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John White, David Beattie, and Yvonne Clark

Information storage technologies are changing, so this project is focused on the future and the use of new videodisc technology. A model plant science inquiry-learning tool was developed for vocational agriculture students using advanced video and computer technology. The interactive videodisc lesson, which focuses on plant identification, was designed to increase learning and allow teachers to spend more time with students.

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Mark A. Rose and John W. White

Temperature affects all major plant physiological processes. Traditional methods of controlling greenhouse temperatures use aerial sensors that do not monitor temperatures within each component of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.

Bench, pot, plant canopy, and aerial temperatures were monitored using thermocouples and thermistors processed by environmental computers during a wide range of greenhouse conditions. These include diurnal cycles of high and low solar radiation, night periods with and without artificial lighting, and various ventilation and heating conditions. Spatial temperature gradients of 10-22 °C were discovered during both day and night conditions. These spatial variations cause significant differences in average temperatures between and within benches over diurnal and even seasonal cycles.

Preliminary surveys of microclimatic variations that occur within the greenhouse experimental area are essential for choosing the proper experimental design. Continuous environmental monitoring during the experiment is necessary for interpreting experimental results.

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Mary Ann Rose and John W. White

`Celebrate 2' Poinsettias were grown for 8 weeks in a controlled-environment growth room until first signs of bract coloration. In growth stage I (GSI; weeks 1 through 4) low, medium, and high N rates (25, 75, and 125 mg N/liter, respectively) were applied by subirrigation (no leaching). Following floral induction [growth stage II (GSII), weeks 5 to 8], there were nine treatments: all possible combinations of the three N rates in GSI plus three rates (75, 125, and 175 mg N/liter) in GSII. Although >80% of shoot dry weight and >90% of total leaf area developed during growth GSII, reaching an acceptable plant size by week 8 depended on receiving adequate fertilization in growth GSI. In contrast, leaf chlorosis, noted in plants receiving the lowest rate in GSI, was rapidly reversed by increasing the N rate in GSII. Quadratic regression equations fitted to shoot dry weight and leaf area data predicted that using 125 mg N/liter in both growth stages gave maximum responses at week 8. However, using 75 mg N/liter in GSI and 125 mg N/liter in GSII also produced acceptable growth in poinsettias. Our results suggest that some growth restriction imposed by N availability during the first 4 weeks of growth may be acceptable and perhaps desirable to reduce growth regulator use and the environmental impact of overfertilization.

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Mark A. Rose, John W. White, and Joel L. Cuello

Recently developed stem flow gauges that allow for direct, accurate, non-invasive, and continuous measurement of plant sap flow rates have not been used to monitor transpiration of floricultural plants grown in greenhouses.

A Dynamax SGA10 heat-balance sap-flow sensor was mounted on a potted rose plant's main stem containing a total leaf area of 0.52 m in order to monitor transpiration. The sensor was connected to a CR21X Micrologger for data calculation and temporary storage. The results showed average midday sap-flow rates range from 20-30 g·hr-1 to 50-70 g·hr-1 at low and high levels of PPF, respectively. Nighttime levels of 4-7 g·hr-1 persisted throughout early winter trials. Monitoring transpiration of the same rose stem using a lysimeter revealed a significant linear correlation (r2 = 0.999) between the lysimeter and the stem flow gauge values.

In the future, research will be conducted with the gauge to investigate relationships between microclimatic variables, photosynthesis, and transpiration.

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Xuri Zhang, David J. Beattie, and John W. White

Commercially cooled bulbs of five genetically dwarf Asiatic hybrid lilies were stored frozen at -2 C. Every 4 weeks for a total of 40 weeks, they were potted and forced in controlled environment chambers at 10, 15, 20, or 25 C. For each temperature, days from the time of potting to shoot emergence, visible bud appearance, and anthesis generally decreased as storage time increased. The number of flowers per plant and plant height were not significantly affected by storage time. Compared with those at 15, 20, or 25 C, plants at 10 C required significantly more time from potting to shoot emergence, visible bud, and anthesis. However, the temperature effects on forcing time were not linear. There was a 30-50 day decrease from potting to anthesis when temperature was increased from 10 to 15 C, but there was only a decrease of about 10 days when temperature was increased from 15 to 20 C. In contrast, there was no significant difference in forcing time between plants at 20 and 25 C. This indicates there is no need to force these lilies above 20 C. Plants at 25 C had more aborted flower buds than those at 10, 15, or 20 C. Plants at 10 C were taller then those at 15, 20, or 25 C.

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Mary Ann Rose, John W. White, and Mark A. Rose

`Celebrate 2' poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) received either a constant application rate of 200 mg N/liter or a variable rate that was linked to the N accumulation pattern of the crop. At final harvest, shoot N content, N concentration, dry weight, leaf area, and quality were similar for the treatments. However, N recovery efficiency of the variable treatment was greater (58% vs. 38%), and 41% less total N was applied compared to the constant-rate treatment. Growth analysis revealed that N accumulation rates for both treatments increased rapidly as side branches developed, reaching a maximum 50 to 60 days after potting, and decreased throughout bract development. The decrease in N accumulation rates after day 60 reflected a shift in N allocation from leaves to bracts, a tissue with a lower N concentration.

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Brian H. Hurd, Rolston St. Hilaire, and John M. White

Residential landscapes are responsible for a large share of the water use of New Mexico communities. Water conservation plans and programs are being promulgated throughout New Mexico and the western U.S. as concern grows over the sufficiency and variability of present supplies, sustainability of current population growth rates, and desire for enhanced economic development. Household attitudes, choices, and behaviors ultimately underlie the success and performance of community water conservation programs. Homeowners in three New Mexico cities were surveyed concerning their attitudes and behavior toward water use, water conservation, and residential landscapes. Findings suggest that New Mexico's homeowners are mindful of the water resource challenges faced by communities, and are prepared to shoulder responsibility for stewarding the state's water resources. There is broad community support to limit traditional turfgrasses [e.g., kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)] and to increase the areas planted to native, natural, and water-conserving landscapes; for example, 92% favored limiting turfgrass to less than 25% of the area around public buildings. Evidence showing that 40% are not “content” with their current landscape suggests that significant impediments remain and limit still greater adoption of water-conserving landscapes and subsequent potential for increased household water savings.

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Mark A. Rose, David J. Beattie, and John W. White

Two distinct patterns of whole-plant transpiration (WPT) were observed in `Moonlight' rose (Rosa hybrida L.) using an automated system that integrated a greenhouse climate computer, a heat-balance sap-flow gauge, an electronic lysimeter, and an infrared leaf temperature sensor. One pattern consisted of a steady rate of transpiration in a stable greenhouse environment. The second pattern consisted of large oscillations in transpiration unrelated to any monitored microclimate rhythms. These oscillations had a sine-wave pattern with periods of 50 to 90 minutes and ranged from 2 to 69 g·h-1 in natural light and 3 to 40 g·h-1 under high-pressure sodium lamps at night. Leaf-air temperature difference (T1 - Ta) also oscillated and was inversely related to transpiration rate. Oscillatory transpiration has not been reported in roses. Plant scientists need to recognize the complex and dynamic nature of plant responses such as the oscillatory pattern of WPT monitored in Rosa hybrida when selecting monitoring and control strategies.

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Allyson M. Blodgett, David J. Beattie, and John W. White

Impatiens wallerana `Accent Red' were grown in a peat : perlite : vermiculite (PPV) or bark : peat : perlite (BPP) medium amended with SuperSorb-C (SS) or Soil Moist (SM) hydrophilic polymer and/or AquaGro-G (AG) wetting agent. In PPV or BPP, neither SS nor SM significantly increased shoot dry weight. In PPV, quality ratings were higher for plants grown in nonamended or SS- or SM- amended medium than for plants in AG-amended medium. In BPP, quality ratings were highest for plants grown in nonamended, AG-, or SM + AG-treated medium. Number of days from final irrigation to permanent wilting point (PWP) was greater in AG, SS + AG, or SM + AG treatments in PPV than in control, SS, or SM treatments, due to smaller plants in AG-amended media. In both media, root dry weight was not significantly greater with the use of either hydrophilic polymer or wetting agent. However, in PPV, AG suppressed root growth compared to the control.