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Theo J. Blom and Wayne Brown

Four sterilants-bactericides (Physan-20, Fixed Copper, Phyton-27, and Virkon) were compared as preplanting dips of Zantedeschia elliottiana Engl. W. Wats `Yellow' (a susceptible cultivar) rhizomes to reduce plant losses due to latent field-infected Erwinia carotovora soft rot during greenhouse forcing as a flowering potted plant. All sterilant solutions were prepared in combination with Promalin, a commercially available product containing gibberellic acid (GA) used to enhance flowering. An additional group of rhizomes was inoculated with E. carotovora sp. as a preplanting dip in combination with the GA treatment but were not treated with a bactericide. Rhizomes were wounded by making two cuts on the distal part of the rhizome or left unwounded before application of the preplant dip treatments. After potting, plants were fertilized with either a high (3.0 mmol·L-1) or a low (1.0 mmol·L-1) calcium nutrient solution through subirrigation. More than 90% of the inoculated rhizomes collapsed within 5 weeks after potting due to bacterial soft rot. With the uninoculated rhizomes, the copper-based compounds (Fixed Copper or Phyton-27) provided better control of bacterial soft rot than either Physan-20 or Virkon only during the first 6 weeks of forcing. During the remainder of the forcing period, there were no differences in weekly losses of rhizomes with the four sterilants. Confirmation of Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora (Jones) Bergey et al. as the causal organism was made throughout the experiment. Incisions on the rhizome before planting or calcium nutrition during forcing did not have any significant effect on disease severity. Rhizomes treated with solutions of the copper-based compounds produced 0.5 flowers less per rhizome than either Physan-20 or Virkon. High calcium fertilization resulted in an increase of 0.5 flowers per plant compared to low calcium nutrition.

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Theo Blom, David Kerec, Wayne Brown and Dave Kristie

Potted greenhouse-forced `Nellie White' Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum Thunb.) were irrigated from emergence with water at 2, 5, 8, 11, or 15 °C either onto the shoot apex (overhead) or onto the substrate for a 0, 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-week period. Control treatment was at 18 °C, either overhead or on substrate. When irrigation water was applied overhead for the entire period between emergence and flowering (12 weeks), plant height increased linearly with the temperature of irrigation water (1.75 cm/°C). As the period of application with cold water increased from 0 to 12 weeks, plant height decreased both in a linear and a quadratic manner. Forcing time was negatively correlated with height with the shortest plants delayed by 3 to 6 days. Water temperature did not affect bud abortion or the number of yellow leaves. Irrigation water temperature had no effect on plant parameters when applied directly on the substrate.

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Lisa J. Skog*, Theo Blom, Wayne Brown, Dennis Murr and George Chu

Ozone treatment has many advantages for control of fungal diseases. There are no residue concerns, no registration is required, and it is non-specific, therefore potentially effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens. However, ozone is known to cause plant damage. There is little information available on either the ozone tolerance of floriculture crops or the levels required to kill plant pathogens under commercial conditions. Nine floriculture crops (begonia, petunia, Impatiens, Kalanchoe, pot roses, pot chrysanthemums, lilies, snapdragons and Alstroemeria) were subjected to increasing levels of ozone. Trials were conducted at 5 and 20 °C (90% to 95% RH) and ozone exposure was for 4 days for either 10 hours per day (simulating night treatment) or for 10 minutes every hour. Damage was assessed immediately after treatment and after an additional 3 days at room temperature in ozone-free air. Trials were terminated for the crop when an unacceptable level of damage was observed. Trials to determine the lethal dose for actively growing pathogens (Alternaria alternata, Alternaria zinniae and Botrytis cinerea) and fungal spores were conducted under identical conditions. Ozone tolerance varied with plant type and ranged between <0.2 and 3ppm. Generally, the crops surveyed were more susceptible to ozone damage at the low temperature. As a group, the bedding plants were the least tolerant. Fungal spores were killed at treatment levels between 0.8 and 2 ppm ozone. The actively growing fungal mycelium was still viable at 3 ppm ozone when the trial had to be terminated due to ozone-induced structural damage in the treatment chambers. Under the trial conditions, only the Kalanchoe would be able to tolerate the high levels of ozone required to kill the fungal spores.

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Wayne Brown, Theo J. Blom, George C.L. Chu, Wei Tang Liu and Lisa Skog

The sensitivity of easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) to either ethylene or methane (products of incomplete burning in gas-fired unit heaters) was tested during rooting [3 weeks at 18 °C (65 °F)], vernalization [6 weeks at 6 °C (43 °F)] and subsequent greenhouse forcing (15 weeks at 18 °C). Starting at planting, easter lilies were exposed for one of seven consecutive 3-week periods (short-term), or for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 21 weeks starting at planting (long-term) to either ethylene or methane at an average concentration of 2.4 and 2.5 μL·L-1(ppm), respectively. Short- or long-term exposure to ethylene during rooting and vernalization had no effect on the number of buds, leaves, or plant height but increased the number of days to flower. Short-term exposure within 6 weeks after vernalization reduced the number of buds by 1 bud/plant compared to the control (no ethylene exposure). However, extensive bud abortion occurred when plants were exposed to ethylene during the flower development phase. Long-term exposure to ethylene from planting until after the flower initiation period resulted in only two to three buds being initiated, while continued long-term exposure until flowering caused all flower buds to abort. Short-term exposure to methane at any time had no effect on leaf yellowing, bud number, bud abortion, or height and had only a marginal effect on production time. Long-term exposure to methane from planting until the end of vernalization increased both the number of buds, leaves and height without affecting forcing time, leaf yellowing or bud abortion.