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Megan M. Kennelly, Timothy C. Todd, Derek M. Settle and Jack D. Fry

Moss is common on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) putting greens, and more control options are needed. Spot treatment of sodium bicarbonate (44.2 g·L−1) was compared with broadcast sprays of carfentrazone-ethyl (50.5 or 101 g a.i./ha), chlorothalonil (8.2 or 12.8 kg a.i./ha) and a tank mixture of chlorothalonil, mancozeb, and thiram (8.2, 9.8, and 11.5 kg a.i./ha) in 2006 in Lemont, IL. Sodium bicarbonate suppressed moss growth equally as the conventional products. These results led to further experiments in 2008 in which moss suppression was evaluated within standard and alternative putting green management regimes in Manhattan, KS, and Lemont, IL. The standard approach included spring and fall applications of carfentrazone-ethyl (101 g a.i./ha) for moss control, biweekly applications of urea (46N–0P–0K) at 15 kg N/ha, and applications of chlorothalonil (8.2 kg a.i./ha) on a 14-day interval. Conversely, the alternative approach included spring and fall spot treatments of sodium bicarbonate (44.2 g·L−1) for moss control, biweekly applications of a natural organic fertilizer (8N–1P–3K) to provide nitrogen at 15 kg N/ha, and applications of chlorothalonil (8.2 kg a.i./ha) only when dollar spot reached a predetermined threshold level. Standard and alternative regimes were compared at both 3.2- and 4.0-mm mowing heights; synthetic and organic fertilizers applied alone without pest control approaches were included as controls. In Kansas and Illinois, moss coverage using the alternative management regime was not significantly different from that on greens managed using the standard regime. In Kansas, moss severity at a 3.2 mm was 1.6-fold higher than at the 4.0-mm height. In Illinois, sodium bicarbonate suppressed moss equivalently to the carfentrazone-ethyl treatment, and in the fertilizer-only controls, mowing at 3.2 versus 4.0 mm led to more moss coverage. These studies demonstrate that moss can be effectively suppressed on greens using spot applications of sodium bicarbonate and reduced moss encroachment is possible with higher mowing heights.

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Sarah A. Masterson, Megan M. Kennelly, Rhonda R. Janke and Cary L. Rivard

The utilization of grafted tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants in the United States shows significant promise, particularly as intensively managed production systems like high tunnels and greenhouses become more popular. However, the availability of grafted plants in the United States is currently a major barrier and a large portion of farmers who would like to use grafted plants would prefer to propagate their own. The objectives of this study were to determine how healing chamber design affects graft survival and microclimate, and to investigate how scion leaf and shoot removal affects graft survival in various healing chambers. Similar experiments were repeated at two locations in Kansas and a split-plot, randomized complete block design (RCBD) was used in each, with three and four replications being conducted over time at each of the locations. Five chamber treatments were tested including a negative control (none) as well as shadecloth alone, white vinyl mesh, polyethylene film and shadecloth, and polyethylene film with shadecloth and a cool-mist humidifier. No statistically significant effects of chamber design were seen on grafted plant success. However, microclimate data from the various healing chambers offer valuable data toward determining the best management practices for grafted plants. Shadecloth alone showed significant promise as this covering provided cooler temperatures during the afternoon when the healing chambers were prone to excessive heat buildup. Three tube-grafting methods were tested, including standard tube-grafted plants (no leaves removed), leaf removal (LR) plants (≈75% of the leaf surface area was removed from the scion), and shoot removal (SR) plants (the apical meristem and all true leaves were removed). The SR method did not affect graft survival, but the LR method increased grafting success from 78% to 84% and was significant as compared with the other methods (P < 0.05). The long-term goals of this work are to develop successful propagation systems that can be used by small-acreage growers with limited greenhouse facilities. The data presented here indicate that high-humidity healing chambers (>85% relative humidity) may not be necessary for tomato, and LR can increase the grafting success rate.

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Ross C. Braun, Jack D. Fry, Megan M. Kennelly, Dale J. Bremer and Jason J. Griffin

In the transitional climates, warm-season turfgrasses are more heat and drought resistant and require fewer pesticide and fertilizer inputs than cool-season turfgrasses, but an extended winter dormancy period in warm-season turfgrasses makes them less attractive. Our objective was to evaluate color intensity and persistence of colorants applied at two volumes, once or sequentially, on buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) maintained at 2.5 inches and zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica) maintained at 0.5 inch. Field studies were conducted in Manhattan, KS, and Haysville, KS, from Oct. 2013 to May 2014 on dormant ‘Sharpshooter’ and ‘Cody’ buffalograss and ‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass. The colorants Green Lawnger, Endurant, and Wintergreen Plus were applied at 100 or 160 gal/acre in autumn (single application) or autumn plus midwinter (sequential application). Every 2 weeks, visual turf color was rated on a 1 to 9 scale (9 = best) with ratings based on the intensity of the color, not the color (hue) of green. Few differences in color persistence occurred among colorants, but color persisted longer at the higher spray volume. In general, buffalograss receiving a single autumn colorant application had acceptable color (i.e., a visual rating ≥6) for 55–70 days at 100 gal/acre or 55–88 days at 160 gal/acre. Zoysiagrass receiving a single autumn colorant application had acceptable color for 56–97 days at 100 gal/acre or 97–101 days at 160 gal/acre. Across all sites, a sequential midwinter application applied at 160 gal/acre on buffalograss and both application volumes on zoysiagrass provided acceptable green turf color from that point until spring green-up. Most buffalograss plots receiving the sequential midwinter application at 100 gal/acre had acceptable color from that point until spring green-up. Winter color of buffalograss and zoysiagrass can be enhanced by colorant application, and a longer period of acceptable color can be achieved by applying at a higher volume or by including a sequential midwinter treatment.

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Sarah A. Masterson, Megan M. Kennelly, Rhonda R. Janke and Cary L. Rivard

Grafting with interspecific hybrid rootstock is effective for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) growers looking to reduce soilborne disease in the southeastern United States. However, production with grafted tomato has not been tested in the central United States, where soilborne disease pressure is low. Small-acreage growers would like to produce grafted plants themselves, but many have difficulty with propagation due to water stress in the scion postgrafting and/or high temperatures. Removing the upper portion of the scion to reduce leaf area during the grafting procedure [shoot removal (SR)] could help to reduce water stress postgrafting, but there are no data available that indicate what effect this practice has on tomato yield. Five high tunnel trials and one open-field trial were conducted in 2011 and 2012 to investigate potential yield effects related to the use of two rootstocks and SR during the grafting procedure. The implementation of grafting with rootstocks significantly increased fruit yield in five of the six trials (P < 0.05). The average yield increases by ‘Maxifort’ and ‘Trooper Lite’ tomato rootstocks were 53% and 51%, respectively, across all trials. SR during the grafting process may penalize tomato yield and our results suggest that rootstock vigor plays a role. Plants grafted with ‘Maxifort’ across all of the trials consistently increased shoot biomass in four of five of the high tunnel trials compared with nongrafted plants (P < 0.05), whereas plants grafted with ‘Trooper Lite’ rootstock increased shoot biomass in one trial. Similarly, the SR method penalized the total fruit yield of plants grafted with ‘Trooper Lite’ more often than those that were grafted with ‘Maxifort’. Our results suggest that plant growth and ultimately tomato fruit yield is affected negatively by using the SR grafting technique, particularly when less vigorous rootstock is used.

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Wendy A. Johnson, Raymond A. Cloyd, James R. Nechols, Kimberly A. Williams, Nathan O. Nelson, Dorith Rotenberg and Megan M. Kennelly

Two greenhouse studies were conducted to examine effects of nitrogen source on primary and secondary metabolism of pac choi (Brassica rapa L. subsp. chinensis cv. Mei Qing Choi) and diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella L.) consumption, development, survival, and body weight. Applications of a liquid organic source of nitrogen (fish hydrolysate fertilizer) were compared with a conventional fertilizer to determine whether nitrogen source directly impacts pac choi chemistry (elemental composition and phenolics) and biomass and indirectly affects diamondback moth fitness parameters. There was no significant effect of fertility treatment on pac choi chemistry or biomass with the exception of percent leaf phosphorus, which was significantly higher in the conventional fertility treatment, and p-coumarin, which was significantly higher in the organic fertility treatment. Diamondback moth also affected plant chemistry. Both calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) were significantly higher in plants infested with larvae compared with uninfested plants. Fertilizer affected diamondback moth fitness with percent survival and cohort development significantly reduced on pac choi associated with the organic fertilizer. However, pac choi receiving the organic treatment was similar in regard to primary nutrients and secondary compounds compared with plants that received a conventional fertilizer.