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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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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 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 Royal D. Heins

Leaf unfolding rate (LUR) was determined for `Utah' African violet plants grown in growth chambers under 20 combinations of temperature and photosynthetic photon flus (PPF). A nonlinear model was used to predict LUR as a function of shoot temperature and daily integrated PPF. The maximum predicted LUR was 0.27 leaves/day, which occurred at 25C and a daily integrated PPF of 10 mol/m2 per day. The optimum temperature for leaf unfolding decreased to 23C, and the maximum rate decreased to 0.18 leaves/day as the daily integrated PPF decreased from 10 to 1 mol/m2 per day. A greenhouse experiment using 12 combinations of air temperature and daily integrated PPF was conducted to validate the LUR model. Plant temperatures used in the model predicted leaf development more accurately than did air temperatures, but using average hourly temperature data was no more accurate than using average daily temperature data.

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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, Rob Klein and Elizabeth Will

The rate of poinsettia stem elongation is affected by several factors, including light quality, i.e., specific wavelengths of irradiance. As the plants grow and the canopy closes, the red to far-red ratio is reduced and stem elongation is promoted. The objective of this project was to quantify the effect of canopy closure on the stem elongation rate of pinched `Freedom' poinsettias. In the first experiment, individual plants received 413, 645, 929, 1264, or 2580 cm2 of growing area at the time of pinch. The maximum rate of stem elongation for the five spacing treatments was 2.9, 3.8, 4.3, 5.6, or 7.5 mm/day, respectively. In the second experiment, plants were grown at a “tight” or a “wide” spacing as defined by the percentage of PPF transmission measured between plants. The “wide” spacing treatments allowed 50% PPF transmission, while the “tight” spacing treatment allowed 10% PPF transmission. A constant degree of closure was maintained by weekly adjusting plant spacing based on the PPF transmission measurements. The maximum rate of stem elongation of the “tight” spacing was 4.6 mm/day compared to 3.1 mm/day for the “wide” spacing treatment.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effect of temperature on axillary bud and lateral shoot development of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) `Eckespoint Lilo' and `Eckespoint Red Sails' was examined. Rooted `Eckespoint Lilo' cuttings were transplanted and placed into growth chambers maintained at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C for 2 weeks before apex removal. The percentage of nodes developing lateral shoots after apex removal was 68%, 69%, 73%, or 76% at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C, respectively. Cuttings were removed from the lateral shoots, rooted, and placed into a 21 °C greenhouse, and the apices were removed. The percentage of nodes developing into lateral shoots on cuttings taken from plants held at 21, 24, 27, and 30 °C were 74%, 65%, 66%, and 21%, respectively. Of the cuttings in the 30 °C treatment, 83% of the nodes not producing a lateral shoot had poorly developed axillary buds or no visible axillary bud development. Visual rating of axillary bud viability decreased from 100% to 0% when `Eckespoint Red Sails' plants were transferred from a 21 °C greenhouse to a greenhouse maintained at 27 °C night temperature and 30 °C for 3 hours followed by 33 °C for 10 hours and 30 °C for 3 hours during the 16-hour day. Transfer from the high-temperature greenhouse to a 21 °C greenhouse increased axillary bud viability from 0% to 95%. Axillary buds of leaves not yet unfolded were sensitive to high temperatures, whereas those of unfolded leaves (i.e., fully developed correlatively inhibited buds) were not. Sixteen consecutive days in the high-temperature treatment were required for axillary bud development of `Eckespoint Red Sails' to be inhibited.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effects of temperature and daily-integrated photosynthetic photon flux (PPFDI) on African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha Wendl.) flower initiation and development were quantified to provide the basis for an inflorescence development model. The percentage of leaf axils in which an inflorescence initiated and continued development increased as the PPFDI increased from 1 to 4 mol·m-2·day-1, while the rate of inflorescence development was a function of the average daily temperature (ADT). The appearance of a visible flower bud (VB) in a leaf axil was related to the growth of the subtending leaf blade. A polynomial model based on ADT and PPFDI was used to describe leaf blade length at visible bud (LBLVB). A nonlinear model was used to describe the influence of ADT on leaf expansion rate (LER). Inflorescence appearance in the leaf axil was predicted by measuring LBL and estimating the time for the leaf blade to develop to the length required for VB. A phasic-development scale was developed to quantify inflorescence development. Days required for an inflorescence to develop from VB to first open flower was described as a function of ADT and either inflorescence height or inflorescence development stage (IDS). Days from leaf emergence to first open flower for the inflorescence initiated in that leaf axil decreased from 86 to 55 as ADT increased from 18 to 26C.

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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.

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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.