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  • Author or Editor: Janna Beckerman x
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Crabapples (Malus spp.) are popular ornamental trees in the commercial and residential landscape. Over a 33-year period at the Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, OH, 287 accessions of ornamental crabapple were evaluated for their resistance to apple scab caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis. Of these 287 accessions, 31 had no symptoms of scab for longer than a 10-year period and were identified as resistant to the disease. Of these 31 resistant accessions, 14 eventually displayed symptoms, presumably as a result of infection by one or more newly present races of the pathogen in the trial plot. Notable resistance breakdowns in accessions previously classified as resistant include the development of scab on M. × ‘Prairifire’, M. × ‘Bob White’, M. × ‘Red Jewel’, and M. floribunda. Corresponding to these changes of resistance is the putative development of new V. inaequalis races in North America: Race 5, possessing virulence to the Vm gene in ‘Prairifire’; Race 3 that infects M. × ‘Geneva’ but not M. baccata ‘Dolgo’; and the first identification and report of scab on a M. floribunda population that was reported as resistant even before the first 25 years of the evaluation. The detection of scab on this species suggests the presence of Race 7 in North America for the first time. Five named accessions remained free from scab for the entire 33-year trial: M. sargentii ‘Sargent’, M. baccata ‘Jackii’, M. × ‘Beverly’, M. × ‘Silver Moon’, and M. × ‘White Angel’ and may serve as sources of durable resistance in crabapple and commercial apple breeding in the Midwest.

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Soil incorporation of biochar appears to increase plant growth in some environments. However, the effect of biochar on root system architecture (RSA) or on weeds is not well understood. Our objective was to examine the effect of biochar on the growth and RSA of large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis L. Scop.), a common and problematic weed. Plants were grown in rhizoboxes filled with field soil ± either a low-nutrient biochar (LNB) or a high-nutrient biochar (HNB). Rhizoboxes were either filled uniformly with field soil ± biochar (solid) or with + biochar and − biochar-amended field soil so that each occupied half of the rhizobox (split). Large crabgrass biomass and RSA were affected by biochar type in the solid design rhizoboxes and large crabgrass roots proliferated in biochar-amended soil in the split rhizoboxes, regardless of biochar type. This study provides evidence that plant roots can detect and grow toward biochar and suggests that the addition of biochar to soils may increase the ability of large crabgrass to spread vegetatively.

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