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Anne Fennell, M.J. Line, and M. Faust

Changes in water status have been associated with various stages of dormancy and freezing tolerance in woody perennials. Recent studies in apple indicate that changes in the state (bound vs. free) of bud water are strongly correlated with the end of dormancy. In this study nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) was used to monitor changes in the state of bud water during the photoperiodic induction of endo-dormancy in Vitis riparia. Bud water status was monitored using proton relaxation times from T1 and T2 images determined at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of long (LD) or short (SD) photoperiod treatments. Bud dormancy was determined by monitoring budbreak in plants defoliated after photoperiod treatments. NMRI allowed nondestructive monitoring of changes in tissue water state. T1 and T2 maps indicated changes in the state of the water in bud and stem tissues during the 6 weeks of treatment. Differences in relaxation times for nondormant and dormancy-induced (reversible) buds were not clear. However, T2 relaxation times were lower in the dormant buds than in the nondormant buds.

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Miklos Faust, Dehua Liu, Merle M. Millard, and G.W. Stutte

Intact apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) buds were examined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI did not excite water in unchilled apple buds and could not image it. When chilling was satisfied, images were produced. We interpret this difference to mean that water is in bound and/or structured form in dormant apple leaf buds before the chilling requirement is satisfied. Conversion of bound to free water occurred equally in the low-chilling-requirement cultivar Anna and the high-chillingrequirement cultivar Northern Spy only after 600 and 4000 hours of chilling, respectively. It appears that processes involved in satisfying chilling requirement are also converting water in buds from bound to free form. Absence of free water in dormant buds during the winter signifies endodormancy, whereas when the water is in free form, buds are ecodormant. Thidiazuron, a dormancy-breaking agent, applied to partially chilled buds is instrumental in converting water to the free form within 24 hours. Summer-dormant buds contain free water, and they could be classified only as paradormant. Based on proton profiles, ecodormant and paradormant buds cannot be distinguished but endodormant buds can be readily identified.

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W. Roland Leatherwood, John M. Dole, and James E. Faust

Ethephon [(2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid] is used to increase stock plant cutting productivity through increased flower and flower bud abscission and branching. However, ethylene evolution resulting from ethephon application is suspected to cause leaf abscission of unrooted cuttings during shipping. It was the objective of this study to assess ethylene evolution from ethephon-treated cuttings during storage and shipping of unrooted cuttings. Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull ‘Sonic Red’ and ‘Sonic White’ stock plants were treated with 0, 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1 ethephon. Cuttings were harvested from 1 to 21 days later and each harvest was stored at 20 °C in sealed jars for 24 h before ethylene measurement. Higher ethephon doses resulted in greater ethylene generation. Cuttings harvested 1 day after treatment with 0, 250, 500, or 1000 mg·L−1 ethephon evolved 0.07, 1.3, 1.7, or 5.8 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene in the first 24 h of storage at 20 °C, respectively. Twenty-one days after treatment, cuttings from the same plants evolved 0.05, 0.05, 0.15, or 0.14 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene in the first 24 h of storage at 20 °C, respectively. As cuttings were harvested from Day 1 to Day 21, ethylene concentrations evolved within the first 24 h of storage decreased exponentially. Rinsing cuttings, treated 24 h earlier with 500 mg·L−1 ethephon, by gently agitating for 10 s in deionized water reduced ethylene evolution to 0.7 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) as compared with 1.7 for unrinsed cuttings. Cuttings harvested 24 h after treatment with 500 mg·L−1 ethephon stored at 10, 15, 20, and 25 °C for 24 h evolved 0.37, 0.81, 2.03, and 3.55 μL·L−1·g−1 (fresh weight) ethylene. The resulting mean temperature coefficient (Q10) for the 10 to 25 °C range from all replications was 5.15 ± 0.85. Thus, ethylene continues to evolve from ethephon-treated Impatiens hawkeri stock plants for up to 21 days and can accumulate to high concentrations during cutting storage.

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S. Y. Wang, H. J. Jiao, and M. Faust

An increase in ascorbic acid, reduced form of glutathione (GSH), total glutathione, total non-protein thiol (NPSH) and non-glutathione thiol (RSH) occurred as a result of induction by thidiazuron during bud break, whereas dehydroascorbic acid and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) decreased during the same period. Thidiazuron also enhanced the ratio of GSH/GSSG, and activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate free radical reductase (AFR), ascorbate peroxidase (POD), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), ascorbate oxidase (AAO), and glutathione reductase (GR). The ascorbic acid content and the activities of catalase, SOD, AFR, POD, AAO, and DHAR peaked when buds were in the side green or green tip stage just prior to the start of rapid expansion, and declined thereafter. The GSH, NPSH, RSH, ratio of GSH/GSSG, and activity of GR increased steadily during bud development.

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Uttara C. Samarakoon, James E. Faust, and John M. Dole

Vegetatively propagated unrooted cuttings are typically imported to the United States from Central America. Death or damage of cuttings during shipping and propagation can be reduced if cuttings can be made more resistant to external forces, such as physical damage or pathogen infection. However, strategies to develop durable cuttings via treating stock plants have not been previously quantified in controlled studies. During the current study, mechanical strength of leaves and resistance to infection by Botrytis cinerea were evaluated after weekly applications of calcium chloride (CaCl2) as a foliar spray to stock plants that delivered calcium (Ca) at the concentrations of 0, 400, or 800 mg·L−1. A texture analyzer quantified the peak force required to fracture the leaf and the work of penetration,or area under the force–displacement curve, and these measurements were indicators of mechanical strength. For poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch) cuttings at the time of harvest from the stock plant, work of penetration increased by 10% with the application of 800 mg·L−1 Ca compared with the control, whereas peak force by 9%. For zonal geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey), work of penetration increased 15% with the application of 800 mg·L−1 Ca compared with the control. Calcium concentration in the leaves increased from 1.2% to 2.0% in geranium and from 1.0% to 1.6% in poinsettia with increasing application from 0 to 800 mg·L−1 Ca. In poinsettia, disease incidence in response to inoculation with B. cinerea spores was 55% and 15% less with CaCl2 applications compared with controls with water and surfactant, respectively, whereas CaCl2 application to geranium did not affect disease incidence.

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Merle M. Millard, Dehua Liu, Michael J. Line, and Miklos Faust

Magnetic resonance imaging estimates unreasonably high T2 times when creating T2 images in woody plants when tissues contain a limited amount of water. We developed a system to correct such images. Tissue distribution of proton density and states of water were determined by creating images of proton density and T2 relaxation times in summerdormant (paradormant) apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) buds. These images reveal that the proton density and water states obviously are not distributed uniformly in the bud and stem; but, the distribution of water depends greatly on the tissue type (bark, xylem, or meristem of the stem), and there are differences in the states of water even within the same tissue. At low proton density T2, calculated relaxation times were unreasonably high in tissues, with the exception of meristem of the shoot. In buds that were induced to grow and in which proton density was higher, T2 times appeared as expected. Variance of T2 times in tissues containing little water was 50 times higher than in those with a higher water content. Data with such high variance were excluded from the images; thus, the image was “corrected.” Corrected images of T2 times fit the distribution of water indicated by the proton density images well.

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M. Faust, A. Erez, L.J. Rowland, S.Y. Wang, and H.A. Norman

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Vijaya Kumar Rapaka, James E. Faust, John M. Dole, and Erik S. Runkle

This study investigated the preharvest carbohydrate status and postharvest ethylene action of unrooted shoot-tip cuttings of lantana ‘Dallas Red’ harvested at three times during the day (0800, 1200, and 1600 hr) in relation to subsequent leaf abscission, shoot apices blackening, and adventitious root formation. The cuttings harvested at various times during the day were stored in darkness at 20 ± 1 °C for 4 days in sealed polyethylene bags. The cuttings harvested at 0800 hr had lowest total nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations; however, the amount of ethylene production during postharvest storage was similar among harvest times and increased during the storage period. After 4 days of storage, 69% of the leaves of cuttings harvested at 0800 hr abscised, but only 22% and 8% of the leaves abscised in cuttings harvested at 1200 and 1600 hr, respectively. Application of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) increased ethylene production and suppressed leaf abscission regardless of the harvest time, but cuttings harvested at 0800 hr developed blackened shoot apices. Leaf abscission was negatively correlated with total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration in the leaves, but no relationship was found with ethylene production. These results indicate that a high endogenous carbohydrate status decreases the postharvest ethylene sensitivity in unrooted shoot-tip cuttings of lantana. Time of harvest influenced subsequent rooting response; however, 1-MCP application did not inhibit rooting. Among various storage treatments, the best rooting response was observed in cuttings harvested at 1600 hr and treated with 1-MCP. Therefore, significant improvement of postharvest storage quality in vegetative lantana cuttings could be achieved by harvesting cuttings late in the day and treating with 1-MCP.

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W. Roland Leatherwood, John M. Dole, Ben A. Bergmann, and James E. Faust

Knowing which herbaceous taxa are ethylene sensitive and managing exposure of unrooted terminal stem cuttings to ethylene in those taxa are critical for maintaining high-quality propagules that root readily. Of 59 taxa surveyed, freshly harvested terminal cuttings of Begonia hybrid ‘Snowcap’, Lantana camara L. ‘Patriot Sunbeam’, and Portulaca oleracea L. ‘Fairytales Sleeping Beauty’ were sensitive to exogenous application of 1 μL·L−1 ethylene, as demonstrated by leaf abscission within 24 hours of treatment. Exposure to 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) at 700 μL·L−1 for 4 hours before ethylene treatment prevented ethylene injury in these species/cultivars. Exposing unrooted cuttings to 700 μL·L−1 1-MCP induced significant endogenous ethylene biosynthesis in terminal cuttings of the five taxa tested: Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch ‘Visions of Grandeur’, Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull ‘Sonic Red’, Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L’Hérit. ‘Mandarin’, Pelargonium ×hortorum Bailey (pro sp.) [inquinans × zonale] ‘Rocky Mountain White’, and Petunia ×hybrida Vilm. ‘Suncatcher Coral Prism’. Exogenous 1 μL·L−1 ethylene improved adventitious rooting in two cultivars: Begonia hybrid Anita Louise and Fuchsia triphylla L. Honeysuckle. Other trials showed that 1-MCP exposure reduced root number and length of P. ×hortorum ‘Kardino’ and delayed adventitious rooting in all six cultivars tested: Angelonia angustifolia Benth. ‘Carita Lavender’, Calibrachoa ×hybrida Llave & Lex. ‘Terra Cotta’, I. hawkeri ‘Sonic Red’, P. oleracea ‘Fairytales Sleeping Beauty’, Sutera cordata Kuntze ‘Abunda Blue Improved’, and Verbena ×hybrida Groenl. & Ruempl. ‘Aztec Wild Rose’. Subsequent exposure to 1 μL·L−1 ethylene partially mitigated the negative effects on rooting from exposing cuttings to 1-MCP.

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Grace M. Pietsch, William H. Carlson, Royal D. Heins, and James E. Faust

The effects of day and night temperatures (15 to 35C) and three irradiance levels [50% of ambient, ambient, and ambient plus 12 mol·m-2·day-1 of supplemental photosynthetic photon flux (PPF)] on development of Catharanthus roseus `Grape Cooler' were determined. Time to flower decreased by 30 days and leaf-pair unfolding rate (LUR) increased linearly as average daily temperature increased from 18 to 35C. Flower size was greatest when plants were grown at 25C. Supplemental light decreased days to flower and increased flower size. Flowering occurred when nine leaf pairs were present on the plant. Using the inverse of the LUR curve, i.e., days per leaf pair, the number of days to flower could be predicted at any time during plant development based on plant leaf number.