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V.M. Russo and T. Smith

Sweet corn (Zea mays L.) kernels are sinks, and sugars found in kernels must be translocated from a source. Stalk tissues can act as a source and a sink as sweet corn plants age. Quantity and types of sugars present in various sweet corn tissues during plant development are not well documented. Concentrations of fructose, glucose, sucrose, and their total were determined in the ninth stalk internodes (I9) from the 12-leaf stage (V12) to fresh-market maturity (R3) in sweet corn cultivars carrying either the su1se1, su1, or sh2 endosperm genotype. Developing ears were sampled at tassel emergence (VN) and silking (R1). Kernels and cob tissue were sampled separately at blister stage (R2) and R3. Correlation analysis was performed on concentrations of sugars at all developmental stages. In I9, from V12 to R3, levels of fructose and glucose declined and sucrose increased. In developing ears, concentrations of fructose and glucose increased from VN to R1. Concentrations of sugars in cobs in all cultivars were generally the same at R2 and R3. In kernels from R2 to R3 in the su1se1 cultivar, glucose decreased while the other sugars were unchanged; in the su1 cultivar, fructose decreased while levels of the other sugars stayed the same; and in the sh2 cultivar, fructose decreased, glucose was unchanged and sucrose increased. Correlation analysis suggested that the cultivars moved sugars to the kernels differently. The pattern of movement of sugars to kernels was most complex in the su1se1 cultivar than in the su1, which was more comlex than in the sh2 cultivar. Knowing how sugar content changes in the plant may be used to predict sugar content in kernels.

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T.K. Hartz and R.F. Smith

Research on controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) in vegetable production has been conducted in California for several decades, and commercial CRF products have been marketed throughout most of that time. CRF remain niche products used on only a small percentage of vegetable fields. The potential advantage of CRF is maximized in production systems in which in-season nitrogen (N) leaching is significant but beyond the control of the grower, and where there are cultural constraints on in-season fertilizer application. Neither of those conditions is typical of the California industry. Annual rainfall in the major vegetable-producing regions averages less than 400 mm, with the majority of that received during winter months when vegetable production is limited; in-season leaching occurs almost exclusively from irrigation. The alluvial soils favored for vegetable production tend to be relatively fine-textured, with high water holding capacity that reduces N leaching potential. The widespread adoption of drip irrigation allows for efficient irrigation and for multiple applications of less expensive N fertilizers in synchrony with crop demand. Under representative California field conditions it has been difficult to show a horticultural benefit from the use of CRF, and the higher cost of these products has therefore limited their use. Future government regulation for water quality protection may require more efficient N fertilization practices, but significant expansion of CRF use is unlikely even under that scenario.

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Michael W. Smith and Charles T. Rohla

Typical damage, cleanup, and recovery from four ice storms beginning in Dec. 2000, with the latest in Dec. 2007, are reported for pecan (Carya illinoinensis). Damage levels were amplified as radial ice accretion increased. Cultivar affected the amount of damage incurred. Trees less than 15 ft tall typically had the least damage. Trees 15 to 30 ft tall incurred as much or more damage than larger trees and cleanup costs were greater. Production potential was directly related to canopy loss during the first growing season. The time to recover full production potential varied with the severity of canopy loss. Cleanup costs depended upon the amount of canopy damage incurred, tree spacing, tree size, and the amount of pruning needed to remove hanging and damaged limbs from the tree.

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Patrick T. Smith and B. Greg Cobb

Sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L. cv. Keystone Resistant Giant #3) seeds were imbibed (primed) in salt solutions to determine a) what concentrations would inhibit radicle emergence and b) the influence this delay in radicle emergence would have on subsequent germination. Seeds were primed for 17 days at 23C in petri dishes with KNO3, KCl, NaCl, K2SO4, Na2SO4, 1 NaCl: 1 CaCl2 (mol/mol), Ca(NO3)2, CaCl2, Na2HPO4, and K2HPO4 in 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, or 300 mm of the salts. Germination was not inhibited in the 10- to 100-mm salt range, although most 200- and all 300-mm solutions reduced radicle emergence to <5.0%. The time to 50% germination (T50) of these primed seeds in water significantly (P < 0.01) decreased, when compared to unprimed seeds, and a negative correlation (r = – 0.98) was observed between this reduction and the osmotic potential of the solutions. Solutions with the highest osmotic potentials most severely reduced T50 without reducing the final germination percentage. For seeds primed in K2SO4 or Na2SO4 (200 and 300 mm) through 18 days, the reduction in T50 and duration of priming were negatively correlated (r = - 0.99). Seeds soaked in double distilled water and then dried germinated faster than controls, but not as fast as seeds primed in salt solutions. Priming of pepper seeds in this study was dependent on the osmotic potential of the solution, rather than a specific salt, and the duration of treatment.

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M.T. McClelland and M.A.L. Smith

Effects of three variables (vessel type, closure, and explant orientation) on microcutting quality were investigated using five woody species [low shadblow, Amefanchier spicata (Lam.) C. Koch (Syn. A. humilus Wieg.); red maple, Acer rubrun L. `Red Sunset'; border forsythia, Forsythia ×intermedia Zab. `Sunrise'; apple, Malus ×domestica Borkh. `McIntosh'; river birch, Betula nigra L.]. Uniform shoot explants were oriented vertically or horizontally in three vessel types (60-ml glass culture tubes, 200-ml glass baby food jars, and 350-ml polypropylene GA7 vessels) with and without a Parafilm seal. Visual density per explant obtained by image analysis was increased in larger vessel types, and significantly more shoots were produced from horizontally placed explants. Closure treatments influenced microshoot quality, but trends were species specific. Overall, horizontal explant orientation in larger vessels wthout parafilm maximized shoot response for most of the species studied. In vitro rooting of microcuttings was significantly enhanced in larger vessels.

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T.K. Hartz, R. Smith and M. Gaskell

Limited soil nitrogen (N) availability is a common problem in organic vegetable production that often necessitates additional N fertilization. The increasing use of drip irrigation has created a demand for liquid organic fertilizers that can be applied with irrigation. The N availability of three liquid organic fertilizers was evaluated in an incubation study and a greenhouse bioassay. Phytamin 801 contained fishery wastes and seabird guano, while Phytamin 421 and Biolyzer were formulated from plant materials. The fertilizers ranged from 26 to 60 g·kg−1 N, 8% to 21% of which was associated with particulate matter large enough to potentially be removed by drip irrigation system filtration. The fertilizers were incubated aerobically in two organically managed soils at constant moisture at 15 and 25 °C, and sampled for mineral N concentration after 1, 2, and 4 weeks. In the greenhouse study, these fertilizers and an inorganic fertilizer (ammonium sulfate) were applied to pots of the two organically managed soils with established fescue (Festuca arundinacea) turf; the N content of clippings was compared with that from unfertilized pots after 2 and 4 weeks of growth. Across soils and incubation temperatures, the N availability from Phytamin 801 ranged from 79% to 93% of the initial N content after 1 week, and 83% to 99% after 4 weeks. The plant-based fertilizers had significantly lower N availability, but after 4 weeks, had 48% to 92% of initial N in mineral form. Soil and incubation temperature had modest but significant effects on fertilizer N availability. Nitrification was rapid, with >90% of mineral N in nitrate form after 1 week of incubation at 25 °C, or 2 weeks at 15 °C. N recovery in fescue clippings 4 weeks after application averaged 60%, 38%, and 36% of initial N content for Phytamin 801, Phytamin 421, and Biolyzer, respectively, equivalent to or better than the N recovery from ammonium sulfate.

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K.T. Demchak and C.B. Smith

In a 3-year study with broccoli [Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (L.) Mill. cv. Green Comet], NP or NPK fertilizer at rates of 56N-56P-0K, 56N-56P-56K, and 56N-112P-56K (kg·ha-1) were banded in plots to which three types of lime had been applied—calcitic, calcitic with 3% Mg, or dolomitic. Fertilizer and lime controls were included. Previous liming had raised the soil pH from 5.3 to 7.2-7.4. Effects of lime on yields were greatest when no fertilizer was applied. Dolomitic lime was the most effective, increasing total yield by 49%, terminal weight by 54%, and hastening maturity. Fertilizer effects were most evident when no lime had been applied, with all fertilizer treatments increasing total yield, terminal and plant weight, and hastening maturity. Most changes occurred in the 56N-56P-OK treatment. Effects of lime when fertilizer was applied and effects of fertilizer when lime had been applied were less consistent. Lime alone, especially types containing Mg, increased leaf P, which generally followed the-same trend as total yield. Calcitic lime increased leaf Ca and dolomitic lime increased leaf Mg over other lime treatments. Calcitic lime with 3% Mg increased leaf Ca, but not leaf Mg, compared to the check. All lime treatments decreased leaf Mu, B, and Zn. Fertilizer treatments usually increased leaf N and Mn. Phosphorus uptake was increased by either lime or fertilizer application. Regression analysis strongly suggested that P was the element most responsible for yield increases.

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Michael W. Smith, Charles T. Rohla and William D. Goff

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) leaf elemental concentrations are the industry standard to guide fertility programs. To provide meaningful information, a standard index tissue collected at a specific development stage is required along with established elemental sufficiency ranges. We report pecan leaf elemental sufficiency ranges used in Oklahoma that were developed based on research in Oklahoma and elsewhere. In addition, fertilizer recommendations, based on various leaf elemental concentrations, are included.

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Charles T. Rohla, Michael W. Smith and Niels O. Maness

Alternate bearing pecan trees [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] were hand-thinned annually to 1, ≤2, or ≤3 fruit/cluster or not thinned when the ovule was about one-half expanded. Return bloom was monitored on (1) vegetative shoots, (2) bearing shoots without a second growth flush in the terminal position on 1-year-old branches, (3) bearing shoots without a second growth flush in the lateral position on 1-year-old branches, and (4) bearing shoots with a second growth flush that were primarily in the terminal position. Yield and nut quality were determined in addition to nonstructural carbohydrate, organically bound nitrogen (N), and potassium (K) concentrations in the roots and shoots during January. Fruit thinning improved return bloom but had little effect on weight/nut, kernel percent, or kernel grade. Fruit thinning had either a modest or no effect on nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K concentrations. Vegetative shoots and bearing terminal shoots produced a similar number of flowers/1-year-old branch and percentage of flowering current-season shoots. Bearing lateral shoots produced fewer flowers than vegetative shoots most years and fewer flowering current-season shoots during one year. Shoots with a second growth flush produced more flowers/1-year-old branch and a larger percentage of flowering current-season shoots than did vegetative shoots 2 of 3 years. These data indicate fruit thinning of overloaded trees improved return bloom, but the lack of interactions between thinning treatment and shoot type suggests that the number of fruit/cluster was less important than total crop load in determining nut quality and return bloom. Thus removal of entire fruit clusters appears as effective as thinning fruit within a cluster to maintain adequate nut quality and promote return bloom. Nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K were not limiting factors in bearing consistency because they were not depressed in unthinned trees. Nonstructural carbohydrates, organically bound N, and K concentrations were not closely linked to alternate bearing because return bloom was enhanced by thinning, but thinning did not affect their concentrations.