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  • Author or Editor: James R. Smith x
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Vegetative 6-cm Euphorbia pulcherrima `Freedom' cuttings were placed in black 200-ml bottles containing humic acid solutions, nutrient solutions, or deionized water. Humic acid solutions were prepared using Enersol SC (American Colloid, Arlington Heights, Ill.). Concentrations of 500, 750, and 1000 mg/L humic acid were compared to solutions containing mineral element concentrations equivalent to those contained in humic acid solutions. After 4 weeks, 88%, 75%, and 88% of cuttings had rooted in the 500, 750, and 1000 mg/L humic acid solutions, respectively. Cuttings placed in nutrient controls or deionized water failed to form roots after 4 weeks. Average root fresh mass was 175, 80, and 72 mg for cuttings placed in 500, 750, and 1000 mg/L humic acid solution, respectively. Average number of roots formed per cutting ranged from 21 in the 500-mg/L solution to 6 in the 1000-mg/L solution. Average lengths ranged from 26 mm in the 500-mg/L to 12 in the 1000-mg/L solution. As humic acid concentration increased, average root fresh mass, average number of roots, and the length of the longest root significantly decreased.

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Thirty-three accessions of Fragaria virginiana collected from Mississippi in 1995 were evaluated for horticultural traits and leaf disease resistance at Reidsville, N.C., and strawberry anthracnose resistance (Colletotrichum acutatum and C. fragariae) at Poplarville, Miss., in 1997. The range of variability in berry shape, fruit flesh color, fruit skin toughness, and degree of sunkenness of seeds among accessions indicated probable introgression with F. xananassa in most all accessions. Seventeen of 29 accessions screened for resistance to C. acutatum were resistant, and an additional 10 were tolerant. Overall, these accessions appear to be good additional sources of resistance to this, the prevalent species of anthracnose in the southeastern United States. In addition, the majority of accessions appear to be tolerant-resistant to leaf scorch, leaf blight, and/or powdery mildew. Nine accessions were resistant to all three leaf diseases, and four were resistant to C. acutatum as well as the three foliar diseases. No accessions were resistant to C. fragariae and only five were tolerant. All five accessions tolerant to C. fragariae were also either resistant or tolerant to C. acutatum but the converse was not true.

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Fifteen-centimeter (1700-ml) containers were prepared for this experiment by sealing the drainage holes with insect screen (Hummert International, Earth City, Mo.) that had openings of 0.026 cm × 0.0805 cm. Containers were filled with substrates composed of either a 80% sphagnum peat or 80% coir. The remainder of the substrates was composed of perlite. Rooted cuttings of Euphorbia pulcherrima `Freedom' were planted into the containers and the containers were sealed with the insect screen and plants were allowed to grow and the substrate to age for 2 weeks. Fungus gnat (Bradysia spp.) larvae were collected using potato disks placed on the surface of infested substrates. After 3 days, larvae were collected from the disks, and 10 larvae were added per container. Uninoculated controls were included. After a period of 6 weeks, the adult population was sampled by placing 2.5 × 5.0-cm yellow sticky cards in each container. The larval population was sampled by placing a 4-cm-diameter potato disk on the substrate surface of each container. Fungus gnat larvae and adults were recovered from both sphagnum peat and coir-based substrates. Neither the number of adults nor the number of larvae recovered were significantly different between sphagnum peat and coir-based substrates.

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Coir and peat-based substrates were tested for their effectiveness in inhibiting the development of fungus gnat populations. The first experiment was conducted in July under relatively high temperatures (20 to 35 °C) and a second experiment was conducted in April under relatively low temperatures (20 °C). Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzch `Freedom' plants were planted into 18-cm-diameter containers filled with substrates containing 80% sphagnum peat or coir, with the remainder being perlite. Half of the containers of each substrate were inoculated with fungus gnat larvae and sealed with either cheesecloth or thrips screen for Expts. 1 and 2, respectively. After 6 and 8 weeks for Expts. 1 and 2, respectively, fungus gnat adult and larval populations were sampled. Adults and larvae were recovered from coir and peat-based substrates in both experiments. In Expt. 1, significantly more adults and larvae were recovered from coir-based than peat-based substrates. In Expt. 2, significantly more adults and larvae were recovered from the peat-based than coir-based substrates. In a third experiment, the peat- and coir-based substrates used in Expts. 1 and 2 were used as well as the Iowa State greenhouse substrate, which contained 40% Sphagnum peat, 40% perlite, and 20% loam (v/v). Helianthus annuus L. `Pacino' seeds were sown into 18-cm-diameter containers filled with the test substrates. Natural infestation was allowed to occur for 6 weeks, after which time potato disks were used to sample the fungus gnat larvae population. Larvae were recovered from all substrates, and there was no significant difference in the number of larvae collected from the three substrates. Based on the results of these experiments, we concluded that coir does not inhibit the development of fungus gnat larvae populations and, when presented with options, fungus gnats will infest coir-based substrates as readily as peat-based substrates.

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Knowledge of foliar nitrogen (N) concentration is important in pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wang.) K. Koch] management protocols. Lower cost and/or rapid methods to determine foliar N are desirable and may result in improved management strategies as well as enable precision agricultural practices to be deployed in pecan production. This study investigates using a portable chlorophyll meter and Vis-NIR camera to rapidly determine pecan foliar N in situ. Relationships of SPAD values from a chlorophyll meter (Minolta SPAD 502Plus) and vegetative indices calculated from camera image data to foliar N determined by chemical analysis were investigated. SPAD readings were taken monthly from May through October on ‘Pawnee’, ‘Kanza’, and ‘Maramec’ pecan cultivars in Oklahoma in 2010. Images of the same ‘Pawnee’ and ‘Kanza’ trees were collected in September and October of 2010 with a truck-mounted multispectral camera using ambient light. Correlation of foliar N to SPAD values was poor in May for all cultivars but distinct significant linear relationships were found for ‘Maramec’ and ‘Pawnee’ for each of the other months tested with R 2 ranging from 0.40 to 0.87. Data from ‘Kanza’ had significant relationships in June and October with R 2 of 0.39 and 0.72, respectively. Normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) and reflectance data extracted from Vis-NIR camera images were significantly correlated to foliar N in both months of the study on ‘Pawnee’ but only in September for ‘Kanza’. The various relationships had R 2 between 0.21 and 0.51.

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Verticle gradients of moisture, salinity, specific fertilizer ions, and pH in the root zone in the closed, insulated pallet system (CIPS) are relatively stable compared with those in the open container system (OCS). Establishment of the VA mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices and maintenance of the biocontrol fungus Trichoderma harzianum and the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae were greater in CIPS than in control OCS. In CIPS, percent corn root length colonized by G. intraradices was greatest in roots in the top stratum of the root medium. Colonization was significantly greater in copper-coated root-containment pouches. Population maintenance in CIPS of T. harzianum, initially uniformly inoculated throughout the root medium, was highest in the top stratum of the root medium where K+ and NO 3 concentrations were highest. Efficacy of S. carpocapsae in parasitizing Galleria mellonella larvae, while greater in CIPS, was significantly related to host plant in CIPS but not in OCS. Inoculation with bacterial antagonists Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Serratia plymuthica significantly increased plant growth in CIPS, but not in OCS. Phytophthora cinnomomi root rot infection readily occurred in inoculated plants, but did not spread to noninoculated plants in CIPS when roots were contained within plant pouches. Because of the stability of the root zone parameters and the lack of leaching-dilution of exudates, volatiles, and other materials from the root zone, CIPS is an excellent system for evaluating effects of microorganism and other factors on root growth and development.

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High salinity and boron often occur together in irrigation water in arid climates, but very little research has been done to study the interaction of the two. A greenhouse experiment was conducted at the US Salinity Laboratory in sand tanks to evaluate the interactions between B and saline drainage water on the performance of broccoli. Particular interest in this study was directed towards the composition of the salinizing solution to determine what role various salts have on the salinity-boron interaction. Results from this study indicate that both Cl-based salts and those characteristic of saline drainage water (i.e., a mixture of salts dominated by sodium sulfate) showed a significant salinity–boron interaction. At high salinity, increased B concentration was less detrimental, both visually and quantitatively (i.e., biomass), than it was at low salinity. That is, plants could tolerate a higher solution B-concentration at higher salinity. However, there was no significant difference between salt types. The effects on head weights were more exaggerated than those on shoot biomass. Shoot B concentration was influenced by salinity, but interestingly the direction of influence was dependent upon the B concentration in the solution. Regardless of the composition of the salinizing solution, increased salinity increased shoot B concentration when B concentrations in the solution were relatively low (i.e., 0.5 mg·L-1). At the highest solution B concentration (28 mg·L-1), increased salinity reduced shoot B concentration. Solution B in itself had very little influence on shoot ion accumulation, but both salinity (i.e., EC) and salinity composition had very strong influences on shoot tissue ion composition. Therefore, these data indicate that salinity and B are antagonistic.

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Legume/cereal mixed winter cover crops are commonly used by organic growers on the central coast of California, but they are unable to provide sufficient nitrogen (N) for a high N-demanding vegetable crop such as broccoli and supplemental fertilizer application may be necessary. The goals of this project were to evaluate the contribution of N from a mixed legume/cereal cover crop (CC) and feather meal and blood meal as organic fertilizers (OF) to an organic broccoli crop and to evaluate economic benefits of CC and OF to the subsequent organic broccoli crop. Trials were conducted at two sites (A and B) with different management histories. Cover crops were grown over the winter and incorporated into the soil in the spring and subsequently broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Italica group)] was grown in 2006 at both sites and in 2007 at B only. Cover crop and no CC treatments were grown with supplemental organic fertilizers at four fertility levels (0, 84, 168, and 252 kg N/ha of OF) with four replicates. Generally broccoli head yields at A (14.9 to 26.3 Mg·ha−1) were higher than at B (0.7 to 17.4 Mg·ha−1 in 2006 and 5.5 to 17.9 Mg·ha−1 in 2007). Yield and aboveground biomass N were significantly increased by OF at rates up to 168 kg N/ha at A and to 252 kg N/ha at B and by CC in 2006 at both sites but not in 2007 at B. Although N content of the CC was similarly low at A (2006) and at B (2007), immobilization of soil mineral N occurred only at B. This suggests that the addition of a low N content CC was offset by high N mineralization from the soil at A with a long organic management history (greater than 33 years). Supplemental fertilizer applications may be necessary to achieve optimal yields, but the amount needed can be reduced by cover cropping in fields with a long history of cover crop-based organic management (A) or when cover crop N content is sufficiently high to prevent immobilization (B, 2006). Soil NO3-N patterns suggest a pre-side dress nitrate test may also be useful for N management in organic broccoli. Use of cover crops increased net return above harvest and fertility costs when the yield reduction by N immobilization did not take place. However, the net return increase by the use of cover crops tended to diminish as the rate of OF application increased.

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