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  • Author or Editor: Robert O. Brown x
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Shearing is an important cultural practice for maintaining plant size and appearance during nursery crop production. However, oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is susceptible to dieback after shearing. The objective of this study was to determine whether foliar or substrate surface applications of ancymidol or uniconazole can reduce plant growth of oakleaf hydrangea similar to pinching, which was used to simulate shearing. ‘Alice’ or ‘Pee Wee’ oakleaf hydrangea plants were treated in 2002 or 2006, respectively, with ancymidol or uniconazole as a substrate surface application at 0, 1, 2, or 4 ppm; ancymidol as a foliar application at 0, 25, 50, or 100 ppm; or uniconazole as a foliar application at 0, 12.5, 25, or 50 ppm. Both cultivars received the same plant growth regulator treatments in 2012, and a pinched control was included in the 2012 experiment. Ancymidol and uniconazole had limited and inconsistent effects on growth of ‘Alice’ and ‘Pee Wee’ plants regardless of application method. Uniconazole was more effective at controlling growth of ‘Alice’ in 2002 when the study was conducted from October through December than in 2012 when the study was conducted during a more typical growing season of May through September. Plants treated with either ancymidol or uniconazole by either application method usually grew more during the first 2 weeks after application than those that were pinched. During the remainder of the growing season, little difference in growth between pinched plants and growth regulator-treated plants occurred. At harvest in 2012, pinched ‘Alice’ plants had more leaves but a smaller leaf area per leaf than plants treated with growth regulators resulting in no difference in total leaf area or in leaf, shoot, or root dry weight among the treatments. ‘Pee Wee’ treated with uniconazole using either application method or uniconazole as a foliar application had fewer leaves than pinched plants.

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Southern Nevada Master Gardeners (MGs) donate 50 hours annually to educational and service projects. These volunteers respond to community needs by developing and staffing horticultural projects under UNCE supervision. In Las Vegas, 20 such projects exist. Some are more energy and information intensive than others. Mojave Guides are docents at the Desert Demonstration Garden, a part of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, not Extension. They commit to a shift at the garden, providing information to visitors. While they are directly supervised by garden staff, the hours they contribute are Master Gardener hours. These volunteers receive training in desert flora from gardens staff and participate in seminars on selected topics. The MG Orchard Team operates a teaching orchard at the Center for Urban Water Conservation in North Las Vegas. These volunteers maintain hundreds of fruit trees and grape vines. They receive training on topics related to fruit trees and orchard management. This project began in 1996. Since 2002, they have been formalizing their organization using the logic model and SWOT analysis. Many members work weekly at the orchard and take the produce to a local farmers market. This raises funds for the orchard and is an opportunity to teach the community about desert horticulture. Project PLANT volunteers work at the Red Rock National Recreation Area visitor center and grounds. They are docents who also learn about and maintain the native plants there, and prevent infestations of invasive weeds which threaten the area. Their monthly meetings include training on topics related to the project. These projects are successful because of the MGs themselves. They grew out of interest and continue because the volunteers have drawn commitment from others.

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Genetic diversity is critical in sweetpotato improvement as it is the source of genes for desired genetic gains. Knowledge of the level of genetic diversity in a segregating family contributes to our understanding of the genetic diversity present in crosses and helps breeders to make selections for population improvement and cultivar release. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers have become widely used markers for diversity and linkage analysis in plants. In this study, we screened 405 sweetpotato SSR markers for polymorphism on the parents and progeny of a biparental cross of New Kawogo × Beauregard cultivars. Thereafter, we used the informative markers to analyze the diversity in this population. A total of 250 markers were polymorphic on the parents and selected progeny; of these, 133 were informative and used for diversity analysis. The polymorphic information content (PIC) values of the 133 markers ranged from 0.1 to 0.9 with an average of 0.7, an indication of high level of informativeness. The pairwise genetic distances among the progeny and parents ranged from 0.2 to 0.9, and they were grouped into five main clusters. The 133 SSR primers were informative and are recommended for use in sweetpotato diversity and linkage analysis.

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