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Thomas G. Ranney and Richard E. Bir

The potential for enhancing flood tolerance of birches by using better adapted rootstock was evaluated. Survival, growth, and physiological responses were compared among flooded and nonflooded container-grown Japanese birch (Betula platyphylla var. japonica Hara. `Whitespire') trees grafted onto each of four rootstock: paper birch (B. papyrifera Marsh), European birch (B.pendula Roth.), river birch (B. nigra L.), and `Whitespire' Japanese birch. Separate studies were conducted in Fall 1991 and Spring 1992. Results showed no consistent differences in net photosynthesis (Pn) or survival among nonflooded plants regardless of rootstock or season, nor, were any symptoms of graft incompatibility evident. Flooding the root system for as long as 44 days revealed considerable differences among the four rootstock, with similar trends for fall and spring. Plants on river birch rootstock typically had one of the highest P rates and stomatal conductance (g,) and, in certain cases, greater mean shoot growth rates and survival of plants subjected to prolonged flooding. Although plants with European birch rootstock had survival rates similar to those of plants with river birch rootstock, plants on European birch rootstock had lower Pn under prolonged flooding, fewer late-formed roots, lower root-tip density after flooding, more abscissed leaves, and greater inhibition of shoot growth of plants flooded the previous fall. Paper and Japanese birch rootstock were most sensitive to flooding and had the lowest survival rate after flooding. However, plants on paper birch rootstock were the only plants whose Pn did not increase significantly when flooding ended; they had the most abscissed leaves during spring flooding and the greatest inhibition of shoot growth in the spring after flooding the previous fall. The four rootstock ranked from most to least flood tolerant were river > European > Japanese > paper.

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Richard E. Bir, T. G. Ranney, and R. K. Jones

Twelve shrub rose cultivars were evaluated for pest resistance in the southern Blue Ridge mountains under high humidity and rainfall (1.34 inches per week average during the 1994 and 1995 growing seasons). `Albo plena', `Blanc Double de Coubert', `Fru Dagmar Hastrup', `Roseraie de l'Hay', R. rugosa `Alba', `Sarah van Fleet', and `Topaz Jewel' were highly resistant to black spot and Cercospora sp. leaf spot. `Alba Meidiland', `Linda Campbell', `Pink Meidiland', and `Scarlet Meidiland' were susceptible, while `Bonica' displayed intermediate resistance to both diseases. `Sarah van Fleet' foliage and the flowers of `Albo plena', `Blanc Double de Coubert', and R. rugosa `Alba' were damaged by Japanese beetle feeding. No other cultivars were damaged by Japanese beetles.

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Irene E. Palmer, Thomas G. Ranney, Nathan P. Lynch, and Richard E. Bir

Rudbeckia L. are valuable nursery crops that offer broad adaptability and exceptional ornamental merit. However, there is little information on interspecific and interploid crossability and ploidy levels of specific cultivars. The objectives of this study were to determine the ploidy levels and relative DNA contents (genome sizes) of selected species and cultivars, to evaluate self-compatibility and crossability among species and ploidy levels, and to explore reproductive pathways in triploid R. hirta L. with the goal of facilitating future breeding endeavors and development of new hybrids. Reciprocal interspecific crosses were performed between R. hirta cultivars and R. fulgida Ait., R. missouriensis Engelm. ex C.L. Boynton & Beadle, and R. subtomentosa Pursh. as well as reciprocal interploid crosses among four R. hirta cultivars. A combination of relative DNA content analysis and chromosome counts was used to test for hybridity and to determine ploidy levels for selected species, cultivars, and interploid R. hirta F1 hybrids. Of the specific clones tested, R. subtomentosa and R. missouriensis were diploid, R. fuligida varieties were tetraploid, and R. hirta include both diploid and tetraploid cultivars. Mean 1Cx DNA content varied over 320% among species. The interploid R. hirta crosses produced triploids as well as pentaploids and hexaploids. Seedlings from open-pollinated triploid R. hirta appeared, based on diverse phenotypes and DNA contents, to be aneuploids resulting from sexual fertilization, not apomixis. Of the 844 seedlings from interspecific F1 crosses, only one individual, R. subtomentosa ×R. hirta, had a DNA content intermediate between its parents and was confirmed as the only interspecific hybrid. Although most taxa had low self-fertility, seedlings (with genomic sizes similar to their maternal parent) resulted after interspecific crosspollination, indicating that pseudogamy is one reproductive pathway in Rudbeckia species.