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Michael R. Evans and Richard L. Harkess

Geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey) `Freckles' and poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzch) `Freedom' were grown in six peat and shredded-rubber substrates formulated to contain 75:25:0, 50:50:0, 25:75:0, 75:0:25, 50:0:50, 25:0:75 sphagnum peat: fine-grade rubber: coarse-grade rubber (by volume). Additionally, plants were grown in a 50 peat: 30 perlite: 20 loam (by volume) control substrate. Shredded rubber-containing substrates had higher bulk densities, lower total pore space, and higher total solids than the control substrate. Fine rubber-containing substrates had lower air-filled pore space (AFP) and lower water-holding capacities (WHC) than the control substrate. Substrates containing 25% coarse rubber had lower AFP and WHC than the control, but substrates containing 50% and 75% coarse shredded rubber had higher AFP and lower WHC than the control. Shredded rubber-containing substrates had significantly higher levels of Zn than the control substrate. Plants grown in rubber-containing substrates had tissue Zn levels significantly higher than the control and at levels reported to be phytotoxic in other species. Geraniums grown in rubber-containing substrates had lower root and shoot fresh mass, were shorter, and had fewer axillary branches than those grown in the control substrate. Poinsettia plants grown in rubber-containing substrates were shorter, had lower shoot fresh mass, fewer bracts, and lower bract area as compared to plants grown in the control substrate.

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Raul I. Cabrera and Richard Y. Evans

The establishment of critical tissue N (Ncrit) for greenhouse rose production has been primarily based on visual symptoms of N deficiency, with relatively less consideration to yield parameters. This work examined the relationship between rose leaf N concentration and flower yield and quality. Microlysimeter-grown `Royalty' rose plants were irrigated with complete nutrient solutions containing N concentrations of 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 220 mg·liter–1. Results after 1 year indicated no significant differences in total dry weight, number of flowers, and stem length for plants irrigated with 90 to 220 mg·liter–1 N. Tissue N concentrations were significantly lower for plants that received 30 or 60 mg N/liter. Estimated Ncrit for yield parameters were ≈2.7% of leaf dry weight. Chlorophyll content and color leaf attributes (hue, chroma, and value) were correlated with tissue N concentration. The results suggest that the rate of N application typically recommended for greenhouse roses is considerably higher than necessary.

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Daniel C. Bowman and Richard Y. Evans

Hydration of a commercial hydrophilic polyacrylamide gel in 20 meq Ca(NO3)2/liter was reduced to <10% of the maximum hydration in deionized water. Repeated soaking with deionized water to remove soluble salts restored hydration to ≈ 30% of maximum. Incorporating KNO3 at concentrations ranging from 5 to 40 meq·liter-1 with the Ca(NO3)2 in the hydration solution partially reversed the Ca2+ inhibition of hydration following repeated soaking. Potential hydrogel hydration increased to 50% of maximum with 40 meq K+/liter. Potassium nitrate supplied separately following hydration in Ca(NO3)2 was much more effective at reversing Ca2+ inhibition of hydrogel hydration than joint application. Potential hydrogel hydration (following repeated soaking) was doubled after treatment with 5 meq KNO3/liter and reached 77% of maximum at 40 meq KNO3/liter.

Open access

Richard Y. Evans and Michael S. Reid


Rhythmic pulses of irreversible petal expansion in rose (Rosa hybrida L. ‘Sonia’) petals cause diurnal changes in the rate of flower opening. Time-lapse cinematography revealed a transient increase in the rate of rose flower opening that commenced shortly before the onset of a light period and lasted for a few hours. Petal expansion, which occurred sequentially from the outer to the innermost whorl, involved rhythmic increases in fresh and dry weights. The amount of expansion was greatest in the distal portion of each petal and least near the petal base. Periods of rapid expansion were accompanied by decreases in starch and increases in soluble sugars in the petals, but the total carbohydrate content of the petals remained constant during a light–dark cycle. During expansion, the osmotic potential of the outer petal increased from −790 to −690 kPa. Starch hydrolysis during petal growth appears to be important for maintenance of cell size, but it is not the factor controlling cell expansion.

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Raul I. Cabrera, Richard Y. Evans, and J. L. Paul

Nitrogen leaching losses of 21, 40 and 49% were measured from container-grown `Royalty' roses irrigated for one year with nutrient solutions containing 77, 154 and 231 mg N/l. There were no significant differences in number of flowers per plant or dry matter per plant. The N present in the harvested flowers accounted for 43, 27 and 17% of the N applied for the 77, 154 and 231 mg N/l treatments, respectively.

Plants receiving 154 mg N/l at leaching fractions of 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 had corresponding N leaching losses of 22, 38 and 56%. In this experiment, however, the 0.5 leaching fraction produced yields significantly higher than those of the 0.1 and 0.25 treatments. The N recovered in the harvested flowers accounted for 28, 25 and 19% of that applied to the 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 treatments, respectively.

The results of these studies suggest that modifications in current irrigation and fertilization practices of greenhouse roses would result in a considerable reduction of N leaching losses and enhance N fertilizer use efficiency, without loss of cut flower yield and quality.

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Raul I. Cabrera, Richard Y. Evans, and J. L. Paul

N deprivation is known to increase the rate of N uptake by graminaceous plants, but such response has not been reported for mature woody plants. A recirculating nutrient solution system was utilized to study the effect of intermittent N-deprivation on N uptake by mature `Royalty' rose plants. Plants received a nutrient solution lacking N for 4, 8 or 16 days, after which one containing N was supplied for 4 days. N-deprivation resulted in a 2-3 fold increase in N uptake rate compared to control plants supplied continuously with N (e.g., 143 vs 62 mg N plant-1 day-t). The magnitude of this deprivation-enhanced N uptake was not affected by either the duration of N-deprivation or the plant developmental stage.

A characteristic diurnal pattern of N uptake was observed in both N-starved and control plants. Uptake oscillated between minimum rates in the morning and maximum rates in the evening, the latter occurring 4-6 hr after the maximum transpiration rates.

The ability to increase the rate of N uptake in roses by depriving them of N for several days may be of practical importance for increasing N fertilizer use efficiency and decreasing N losses to leaching.

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Daryl C. Joyce, Michael S. Reid, and Richard Y. Evans

Low concentrations of ethylene induced abscission of leaves and berries from cut branchlets of English holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) and American mistletoe [Phoradendron tomentosum (DC.) Engelm. ex Gray ssp. macrophyllum (Engelm.) Wiens]. Application of 1 μmol of Ag+ per branchlet (as the anionic silver thiosulfate complex, STS) via the transpiration stream was found to retard this abscission. A higher application rate (4 μmol Ag+ per branchlet) stimulated leaf abscission in mistletoe. There were marked differences in sensitivity to ethylene among various types of holly.

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Richard J. McAvoy, Bernard B. Bible, and Michael R. Evans

The early onset of bract necrosis in poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex. Klotzch) is characterized by small dark-stained spots that precede the development of enlarged necrotic lesions. Electron micrographs of adaxial epidermal and subepidermal tissues with early symptoms of necrosis revealed large, electron-dense deposits in cell vacuoles. These spherical bodies resembled condensed tannins observed in the epidermal tissues of peach and apple fruit. Chemical analysis of bract tissues confirmed the presence of condensed tannins. Furthermore, there were higher concentrations of condensed tannin in bract samples with 2-mm-diameter lesions than in samples with lesions <0.5 mm (equivalent to catechin concentrations of 59 and 13 mg·g-1 fresh mass, respectively). No tannin bodies were observed in parallel samples of healthy-appearing bracts in which only trace concentrations of condensed tannins were measured (0.2 mg·g-1 fresh mass). The evidence suggests an association between condensed tannin accumulation in localized areas of the bract and the early appearance of bract necrosis symptoms.

Free access

Daniel C. Bowman, Richard Y. Evans, and J.L. Paul

Hydration of three commercial hydrophilic polyacrylamide gels in deionized water ranged from 340 to 420 g per gram of gel. Hydration was progressively inhibited by fertilizer salt concentrations from 0 to 20 meq·liter-1. Hydration of the gels in the presence of divalent cations (Ca2+ and Mg2+) and monovalent cations (K+ and NH4 +) at 20 meq·liter-1 was reduced to ≈10% and 20% of maximum, respectively. The valence of the accompanying anion did not affect hydration. Gel hydration was unaffected by urea over the range of 2 to 20 mm. Sequential rinses of the hydrated gels with deionized water completely reversed the inhibition due to the monovalent, but not the divalent, cations. The electroconductivity (EC) of the external solution increased during gel hydration. In the presence of fertilizer salts, the physical properties of a 2 redwood sawdust : 1 sand (v/v) container mix were unaffected by hydrophilic gel additions of 1.2 and 2.4 kg·m-3 (1 × and 2 × the recommended rate, respectively).

Free access

Raul I. Cabrera, Richard Y. Evans, and J.L. Paul

N uptake by greenhouse roses is out of phase with flower shoot elongation, such that N uptake is highest when shoots are not growing and lowest when shoots are elongating rapidly. Isotopically labelled 15N fertilizer was supplied at different stages of one flowering cycle to `Royalty' rose plants growing in a static nutrient solution system to study the partitioning of recently-absorbed N and the dynamics of N partitioning. After a two-day exposure, whole plants were harvested, separated into old and new leaves, stems, and roots, and analyzed for total N and 15N enrichment. During rapid shoot elongation, N uptake by roots supplied 16 to 36% of shoot N demand. The remaining N came from other organs, particularly old stems and leaves. The increased N uptake later in the flowering cycle was sufficient to meet shoot N demand and replenish the N supply in old foliage and woody tissues. These organs continued to accumulate N until the subsequent bud break, when this N became available for the next cycle of flowering shoot growth.