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Trent Y. Hata, Arnold H. Hara, Mike A. Nagao and Benjamin K.S. Hu

Frangipani (Plumeria hybrid `Donald Angus') cuttings immersed in hot water (49C for 10 min) followed by 0.8% indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) basal treatment (hot water + IBA) had greater root length and weight compared to the nontreated control, hot water, or IBA treatment alone. Greater percentage of rooting and number of roots per cutting were observed for hot-water-treated + IBA-treated cuttings compared to the non-treated control and hot-water treatment alone. In a second study, Dracaena fragrans (L.) Ker-Gawl. `Massangeana', D. deremensis Engl. `Warneckii', D. deremensis Engl. `Janet Craig', D. marginata Lam., and cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides Ellis) cuttings displayed results similar to those observed with Plumeria cuttings. In addition to enhancing rooting, hot water + IBA also stimulated the number of shoots per cutting on anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum Andre `Marian Seefurth'), croton [Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume var. pictum (Lodd.) Mull. Arg.], D. marginata, D. fragrans, Plumeria, and ti (Cordyline terminalis `Ti') cuttings.

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John S. Hu, Diane M. Sether, H. Michael Harrington and Diane E. Ullman

Thermotolerance of pineapple crowns (`Champaka 153') to 50C and above was increased with a 30-min first treatment at 30, 35, or 40C. Pineapple crowns receiving a 30-min heat treatment, before a second heat treatment at 50 or 55C, exhibited significantly less leaf damage than controls receiving no first treatments (P ≤ 0.05). The degree of thermotolerance was dependent upon the season in which crowns were harvested; greater thermotolerance occurred in crowns harvested in April than those harvested in October. Maximum thermotolerance occurred after an interval of at least 8 h between the first treatment and the higher temperature heat treatment. Thermotolerance was stable for at least 24 h.

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Arnold H. Hara, Trent Y. Hata, Victoria L. Tenbrink, Benjamin K.S. Hu and Mike A. Nagao

Postharvest treatments significantly reduced or eradicated pests on various tropical cut flowers and foliage. Immersion in water at 49° C for 10 minutes killed armored scales on bird of paradise leaves, Strelitzia reginae Banks, as well as aphids and mealybugs on red ginger, Alpinia purpurata (Vieill.) K. Schum. Vapor heat treatment for 2 hours at 45.2° C provided quarantine security against armored scales on bird of paradise leaves. A 5 minute dip in fluvalinate combined with insecticidal soap eliminated aphids and significantly reduced mealybugs on red ginger. A 3 minute dip in fluvalinate, a 3 minute dip in chlorpyrifos, or a 3 hour fog with avermectin-B significantly reduced thrips on orchids, Dendrobium spp., without injury to the flowers. No postharvest treatment was both effective and nonphytotoxic on all commodities.

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Dewayne L. Ingram, Timothy A. Woods, Wuyang Hu and Susmitha S. Nambuthiri

Increasing demand for groundcover plants and increasing consumer preference for more sustainable products encourage nursery crop producers and landscape management companies to assess efficiency and sustainable practices. Ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Beauty’ and Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’ were grown in standard plastic containers or plantable containers (Ellepot and SoilWrap) and 12- or 18-count flats. These production alternatives were presented in personal surveys of commercial industry personnel and consumers to determine their willingness to pay for these attributes. A conjoint analysis revealed an affinity for both groups to purchase flats of groundcovers and preferred sedum over ajuga. Commercial buyers from larger companies were more likely to purchase plantable containers than those from smaller firms. Generally, flats of Ellepots were preferred over flats of SoilWraps and 18-count over 12-count flats by commercial buyers. Price had a negative impact on consumer willingness to pay. Consumers revealed no specific preference for the plantable containers, although preference for plastic containers declined with age and presence of children at home.

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Slavko Perica, Patrick H. Brown, Joseph H. Connell, Agnes M.S. Nyomora, Christos Dordas, Hening Hu and James Stangoulis

A 2-year field study was conducted to determine if foliar B applications prior to flowering increased fruit set in olive (Olea europaea L.) cv. Manzanillo. Boron solutions were applied (935 L·ha-1) at four concentrations (0, 246, 491, and 737 mg·L-1) to trees exhibiting no vegetative symptoms of B deficiency. Foliar B application increased both the percentage of perfect flowers and fruit set, but no effect on pollen germination was observed in either year. The increase in fruit set was not accompanied by a reduction in fruit size. The beneficial effects of foliar B application varied between years and were greater when fruit set was low. The results obtained here are in agreement with those observed in other tree species, in which foliar B applications made immediately prior to flowering or during the period of floral bud initiation significantly increased fruit set and yield. The physiological basis for this effect, however, remains unclear.

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J.P. Mueller, M. E. Barbercheck, M. Bell, C. Brownie, N.G. Creamer, A. Hitt, S. Hu, L. King, H.M. Linker, F.J. Louws, S. Marlow, M. Marra, C.W. Raczkowski, D.J. Susko and M.G. Wagger

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is dedicated to farming systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Established in 1994 at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) Cherry Farm near Goldsboro, N.C.; CEFS operations extend over a land area of about 800 ha (2000 acres) [400 ha (1000 acres) cleared]. This unique center is a partnership among North Carolina State University (NCSU), North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University (NCATSU), NCDACS, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other state and federal agencies, farmers and citizens. Long-term approaches that integrate the broad range of factors involved in agricultural systems are the focus of the Farming Systems Research Unit. The goal is to provide the empirical framework to address landscape-scale issues that impact long-run sustainability of North Carolina's agriculture. To this end, data collection and analyses include soil parameters (biological, chemical, physical), pests and predators (weeds, insects and disease), crop factors (growth, yield, and quality), economic factors, and energy issues. Five systems are being compared: a successional ecosystem, a plantation forestry-woodlot, an integrated crop-animal production system, an organic production system, and a cash-grain [best management practice (BMP)] cropping system. An interdisciplinary team of scientistsfrom the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and NCATSU, along with individuals from the NCDACS, NGO representatives, and farmers are collaborating in this endeavor. Experimental design and protocol are discussed, in addition to challenges and opportunities in designing and implementing long-term farming systems trials.