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Nicole Gardner and Stan C. Hokanson

The genus Clematis contains many well-known large flowered cultivars, as well as lesser-known nonvining species. Intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) primers were used to fingerprint 32 vining cultivars and five nonvining species (C. fruiticosa, C. integrifolia, C. heracleifolia, C. hexapetala, and C. recta) for use in assessing genetic relationships and cultivar identification. Four ISSR primers yielded a total of 44 bands in the vining accessions, of which 36 (86%) were polymorphic. The average polymorphism levels were 83% for the cultivars and 94% for the nonvining species. All 32 vining cultivars were distinguished with the use of two ISSR primers, and the five nonvining Clematis species were differentiated with three ISSR primers. A similarity matrix of the cultivars showed low similarity levels between the samples, with an average similarity of 0.28. A UPGMA-derived dendrogram showed no strong groupings among any of the samples. Two cultivars with known parentage, Clematis viticella L. `Betty Corning' and `Sylvia Denny', grouped with one reported parent but not the other, suggesting they are more similar to one parent. `Multi-blue', a sport reportedly arising from `The President' did not segregate near `The President'.

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Stan C. Hokanson and Chad E. Finn

Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) cultivars used by commercial producers in North America often change rapidly due to several factors including modified cultural practices, processing and marketing practices, the desire for new cultivars with larger and higher quality berries, resistant insect and disease pests, loss of traditional chemical control methods, and private sector breeding programs. Within the past decade, the annual plastic-mulched production system has quickly expanded into eastern North America prompting the need for cold-hardy cultivars adapted to that system. The continuing loss of traditional chemical controls for strawberry insects and diseases, including the impending loss of methyl bromide, has prompted the need for increased insect and disease resistance. In addition, consumer demands for a healthier food product with lower chemical residues has heightened this need. Small fruit experts from across North America provided information on the primary strawberry cultivars used in the recent past, the present, and potential cultivars for the future, as well as on current strawberry acreage in their respective states and provinces.

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Michael C. Long*, Stephen L. Krebs, and Stan C. Hokanson

Forty deciduous azalea (Rhododendron sp.) cultivars from commercial sources were evaluated for powdery mildew (Microsphaera sp.) resistance. Plants were established in two duplicate field plantings in Ohio and Minnesota and evaluated in 2002 and 2003. Plants were scored using a disease symptom rating based on the percent of leaf area infected, evaluating both ab- and adaxial leaf surfaces. Highly significant differences were found for cultivar, location, year, cultivar × location and cultivar × year for disease severity. Calendulaceum × speciosum, `Fragrant Star', `Garden Party', `Late Lady', `Millennium', `Parade', and `Popsicle' showed no powdery mildew symptoms in both locations. Another group of plants with only minimal symptoms (<25% leaf area affected) included `Jane Abbott', `Magic', `Northern Hi-Lights' and `Snowbird'. The symptom-free cultivars exhibited glaucous foliage, suggesting a potential, common resistance mechanism. The mean scores for the abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces were 2.34 and 1.64, respectively, although four cultivars had more disease symptoms on the adaxial surface. `Arneson Gem' showed nearly a two-point difference between abaxial and adaxial scores. Evaluations of azalea powdery mildew susceptibility should consider both leaf surfaces and use the highest score as the best estimate of host resistance.

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Michael C. Long, Stephen L. Krebs, and Stan C. Hokanson

Forty-one deciduous azalea (Rhododendron subgen. Pentanthera G. Don) cultivars were assessed for powdery mildew (PM) resistance in a two-location, 3-year field trial. Disease severity (percent leaf area affected) on abaxial leaf surfaces was used to rate the level of field resistance. This measure was proportional to (r = 0.83) but higher than estimates from corresponding adaxial surfaces. Eleven of these cultivars (27%) appeared to be highly resistant under field conditions, i.e., evidence of PM on the leaves was zero or near zero. Twenty-three of the cultivars evaluated in the field experiment were also evaluated in a growth chamber experiment. In contrast to the field study, PM was more severe on the adaxial leaf surface in the growth chamber but still highly correlated with the abaxial response (r = 0.93). Based on adaxial disease scores, no cultivars in the growth chamber experiments were completely resistant. Growth chamber disease ratings based on either leaf surface were predictive of field performance (r 2 = 0.62), suggesting use of the chambers could serve as a low-cost, off-season, early selection component of a deciduous azalea PM resistance breeding program.

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Vance M. Whitaker, Stan C. Hokanson, and James Bradeen

Black spot, incited by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae Wolf, is the most significant disease problem of landscape roses (Rosa hybrida L.) worldwide. The documented presence of pathogenic races necessitates that rose breeders screen germplasm with isolates that represent the range of D. rosae diversity for their target region. The objectives of this study were to characterize the genetic diversity of single-spore isolates from eastern North America and to examine their distribution according to geographic origin, host of origin, and race. Fifty isolates of D. rosae were collected from roses representing multiple horticultural classes in disparate locations across eastern North America and analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism. Considerable marker diversity among isolates was discovered, although phenetic and cladistic analyses revealed no significant clustering according to host of origin or race. Some clustering within collection locations suggested short-distance dispersal through asexual conidia. Lack of clustering resulting from geographic origin was consistent with movement of D. rosae on vegetatively propagated roses. Results suggest that field screening for black spot resistance in multiple locations may not be necessary; however, controlled inoculations with single-spore isolates representing known races is desirable as a result of the inherent limitations of field screening.

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Brent L. Black, John M. Enns, and Stan C. Hokanson

Anticipating the phaseout of methyl bromide, the USDA-ARS small fruit breeding program at Beltsville, Md., discontinued soil fumigation in strawberry breeding and selection trials in the mid 1990s. To address resulting weed and pathogen pests, a modified or advanced matted row system was developed. This system uses matted row-type culture, established on raised beds with subsurface drip irrigation and organic mulch. The mulch is the residue of a killed cover crop that fixes some nitrogen and provides an economical, biodegradable mulch for suppressing weeds and reducing erosion. Since 1996, the small fruit breeding program has conducted replicated performance trials on both advanced matted row and a regional adaptation of annual hill plasticulture. Both of these systems were managed without methyl bromide fumigation or fungicide application. Data from these trials were used to compare advanced matted row and plasticulture for yield, fruit quality and harvest season. Yield for the two systems was genotype dependent, and the advanced matted row system had later production and slightly lower fruit quality.

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Stan C. Hokanson, James F. Hancock, and Rebecca Grumet

A further characterization of the cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) mutant `Wisconsin SMR-18' bla (blunt leaf apex) revealed a new character associated with the previously described leaf phenotype. The attachment of the blade to the petiole of bla plants is flat across, as opposed to the cordate or indented attachment in the wild-type `Wisconsin SMR-18' plants. The new character (truncate leaf base) was easier to score and becomes distinctive earlier in development than previously described leaf apex characters. It was expressed consistently in homozygous bla plants. Segregation analysis of 1159 F2 seedlings arising from self-pollinated `Wisconsin SMR-18' × `Wisconsin SMR-18' bla F1 plants suggested that the leaf base and leaf apex character were controlled by a single locus or two tightly linked ones with a maximum distance between the two of 0.03 cM. In a field study of growth and fitness characteristics, the two genotypes did not differ significantly for flower or fruit count. The similar flowering and fruiting characteristics, along with the reliable early occurring truncate character, likely will make the two genotypes useful for pollination and gene movement studies.

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Fumiomi Takeda, Stan C. Hokanson, and John M. Enns

Strawberry (`Chandler') plants were grown in a greenhouse hydroponic culture system from 28 Apr. to 20 July to produce runners (stolons) with several daughter plants. By mid-July, each `Chandler' plant had developed about 30 daughter plants on 12 runners with 1 to 6 daughter plants on each runner. Daughter plants varied in weight from <0.9 to >10 g. Daughter plant weight and position on the runner affected new root development on plug plants during the first 7 days under mist irrigation. At 3 weeks, 87% of daughter plants that weighed <0.9 g and at least 96% of daughter plants that weighed >1.0 g were rated acceptable for field transplanting, respectively. The percentage of daughter plants from second to tenth node position that were rated acceptable for field planting ranged from 98% to 88%, respectively. Runner production in the fall was not affected by either position on the runner or weight at the time of daughter plant harvest. But, larger daughter plants produced more branch crowns than did smaller daughter plants in the fall. Transplant survival in the field was 100%. In the spring, `Chandler' plants produced a 10% greater yield from daughter plants that weighed 9.9 g compared to those that weighed only 0.9 g.