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  • Author or Editor: Michelle L. Bell x
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Rooted `Freedom' poinsettia cuttings were treated with imidacloprid by surface application (0.005 g a.i./16.5-cm container) and the following alternative application techniques: foliar spray, 10 s dip, and 1 h dip (0.028 g a.i./liter). Topdressed plants were either overhead- or bottom-watered to investigate effects of leaching on imidacloprid residual activity. Number of silverleaf whitefly nymphs/cm2 leaf were counted weekly, then biweekly, from 14 to 112 days after treatment. Spray and dip applications delayed establishment of heavy whitefly populations compared to the untreated control but did not prevent infestation. Single foliar and dip applications of imidacloprid proved not to be viable control alternatives. The two irrigation treatments using surface-applied imidacloprid provided whitefly control through 84 days after treatment. Beyond 84 days after treatment, topdressed, subirrigated plants had more whiteflies than topdressed, overhead-irrigated plants.

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Twenty-eight greenhouse screening materials, with predetermined airflow resistance values, were evaluated for exclusion of silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii Perring & Bellows) and thrips from a mixed-species population. Screens differed in exclusion efficacy, as a percentage of the fiberglass window screen control and at an approach velocity of at 92 m/min, from –35 to 94% for silverleaf whitefly and from –13 to 95% for thrips. Seventeen screens excluded more silverleaf whitefly, whereas seven excluded more thrips than the window screen control. One material differentially excluded whitefly over thrips; many more differentially excluded thrips over whitefly. Airflow resistance, indicative of mesh hole size, did not necessarily correspond with degree of exclusion. Though two high-resistance screens, No-Thrips and Econet S, excluded both pests, not all materials characterized as highly resistant to airflow provided significant exclusion. Exclusion of both pests was also attained with three moderate resistance screens, BugBed 123, BugBed 85, Pak 44×44, and one low-resistance screen, BugBed 110UV.

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Dikegulac, dikegulac + GA4+7, BA, and Promalin (GA4+7 + BA) were evaluated as lateral shoot-inducing agents on greenhouse forcing azalea, Rhododendron cultivars Gloria and Prize. The addition of GA4+7 (1000 or 2000 mg.L-1) to a commercial rate of dikegulac (3900 mg.L-1) did not effectively increase plant diameter or leaf width compared to plants sprayed with dikegulac alone. The combination of dikegulac and GA4+7 (3900 + 2000 mg.L-1, respectively) was more phytotoxic than dikegulac alone. Foliar sprays of BA and Promalin at 1000 and 2000 mg.L-1 and 1000 and 1816 mg.L-1, respectively, did not increase lateral shoot count. Neither the addition of GA4+7 to dikegulac nor the use of Promalin is a viable alternative to dikegulac application for inducing lateral branch development of dikegulac-sensitive cultivars. Chemical names used: Na 2,3:4,6-Bis-0-(l-methylethylidene)-α-L-xylo-2-hexulofuranosonic acid (dikegulac), (lα,2β,4aα,4bβ,10β)-2,4a,7-trihydroxy-l-methyl-8-methylenegibb-3-ene-l,10-dicarboxylic acid l,4a-lactone (GA4+7),N-(phenylmethyl)-lH-purin-6-amine (BA), and Promalin [1:1 (wt/wt) GA4+7 and BA].

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Since whiteflies preferentially oviposit on the newest leaves, it is the early life stages that are most likely to be present on poinsettia cuttings from infested stock or infested during rooting. This study evaluated efficacy of insecticidal dips against eggs and first nymphal instars of the silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii. Dip efficacy was investigated by dipping rooted cuttings of whitefly-infested `Freedom' in the following insecticide emulsions: 2% insecticidal soap (M-Pede), 1% horticultural oil (Ultrafine), fluvalinate (Mavrik), oxythioquinox (Joust), kinoprene (EnstarII), azadirachtin (Margosan-O), fenoxycarb (Precision) and imidacloprid (Merit). Two dip durations, 10 seconds and 1 hour, were tested for each insecticide. Water dips for the two durations were used as control treatments. Fenoxycarb and azadirachtin dips for durations of 10 seconds and 1 hour and oxythioquinox dips for 1 hour resulted in greater egg mortality than the other treatments. No insecticide/dip duration treatment gave 100% mortality of eggs. Dips found to be efficacious killed proportionately fewer eggs than first instar nymphs.

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Lisianthus [Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf). Shinn.] is emerging as an important cut flower in the United States while in European and Asian markets it is already listed among the top ten cut flowers. Many new cultivars have been released in the United States within the last 5 years, but comparative performance trials of these cultivars have been lacking. This trial evaluated 47 cultivars of lisianthus representing series (cultivar groups) that were marketed in the United States in 1998. Evaluations were made for rosetting, plug performance, cut-flower characteristics (vegetative and flowering attributes) as well as postharvest longevity of cut flowers. Significant differences among cultivars were found for all of the attributes evaluated. `Malibu Purple', `Catalina Blue Blush', and `Alice Pink' were selected as the best performers in the seedling (plug) stage since they had less than 5% rosettes, large leaves and a vigorous root system. Cultivars were placed in classes based on flower color, flower size, and number of petals (single or double flowers). Cultivars were ranked for each of the attributes and the total rank sum of all attributes (TRS) was used to select the best in class. Cultivars selected as best in class were `Malibu Purple', `Malibu Blue Blush', `Alice Purple', `Balboa Blue', `Avila Blue Rim', `Mellow Pink', `Flamenco Wine Red', `Flamenco Rose Rim', `Alice Pink', `Avila Rose' and `Echo Pink', `Alice White', and `Mariachi White'.

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Experiments were designed to determine if the combination of 6-benzyl adenine + gibberellic acid 4+7 can promote increased lateral shoots of desirable number and length on azaleas (Rhododendron simsii Planch.). The use of dikegulac-sodium with the addition of GA4+7 was also investigated to determine if GA4+7 could overcome decreased plant height and diameter caused by dikegulac application. Treatments were applied by spraying 204 ml·m-2 to pinched plants of mean diameter and mean height of 16 and 13 cm, respectively, potted in 1.3 liter plastic containers. Shoot number, plant height and plant diameter were measured 9 weeks after application for the commercially prominent cvs. `Gloria' and `Prize'. Preliminary results indicate that 2100 mg·l-1 ai BA + 2100 mg·l-1 ai GA4+7 increases number of lateral shoots. Initial results suggest the addition of 2100 mg·l-1 ai GA4+7 to 3900 mg·l-1 ai dikegulac overcomes inhibition of internodal elongation induced by dikegulac alone. Further studies will determine the effectiveness of Promalin (N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine + GA4+7, 1:1) as a pinching agent on azaleas.

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Experiments were designed to determine if the combination of 6-benzyl adenine + gibberellic acid 4+7 can promote increased lateral shoots of desirable number and length on azaleas (Rhododendron simsii Planch.). The use of dikegulac-sodium with the addition of GA4+7 was also investigated to determine if GA4+7 could overcome decreased plant height and diameter caused by dikegulac application. Treatments were applied by spraying 204 ml·m-2 to pinched plants of mean diameter and mean height of 16 and 13 cm, respectively, potted in 1.3 liter plastic containers. Shoot number, plant height and plant diameter were measured 9 weeks after application for the commercially prominent cvs. `Gloria' and `Prize'. Preliminary results indicate that 2100 mg·l-1 ai BA + 2100 mg·l-1 ai GA4+7 increases number of lateral shoots. Initial results suggest the addition of 2100 mg·l-1 ai GA4+7 to 3900 mg·l-1 ai dikegulac overcomes inhibition of internodal elongation induced by dikegulac alone. Further studies will determine the effectiveness of Promalin (N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine + GA4+7, 1:1) as a pinching agent on azaleas.

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Host-plant nutritional status may affect the incidence and development of western flower thrips (WFT; Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande). Two greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the responses of WFT population levels on impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook.f.) when plants were fertilized with commercially practiced rates of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Impatiens `Dazzler Violet' were grown with nutrient treatment combinations of 2 N rates (8 and 20 mm) by 2 P rates (0.32 and 1.28 mm). Individual plants grown in thrips-proof cages were inoculated with WFT at 2 or 4 weeks after transplant, in separate experiments, representing vegetative or reproductive stages of plant growth, respectively. Plants were destructively sampled weekly for 4 weeks following inoculation. Plant tissue N and P concentrations were significantly different across treatments: 8 and 20 mm N resulted in 4.9% and 6.3% N in tissue, respectively; 0.32 and 1.28 mm P resulted in 0.37% and 0.77% P in tissue, respectively. Nitrogen rates had no effect on WFT population levels. However, 4 weeks after inoculation with adult female WFT during the vegetative growth stage, plants fertilized with 1.28 mm P had more adult WFT than those fertilized with 0.32 mm P. Feeding damage varied depending on whether plants were inoculated in the vegetative stage with adult WFT or during reproductive growth with immature WFT. Plant size and number of flowers were lower in plants inoculated during the vegetative growth stage with adult WFT but were not affected when inoculation with immature WFT occurred during the reproductive stage, as most WFT were found feeding inside the nectariferous spurs of the flowers. Tissue N was lower in WFT-inoculated plants compared to noninoculated plants in both experiments.

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Evidence is presented that native populations of Rudbeckia hirta L. (Blackeyed Susan) may be adapted to regional conditions. Two Florida ecotypes, one from north Florida (NFL) and one from central Florida (CFL), were better able to withstand the low fertility sites under three AHS Heat Zones (9, 10, 11) in Florida than were plants grown from Texas (TEX) seeds. Plants from TEX seed were the largest and showiest (generally the greatest number of flowers; largest flowers) but the shortest-lived. Most of these plants did not survive beyond August (about 6 months after transplanting) regardless of site. The CFL plants were especially tolerant of flooding conditions at Ft. Lauderdale. Under garden conditions, CFL Black-eyed Susan may be a highly desirable wildflower for subtropical or tropical summers.

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Growth, flowering, and survival of black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.) from three seed sources—northern Florida (NFL), central Florida (CFL), and Texas (TEX)—were evaluated under low input conditions for one growing season at four sites in Florida. Two sites were in American Horticultural Society (AHS) Heat Zone 9 while the other two were in AHS Heat Zones 10 and 11. Growth, onset date of flowering, and number of flowers at peak flowering varied by site. With few exceptions, plants tended to reach peak flowering at about the same time. Flower diameter varied by seed source with TEX>NFL>CFL. While TEX plants were perceived as the showiest, NFL and CFL plants persisted longer under the low input conditions in Florida, and hence provided some evidence of adaptation to regional site conditions.

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