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John Carter and Kim E. Hummer

Black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) cultivars with heavy, light, and no gooseberry mite (Cecidophyopsis grossulariae Collinge) infestation levels (MIL) were tested for cold hardiness by visually determining the bud injury rating (BIR) after laboratory freezing in Jan. 1998. Lightly mite-infested cvs. Blackdown and Risager, usually thought of as less cold hardy than Nordic cultivars, survived -35 °C, while mite-infested buds of the Finnish cv. Brödtorp were injured at -35 °C. Heavily mite-infested buds of the Swedish R. nigrum L. cv. StorKlas from Corvallis, Ore., were injured at -20 °C while lightly infested buds were injured to -25 °C. Noninfested `StorKlas' buds from Pennsylvania and British Columbia survived laboratory freezing to -35 °C. Heavy mite infestation lowered the bud cold hardiness of `Brödtorp' and `StorKlas' by 10 °C, as estimated by a modified Spearman-Karber T50, relative to the hardiness of lightly mite-infested buds of these cultivars. Heavily mite-infested buds contained unusual tissues forming what appeared to be spherical blisters or eruptions, ≈100 μ in diameter. Other tissues in the region of heavy mite infestation appeared to be more turgid than their noninfested counterparts. Abiotic and biotic stresses can have a combined impact on field-grown black currants.

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John Carter, Rex Brennan, and Michael Wisniewski

Ice formation and movement in stems, leaves, and flowers of blackcurrant were observed by infrared video thermography. Stem sections bearing leaves and racemes were cooled slowly to as low as -6.4 °C and allowed to freeze without artificial nucleation. Ice formed in stems first, then moved from stems into leaves and racemes. Patterns of ice movement were complex and depended upon the temperature of the initial nucleation event. Individual flowers froze between -1.6 and -5.5 °C. Survival of flowers after a cooling treatment depended upon whether they froze and the amount of freezing that occurred in the peduncles to which they were attached. Some flowers survived the initial freezing treatments but later died because of peduncle damage. Movement of ice from stems into peduncles sometimes was observed to occur in discrete steps, separated by time and temperature. Several independent freezing events were often observed in a peduncle, rather than one continuous event. Pedicels attached to frozen peduncles often remained supercooled for several minutes to over an hour before freezing. No consistent pattern was evident during freezing of individual flowers in an inflorescence. The range of temperature over which flowers in a single inflorescence froze was in some instances over 4 °C. Both mature and immature flowers supercooled. Barriers to movement of ice appeared to exist at certain anatomical junctions within the plant, notably where the peduncle of an inflorescence attaches to a stem and where a flower pedicel joins a peduncle. The time required for ice to pass through these barriers was inversely related to the degree of supercooling that had occurred prior to freezing.

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P. Manjula Carter and John R. Clark

Chilling requirement, (the number of hours below 7 °C necessary to break dormancy) has been shown to vary with genotype in blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus). Previous work has demonstrated that the chilling requirement of field-grown plants could be accurately determined from stem cuttings of lateral shoots taken at 100-hour intervals of chilling up to 1000 hours, by placing them in a mist chamber maintained at 26 °C with a daylength of 16 hours, and observing budbreak over a period of 5 weeks. This technique has previously demonstrated clear differences in the chilling requirements of thorny and thornless floricane-fruiting cultivars. In the current study, a comparison of floricane-fruiting and primocane-fruiting blackberries using the stem-cutting technique illustrated a lower chilling requirement associated with the primocane-fruiting trait. The use of the stem-cutting technique can be a simple and effective tool for assessing blackberry adaptation to different hardiness zones.

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John Carter, Rex Brennan, and Michael Wisniewski

The low-temperature tolerance of flowers from three blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) cultivars, `Brödtorp', `Ben Tirran', and `Baldwin', was determined at two stages of floral development. The three cultivars together represent a large part of the available genetic base for this subgenus of Ribes. Plants were maintained either at 4 °C in a growth cabinet under a 16-hour photoperiod or outdoors in Scotland during Spring 1997. Observed genotypic differences in survival were not associated with differences in LT50 of the flowers, and observations of freezing damage to flowers on intact plants suggest that the flowers can often survive by supercooling. This hypothesis is partly confirmed by the finding that detached flowers from all three cultivars have the capacity to supercool to at least –9 °C. Ice nucleation in stem tissue, however, was found to occur at or above –2 °C. That flowers on intact plants can apparently survive by supercooling, together with the finding that ice nucleation in stem tissue occurs at temperatures well above the LT50 of flowers, indicate the presence of barriers to propagation of ice from stem tissue to raceme. Such barriers within individual racemes are also indicated by patterns of freezing damage to flowers on intact plants cooled to –5 °C.

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Dr. John R. Clark and P. Manjula Carter

The chilling requirements of the University of Arkansas blackberry cultivars Apache, Ouachita, and Prime-Jim*, and the primocane-fruiting selections APF-25, APF-27, APF-40, APF-42, APF-44, APF-46, APF-52, and APF-53 were investigated using stem cuttings from field-grown plants. A biophenometer was used to measure chilling (hours below 7 °C) in the field and 12-node cuttings of lateral shoots were taken from the cultivars every 100 hours up to 1000 hours below 7 °C. However, only 500 chilling hours had occurred at the time of this writing, and the response of budbreak to higher chilling levels could not be reported. The cuttings were placed in a mistchamber in the greenhouse with a daylength of 16 hours and air temperature of 26–29 °C. Percent budbreak was measured weekly. The cultivar × chilling interaction was significant (P = 0.05). `Apache' and `Ouachita' showed little or no budbreak up to 500 h, indicating a higher chilling requirement. The chilling requirement of Prime-Jim was determined to be between 300 h and 400 h, and that of the APF selections appeared to be between 300 h and 500 h. The chilling requirement of APF-53 could not be determined since budbreak was consistent at all levels of chilling up to 500 h. In general, the primocane-fruiting genotypes appeared to require less chilling than floricane-fruiting `Apache' and `Ouachita', and they would therefore be more suitable for low-chill locations.

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Manjula Carter, John R. Clark, and Mike Phillips

The southern highbush blueberry is a hybrid of Vaccinium corymbosum L. and one or more southern-adapted Vaccinium species. The southern highbush is advantageous to blueberry growers in the South since its fruit ripen 1 to 4 weeks in advance of traditional rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) cultivars. Only limited research has been done on cultural aspects of southern highbush production. The objective of this study was to determine the optimum nitrogen rate for the southern highbush blueberry. A planting of pine straw-mulched `Cape Fear' blueberry was established in 1994 at the Southwest Research and Extension Center, Hope, Ark. Nitrogen rate treatments (0, 67, 134, 202, 269 kg·ha-1 N) were applied annually over a 3-year period (1997-99) with urea as the N source. Soil samples were taken prior to N fertilization to determine if N applied the previous year influenced current soil analysis values. Foliar elemental composition, fruit yield and individual berry weight were also determined for each treatment. Soil analysis indicated that the carryover effect of N applications from previous years was minimal. However, a possible decline in soil pH, Ca, and Mg over time at the higher N rates indicated that these variables should be closely monitored. No consistent relationship was evident between N application rate and soil nitrate. Nitrogen application rate did not have any consistent impact on yield, berry weight or foliar elemental composition. However, based on foliar N, the data indicate that N rates of 67-134 kg·ha-1 N are adequate for southern highbush in mulched culture.

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Orville M. Lindstrom, David J. Olson, and John V. Carter

Hardened and nonhardened whole plants of three potato species, Solanum tuberosum L., S. acaule Bitt., and S. commersonii Dun., and one interspecific cross, `Alaska Frostless' (S. tuberosum x S. acaule) were placed in a low-temperature chamber capable of maintaining -4 ± 0.5C for 6 or 12 hours. The chamber was designed to control the root temperature independently from the rest of the plant. Cold acclimation did not affect the ability of any of the potatoes tested to undercool (supercool). Solanum tuberosum and `Alaska Frostless' did not undercool for the times and temperatures tested and in all cases were killed. Whole plants of S. acaule and S. commersonii undercooled, in some cases, for up to 12 hours. When plants of S. acaule froze, they were severely injured, although their hardiness levels were reported to be lower than the temperature to which they were exposed in this study. Whenever leaves and stems of S. commersonii were frozen they were not injured. Once the soil was allowed to freeze, all plants, in all cases, were frozen.

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P. Manjula Carter, John R. Clark, and R. Keith Striegler

Southern highbush blueberry, a hybrid of northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) and southern-adapted Vaccinium species, has the potential to meet the need for an early-ripening blueberry in the southern U.S. southern highbush cultivars can ripen up to one month earlier than the earliest rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) cultivars currently grown in the southern U.S. However, chilling requirement and cold-hardiness are cultivar-dependent for southern highbush and cultivar testing has been necessary to determine the cultivars best adapted to specific hardiness zones. In a 4-year study at Hope, Ark. (hardiness zone 7b), several southern highbush cultivars were evaluated for productivity, fruit quality and reliability of cropping. Yields were based on 1089 plants/acre (2690 plants/ha) for southern highbush cultivars and 605 plants/acre (1494 plants/ha) for rabbiteye cultivars. `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' showed the most adaptability at this location, yielding on average 11,013 lb/acre (12,309 kg·ha-1) and 10,328 lb/acre (11,543 kg·ha-1) respectively, compared to 4882 lb/acre (5456 kg·ha-1) for `Premier' (rabbiteye) over 4 years. `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' also rated well for plant vigor and fruit quality. We would recommend `Ozarkblue' and `Legacy' for commercial planting in southwest Arkansas and believe these cultivars have production potential for other areas of the southern U.S. that have similar hardiness zones and soil type to southwest Arkansas.

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Kim E. Hummer, Joseph D. Postman, John Carter, and Stuart C. Gordon

During Dec. 1997 and Jan. 1998, the gooseberry mite, Cecidophyopsis grossulariae Collinge, was observed to infest 48 currant and gooseberry (Ribes L.) cultivars in a field plantation in Corvallis, Ore. The mite was observed on 29 black currant, (Ribes nigrum L.), two red currant [Ribes rubrum L. and R. sativum (Rchbch.) Syme], 12 gooseberry [R. uvacrispa L., R. oxyacanthoides var. setosum (Lindley) Sinnot], and three R. ×nidigrolaria Bauer cultivars and the hybrid R. nigrum × R. pauciflorum Turcz. ex Pojark. A range of mite infestation levels was observed, with some cultivars not being infested, some with light infestation, having 1 to 100 adult mites per bud, and some heavily infested, with more than 100 mites per bud. On lightly infested buds, the mites were inside bud and leaf scales; in heavily infested buds, mites were also observed on floral primordia. Scales of infested buds were often loose and appeared more open than noninfested ones. Mite distribution varied by branch within a plant. Black currant cultivars with the heaviest infestation of C. grossulariae were of Scandinavian, Russian, Scottish, and Canadian origin. The Russian black currant cultivar Tunnaja was the most heavily infested with more than 1000 mites per bud. Floral primordia were damaged in heavily infested buds.

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Jason D. Zurn, Katie A. Carter, Melinda H. Yin, Margaret Worthington, John R. Clark, Chad E. Finn, and Nahla Bassil

Confirming parentage and clonal identity is an important aspect of breeding and managing germplasm collections of clonally propagated, outcrossing crops, like blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus). DNA fingerprinting sets are used to identify off-cross progeny and confirm clonal identity. Previously, a six-simple sequence repeat (6-SSR) fingerprinting set was developed for blackberry using a small number of samples. The usefulness of the 6-SSR fingerprinting set for pedigree confirmation had not been evaluated. Therefore, it was used in this study to validate parentage for 6 and 12 biparental populations from the University of Arkansas (UA) and US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Horticultural Crops Research Unit (HCRU) breeding programs, respectively. Twenty-seven of the 489 individuals in these breeding populations were identified as off-cross. The 6-SSR fingerprinting set was sufficient for parentage confirmation; however, a total of 61 plants distributed across 28 sets of genotypes could not be distinguished from each other. An 8-SSR fingerprinting set with improved resolution was subsequently developed and used to evaluate 177 Rubus accessions from the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository, UA, and USDA-ARS HCRU programs. The 8-SSR fingerprinting set distinguished all samples expected to have unique genotypes and identified differing DNA fingerprints for two sets of accessions suspected to have identical fingerprints. Cluster analysis grouped the accessions from the eastern and western US breeding programs based on geography and descent. Future work will focus on establishing a database of DNA fingerprints for germplasm identification and for determining pedigree relationships between blackberry accessions.