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J. Ryan Stewart, William R. Graves, and Reid D. Landes

Carolina buckthorn [Rhamnus caroliniana Walt. or Frangula caroliniana (Walt.) Gray] is an attractive and water-stress-resistant shrub or small tree distributed extensively in the southeastern United States that merits use in managed landscapes. Due to substantial climatic differences within its distribution (30-year normal midwinter minima range from 13 to -8 °C), selection among provenances based on differences in cold hardiness is warranted. Before selections are marketed, the potential of carolina buckthorn to be invasive also merits investigation. Ecological problems resulting from the introduction of Rhamnus L. species in the United States, most notably the dominance of R. cathartica L. (common buckthorn) over neighboring taxa, are due in part to early budbreak. Consequently, we investigated depth of cold hardiness and vernal budbreak of carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn. Stem samples of carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn collected in midwinter survived temperatures as low as -21 and -24 °C, respectively. Although the cold hardiness of carolina buckthorns from Missouri was greater than that of carolina buckthorns from Ohio and Texas on 2 Apr. 2003, there were no differences in cold hardiness of stems from Missouri and Texas on all three assessment dates in the second experiment. All plants survived at both field locations except for the carolina buckthorns from southern Texas planted in Iowa, which showed 0% and 17% survival in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Budbreak of both species with and without mulch in Ames, Iowa, was recorded from 9 Apr. to 10 May 2002. Mean budbreak of common buckthorn was 5.7 days earlier than budbreak of carolina buckthorn, and buds of mulched carolina buckthorns broke 4.2 days earlier than did buds of unmulched carolina buckthorns. We conclude that the cold hardiness of carolina buckthorn is sufficient to permit the species to be planted outside of its natural distribution. Populations of carolina buckthorn in Ohio and Missouri should be the focus of efforts to select genotypes for use in regions with harsh winters. Phenology of its budbreak suggests carolina buckthorn will not be as invasive as common buckthorn, but evaluation of additional determinants of invasiveness is warranted.

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J. Ryan Stewart, William R. Graves, and Reid D. Landes

Can Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnuscaroliniana) persist north of its native habitat without becoming invasive? Its distribution (USDA zones 5b to 9b) suggests that genotypes vary in cold hardiness, and invasiveness of other Rhamnus sp. has been linked to unusually early budbreak each spring. Therefore, we investigated depth of cold hardiness and vernal budbreak of Carolina buckthorns from multiple provenances and made comparisons to the invasive common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Budbreak was recorded in Ames, Iowa, from 9 Apr. to 10 May 2002. Buds of common buckthorn broke earlier than those of Carolina buckthorn, and mulching plants of Carolina buckthorn hastened budbreak. Stem samples were collected in October, January, and April from a plot in Ames, Iowa (USDA zone 5a), of Carolina buckthorns from three provenances (Missouri, Ohio, and Texas) and of naturalized common buckthorns. A similar schedule was followed during the next winter, when two plot locations [Ames, Iowa, and New Franklin, Mo. (USDA zone 5b)], were compared, but Carolina buckthorns from only Missouri and Texas were sampled. Carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn survived midwinter temperatures as low as –21 °C and –24 °C, respectively. Provenance differences were minimal; Carolina buckthorns from Missouri were more hardy than those from Ohio and Texas only in April of the first winter. We conclude that its cold hardiness will permit use of Carolina buckthorn beyond where it is distributed in the southeastern United States. Delayed budbreak of Carolina buckthorn relative to that of common buckthorn may underscore the potential for Carolina buckthorn in regions with harsh winters and may lessen its potential to be as invasive as common buckthorn.

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J. Ryan Stewart, Reid D. Landes, Andrew K. Koeser, and Andrea L. Pettay

Frequent episodes of water stress in managed landscapes have led the nursery industry to look for attractive woody species that perform well under extreme conditions of drought and flooding. We chose to evaluate three taxa with highly localized natural distributions in the United States, Calycanthus occidentalis (north–central California), Fraxinus anomala (northeastern Utah), and Pinckneya pubens (northeastern Florida), each of which may merit further use under cultivated conditions beyond their respective ranges. Although widespread cultivation of each taxon may not be possible as a result of limitations related to cold hardiness, we hypothesized that each species can tolerate extremes in soil moisture availability more so than their native habitats imply. Our objective was to characterize, under greenhouse conditions, how the quantity of soil water affects gas exchange of potted plants of each species. Plants were divided into five groups, each exposed to treatment conditions ranging from complete submersion to severe drought. Complete submersion killed plants of C. occidentalis and F. anomala, although in drought or severe drought conditions, C. occidentalis plants had lower net photosynthesis and less leaf area and plant dry weight than control plants. Net photosynthesis, leaf area, and plant dry weight of partially flooded plants, however, were not found to be significantly less than that of the control plants. Mean net photosynthetic levels and plant dry weights of severe drought, drought, and control F. anomala did not differ. While severe drought plants of P. pubens exhibited much lower levels of net photosynthesis, but not plant dry weights or leaf area, than the control plants, those exposed to drought, partial flood, and complete submersion were not found to differ in net photosynthesis levels from the control plants. Due to the sustained tolerance of F. anomala and P. pubens to a range of extreme soil moisture conditions, as exhibited by net photosynthetic responses, carbon accumulation, and survival, we conclude that use of these species in landscapes is warranted if invasiveness and other potential problems are not identified. Calycanthus occidentalis, however, appears unsuitable for cultivation in areas with organic soils greater than ≈66% and lower than ≈30% soil moisture content as a result of its high mortality in flooded conditions and poor physiological responses under dry conditions.

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Ellen T. Paparozzi, Walter W. Stroup, M. Elizabeth Conley, and Reid D. Landes

Horticulturists are often interested in evaluating the effect of several treatment factors on plant growth in order to determine optimal growing conditions. Factors could include three or more nutrient elements, or types and rates of irrigation, pesticides or growth regulators, possibly in combination with one another. Two problems with such experiments are how to characterize plant response to treatment combinations and how to design such experiments so that they are manageable. The standard statistical approach is to use linear and quadratic (a.k.a. response surface) regression to characterize treatment effects and to use response surface designs, e.g., central-composite designs. However, these often do a poor job characterizing plant response to treatments. Hence the need for more generally applicable methods. While our goal is to be able to analyze three and higher factor experiments, we started by tweaking two-factor nutrient analysis data. The result was a hybrid model which allows for a given factor to respond linearly or non-linearly. We will show how this was done and our current “in progress” model and analysis for analyzing three quantitative factors.