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  • Author or Editor: James W. Jones x
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A water flow model was developed which uses irradiance, leaf-to-air vapor concentration difference, and soil water potential to establish stomatal conductance. Water flow to the roots was computed using a linear approximation of radial flow through the soil toward the axis of the roots across concentric shells. Root length density and soil rooting volume within four separate layers or compartments were included in the model. The simulation was executed in small time step iterations. A small increment of transpiration was translated to a water content deficit at the root and then sequentially through the concentric shells to simulate water uptake and change of soil water potential. The change in soil water potential was used to increment changes in stomatal conductance and transpiration. The output of the model simulated the pattern of diurnal stomatal behavior observed in other types of experiments, as well as the total soil water extraction patterns of young potted citrus trees.

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Parameterizing crop models for more accurate response to climate factors such as temperature is important considering potential temperature increases associated with climate change, particularly for tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), which is a heat-sensitive crop. The objective of this work was to update the cardinal temperature parameters of the CROPGRO-Tomato model affecting the simulation of crop development, daily dry matter (DM) production, fruit set, and DM partitioning of field-grown tomato from transplanting to harvest. The main adaptation relied on new literature values for cardinal temperature parameters that affect tomato crop phenology, fruit set, and fruit growth. The new cardinal temperature values are considered reliable because they come from recent published experiments conducted in controlled-temperature environments. Use of the new cardinal temperatures in the CROPGRO-Tomato model affected the rate of crop development compared with prior default parameters; thus, we found it necessary to recalibrate genetic coefficients that affect life cycle phases and growth simulated by the model. The model was recalibrated and evaluated with 10 growth analyses data sets collected in field experiments conducted at three locations in Florida (Bradenton, Quincy, and Gainesville) from 1991 to 2007. Use of modified parameters sufficiently improved model performance to provide accurate prediction of crop and fruit DM accumulation throughout the season. Overall, the average root mean square error (RMSE) over all experiments was reduced 44% for leaf area index, 71% for fruit number, and 36% for both aboveground biomass and fruit dry weight simulations with the modified parameters compared with the default. The Willmott d index was higher and was always above 0.92. The CROPGRO-Tomato model with these modified cardinal temperature parameters will predict more accurately tomato growth and yield response to temperature and thus be useful in model applications.

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Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was grown to evaluate various chemicals as possible alternatives to methyl bromide soil fumigation. Due to a combination of weeds, nematodes, and soil fungi, the use of a broad-spectrum fumigant has been essential for economical tomato production in Florida. Methyl bromide (MBr) and combinations of MBr with chloropicrin (Pic) are the fumigants of choice for most growers using polyethylene mulch culture. In 1991, MBr was allegedly associated with stratospheric ozone depletion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has since mandated a phaseout of MBr for soil fumigation in the United States by the year 2001. At three locations in Florida, alternative soil fumigants were evaluated, including soil injected 98% MBr—2% Pic at 450 kg·ha-1, 67% MBr—33% Pic (390 kg·ha-1), Pic (390 kg·ha-1), dichloropropene + 17% Pic (1,3-D + Pic) at 327 L·ha-1, and metam-sodium (935 L·ha-1). Also, metam-sodium and tetrathiocarbonate (1870 L·ha-1) were applied by drip irrigation. Dazomet (450 kg·ha-1) was surface applied and soil incorporated. Pebulate (4.5 kg·ha-1) was soil incorporated with some treatments. Pic and 1,3-D + Pic treatments provided good to moderate control of nematodes and soil fungi except in one of the six studies, in which nematode control with 1,3-D was moderate to poor. Nutsedge densities were suppressed by addition of pebulate. Tomato fruit yields with 1,3-D + Pic + pebulate and with Pic + pebulate at the three sites ranged from 85% to 114%, 60% to 95%, and l01% to 119%, respectively, of that obtained with MBr treatments. Pest control and crop yield were lower with treatments other than the above pebulate-containing or MBr-containing treatments. These studies indicate that no one alternative pesticide can provide the consistent broad-spectrum control provided by MBr. Chemical names used: trichloronitromethane (chloropicrin); 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D); sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate (metam-sodium); sodium tetrathiocarbonate (tetrathiocarbonate); 3,5-dimethyl-(2H)-tetrahydro-l,3,5-thiadiazine-2-thione (dazomet); S-propyl butyl(ethyl)thiocarbamate (pebulate).

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Two colors (white and black) of a recently introduced irrigation-plant production system [multi-pot box system (MPBS)] for container-grown nurseries were researched and results were compared with those obtained from the sprinkler-irrigated conventional (control) system (CS). Experiments were carried out in summer and fall of 2001 in Gainesville, Fla. Plant growth [growth index (GI), growth rate (GR), and dry matter] and stress parameters [stomatal resistance (rs), crop water stress index (CWSI), plant water potential (PWP), and substrate temperature (ST)] were measured and analyzed for Viburnum odoratissimum (Ker-gawl). In both seasons, plants grown in the white MPBS had significantly higher GI and GR as compared to the plants in the black MPBS and CS. In summer, plants in the white MPBS reached marketable size about 17 days and 86 days earlier than those in the black MPBS and CS, respectively. In fall, they reached marketable size about 25 and 115 days earlier than those plants in the black MPBS and CS, respectively. Plants in the white and black MPBSs showed exponential growth rate in summer with plants in the white MPBS having significantly higher growth rate (greater slope) than the other two treatments. In both seasons, plants in the white MPBS produced the highest amount of dry matter. In general, plants in the white MPBS had lower rs values to vapor transport compared to the other two treatments, and the black MPBS treatment had lower rs values than the CS in both seasons. The CWSI values of the plants in both white and black MPBSs were significantly lower than the CS. In both seasons, ST in the black MPBS and CS exceeded the critical value of 40 °C several times. The ST of >40 °C is often reported to significantly reduce the plant growth and cause root death and/or injury for container-grown plants. Overall, the white MPBS provided a better environment for root development and plant growth under these experimental conditions. Results strongly suggest that there is a potential opportunity of using MPBS for irrigation and production of nursery plants. These important findings suggest that, in practice, producing nursery plants in a shorter period of time by using white MPBS will result in significant savings of energy, water, chemicals, and other inputs and thereby reducing the costs and increasing profits.

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