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John T. A. Proctor

American ginseng is propagated by seed. In commercial practice ginseng seed is harvested in August or September, placed in a stratification box for about 12 months, and then direct seeded into raised beds. Germination takes place the following spring, some 18 to 22 months after seed harvest. Little is known about the dormancy-controlling mechanisms of ginseng seed. The objective of this study was to investigate seed development and temperature in the stratification box until it was removed 12 months later and seeded in the field. During stratification 3 embryo growth stages were identified. In Stage I of 250 days (September to mid-May) embryo length increased from about 0.5 to 1.0 mm, in Stage II of 100 days (mid-May to late August) length increased to 2.0 mm and in Stage III (late August to late November) length increased to 5.3 mm. Exocarp split width could also be placed in 3 stages. Changes in embryo length correlated with values for embryo: endosperm length ratio. The stratification box temperatures at all depths never exceeded -2°C even when the air temperatures dropped to -13°C and, therefore, were not damaging to the seeds.

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John T.A. Proctor and Ido Schechter

`McIntosh', `Delicious', and `Idared' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) fruitlet ovaries were artificially damaged with a needle four times after full bloom to assess effects of such damage on fruit growth and development. The damage induced fruit drop, reduced fruit weight, and increased the incidence of fruit deformity, but had no effect on fruit length: diameter ratio. Fruit fresh weight and deformity were correlated with seed per fruit at harvest.

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Jan Schooley and John T.A. Proctor

The Lake Erie counties of southern Ontario, Canada are the major producers of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) in North America. In this area there is about 1740 ha (4299.5 acres) of ginseng and an annual production of 1455 t (1603.8 tons). Spring freeze damage to the crop is rare as the mean date of last freeze in spring is 12 May. On 21 May 2002, following three to six nights when air temperatures dropped below freezing, extensive damage to the crop was evident. A survey by the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association showed that 78% of growers had gardens showing freeze damage. The extent of the damage was variable across the growing area, and on individual farms. Most damage to plants occurred in low-lying areas where heavy cold air collected. Recently germinated seedlings that were exposed above the straw mulch were severely damaged, and many did not survive because they did not have leaves and no perennating bud was formed. Damage to 2-year-old plants was expressed as leaves wilting and turning black. In some cases stems froze and the plants toppled. In 3-year-old and older plants, damage was variable with some leaf collapse and stems broken, or damaged with corking-over taking place. Damage to inflorescences ranged from death and abscission, to distorted flowers and shriveled and split peduncles. Plant health was a concern following the freeze episode, and throughout the subsequent growing season. The fungicide fenhexamid received emergency registration to combat recurring problems in Botrytis control. The seed crop for 2002 was light. Damaged seedling gardens were replanted. Older gardens will undergo a period of adjustment. Root yield in 2002 was reduced by 30%, a 500 t (551.1 tons) loss. The full extent of the damage and associated financial implications are unknown and could impact the industry until 2005.

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David M. Hunter and John T.A. Proctor

Paclobutrazol applied as a soil drench at 0, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 μg a.i./g soil reduced vegetative growth of `Seyval blanc' grapevines (Vitis spp.). At all rates, there was a reduction in internode length, while at rates higher than 10 μg a.i/g soil, there was also a reduction in node count. Leaf area produced following treatment declined in response to increasing rates, but specific leaf weight increased. Treatment with paclobutrazol delayed senescence and increased the retention of basal leaves that were nearly fully expanded at the time of treatment. Paclobutrazol application had no effect on fruit set or berry size, but the reduction in vegetative growth following treatment decreased the ability of the vine to supply sufficient photoassimilates for fruit maturation. Chemical name used: ß[(4-chlorophenyl)-methyl]-a-(1,1-dimethylethyl)1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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David M. Hunter and John T.A. Proctor

A system was developed to evaluate the response of grapes (Vitis spp. `Seyval') to soil-applied paclobutrazol. The youngest fully expanded leaf, and its axillary bud, on single shoots 6 to 9 nodes long developing on rooted softwood cuttings, were retained for use in a bioassay. The shoot that developed from the axillary bud exhibited a dosage-dependent growth inhibition following soil applications of paclobutrazol at 4 dosages between 1 and 1000 μg·g-1 soil. Other aerial components showed no response to paclobutrazol. This test plant system has potential for use in physiological studies with soil-applied plant growth regulators. Chemical name used: β -[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]- α -(1,1-dimethylethyl)1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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David M. Hunter and John T.A. Proctor

Paclobutrazol applied as a soil drench at 0, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 μg a.i./g soil reduced photosynthetic CO2 uptake rate of leaves formed before paclobutrazol treatment within 3 to 5 days of treatment and the reductions were maintained for 15 days after treatment. The percentage of recently assimilated 14C exported from the source leaf was reduced only at the highest paclobutrazol dose, and there was little effect of treatment on the partitioning of exported 14C between the various sinks. In response to increasing doses of paclobutrazol, particularly at the higher doses, an increasing proportion of recent photoassimilates was maintained in a soluble form in all plant components. Reduced demand for photoassimilates as a result of the inhibition of vegetative growth may have contributed to a reduction in photosynthetic CO2 uptake rate, but this reduction in photosynthesis rate could not be attributed to a feedback inhibition caused by a buildup of starch in the leaves. Paclobutrazol had only a minor effect, if any, on photosynthetic electron transport. Chemical name used: β-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl]-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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John T.A. Proctor, Dean Louttit and John M. Follett

Freshly harvested, immature (green) seeds of north american ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) were stratified for 12 months either traditionally in buried wooden boxes outdoors, or in plastic pails in a controlled environment room [3 ± 0.2 °C (37.4 ± 0.11 °F)], 85% ± 5% relative humidity) for about 9 months followed by about 3 months at 20 ± 2 °C (69.8 ± 1.1 °F). Embryo growth in Stage II (mid-May to late August when direct seeded) was more rapid [0.016 versus 0.009 mm·d-1 (0.00062 versus 0.00035 inches/day)] under controlled-temperature conditions. Seedling emergence rate did not vary between treatments. Root dry weight (economic yield) was similar for seedling, 2, 3, and 4-year-old plants whether grown from traditionally or controlled-temperature stratified seed. Controlled-temperature stratification of north american ginseng seed is an acceptable alternative to traditional outdoor, in-ground stratification.

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Justine Vanden Heuvel, J. Alan Sullivan and John T.A. Proctor

The effect of three trellising systems (Hedgerow, V-Trellis, and Single-Sided Shift-trellis) and four cane densities were studied on Rubus ideaus L. cv. Titan red raspberries. Yield, cane growth, canopy microclimate, disease load, canopy light penetration, and fruit quality were examined. The treatments significantly affected yield and yield components. The V-trellis had a higher yield (+19%) and a larger fruiting framework than the hedgerow, while the shift-trellis had a lower yield than the hedgerow (-36%) and the V-trellis (-50%) due to a small fruiting framework. Path analysis indicated that interrelationships among yield components were significantly affected by trellising system. The shift-trellis was found to have lower quality berries than the other systems. These differences were related to light penetration into the different canopies. An optimum cane density was not found for any system. Yield potential per cane decreased as cane density increased; however yield per square meter increased as cane number increased. Berry quality decreased as cane density increased. Differing cane density did not affect canopy microclimate or disease load.

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David C. Percival, John T.A. Proctor and J. Alan Sullivan

Field experiments consisting of trickle irrigation (TI), IRT-76 plastic film (PF), and straw mulch were initiated to determine the influence of soil temperature and water status on carbon partitioning during the establishment of Rubus idaeus L. `Heritage' (1993, 1994), `Autumn Bliss' (1994), and `Summit' (1994) micropropagated raspberries. Environmental, vegetative, reproductive, and nutrition data were collected. Photosynthesis (Pn) measurements were recorded under field conditions using a Li-Cor LI-6200 portable photosynthesis system. Neither node number nor shoot: root ratio was influenced by TI, PF, or straw mulch. PF, however, increased root and shoot weight, total flowers produced, total berries harvested, and foliar N and P. Although differences existed among cultivars, field Pn measurements indicated that, regardless of groundcover treatment or cultivar examined, the maximum Pn rate occurred at a root-zone temperature of 25C. Hence, results from this study indicate that conditions in both the air and root zone physical environment regulate carbon assimilation and partitioning.

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John T.A. Proctor, Jong Chul Lee and Sung-Sik Lee