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  • Author or Editor: N.S. Lang x
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Interconversions of seed storage reserves during osmoconditioning (controlled imbibition of water) may influence seed performance under suboptimal conditions. Sweet corn (Zen mays L. cv. Florida Staysweet) storage reserve changes were examined during osmoconditioning in relation to seed germination performance. Seeds were osmoconditioned in two experiments using distilled water (duration 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 h) and polyethylene glycol 8000 solutions (0, .5, and 1.0 MPa for 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h). Germination performance was evaluated at 10 and 25C, and seed moisture, carbohydrate, and protein concentrations were quantified at each water potential x duration combination. Germination performance was not significantly improved by any treatment at 25C. Germination percentage at 10C was increased 10% for seeds osmoconditioned for 24 h in distilled water, and time to germination was decreased 50%. For seeds osmoconditioned 12 and 48 h at .5 and 1.0 MPa, respectively, germination percentage at 10C was increased 15%. Time to germination was reduced 50% for seeds osmoconditioned at .5 and 1.0 MPa after 48 and 96 h, respectively. Starch levels increased for seeds osmoconditioned at higher water potentials, but remained the same or decreased at lower water potentials.

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Little is known about intraspecific variability in St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] freezing tolerance and the physiological factors that may influence survival. Stolons of field-grown `Raleigh', `Floratam', and FX-332 St. Augustinegrass were sampled between October and March in 1990 to 1991 and 1991 to 1992 to measure freezing tolerance, nonstructural carbohydrates, and water content. Stolons were exposed to temperatures between 1 and -8C in a freezer, and regrowth was evaluated in the greenhouse. Generally, freezing tolerance of `Raleigh' > `Floratam' = FX-332. `Raleigh' exhibited >60% survival in December and January, while survival of `Floratam' and FX-332 was <20%. `Raleigh' was the only cultivar that acclimated, as indicated by a 75% increase in survival between October and December 1990. Starch and sucrose were the primary storage carbohydrates extracted from stolons, but neither was correlated with freezing tolerance. A negative (r = -0.80) correlation was observed between `Raleigh' survival and stolon water content between January and March 1991. Reduced water content in `Raleigh' stolons during winter months may contribute to acclimation.

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`Floratam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] stolons were sampled from the field between October and March to determine potential changes in lethal low temperatures and nonstructural carbohydrate composition. Lethal temperatures determined by electrolyte leakage ranged from – 6.1 to – 5.3C. Little variability in lethal temperatures over sampling dates indicated that `Floratam' St. Augustinegrass did not readily acclimate to cold temperatures. Starch was the carbohydrate present in highest concentration in `Floratam' stolons, with levels ranging from 7.7 to 12.4 mg/100 mg dry weight. Sucrose concentrations varied from 2.4 to 5.7 mg/100 mg dry weight. Glucose and fructose were also present in `Floratam' stolons at lower concentrations. A slight increase in sucrose and decrease in starch were observed between November and December, when low temperatures resulted in chlorophyll loss and turf was <25% green. On all other sampling dates, changes in sucrose and starch were variable. Changes in concentration of total nonstructural carbohydrates or soluble sugars did not seem to influence the freezing resistance of `Floratam' St. Augustinegrass.

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Stolons of `Raleigh', `Floratam', and FX-332 St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] were sampled from the field between October and March in two consecutive years to evaluate accuracy of an electrolyte leakage (EL) method for predicting freezing tolerance. Lethal temperatures of stolons estimated using EL were compared to those obtained by regrowth tests in the greenhouse. Mean lethal low temperatures for regrowth and EL methods over 12 sampling dates were `Floratam', –4.5C (regrowth) vs. –4.4C (EL); FX-332, –4.2C (regrowth) vs. –4.9C (EL); and `Raleigh', –6.0C (regrowth) vs. –5.4C (EL). A positive correlation (r = 0.81) was observed between EL-predicted and regrowth lethal temperatures for `Raleigh', which exhibited some acclimation during the first sampling year. The EL technique consistently predicted a lower lethal temperature for `Raleigh' than for `Floratam', which corroborates field observations concerning freezing tolerance of these two cultivars.

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Some day-neutral herbaceous perennial species can be difficult to manage as vegetative stock plants because they initiate floral buds under most environmental conditions. Although flowering of many long-day plants can be inhibited by maintaining plants under short days, extension growth is often suppressed, which makes cuttings difficult to harvest. Ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) is an ethylene-releasing chemical used to abort flowers, inhibit internode elongation, and promote branching of floriculture crops. The objective of this research was to determine whether ethephon is effective at maintaining vegetative growth and increasing the number of cuttings harvested for three popular perennial species that are difficult to maintain as vegetative plants. Spray applications of ethephon were applied for 10 weeks biweekly (every 2 weeks) or weekly at 0, 400, 600, or 800 mg·L−1. Biweekly applications at 600 mg·L−1 or weekly applications at 400 mg·L−1 increased branching and the number of vegetative cuttings in Coreopsis verticillata L. ‘Moonbeam’ and Veronica longifolia L. ‘Sunny Border Blue’, respectively. Ethephon application increased branching in Dianthus caryophyllus L. ‘Cinnamon Red Hots’, inhibited leaf expansion and stem extension, but did not abort flowers, and induced marginal leaf necrosis at all concentrations tested. Therefore, ethephon application has potential to maintain vegetative stock plants of C. verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ and V. longifolia ‘Sunny Border Blue’ but not D. caryophyllus ‘Cinnamon Red Hots’.

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The ability to monitor plant nutrient status of high value horticultural crops and to adjust seasonal nutrient supply via fertilizer application has economic and environmental benefits. Recent technological advances may enable growers and field consultants to conduct this type of monitoring nondestructively in the future. Using the perennial crop apple (Malus domestica) and the annual crop potato (Solanum tuberosum), a hand-held leaf reflectance meter was used to evaluate leaf nitrogen (N) status throughout the growing season. In potato, this meter showed good correlation with leaf blade N content. Both time of day and time of season influenced leaf meter measurement, but leaf position did not. In apple, three different leaf meters were compared: the leaf spectral reflectance meter and two leaf greenness meters. Correlation with both N rate and leaf N content were strongest for the leaf reflectance meter early in the season but nonsignificant late in the season, whereas the leaf greenness meters gave weak but significant correlations throughout the growing season. The tapering off of leaf reflectance values found with the hand-held meter is consistent with normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values calculated from satellite images from the same plots. Overall, the use of leaf spectral reflectance shows promise as a tool for nondestructive monitoring of plant leaf status and would enable multiple georeferenced measurements throughout a field for differential N management.

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Research suggests that blackleaf (a leaf disorder in grape, Vitis labrusca L.) is induced by high levels of ultra violet (UV) radiation and overall light intensity, resulting in color changes (purple-brown-black) for sun-exposed leaves of the outer canopy, and a corresponding >50% reduction in photosynthesis. Metabolic indicators (photosynthesis and leaf water potential), percent blackleaf expression, and full spectrum leaf reflectance were mapped within vineyards using global positioning system (GPS) and digital remotely-sensed images. Each image and data record was stored as an attribute associated with a specific vine location within a geographical information system (GIS). Spatial maps were created from the GIS coverages to graphically present the progression of blackleaf across vineyards throughout the season. Analysis included summary statistics such as minimum, maximum, and variation of green reflectance, within a vineyard by image capture date. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model the degree of similarity between blackleaf values as a function of their spatial location. Remote-image analysis indicated a decrease in percent greenness of about 45% between July and August, which was related to a decrease in photosynthesis and an increase in blackleaf symptom expression within the canopy. Examination of full spectral leaf reflectance indicated differences at specific wavelengths for grape leaves exposed to UV or water-deficit stress. This work suggests that remote-image and leaf spectral reflectance analysis may be a strong tool for monitoring changes in metabolism associated with plant stress.

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Blackleaf (a.k.a. chocolate leaf) is of worldwide concern in Vitis due to its negative impact on fruit ripening, yield reduction and overall stress on grapevines. Research suggests blackleaf is induced by high levels of UV radiation and overall light intensity, which induce color changes (purple-brown-black) in exposed leaves, resulting in >50% reduction in photosynthesis. The ability to detect blackleaf symptoms before expression can provide insight into metabolic stresses and the possibility of the use and/or timing of management practices to reduce its impact. Remotely sensed imagery and spatial analysis may elucidate reflectance-related processes and symptoms not apparent to the un-aided eye. In this research we mapped canopy growth (leaves/shoot and shoots/vine), metabolic triggers (photosynthesis, leaf water potential, soil moisture), and percent blackleaf expression within vineyards using global positioning system (GPS), infrared gas analyzer, and digital remotely-sensed images. Each image and data record was stored as an attribute associated with specific vine location within a geographical information system (GIS). Spatial maps were created from the GIS coverages to graphically present the progression of blackleaf across vineyards throughout the season. Analysis included summary statistics such as minimum, maximum, and variation of green reflectance, within a vineyard by image capture date. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model the degree of similarity between blackleaf values as a function of their spatial location. Continuing research will be aimed at identifying spectral characteristics of early season stresses due to UV light, water stress, and reduced photosynthetic capacity. Spatial relationships between early season stress and later blackleaf expression will be assessed using joint spatial dependence measures. Overall, information obtained through digital image and spatial analysis will supplement site level information for growers.

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