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John T. Erwin

Seedling stem elongation increased as the difference (DIF) between day (DT) and night (NT) temperatures increased from 10 to 26C (DIF=DT-NT). Stem elongation was primarily dependent on DIF on all crops studied except spring bulb crops. Internode lengths decreased in tomato (68%), watermelon (80%), squash (32%), sweet corn (68%) and snap bean (26%) as the difference between day and night temperatures decreased 12 degrees (C). Cucumber internode length decreased by 84% as DIF decreased 16 degrees (C). The ratio of male to female cucumber flowers decreased from 14 to 1, as DIF decreased 12 degrees (C) from 23 DT/17 NT to 17 DT/26 NT. Stem elongation was very sensitive to cool temperatures during the first 3 hours of the morning. Stem elongation was almost the same if the seedlings were cooled for the first 3 hours of the day versus cooling the plants all day. The interactions between temperature on stem elongation and light quantity and quality, and photoperiod will be discussed. Application of DIF in both northern and southern greenhouses will also be discussed.

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John Erwin and Esther Gesick

The impact of irradiance (0–1200 μmol·m−2·s−1) and carbon dioxide concentration (CO2; 50–1200 ppm) on kale (Brassica oleracea and B. napus pabularia; three cultivars), Swiss chard (chard, Beta vulgaris; four cultivars), and spinach (Spinacea oleracea; three cultivars) photosynthetic rate (P n; per area basis) was determined to facilitate maximizing yield in controlled environment production. Spinach, chard, and kale maximum P n were 23.8, 20.3, and 18.2 μmol CO2·m−2·s−1 fixed, respectively, across varieties (400 ppm CO2). Spinach and kale had the highest and lowest light compensation points [LCPs (73 and 13 μmol·m−2·s−1, respectively)] across varieties. The light saturation points (LSPs) for chard and kale were similar at 884–978 μmol·m−2·s−1, but for spinach, the LSP was higher at 1238 μmol·m−2·s−1. Dark respiration was lowest on kale and highest on spinach (−0.83 and −5.00 μmol CO2·m−2·s−1, respectively). The spinach CO2 compensation point (CCP) was lower (56 ppm) than the chard or kale CCP (64–65 ppm). Among varieties, ‘Red Russian’ kale P n saturated at the lowest CO2 concentration (858 ppm), and ‘Bright Lights’ chard saturated at the highest (1266 ppm; 300 μmol·m−2·s−1). Spinach P n was more responsive to increasing irradiance than to CO2. Kale P n was more responsive to increasing CO2 than to irradiance, and chard P n was equally responsive to increasing CO2 or irradiance. Implications and limitations of this work when “upscaling” to whole-plant responses are discussed.

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John Erwin and Jonathan Hensley

Green roofs are building surface treatments where plants are grown in medium on a rooftop to cool or insulate buildings and/or to ameliorate negative environmental impacts of buildings. We initiated a 2-year study to characterize medium and weather conditions on a rooftop in a cool-dry climate and to identify plant species with horticultural and ecological attributes that survive and thrive on an unirrigated semi-intensive green roof in a cool-dry climate. Eighty-eight cold-hardy, drought-tolerant species with horticultural or ecological attributes were identified and planted into 12.7-cm-deep medium in trays that were placed on a rooftop. Medium temperatures and moistures were recorded, and plant survival and vigor were quantified. Hourly medium temperatures varied from –22.3 to 43 °C. Monthly medium water moistures varied from –2.5 to –73.3 kPa from May to September, and from –7.6 to –195 kPa from October to April. Monthly air temperature, relative humidity and irradiance varied from –9.4 to 21.7 °C, 44% to 80%, and from 206 to 1222 μmol·m−2·s−1. Mean survival scores decreased (4 = 100% survival) from 2.6 with grasses, to 2.3 with succulents, to 1.8 with temperate perennials, to 0 for geophytes (all died). Among grasses, Festuca ovina VNS, Koeleria macrantha 07-901 ND, Panicum virgatum, and Sporobolus heterolepis performed well. Among succulents, Sedum acre, S. album ‘Coral Carpet’, S. cauticola ‘Sunset Cloud’, S. ‘Czar’s Gold’, S. ellecombianum, S. hybridum ‘Immergruchen’, S. requieni, S. sexangulare, S. spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’, ‘John Creech’, ‘Pearly Pink’, ‘Ruby Mantle’, and ‘Tricolor’ performed well. Among temperature nonsucculent perennials, Allium ceranum and senescens ‘Glaucum’, Geum triflorum, Talinum calycinum, and Thymus praecox ‘Red Creeping’ performed well. Data on Sedum suggested that medium-low temperature was more limiting to survival than moisture level. The differences in species that performed well here, compared with other studies, underscores the importance of regionally specific green roof plant species studies.

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John E. Erwin

The interaction among temperature, photoperiod, and irradiance on survival of Chamaecereus silvestrii (yellow sport) flat-grafted onto Hylocereus trigonus Haw. rootstock was studied in an effort to understand the basis for elevated scion necrosis during winter. Plants were placed in glasshouses maintained at 12, 16, 20, or 24 °C under either daylight (moles per day), 66% daylight or daylight + 100 μmol·s−1·m−2 irradiance levels. Plants were grown with an 8-hour (short day) or 8-hour + 4-hour night interruption (long day) photoperiod. Cactus scion necrosis increased under short days and a growing temperature of 12 °C and was nearly eliminated by long-day conditions and a growing temperature of 16 °C. Irradiance did not affect scion necrosis. Plant quality rating was highest when plants were grown under long-day conditions at 16 °C.

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John E. Erwin and Debra Schwarze

Five cuttings from different node positions on stock plants were taken from each of 3 Clematis cultivars (Jackmani, Contesse de Bouchard, and Gypsy Queen) and Clematis purpurea plena elegans. Actively growing plants with 5 nodes were acquired. Node number increased from 1 at the base of the plant to 5 at the tip of the plant. Cuttings were treated with or without 0.1% IBA (indole-3-butyric acid) and placed in 1 of 5 different media: 100% washed sand (WS), 50% washed sand and 50% sphagnum peat (WP), 50% sphagnum peat and 50% perlite (SP), 100%) perlite (PT), or 50% sphagnum peat plus 25% perlite plus 25% vermiculite (PV). Rooting date, primary and secondary root number, and root dry weight were collected after 8 weeks. `Gypsy Queen' showed the earliest rooting with the greatest root development. Jackmani showed the worst rooting. Media WS and PT showed the best rooting whereas WP and SP showed the worst. Cuttings taken from the first 3 nodes rooted the best. As node position increased root number and dry weight decreased and time to root increased. Application of IBA had no significant effect on time to root or degree of rooting.

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Debra Schwarze and John E. Erwin

A phone survey was conducted to assess the total impact of the floriculture industry on the Minnesota economy. Data were collected from wholesale growers, garden center retailers, chain stores, and florists. Information was gathered on `hard good' sales associated with greenhouse produced plants as well as plant sales. In addition, data on labor and salaries associated with the production, distribution, and retailing of plants and goods associated with the floriculture industry was collected. This data will be provided to local flower growers organizations to enable these groups to actively lobby for their concerns within the state.

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John E. Erwin and Gerald Pierson

Lypcopersicum esculentum cv `Money Maker' seeds were germinated at constant 20C. Three days after germination seedlings were randomly divided into 3 groups and placed into 3 growth chambers maintained at 23/17, 20/20, or 17/23C (day/night temperature) (DT/NT). Irradiance and photoperiod were maintained at 250 μmol s-1 m-2 and 12 hrs, respectively. At the 2 leaf stage, plants in each chamber were divided into 3 groups of 3 plants each to receive a growth regulator treatment. Growth regulator treatments consisted of spray applications of either ancymidol (52ppm), GA3 (12ppm), or water applied every 3 days for 21 days. Measurements were taken on internode length and chlorophyll content after 21 days. Internode length increased as the difference (DIF) between DT and NT increased (DT-NT). Exogenous applications of GA3 overcame inhibition of stem elongation resulting from a -DIF environment. Application of ancymidol did not significantly decrease stem elongation in a -DIF environment. Temperature regime had a significant impact on chlorophyll content per mg dry weight. In contrast, growth regulator applications had a significant impact on chlorophyll content cm-2. There was no significant impact of either temperature regime or growth regulator treatment on the chlorophyll a/b ratio.

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John E. Erwin and Nina Glomsrud

Rose plants (cvs `Royalty' and `Lovely Girl') in an established canopy were cut back to node 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, or 13 from the base of the stem at harvest. Harvest was defined as the reflexing of the outermost petal. Most rose stems were composed of 13 nodes, therefore, pruning to the 13th node involved removing the flower only. Three leaf removal techniques were evaluated: 1) no leaf removal, 2) removing the node leaf only, or 3) removing all leaves on the stem. Total break number increased as the node position which stems were cut back to increased. For instance, break number increased on `Lovely Girl' from 1.8 to 2.6 breaks as node position increased from 1 to 13. The number of lateral breaks which developed into marketable flowers also increased as the node position which stems were cut back to increased. `Lovely Girl' flower number increased from 0 to 2.6 flowers per stem as node position increased from 1 to 13. Leaf removal reduced the number of marketable flowering shoots. For instance, flowering shoots decreased from 2.6 to 1.4 per stem on stems cut at the 13th node following removal of all leaves on that stem. `Royalty' had more lateral breaks than `Lovely Girl' but also had more non-flowering lateral breaks following pruning. Commercial implications of this research will be discussed.

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John E. Erwin and Royal D. Heins

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Cheryl L. Reese and John E. Erwin

The interaction between day/night temperature (DT/NT) and irradiance during the photoperiod prior to the inductive night on Pharbitis nil (L.) cv. Violet flower induction was studied. Plants exposed to 12 or 18 °C NT did not flower regardless of DT. When NT was 24 or 30 °C, percent flowering plants increased progressively as DT increased from 12 to 30 °C. Percent flowering plants and total flower bud number per plant was greatest when seedlings were induced with a 24 or 30 °C DT/30 °C NT regime. DT/NT did not affect the node number to first flower. Irradiance did not affect flowering. Temperature effects on P. nil flowering could be described as a function of average daily temperature, where flowering increased as temperature rose from 22 to 30 °C.