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  • Author or Editor: Steven D. Frank x
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Strawberry plants (`Commander') were grown with different polyethylene bed mulches in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 production seasons to determine the effect of mulch on plant growth, yield performance and incidence of Type III strawberry fruit bronzing (T3B), a fruit disorder of unknown origin. In 1999-2000, T3B incidence ranged from 1.8% to 3.7% of total yield, and use of clear, full-bed (CFB) mulch resulted in significantly less T3B incidence than either clear center-strip mulch (CS), or yellow-on-black full-bed mulch. Plant canopy vegetative growth and shoot to root dry mass ratios were greatest for CFB compared to other mulch treatments, but there was no effect of mulch treatment on yield or fruit size. Winter temperatures in 2000-2001 were colder than in 1999-2000, with reduced vegetative growth and increased T3B incidence in spring for all mulch treatments. Use of CFB mulch resulted in greater vegetative growth, greater yield, increased fruit size and reduced T3B incidence compared to CS or green full-bed mulch, but there was no difference among mulch treatments for number of T3B fruit per plot for any single fruit harvest interval. In 2000-2001, the onset of severe T3B symptoms on 7 May was preceded by a brief period of ambient temperatures >31 °C. For all treatments, peak T3B incidence occurred from late May to mid-June, a period characterized by high ambient temperatures and high irradiance conditions. Results indicate that temperature and radiation are significant factors in the development of T3B, and that increased plant vegetative growth in winter results in greater yields and a lower percentage of T3B-affected fruit, particularly in years with cold winters. Managing strawberry plantations to optimize plant growth and development in winter appears to be an effective strategy for reducing the severity of this disorder.

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Strawberry fruit are subject to three different types of bronzing damage that cause discoloration of the fruit surface and loss of market quality. Type I and Type II bronzing both occur in localized areas of the fruit and are caused by arthropod feeding and chemical phytotoxicity, respectively. In contrast, Type III bronzing (T3B) covers the entire fruit and is associated with environmental and plant stress factors, although many growers and crop advisers believe that T3B is caused by thrips feeding. The purpose of our 3-year study was to investigate incidence of T3B as affected by crop management practices and thrips populations. Replicated field trials demonstrated that overhead cooling with sprinklers resulted in a significant reduction in T3B incidence. In addition, a series of foliar pesticide spray applications also resulted in reduced T3B damage to strawberry fruit. Foliar applications of Thiolux sulfur, other registered pesticides, and lignin products all resulted in reduced incidence of T3B in field trials. In contrast, T3B incidence was not associated with thrips populations; insecticide-treated plots had reduced thrips populations and comparable T3B incidence to nontreated plots that had greater thrips populations. Our study provides evidence that T3B occurrence is associated with exposure to elevated temperatures and solar radiation rather than thrips feeding and that growers can reduce T3B incidence by implementing production practices that reduce plant stress and protect fruit from radiation damage.

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During recent freezes in the mid-south, crape myrtles have suffered severe freeze damage. Some increased levels of cold hardiness have been observed in the National Arboretum crape myrtle releases, but the degree of tolerance has not been documented. The relative cold hardiness of five hybrid crape myrtle cultivars `Muskogee', `Natchez', `Osage', `Tuskegee' and `Yuma' was determined using differential thermal analysis. Stem samples were collected from established trees at two locations, Poplarville, Zone 8 and Starkville, Zone 7 once per month from October through April. Freezing point suppression was determined from five samples from each cultivar and location. Observed exotherms ranged from -7C to -13C.

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Abstract

A 2-year study involving 15 garden vegetables and 5 different-sized gardens was conducted to assess land, labor, and production efficiency. As garden size increased, total production increased, but yield per unit area decreased. Relative labor inputs varied with garden size, but were greatest for harvesting (38%) followed by planting (23%), miscellaneous (22%), and weeding (17%). The highest production in relationship to labor and land use was obtained with beets, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and summer squash. The poorest yielding crops were pole and bush beans, sweet corn, peas, peppers, and radishes. Total vegetable yield for the 2-year study averaged 6.2 kg/m2.

Open Access

With increased mobile device usage, mobile applications (apps) are emerging as an extension medium, well suited to “place-less” knowledge transfer. Conceptualizing, designing, and developing an app can be a daunting process. This article summarizes the considerations and steps that must be taken to successfully develop an app and is based on the authors’ experience developing two horticulture apps, IPMPro and IPMLite. These apps provide information for major pests and plant care tasks and prompt users to take action on time-sensitive tasks with push notifications scheduled specifically for their location. Topics such as selecting between a web app and a native app, choosing the platform(s) for native apps, and designing the user interface are covered. Whether to charge to download the app or have free access, and navigating the intra- and interinstitutional agreements and programming contract are also discussed. Lastly, the nonprogramming costs such as creating, editing, and uploading content, as well as ongoing app management and updates are discussed.

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Mobile device applications (apps) have the potential to become a mainstream delivery method, providing services, information, and tools to extension clientele. Testing, promoting, and launching an app are key components supporting the successful development of this new technology. This article summarizes the considerations and steps that must be taken to successfully test, promote, and launch an app and is based on the authors’ experience developing two horticulture apps, IPMPro and IPMLite. These apps provide information for major pests and plant care tasks and prompt users to take action on time-sensitive tasks with push notifications scheduled specifically for their location. App testing and evaluation is a continual process. Effective tactics for app testing and evaluation include garnering focus group input throughout app development and postlaunch, in-house testing with simulators, beta testing and the advantages of services that enhance information gained during beta testing, and postlaunch evaluations. Differences in promotional and bulk purchasing options available among the two main device platforms, Android and iOS, are explored as are general preparations for marketing the launch of a new app. Finally, navigating the app submission process is discussed. Creating an app is an involved process, but one that can be rewarding and lead to a unique portal for extension clientele to access information, assistance, and tools.

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