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Xiao-li Li and Yong He

A nondestructive method for the determination of chlorophyll index for the tea plant based on reflectance spectral characteristics was investigated. Spectral data were collected from 184 samples with a spectroradiometer in a field experiment. Multivariate analysis techniques, including partial least squares (PLS) and multiple linear regression (MLR), were used for developing calibration models for the determination of chlorophyll index of the tea plant. The best calibration model was achieved using the PLS technique with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.95, a se of prediction of 3.40, and a bias of 1.9e−06. When the model was used for predicting the unknown samples, good performance was also obtained with r of 0.91, se of calibration of 4.77, and bias of 0.02. Sensitive wavelengths were selected through loading analysis of latent variables in the optimal PLS model, and the validity of these wavelengths was proved by MLR and statistical analysis. Three fingerprint wavelengths (488, 695, and 931 nm) were determined and could potentially be used for developing a simple, low-cost, and efficient instrument for the measurement of chlorophyll index. The results proved the feasibility of reflectance spectra for measurement of chlorophyll index of the tea plant.

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Li-Chun Huang and Li-Chun Chen

Social media marketing has been widely adopted by florists with the use of the Facebook brand page. However, many florists fail to achieve their expected success in that realm because of not being fully conversant in posting on social media. To address this deficiency, this study aims to 1) develop a taxonomy of florists’ Facebook posts to clarify florists’ message strategies on Facebook brand page and 2) investigate the effect of posted messages and media formats on the marketing performance of florists’ Facebook brand pages by evaluating users’ engagement based on the number of likes, comments, and shares from users for each post. Using data derived from 1646 empirical Facebook posts initiated by florists, it was found that florists’ Facebook posts could be classified into four broad message types covering 12 categories. The statistical results for analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc tests revealed that the posted message and media format had significant effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. Compared with other message categories, posts in the message categories of product information, gratitude to customers, and holiday greetings had more favorable effects in terms of causing users to like, comment on, or share florists’ posts. As for the effect of media format, it was the posts in the photo media format that attracted more likes, comments, and shares from users compared with those in other media formats. Florists who operate brand pages on Facebook can be guided by our research when making decisions regarding the post characteristics in message orientations and media formats for attracting favorable responses from users.

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Thomas S.C. Li

Echinacea species, a popular medicinal herb throughout the world, have been used by indigenous Americans for hundreds of years as an effective immunostimulant. The cultivated acreage in the United States and Canada is increasing because of the great demand for Echinacea products. Better cultural methods and standardization and quality control of the value-added products are needed to increase the confidence of growers, producers, and consumers in this promising medicinal herb. Echinacea can be propagated from seed, crown division, and root sections. Seed stratification for 4 to 6 weeks at 34 to 40 °F (1 to 4 °C) before planting can improve germination. Echinacea thrives under cultivation in moderately rich and well-drained loam or sandy loam soil with regular irrigation and weed control. Roots are harvested in the fall after 3 to 4 years of cultivation. The best stage to harvest flowers has yet to be determined. Leaves are a source of valuable active ingredients, but no information is available in the literature on leaf harvesting. Active ingredients in Echinacea include polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides.

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Thomas S.C. Li

The ginseng industry has expanded rapidly in recent years. Asian and American ginseng are cultivated around the world. Ginseng products in various forms are increasingly popular, and its consumers are no longer limited to Asians. More knowledge is needed about the horticultural characteristics, cultural methods, disease control, drying and storage procedures, and technology for value-added products. Once-secretive information about ginseng and its culture is gradually becoming available, especially from the orient. Growers and researchers are eager to know more about Asian and American species of this high-value crop.

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Huisen Zhu and Deying Li

Increased use of recycled water along with inherent soil salinity problems on golf courses make salinity an important issue for golf course management. The objective of this study was to investigate if using humus on golf fairways by topdressing or spraying can alleviate soil salinity problems and improve turf quality. The study was conducted from 2015 to 2017 at Aurora, CO, and Medora, ND. Treatments included an untreated control, topdressing (sand, sand + peat), and spraying of humic acid. Our results showed that the application of humus increased the soil microbial biomass and improved turf quality on fairways either with a soil salinity problem or irrigated with recycled water. The effects on turfgrass health and turf quality were dependent on the rates of humus applied. Humic acid at 3 gal/acre was equivalent to topdressing sand + peat (80/20 v/v) and consistently showed improved turf quality over the untreated control. Soil properties also were affected by the application of humus. Soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC), bulk density, water infiltration, and microbial biomass may have had an indirect contribution to turf quality.

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Renuka Rao and Yuncong Li

The review of effects of excessive soil water on performance of various vegetable crops and selected field crops indicates that in areas where temporary flooding hazards are expected during the growing season, crops can be selected on their relative ability to tolerate excessive moisture. Field crops are generally less sensitive than vegetable crops in terms of yield. In addition to the choice of crop species, planting dates could be shifted when possible by delaying dates of sowing or planting to avoid probable periods of flooding during the sensitive growth stages. In most instances, crops are more sensitive at their early developmental phase than at the later stages in terms of yield. Soil management practices like ridging and furrowing or making raised beds before planting is recommended. In addition, amelioration with foliar application of chemicals like nutrients, growth hormones and fungicides is also recommended to overcome nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and disease infections. Every effort of amelioration should be exerted at the earliest opportunity, since water damage to crops becomes more severe with longer flooding duration.

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Yuncong Li and Min Zhang

Excessive bicarbonate concentrations and high irrigation water pH affect the growth and appearance of nursery plants in southern Florida. A greenhouse experiment consisting of five nitrogen (N) rates of urea or nitric acid was conducted to evaluate the influence of N sources and rates in irrigation water on bicarbonate concentrations, medium pH, and growth and appearance of anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum Lind.) plants. Pot medium pH, dry weight, plant appearance and N uptake by plants were significantly affected by N rates in irrigation water amended with either liquid urea or nitric acid, but the differences between the two N sources were not significant. The optimum growth and the best appearance of anthurium were achieved when N was added to irrigation well water as either urea or nitric acid at a rate of 20 mg·L-1 (ppm) and an electrical conductivity in a range of 0.36 to 0.42 dS·m-1 Nitrogen rates at 80 and 120 mg·L-1 induced adverse plant growth because of the greater salinity of the solutions and the lower pH of the medium.

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Li-Chun Huang

Product behavior represents how consumers perceive and use a product. Its importance in predicting consumer buying behavior is well documented in marketing research. There are, however, no data available investigating the role of product behavior in the floral market. This study addressed this deficiency. Data were first analyzed using factor analysis to extract the principal determinants of product behavior in the floral market. As a result, six primary behavioral factors were identified and named as: “using flowers as daily essentials,” “perceived product value,” “negative attitude toward flowers,” “using flowers as gifts,” “eventbased usage,” and “experience in receiving flowers.” The effects of these extracted behavioral factors on consumer flower purchase frequency were then further investigated with multinomial logistic regression analysis. Analytical results revealed that behaviors “using flowers as daily essentials” and “using flowers as gifts” forced consumers to become heavy users in the floral market. Conversely, “negative attitude toward flowers” negatively affected the floral purchase frequency. Experimental results in this study also suggest that promoting a positive attitude toward flowers is essential in encouraging consumers to become flower users. The intended use of flower product purchase, whether for personal use or as gifts, was the main factor affecting the frequent purchasing of flowers.

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Li-Chun Huang

Buying flowers for personal use and for gifts comprises a significant share of the retail flower market. However, data regarding flower purchasing behavior for self use and for gift use are very limited. This study applies a consumer decision process approach to identify behavioral differences in prepurchase behavior of flower purchasing between consumers who mainly purchase flowers for personal use and those who purchase them as gifts. Four hundred ninety-two valid surveys were obtained via purposive sampling, with data collected via a self-administered questionnaire. The statistical results of a stepwise discriminant analysis and t test substantiate that when making flower purchases, self users and gift users exhibit different behavioral patterns in prepurchase behavior with regard to information search, prepurchase evaluation of alternatives, retail channel choice, and store choice. It is clear that self users and gift users are two distinct market segments, and the implication is that for greater marketing efficiency, marketing strategies need to be realigned accordingly.

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Thomas S.C. Li

Siberian ginseng [Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. ex. Maxim.) Maxim] is currently a popular medicinal plant in Eurasia and North America. It has been used by the Chinese for over 2000 years. Recently, imported products of this plant have become available in North America, with a market share of 3.1% of the medicinal herbal industry. Siberian ginseng is harvested from its natural habitat in Russia and northeast China. Overharvesting has resulted in this popular herb approaching endangered species status. Cultivation is the only way to avoid its extinction, and to ensure the correct identity. Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L. or P. ginseng C.A. Meyer), but it has its own bioactive ingredients with unique and proven medicinal values. However, standardization and quality control of the active ingredients in the marketed products, which are mainly imported from China, are needed to avoid mislabeling or adulteration with other herbs.