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  • Author or Editor: Stan Hokanson* x
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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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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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In the perennial strawberry production system, removal of the harvested crop represents a loss of nitrogen (N) that may be influenced by cultivar. Eight strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) cultivars and eight numbered selections grown in advanced matted row culture were compared over three seasons for removal of N in the harvested crop. Replicated plots were established in 1999, 2000, and 2001 and fruited the following year. `Allstar', `Cavendish', `Earliglow', `Honeoye', `Jewel', `Northeaster', `Ovation', and `Latestar' and selections B37, B51, B244-89, B683, B753, B781, B793, and B817 were compared for yield and fruit N concentration. Harvest removal of N (HRN) was calculated from total season yield and fruit N concentration at peak harvest. There were significant differences in HRN among genotypes, ranging from 1.80 to 2.96 g N per meter of row for numbered selections B781 and B37, respectively. Among cultivars, HRN ranged from 2.01 to 3.56 g·m–1 for `Ovation' and `Jewel', respectively. The amount of HRN was largely determined by yield, however, there were also significant genotype differences in fruit N concentration, ranging from 0.608 to 0.938 mg N per gram fresh weight for B244-89 and `Jewel', respectively. These differences indicate that N losses in the harvested crop are genotype dependent.

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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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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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Prairie dropseed [Sporobolus heterolepis (A. Gray) A. Gray] is a critical North American native grass that is often not incorporated into prairie restoration seed mixes due to its low survival and growth rates. This project investigated using hydrogels, landscape plugs, and native field soil to improve the survival and growth of prairie dropseed. At three tallgrass prairie restoration sites at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, we planted prairie dropseed plugs in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, and Fall 2020. When grown in the field from 42 to 94 weeks, we found that potting mix–grown plugs had increased growth as measured by dry weight compared with plugs grown in native soils. Soil medium did not influence survival rates. The use of hydrogels did not demonstrate increased survival or growth compared with plugs planted with water. We recommend land managers and restorationists use plugs grown in commercial potting mix rather than grown in native soils, and we found no advantage in using hydrogels over watering at planting.

Open Access