Prolific flowering is essential for economic seed production in sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.). Since flowers appear as racimes on the distal portions of secondary branches and since the branching is restricted by a strong apical dominance, lifting the apical dominance by cutting the tops of plants should induce more branches and more flowers per plant. We evaluated this concept in a field experiment conducted in 1999 at the Tropical Research and Education Center, Univ. of Florida, Homestead, by cutting main stems of 100-day-old plants in a dense stand (113,000 plants/ha) at 30, 60, and 90 cm above the soil surface. Cutting at all heights induced more branching and flowering than the control. The highest positive response was in plants in which the main stem was cut at 90 cm above soil surface.
A.A. Abdul-Baki, H.H. Bryan, G.M. Zinati, W. Klassen, M. Codallo, and N. Heckert
H.H. Bryan, A.A. Abdul-Baki, L. Carrera, G. Zinati, and W. Klassen
Ground covers in orchards and living mulches in vegetable fields can be effective in reducing weed control costs and loss of water and nutrients from the soil, fixing N, and adding organic matter to the soil. Several accessions of rhizoma (perennial) peanut were evaluated in 1999, 30 months after planting, at the farm of the Tropical Research and Education Center, Univ. of Florida, Homestead, in gravelly, calcareous soil with a pH of 7.5. Evaluation criteria included adaptability (plant vigor, rhizome growth, and biomass yield), weed suppression, N-fixation, nutrient content, leaf density, and Fe chlorosis. Accessions that survived exhibited major differences in the evaluation criteria. Accessions No. 6968 and 4222 (recently named `Amarillo') showed promising potential for use as ground cover and a living mulch in vegetable fields in southern Florida.