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  • Author or Editor: Leslie A. Weston x
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Allelopathy can be defined as an important mechanism of plant interference mediated by the addition of plant-produced secondary products to the soil rhizosphere. Allelochemicals are present in all types of plants and tissues and are released into the soil rhizosphere by a variety of mechanisms, including decomposition of residues, volatilization and root exudation. Allelochemical structures and modes of action are diverse, and may offer potential for development of future herbicides. In the past, allelopathy was described by the Romans as a process resulting in the “sickening” of the soil; in particular, chickpea (Cicer arietinum) was described as problematic when successively cropped with other species. Other early plant scientists, such as De Candolle in the 1800s, first described the ability of plant roots to produce toxic exudates. More recently, research has focused on development of weed management strategies using allelopathic crop residues, mechanism of allelochemical action, and gene regulation of allelochemical production. This paper briefly describes a variety of weed and crop species that establishes some form of potent allelopathic interference, either with other crops or weeds, in agricultural settings, in the managed landscape, or in naturalized settings. Recent research suggests that allelopathic properties can render one species more invasive to native species and thus potentially detrimental to both agricultural and naturalized settings. In contrast, allelopathic crops offer strong potential for the development of cultivars that are more highly weed suppressive in managed settings. A new challenge that exists for plant scientists is to generate additional information on allelochemical mechanisms of release, selectivity and persistence, mode of action, and genetic regulation. Armed with this specific information, we can further protect plant biodiversity and enhance weed management strategies in a variety of ecosystems.

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Abstract

‘Yolo Wonder L’ pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) transplants produced in two locations (Florida and Kentucky) and in flats of five cell sizes were compared for fruit productivity in Kentucky. Transplants grown in large cells in both locations produced greater early yields than those from small cells, but did not produce greater total yields. Transplants grown in Speedling cell size 175 (39.5 cm3) possessed greater height, leaf area, and dry weight at field-setting and produced greater early fruit yields than did plants grown in smaller cells. Transplants grown in Speedling trays in Kentucky, but fertilized differently than those grown in Florida, produced greater early and total yields than Speedling transplants grown in Florida. Sixty-day-old seedlings transplanted into the field produced significantly larger early yields than did those that were 30, 40, or 50 days old.

Open Access

Abstract

‘Pik-Red’ tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplants produced in 2 locations (Florida and Michigan), in 6 root cell sizes were compared for fruit productivity in Michigan. Transplants grown in large cells produced more early yields than those from small cells, but generally did not produce more total yields. Large root cell size had a greater effect on transplant size than did wide spacing in the flat. Speedling root cell size 175 (39.5 cm3) produced the largest transplants, the largest early fruit yields, and the greatest weight of marketable fruit. Transplants grown in Speedling trays in Michigan produced larger early yields than Speedling transplants grown in Florida.

Open Access

For the past 5 years, we have evaluated more than 100 herbaceous perennial groundcovers, including both grasses and grass mixtures, as well as ornamental broadleaf materials, for their ability to establish, suppress weeds, provide aesthetic appeal, and resist pests in various landscape and roadside settings across New York State. By working in cooperation with the NYSDOT, we have developed recommendations for materials that have performed well in difficult, potentially stressful, roadside and landscape settings. We have performed replicated research and demonstration trials that have clearly shown that certain species and cultivars provide effective weed suppression; great aesthetic appeal due to foliar texture, color, or flowering, resist pests and diseases; and require low maintenance over time. In addition, certain materials tolerate high levels of salt (NaCl), simulating roadside salt application exposure, in supplemental greenhouse studies. Materials generally suppressed weeds effectively by forming a dense canopy in a short period of time, and reducing light interception at the soil surface under this dense canopy. Certain groundcovers also appeared to exhibit strong potential allelopathic properties when grown either in field or laboratory settings. The selection of new plant materials for use in low-maintenance landscape settings offers potential to reduce time and maintenance inputs in difficult landscape or roadside settings, with the added benefit of reducing pesticide application in these settings for weed management. Additional studies are currently underway to develop further recommendations for use of warm- and cool-season turfgrasses in these settings.

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Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of incorporated hydrogel amendments to a soilless growth medium on ammonium, nitrate, and water retention and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seedling growth. HydroSource and Agri-gel were incorporated into a 1 peat: 1 perlite: 1 vermiculite soilless medium at rates of 1, 2, or 3 g·liter-1 with 0.88 g of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Water retention by the growth medium increased linearly with gel application; HydroSource generally was more effective than Agri-gel. Between 90% and 96% of the applied nitrate-N was recovered in the resulting leachate of the gel-amended media, while 33% to 55% of the ammonium-N was recovered. Nitrate-N and ammonium-N retention was higher when 3 g·liter-1 of either gel was added to the growth medium than when lower amounts or no gel was added. Gel amendment did not affect tomato seedling growth. Total foliar N concentration in tomato leaves was significantly higher in the HydroSource treatments than in the control or Agri-gel treatments.

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`Buttercrunch', `Grand Rapids', and `Summer Bibb' lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seedlings were grown with the nutrient film technique (NIT). The influence of two K concentrations (150 and 225 mg·liter-1) and four solution pH levels (5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5) on lettuce tipburn was investigated in four experiments. Additionally, the influence of pH on foliar nutrient concentration was examined. Even though tipburn was observed in `Buttercrunch' and `Summer Bibb' lettuce, neither K nor pH level consistently affected tipburn incidence. No tipburn was observed in `Grand Rapids'. Solution pH generally did not affect concentration of total N and NO3-N in lettuce tissue. Increasing the pH increased K concentration and resulted in increased proportions of K compared to Mg or Ca. Although the influence of solution pH on P, Ca, and Mg concentration was significant, nutrient accumulation differences were not reflected in lettuce fresh-weight differences. The influence of K solution concentration and pH on lettuce yield was not significant. Tipburn incidence in NIT-produced lettuce appears to be primarily affected by environmental conditions maintained during greenhouse growth.

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Sorgoleone, the oxidized quinone form of a hydrophobic p-benzoquinone was first isolated from Sorghum root exudates. Sorgoleone is a potent inhibitor of growth in several annual weed species and causes tissue bleaching at concentrations of <25 μ M. These investigations were designed to determine if soreoleone's allelopathic activity was related to an inhibition of photosynthetic electron transport. The effect of sorgoleone versus DCMU (diuron) on inhibition of O2 evolution by broken wheat thylakoids, and in oxygenevolving PSII membranes containing QA and QB primary and secondary electron acceptors in PSII was determined. Sorgoleone was a potent inhibitor of O2 evolution in this system with ∼ 0.04 and 0.78 μ M concentrations required for 50 and 100% inhibition as compared to -0.11 and 2.0 μ M DCMU, respectively. Sorgoleone caused no significant inhibition of PSI mediated photooxidation of ascorbate/dichlorophenolindophenol, establishing that the locus of inhibition by sorgoleone was within the PSII complex. The effect of trypsin treatment of chloroplasts and PSII membranes on sensitivity to inhibition by DCMU and sorgoleone was examined. The comparison of DCMU and sorgoleone upon the formation and decay of flash-induced chlorophyll a variable fluorescence indicates that sorgoleone specifically inhibited the oxidation of QA by QB.

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Vegetables provide a major source of essential vitamins such as ascorbic acid and beta carotene and other quality components in the human diet. Postharvest yield and quality of vegetables depend upon genetic, biotic, edaphic, chemic and other factors, as well as combinations of these factors. Successful production, quality and nutritional value of vegetables are related to both primary and secondary metabolic processes occurring during vegetable growth and development. Related research has focused upon cultivar selection, cultural practices used during production, interaction of light and temperature, and use of chemicals for growth regulation, and pest control. We will discuss the effects of genetic, pest, and soil management; crop maturity at harvest; environmental modification; and climatic conditions. Postharvest vegetable quality will be characterized in terms of vitamin content, appearance, yield, and flavor.

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Dithiopyr (Dimension, Monsanto) is a turfgrass herbicide currently under evaluation for use in ornamentals. Granular herbicide depth and seed placement were evaluated in greenhouse studies with tolerant or susceptible weeds. Dithiopyr was applied preemergence to weeds at the rate of 2.24 kg/ha to Maury silt loam soil. Weed seeds were planted routinely at 0.64 cm depth. Dithiopyr placed at the soil surface or 0.64 cm in depth caused the greatest injury to seedlings, followed by dithiopyr at 1.28 cm depth. Dithiopyr at 2.54 and 3.81 cm below the surface had no effect upon seedling growth. When seeding depth was investigated, seed placed at 0.64, 1.28 or 1.91 cm below the surface showed greatest seedling injury when dithiopyr was routinely applied at 0.64 cm depth. Seed placement on the soil surface resulted in the least injury to weeds.

Peat moss was added to Maury silt loam soil and to sand to investigate the influence of organic matter upon activity. Soil with 2% peat resulted in the least injury to selected weed seedlings while sand, and sand plus up to 3% peat showed greatest injury. Sand amended with 5 and 6% peat also resulted in less injury to weed seedlings. Ivy leaf morningglory and KY 31 fescue were most tolerant of dithiopyr while barnyardgrass and large crabgrass were most sensitive. Dithiopyr uptake, translocation and metabolism studies will be conducted with susceptible and tolerant weed and woody ornamental species.

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Abstract

‘Pik-Red’ tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplants grown in the greenhouse were fertilized with three levels of N and P. Nitrogen at 400 mg·liter-1 and P at 30 mg·liter-1 had produced the largest transplants at 5 weeks after sowing. Nitrogen at 100 mg·liter-1 produced the largest root : shoot ratio. Phosphorus had no effect on root : shoot ratios. Plants fertilized with moderate and high N levels in the greenhouse produced larger early yields in the field, but there was no effect of N or P level applied in the greenhouse on total yield. Four- and 5-week-old plants produced greatest total yields.

Open Access