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Ursula Schuch

Four species of salt-sensitive perennials (Chilopsis linearis, Tecoma stans, Salviagreggii, and Verbena pulchella gracilior) were grown in containers and were irrigated with potable or reclaimed water. Electrical conductivity (EC) was 0.3 dS·m-1 for potable irrigation water and 1.0 dS·m-1 for reclaimed irrigation water. After 12 weeks of growing plants with reclaimed vs. potable water, C. linearis leaf dry weight was reduced by 15%, T. stans root dry weight was reduced by 41%, V. puchella gracilior stem dry weight was reduced by 35%, and S. greggii total dry weight was reduced by 56%. The increase in canopy size was calculated 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatments began and was not affected by water source for C. linearis and T. stans, but was reduced for S. greggii and V. pulchella gracilior treated with reclaimed water. Up to 12% dieback and reduced flowering were observed on S. greggii irrigated with reclaimed water. Within 4 weeks of treatments, EC in the root zone was 0.5 dS·m-1 for plants irrigated with potable water and 1.9 dS·m-1 for those irrigated with reclaimed water. When exposed to drought, C. linearis and T. stans grown with reclaimed water maintained a more negative water potential as soil moisture was depleted. Osmotic potential started to increase significantly for both irrigation treatments when more than 25% moisture from fully saturated containers were lost. In general, plants irrigated with potable water sustained more damage than those irrigated with reclaimed water after recovering from a drought cycle.

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Ursula K. Schuch

Several large cities in the southwestern United States have set a target to increase their tree canopy cover up to 25%, which often requires more than doubling the current canopy cover. A major goal is to alleviate high temperatures and support public health in addition to gaining all the other benefits conferred by urban forests. Rising temperatures, the arid climate, continued drought, increasing population numbers, and the growing urban forest in the southwestern United States fuel the demand for more water. Using water wisely to garner the benefits of trees requires the application of sufficient irrigation based on the water needs of different species. Current irrigation recommendations for trees are often based on expert consensus. Research-based results of tree irrigation studies from the southwestern United States are presented to give specific examples of how trees respond when they are exposed to different irrigation regimes.

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Ursula K. Schuch

A two-part exercise was developed as part of the horticulture curriculum at Iowa State University to familiarize students with the American Standard for Nursery Stock (ASNS), and to allow them to practice and apply the ASNS with a variety of categories and types of ornamental plants. The first part of the exercise requires students to determine, according to ASNS standards, appropriate root ball/container size for plants to be moved from an existing immature landscape. During the second part, students evaluate whether root ball or container size of plants in a nursery is appropriate for the plant shoot dimensions. The exercise was designed for students to work in informal groups in a cooperative learning environment.

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Ursula K. Schuch

Eight-week-old potted chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev. c. Ovaro) plants were treated with a soil drench of 0 or 2.5 mg uniconazole per liter and irrigated daily with 350 or 250 ml of nutrient solution. Plants were frequently water-stressed during their development. At the beginning of anthesis treatments were split and transferred to chambers with 20C/24 hr photoperiod or 25C/dark conditions. Anthesis progressed at the same rate in the two postharvest storage conditions, regardless of previous treatments. Plants were not watered until wilting, which was observed first in control plants under continuous photoperiod (8 days) and last in uniconazole-treated plants in dark storage (12 days). During the first 6 days in storage, evapotranspiration (ET) was lower for plants grown with 250 ml daily irrigation. From day 8 to day 12, when most plants were irrigated after they had wilted, ET was affected by uniconazole and an interaction of uniconazole and storage conditions.

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Jennifer Nelkin and Ursula Schuch

Fresh weight production of basil (Ocimum basilicum`Genovese') growing in a retractable roof greenhouse (RRGH) or outdoors was evaluated under different shade environments, cultural production systems, and roof control strategies in a semi-arid climate. Cultural production systems included raised beds and towers consisting of six pots arranged vertically and stacked on edge. The growing substrate in both systems was perlite. The three shade environments included a RRGH with either a clear woven roof (35% shade) or a white woven roof (50% shade), or outdoors in full sun (0% shade). Within the RRGH, three strategies of roof control were tested based on air temperature thresholds, quantum thresholds, and globe thermometer temperature thresholds. After establishment, plants were grown for 4 weeks, each under the three roof control strategies in each environment and in both cultural systems. New shoots were harvested weekly and fresh weights were determined. Overall, fresh weight per plant was significantly affected by cultural production system, and basil grown in raised beds produced twice the biomass compared to plants grown in vertical towers. Productivity of basil grown in raised beds was not affected by the three shade environments, but plants in vertical towers produced about 20% more when grown in full sun or under 35% shade compared to under 50% shade. Within the RRGH, roof control strategy significantly affected basil fresh weight per plant. Roof control, based on either a quantum sensor or globe thermometer, increased production by 31% compared to air temperature control. Greater productivity was related to higher cumulative light exposure of plants. Quality of basil grown in the RRGH was superior to that grown in full sun.

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Ursula K. Schuch and Barbara Biernacka

Four azalea cultivars [Rhododendron × `White Lace' (WT), `Southern Charm' (SC), `Formosa' (F), and `George Tabor' (GT)] with different growth and flowering habits were treated with a foliar spray of uniconazole (U) at 0, 10, or 15 mg·liter–1 with or without a surfactant. GA was applied at 0 or 15 mg·liter–1 as a foliar spray to half of the plants on 23 Sept. 1993, 53 days after the uniconazole application. U reduced number, length, and dry weight of bypass shoots, and increased number of flower buds for all cultivars by Dec. 1993. Application of GA after U further increased the number of flower buds on SC and GT, which otherwise had few flowers. At the final evaluation in Mar. 1994, time to anthesis for cultivars F and GT was not affected by any treatment. Anthesis of SC and WL treated with 15 mg U and GA/liter started 6 days earlier than those treated with 15 mg U/liter. Number of flowers at anthesis and number of flower buds was increased two to four times on U-treated vs. nontreated plants. U decreased plant height, size, leaf area, and shoot dry weight of all cultivars. Shoot elongation of F and GT was further reduced with the 15 vs. 10 mg U/liter treatment. Application of GA increased the retarding effects of U on plant height for WL, SC, and GT, and on leaf area and shoot dry weight for WL.

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Ursula K. Schuch and David W. Burger

Twelve species of woody ornamentals were grown in containers in Riverside and Davis, Calif., to determine plant water use and compare crop coefficients (Kc) calculated with reference evapotranspiration (ET) from local weather stations (ETcim) or atmometers (ETatm). Water use, Kcatm, and Kccim differed by species, location, and month of the year. Raphiolepis indica (L.) Lindl., Pittosporum tobira (Thunb.) Ait., Juniperus sabina L., and Photinia ×fraseri Dress. were the highest water users in Riverside and Arctostaphylos densiflora M.S. Bak., Juniperus, Cercis occidentalis Torr., and Pittosporum used the highest amount of water in Davis, when averaged over the 20-month study period. Rhamnus californica Eschsch., Prunus ilicifolia (Nutt.) Walp., and Cercocarpus minutiflorus Abrams. were among the lowest water users in both locations. Although plant water use fluctuated considerably between individual sampling dates, the relative ranking of species water use in each location changed very little over the study period. During periods of high winds, ETcim may not provide an accurate reference for container crops. Kc values fluctuated seasonally from as much as 1 to 4.7 for high water users, while values were stable for low water users and also for Buxus microphylla japonica Rehd. & E.H. Wils., an intermediate water user. During periods of low ET, especially in fall and winter, Kc values were artificially high and failed to correspond to the plants' low water use. Kc values for low water users seem to be useful to estimate water requirements over an extended period of time, whereas general Kc values seem to have limited value for plants with high water demand and need to be modified for different growth stages and growing locations.

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Ursula Schuch, Richard A. Redak, and James Bethke

Six cultivars of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wind.), `Angelika White', `Celebrate 2', `Freedom Red', `Lilo Red', `Red Sails', and `Supjibi Red' were grown for 9 weeks during vegetative development under three constant-feed fertilizer treatments, 80,160, or 240 mg N/liter and two irrigation regimes, well-watered (high irrigation) or water deficient (low irrigation). Plants fertilized with 80 or 240 mg N/liter were 10% to 18% shorter, while those fertilized with 160 mg N/liter were 25 % shorter with low versus high irrigation. Leaf area and leaf dry weight increased linearly in response to increasing fertilizer concentrations. Low irrigation reduced leaf area, leaf, stem, and shoot dry weight 3670 to 41%. Cultivars responded similarly to irrigation and fertilizer treatments in all components of shoot biomass production and no interactions between the main effects and cultivars occurred. Stomatal conductance and transpiration decreased with increasing fertilizer rates or sometimes with low irrigation. Highest chlorophyll contents occurred in leaves of `Lilo Red' and `Freedom Red'. Leaves of plants fertilized with 80 mg N/liter were deficient in leaf N and had 40 % to 49 % lower leaf chlorophyll content compared to plants fertilized with 160 or 240 mg N/liter. Irrigation had no effect on leaf N or chlorophyll content. At the end of the experiment leaves of `Supjibi Red' and `Angelika White' contained higher concentrations of soluble proteins than the other four cultivars.

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Kathryn S. Hahne and Ursula K. Schuch

Velvet mesquite [Prosopis velutina Woot., Syn.: P. juliflora (Swartz) DC. var. velutina (Woot.) Sarg.] has become more popular in arid landscapes of the southwestern U.S., but little information on N requirements during the seedling stage is available. In addition to optimize growth of seedlings, minimizing N in runoff during production is an important consideration. Experiments were conducted to determine how biomass production and N leaching were affected first by different ratios of ammonium and nitrate N in sand culture and second by different N concentrations when seedlings were grown in two substrates. Mesquite seedlings produced the greatest biomass after 120 days when fertigated with a solution of 33 NO3 : 67 NH4 +. Loss of N through leachate was 40% greater when NH + 4 comprised two thirds or more compared to one third or none in the fertigation solution. Nitrogen in leachate was highest after 16 weeks of treatment, coinciding with the reduced growth rate of seedlings. The second experiment utilized either sand or commercial growing media and a fertigation solution of 33 NO3 : 67 NH4 +. Fertigation with 200 mg·L–1 N after 60 days in either substrate produced greatest biomass, while rates of 25, 50, or 100 mg·L–1 N produced about half of that biomass. With few exceptions, less N in either form was found in leachate when seedlings were grown in media and were fertigated with the two higher N rates compared to seedlings grown in sand at the two higher N rates. Plant morphology, biomass accumulation, photosynthate allocation, and the fate of N in the growing substrate and in leachate were strongly affected by the choice of growing substrate.

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Kathryn S. Hahne and Ursula K. Schuch*

The objective of this study was to determine whether mesquite (Prosopis velutina) seedlings have a preference for the ammonia or nitrate form of nitrogen (N), and to determine the optimum rate of N to maximize growth and minimize N leaching when seedlings are grown in different substrates. Mesquite seedlings were fertigated with different ratios of NH4 +: NO3 - to determine effects on shoot and root growth and N-uptake efficiency. Nutrient solution containing 67% NH4 + : 33% NO3 - resulted in greatest biomass after 120 days of fertigation. N leachate remained stable until 12 weeks after the onset of treatment, but increased significantly by week 16. Subsequently, mesquite seedlings were grown in sand or soilless media and were fertigated with a solution of 67 % NH4 +: 33% NO3 - at a rate of 25, 50, 100, or 200 mg·L-1 of N. After 60 days, plants in media produced 41% more leaves and total biomass compared to those in sand. Leaf number was greatest for plants grown at 200 mg·L-1 of N in both substrates. Root biomass of plants in media showed no response to increasing N concentrations while root biomass of seedlings in sand were similar for the three lower N concentrations and nearly doubled for the highest one. Shoot biomass of seedlings receiving 25, 50, or 100 mg·L-1 of N was similar, but more than doubled for plants fertigated with 200 mg·L-1 of N. N leachate losses were highest from seedlings growing in sand and receiving the two higher N fertigations, those in media had greatest N leachate loss when fertigated at 200 mg·L-1 of N. For balanced mesquite seedling growth and minimum N leaching losses, concentrations between 50 to 100 mg·L-1 of N are recommended. Implications of using a sand culture system vs. soilless growing substrate for nutrition studies will be discussed.