Cucurbita ecuadorensis is a valuable source of multiple virus resistance. It is resistant to zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV), papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), watermelon mosaic virus, tobacco ringspot virus, squash mosaic virus, and cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Its virus resistance can be transferred to squash and pumpkin, but sterility barriers must be overcome. The cross Cucurbita maxima× C. ecuadorensis can readily be made, and there is no need for embryo culture. Pollen fertility of the hybrid is somewhat reduced, but sufficient for producing F2 seed. Segregation for sterility occurs in the F2, but selection can be made for fertile plants that are homozygous for virus resistance. Cucurbita ecuadorensis is much more distantly related to C. pepo than to C. maxima, and there are more formidable barriers in this interspecific cross. The cross is very difficult to make with some C. pepo cultivars, but other cultivars are more compatible. Viable seed were not produced, but hybrid plants were obtained by embryo culture. Although both parents were monoecious, the hybrid was gynoecious. Male flower formation was induced by treating the hybrid with Ag or GA, but they were male-sterile. F2 seed was not obtained, but backcross seed was easily produced by using the interspecific hybrid as the maternal parent in crosses with C. pepo. The most refractory barrier was achieving homozygosity for ZYMV resistance. Disturbed segregation occurred in succeeding generations and the progeny of most resistant plants segregated and were not uniform for resistance. This and other barriers to interspecific gene exchange were overcome and a summer squash variety homozygous for resistance to ZYMV, PRSV, and CMV is being released this year.
R.W. Robinson and Stephen Reiners
Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivars were compared for ability to set parthenocarpic fruit. Some cultivars set no parthenocarpic fruit and others varied in the amount of fruit set when not pollinated. The degree of parthenocarpy varied with season, but the relative ranking of cultivars for parthenocarpy was generally similar. Cultivars with the best parthenocarpic fruit set were of the dark green, zucchini type, but some cultivars of other fruit types also set parthenocarpic fruit. A summer squash cultivar was developed that combines a high rate of natural parthenocarpy with multiple disease resistance. Yield of summer squash plants grown under row covers that excluded pollinating insects was as much as 83% of that of insect-pollinated plants in the open.
Jianjun Chen, R.W. Henley, R.J. Henny, C.A. Robinson, and R.D. Caldwell
Aglaonema is among the most popular tropical ornamental foliage plants used indoors because of its bright foliar variegation, low light and humidity tolerance, and few pests. Aglaonema, however, has been labeled as one of the most chilling-sensitive foliage plants. The dark, greasy-appearing patches on leaves injured by chilling can result in completely unsalable plants. With recent breeding activity, more and more Aglaonema cultivars have been developed and released. How new cultivars respond to chilling temperatures is, however, mostly unclear. This study was undertaken to evaluate cultivar chilling responses to identify chilling-resistant cultivars. Twenty cultivars were chilled at 1.7, 4.4, 7.2, 10, and 12.7 °C for 24 h using a detached single-leaf method and also whole-plant assay. Results indicate that great genetic variation exists among the cultivars, ranging from no injury at 1.7 °C to severe injury at 12.7 °C. A popular cultivar, Silver Queen, is the most sensitive, while the cultivar Stars is the most resistant. There was also a chilling response difference based on leaf maturity. Young leaves showed less injury than did either mature or old leaves. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the single-leaf and whole-plant assay for chilling resistance in Aglaonema'; the single leaf assay could be particularly useful for a quick test.
D.A. Rosenberger, T.L. Robinson, J.R. Schupp, C.A. Engle-Ahlers, and F.W. Meyer
Effects of three sterol-demethylation inhibiting (DMI) fungicides and a contact fungicide were compared over two years at each of two locations to determine if fungicide treatments had differential effects on productivity, fruit size and shape, or gross returns for `Empire' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). Treatments were applied four to five times per year during the primary apple scab season. Effects of treatments were assessed by comparing fruit set efficiencies, number of fruit per tree, total harvested fruit weight, and fruit length: diameter ratios at harvest. No significant differences were noted among individual treatments in any of the four trials. However, when treatments were contrasted by grouping individual treatments, significantly larger fruit size was noted for triflumizole treatments vs. combined fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in one of the four trials and for captan or mancozeb compared to fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in two trials. None of the DMI fungicides compared in these trials had any consistent adverse affect on fruit size, total yield, or estimated gross return per hectare. We conclude that the plant growth regulator effects of DMI fungicides are inconsistent and are unlikely to have significant economic impact on commercial apple production.
J.R. Schupp, T.L. Robinson, W.P. Cowgill Jr., and J.M. Compton
Three experiments were conducted on `Empire' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) to evaluate the effects of hard water, calcium chloride (CaCl2), water conditioners, surfactants, and captan fungicide on the growth reduction and fruit cracking caused by prohexadione-calcium (PC). Two applications of 63 mg·L-1 PC provided season-long growth control in two studies. Adding a water conditioner to PC reduced shoot growth more than an application of PC in hard or soft water in one New York study. Ammonium sulfate (AMS) and Choice were equally effective water conditioners. PC provided no growth control of water sprouts and had no effect on fruit set or yield. PC applied at 250 mg·L-1 reduced fruit size. `Empire' fruit cracking and corking was severe, despite the use of only 63 mg·L-1 PC in two of the three experiments. This damage was exacerbated by the addition of a water conditioner, however AMS applied with a surfactant but without PC had little or no effect on either the severity or extent of fruit injury. In a third experiment, the addition of surfactants, CaCl2, or captan to 250 mg·L-1 PC plus a water conditioner had no effect on the severity of fruit damage. Fruit cracking caused by PC increased preharvest drop in two of three experiments, and increased postharvest rot in the Geneva, N.Y., experiment where fruit were stored prior to grading. Application of PC plus a water conditioner reduced estimated gross return per hectare for `Empire. We conclude that the fruit injury is caused by the formulated PC product itself under certain environmental conditions, and that this product should not be used on `Empire. Chemical name used: calcium 3-oxido-4-proprionyl-5-oxo-3-cyclohexine-carboxylate [prohexadione-calcium (PC)].