant width. Planting date affected days to 10 blooms for most early season varieties but not late-season varieties. Planting early produced larger plants and more uneven flowering and resulted in greater heat delay of heat-sensitive varieties. Florel delayed flowering and increased plant size. We concluded that pinching was not required to produce high-quality garden mums of many new cultivars.

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Pamela Korczynski, James E. Faust and Robert Klein

Paclobutrazol drenches (1 ppm, 118.4 mL per pot) were applied to Poinsettia `Freedom' Red' on 1, 11, 21, and 31 Oct. in 1997 and 1998. Plant heights were recorded twice weekly throughout the experiment, and internode length and bract area were measured at harvest. The total bract area of the three true bracts and the top three transitional bracts was reduced by 5.8%, 13.6%, 4.2%, and 2.3% for the 1, 11, 21, and 31 Oct. application dates, respectively; however, all plants were highly marketable. At the time of each drench application, the most newly unfolded leaf was marked. The internode lengths for the three internodes below this leaf and the internodes that developed after the drench application were typically between 5 and 10 mm in length, while the internode lengths of the control plants were typically 10 to 25 mm, depending on node number. Plant height increased 62, 51, 47 and 19 mm following application on the 1, 11, 21, and 31 Oct. application dates, respectively. The 1, 11, 21, and 31 Oct. drench applications reduced total stem elongation from 1 Oct. to anthesis by 64%, 49%, 28%, and 15%, respectively. Paclobutrazol drenches did not affect time to anthesis.

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Terri Woods Starman and James E. Faust

The objective was to provide options for hanging basket production schedules by varying the number of plants per pot (one to four) and the number of manual pinches per basket (zero to two). Several species were evaluated in Spring 1995 and heat tolerance was assessed throughout the summer. Plugs (82 plugs per flat) were transplanted into 25-cm hanging baskets in a 22/18°C (venting/night temperature set points) glasshouse. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', Helichrysum bracteatum `Golden Beauty', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' produced quality baskets with three or more plugs per basket and no pinch. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst' and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) produced quality baskets with fewer than three plants per basket if plants received at least one pinch, however length of growing time was increased. Pentas lanceolata `Starburst', Scaevola aemula `New Blue Wonder', and Streptocarpella hybrid `Concord Blue' proved to be heat tolerant, blooming throughout the summer. Bacopa speciosa `Snowflake', Brachycome iberidifolia `Crystal Falls', and Lysimachia procumbens (Golden Globes) were not heat tolerant, i.e., ceased developing flowers in June and resumed flowering in September. Bidens ferulifolium did not produce an acceptable quality hanging basket under any experimental treatments.