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Charles J. Simon and Richard C. Johnson

Maintenance of genetic resources within the National Plant Germplasm System includes preserving the genetic constituency of accessions as close to the original sample as possible. Genetic changes that can arise during seed regeneration include both an overall loss of genetic diversity within heterogenous accessions and changes in the gene frequencies within accessions. Two germplasm collections are being examined with molecular methods at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS) for evidence of such genetic change. In the case of pea, gross observation of seed and plant characters indicate that vigorous plant culling during a comprehensive Pea Seedbourne Mosaic Virus eradication program a decade ago resulted in the overall loss of genetic diversity in some heterogenous accessions. Isozyme data has corroborated these observations. Molecular markers are beginning to be used, both to quantify possible genetic changes in accessions as a result of the eradication process, and to document success in reintroducing diversity by repeating the eradication process with additional seed from archival seedlots. In the case of ryegrass, the practice of bulking the seed harvested from regeneration plots may bias the seedlot toward genotypes that are more fruitful. Isozyme analysis after two regeneration cycles showed that balanced sampling (equal seed no./plant) maintained allele frequencies close to the original seed sample. A bulk harvest sample and a sample with an equal number of spikes harvested from each plant showed some significant change in allele frequency, but no significant changes were seen in the allelic richness of accessions, or in the level of an accession's overall heterozygosity. A regeneration sample with an equal number of seed/plant will therefore best preserve gene frequencies within accessions, but loss of an accessions overall diversity will not diminish as a result of less than ideal sampling methods in ryegrass.

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Richard C. Rosecrance, Scott Johnson, and Steven A. Weinbaum

The ability of peach leaves to absorbed and translocated foliarly applied 15N-urea in mature peach (Prunus persica) trees was determined. Urea uptake experiments were conducted in June, October, and November 1995. Peach leaves absorbed ≈80% of the urea within 48 hr of application in all three experiments based on urea rinsed from leaf surfaces. Similarly, leaf 15N content reached a peak 48 hr after application. Translocation of 15N out of leaves, however, was more rapid in October then November. In October, 24% of the 15N remained in the leaves 2 weeks after application, while, in November, 80% stayed in the leaves and fell to the orchard floor. Thus, applying urea in mid November did not allow enough time for the N to be transported out of the leaves before leaf abscission. Timing of foliar urea application is critical to maximize N transport into perennial tissues of peach trees. 15Nurea resorption out of leaves and into perennial tree parts (roots, trunk, current year wood, etc.) is discussed.

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Damon C. Johnson, Richard G. Greenland, Rudy Radke, and Chiwon W. Lee

The Red River valley and surrounding areas of North Dakota are ideal sites for growing high-quality carrots for fresh-market, processing, and dehydrated products. The results of cultivar trials performed for the past 3 years indicate that from 20 to 50 ton/acre of fresh carrots can be produced with or without irrigation in this region. The average sizes of individual carrots are big (260 to 310 g/root) due to high daytime temperatures and large diurnal temperature fluctuations during the growing season. In 1994, the highest yielding carrot cultivars were `Toudo', `Danvers 126', `Delmar', `Babbette', and `Beta III' when evaluated near Absaraka, N.D. Cultivars with highest sugar contents were `Sweetness', `Apache', `Presto', `Comanche', and `Navajo'. A summary of 2-year data on the yield and quality of carrots grown in North Dakota is presented.

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Nisa Leksungnoen, Roger K. Kjelgren, Richard C. Beeson Jr., Paul G. Johnson, Grant E. Cardon, and Austin Hawks

We investigated if salt tolerance can be inferred from observable cues based on a woody species’ native habitat and leaf traits. Such inferences could improve species selection for urban landscapes constrained by soils irrigated with reclaimed water. We studied the C3 tree species Acer grandidentatum Nutt. (canyon maple; xeric-non-saline habitat) that was hypothesized to have some degree of salt tolerance based on its semiarid but non-saline native habitat. We compared it with A. macrophyllum Pursh. (bigleaf maple) from mesic/riparian-non-saline habitats with much larger leaves and Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh. (eucalyptus/red gum) from mesic-saline habitats with schlerophyllous evergreen leaves. Five levels of increasing salt concentrations (non-saline control to 12 dS·m−1) were applied over 5 weeks to container-grown seedling trees in two separate studies, one in summer and the other in fall. We monitored leaf damage, gas exchange, and hydric behavior as measures of tree performance for 3 weeks after target salinity levels were reached. Eucalyptus was the most salt-tolerant among the species. At all elevated salinity levels, eucalyptus excluded salt from its root zone, unlike either maple species. Eucalyptus maintained intact, undamaged leaves with no effect on photosynthesis but with minor reductions in stomatal conductance (g S). Conversely, bigleaf maple suffered increasing leaf damage, nearly defoliated at the highest levels, with decreasing gas exchange as salt concentration increased. Canyon maple leaves were not damaged and gas exchange was minimally affected at 3 dS·m−1 but showed increasing damage at higher salt concentration. Salt-tolerant eucalyptus and riparian bigleaf maple framed canyon maple’s moderate salt tolerance up to 3 dS·m−1 that appears related to seasonal soil drying in its semiarid native habitat. These results highlight the potential to infer a degree of salt tolerance from either native habitat or known drought tolerance in selecting plant species for urban landscapes limited by soil salinity or brackish irrigation water. Observable cues such as xeri-morphic leaf traits may also provide visual evidence of salt tolerance.