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Monte L. Nesbitt, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier Jr

Satsuma mandarin is presently the primary citrus crop for citrus growers in south Alabama, south Mississippi, and for certain new plantings in northwest Florida. Current growth in satsuma mandarin hectarage in Alabama is similar to the historical hectarage expansion that occurred during decades or clusters of years with a low incidence of lethal, freezing temperatures. Commercial groves currently range in size from 100 to 2000 trees and use various freeze protection strategies, including wind breaks, overstory frost protection with pine or pecan trees, under-tree and scaffold branch irrigation, and high tunnel polyethylene-covered greenhouses. The various methods of freeze protection require adjustments in cultural management practices, including spacing, pruning, irrigation, and fertilization. The primary rootstock used and recommended for its cold-hardiness and edaphic adaptation is Poncirus trifoliata. Some groves use ‘Swingle’ citrumelo, mainly because it is grown and propagated in Louisiana, where it is valued for its higher salt tolerance. ‘Owari’ was the original cultivar introduced to the United States from Japan in the late 19th century and is still the main cultivar in Alabama today, although earlier maturing cultivars, including ‘Brown Select’, ‘Early St. Ann’, and ‘LA Early’, are being introduced to extend the marketing season. Cultivars from Japan and China, including ‘Okitsu Wase’, ‘Miyagawa Wase’, and ‘Xie Shan’, are currently being evaluated for suitability in the region. Three general methods of culture with regard to spacing and pruning are discussed. Nitrogen application rates are typically low to moderate, yet leaf nitrogen levels surveyed in groves in 2005 were generally optimal or high with respect to published sufficiency levels for mature citrus in Florida.

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Jeff L. Sibley, D. Joseph Eakes, Charles H. Gilliam and William A. Dozier Jr.

Net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (Cs), transpiration (Ts), and water use efficiency (WUE) were determined with a LICOR 6250 Portable Photosynthesis System for four cultivars of Acer rubrum L. under light intensities ranging from 300 to 1950 μmol·m-2·sec-1 photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). As PAR increased, there was a linear relationship for Pn, Cs, and Ts for the cultivars `Franksred' (Red Sunset TM) and `October Glory'. In contrast, the cultivars `Schlesingeri' and `Northwood' had quadratic relationships for Pn and Cs as PAR increased. Ts was quadratic for `Schlesingeri' and had a linear relationship for `Northwood.' WUE was quadratic for each of the four cultivars.

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Arlie A. Powell, James Witt, William Dozier Jr., Scott Goodrick, Ed Tunnell and Richard Murphy

Lack of winter chilling periodically becomes a serious problem for commercial peach producers in the Southeast, especially along and near the Gulf Coast areas. Studies were conducted over 3 years (1989-1991) to evaluate the effects of hydrogen cyanamide (Dormex - SKW) on replacing lack of winter chilling in 7 varieties of peaches.

Initial findings using whole tree sprays to point of runoff indicated a problem with efficacy and phytotoxicity. A combination of hydrogen cyanamide rates (0, .5, 1, 2 and 4% V/V) and timings (0, 25, 50 and 75% of chilling level) were evaluated in 1991. Rates above 2% were phytotoxic. Rates of 0.5 to 1.0% were safe and effective when applied at 75% chilling.

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Robert C. Ebel, Monte Nesbitt, William A. Dozier Jr. and Fenny Dane

The northern fringe of the Gulf of Mexico has an excellent climate for growing high-quality satsumas that are available in U.S. retail chain stores before most other citrus. In part because of high fruit quality, satsuma mandarin production grew into a major industry in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the panhandle of Florida in the early 1900s. Freeze protection measures were not sufficient to prevent devastation of the industry by severe freezes. For the period encompassing the late 1900s, freeze risk was estimated using a mathematical approach that determined killing temperature based on air temperature. Freeze injury was determined to occur 1 out of every 4 years on average, although the freezes tended to come in clusters that have as yet not been correlated with long-term climate patterns. Within-tree microsprinkler irrigation, which was not available in the early 1900s, has been shown to reduce the severity of injury. Within-tree microsprinkler irrigation allows full production the year after the freeze, whereas unprotected trees must be grown from the base or replanted. The northerly geographical limit in the southeastern United States whereby satsumas can be successfully grown commercially is currently not known. Methods of protecting the entire tree, including overtree microsprinkler irrigation plus windbreaks and high tunnel houses, are being evaluated. More cold-tolerant satsuma cultivars have been selected, but they reduce freeze risk by at most 2 °C in this region compared with current commercial cultivars. Genetic modification is one possible mechanism for improving cold tolerance sufficiently to reduce freeze risk similar to that of the citrus industry in Florida.

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Robert G. Nelson, Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier Jr.

This article reviews the results of 5 years of marketing research on Alabama satsumas and makes recommendations for future progress. Although there are only 28 ha of satsuma orchards in production in Alabama at this time, there are a number of encouraging developments that suggest considerable potential for expanding the industry such as microsprinkler freeze protection, new early-maturing and cold-tolerant varieties, contract sales through the Farm-to-School Program, and rising demand for premium mandarins. Prospects for the industry marketing effort are considered from the perspectives of analyzing marketing opportunities, identifying market segments, selecting attractive target markets, designing marketing strategies, planning marketing programs, and managing the continuing marketing effort. A number of distinct consumer segments have been identified, including one that prefers fruit that is still slightly green and another that prefers a longer shelf life. A peeled-and-sectioned product also appears to have considerable market potential. Name recognition is still a problem as is insipid flavor from fruit that is marketed beyond its optimal ripeness. Needs for the future are detailed and include the needs of the commodity (freeze protection and expanded acreage), the needs of the market (consistency and quality), the needs of the product (quality standards and consumer awareness), the need for and the needs of a brand (recognition and equity potential), the needs of an organization (cooperation and leadership), and the needs of the industry (processes for building equity, forestalling competition, reducing supply shocks, and attracting investment).

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Arlie A. Powell, Scott Goodrick, James Witt, William Dozier Jr. and Richard Murphy

Lack of winter chilling can be a serious problem for commercial peach producers in the Southeast. Studies were conducted over 3 years (1989-91) to evaluate the effects of hydrogen cyanamide (Dormex-SKW) on replacing lack of winter chilling on 7 varieties of peaches. This study specifically reports on the effects of hydrogen cyanamide on 'Ruston Red' peach, a 850-hour variety.

Results from 1990 studies using whole tree sprays to the point of runoff indicated a problem with the efficacy and phytotoxicity. In 1991, a combination of hydrogen cyanamide (49%) rates (0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4% V/V) and timings (0, 25, 50 and 75% of chilling level) were evaluated using 7-year-old 'Ruston Red' peach trees. Only 590 hours of chilling at 7.3°C and lower were accumulated at this site. Rates of 0.5 75% (actually only 70%) chilling level induced full cropping while control trees produced practically no crop.

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Jeff L. Sibley, D. Joseph Eakes, Charles H. Gilliam, Gary J. Keever, William A. Dozier Jr. and David G. Himelrick

Twelve red maple selections in an existing field trial were evaluated for leaf chlorophyll content with a SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter, total foliar N concentration with a LECO CHN analyzer, and total foliar chlorophyll content (CHL) by N,N-dimethylformamide extraction. Selections included Acer rubrum L. `Autumn Flame', `Fairview Flame', `Franksred' (Red Sunset™), `Karpick', `Northwood', `October Glory', `Redskin', `Schlesingeri', and `Tilford', and A. ×freemanii E. Murray `AutumnBlaze' (`Jeffersred'), `Morgan' (`Indian Summer'), and `Scarsen' (Scarlet Sentinel™). `Franksred' and `Northwood' had the highest monthly SPAD-502 values in 1993 and 1994. Lowest SPAD-502 values were on `Redskin' and `Autumn Blaze' each year. Foliar N concentration ranged from 2.62% for `Autumn Flame' to 2.01% for Redskin. CHL levels on a fresh-weight basis ranged from 5.38 mg·g–1 for `Fairview Flame' to 3.94 mg·g–1 for `October Glory'. SPAD-502 and extractable CHL values were correlated (r = 0.45; P ≤ 0.001); however, the correlation (r = 0.15; P ≤ 0.38) between SPAD-502 values and total foliar N concentration was nonsignificant.

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Wheeler G. Foshee III, Brad E. Reeder, Raymond J. Kessler Jr., Larry W. Wells, Joseph M. Kemble, Edgar L. Vinson, Robert T. Boozer and William A Dozier Jr

Production of high tunnel tomatoes and snapdragons was evaluated over a 2-year period at the Wiregrass Experiment Station, in southeastern Alabama. `BHN 640', `Florida 91', `Sunleaper', and `Carolina Gold', were evaluated in early Spring 2004. Results indicated that `BHN 640' outperformed `Florida 91' and `Carolina Gold' in early production of high tunnel grown tomatoes. A late Fall 2005 study examined `BHN 640' and `Florida 91'. Results indicated that `BHN 640' was superior to `Florida 91' in total marketable fruit. Season extension of both spring and fall tomato production were accomplished. A planting date study was completed in the early Spring 2005. The following four planting dates were evaluated: 31 Jan., 17 Feb., 4 Mar., and 25. Mar 2005. Wind damage to the high tunnel caused some mortality; however, the two earliest planting dates (31 Jan. and 17 Feb. 2005) produced over 10 lbs. of marketable tomatoes per plant. These were both superior to the last planting date of 25 Mar 2005. Cut snapdragons were evaluated for suitable colored mulch (red, white, or blue) and varieties for summer (`Opus Yellow', `Opus Rose', `Monaco Red', and `Potomac Early White') and fall (`Apollo Purple', `Apollo Yellow', `Monaco Red', `Monaco Rose', and `Potomac Early Orange') production. Results indicated that inflorescence length was affected by the color of mulch. The red mulch had increased inflorescence length compared to the white in Summer 2005. The Fall 2005 study revealed that white mulch had longer inflorescence length than the red or blue mulch. Some varietal differences were observed. The `Apollo Purple' had longer stem lengths than all other varieties for the fall study. The summer study revealed that `Opus Yellow' had longer inflorescence lengths than all others but stem lengths were all similar.

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Floyd M. Woods*, William A. Dozier Jr., Robert C. Ebel, David G. Himelrick, Cecilia Mosjidis, Raymond H. Thomas, Bryan S. Wilkins and James A. Pitts

The relationship between fruit maturation and accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2), lipid peroxidation, ethylene (C2 H4) production, antioxidant activity (hydrophilic, lipophilic and total) and the antioxidant enzyme ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC 1.11.1.11) in fruit pericarp tissue of `Chandler' (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) strawberry were measured. `Chandler' fruit pericarp maturation and ripening were accompanied by a decline in H2 O2 content early in fruit development followed by a rapid accumulation. An increase in membrane lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS) coincided with accumulation of H2 O2, which preceded a rise in C2 H4 production. In general, antioxidant activity declined as fruit matured and ripened. APX enzyme activity increased by 2-fold and peaked at the pink stage of development and then gradually declined with ripening. H2 O2 may serve as a signal molecule to initiate the cascade of oxidative processes during maturation and ripening. APX enzyme activity during maturation and ripening was not substantial and thus, may not have a role in alleviating accumulation of H2 O2 and subsequent events related to oxidative senescence in fruit pericarp. To our knowledge, this is the first study to present fractionated antioxidant activities (HAA, LAA and TAA) from strawberry pericarp as assessed by the ABTS∼+ radical cation assay. A fundamental understanding of the mechanisms involved in the senescent related-oxidative changes during strawberry fruit ontogeny in relation to quality and nutrition is discussed.

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Raymond H. Thomas, Floyd M. Woods*, William A. Dozier Jr., Robert C. Ebel, Monte Nesbitt, Brian S. Wilkins and David G. Himelrick

Blackberries are an excellent source of natural antioxidants. Fully ripened fruit of `Apache', `Arapaho', `Chester', `Loch Ness', `Navaho', and `Triple Crown' thornless blackberries were evaluated for their physicochemical and antioxidative activity. Differences in initial pH, titratable acidity (TA), total soluble solids (TSS), TSS/TA ratio and soluble sugars (reducing sugar, sucrose, and total sugars) differed among cultivars. Differences among cultivars with respect to reduced ascorbic acid (AA) were established, but there were no differences in either oxidized ascorbic acid (DHA) or total ascorbic acid (TAA) content. Antioxidant activity was determined by ABTS radical cation procedure for fractionated crude fruit extracts and the cultivars varied in the parameters evaluated. Hydrophilic antioxidant activity (HAA) was not different among cultivars evaluated. In contrast, lipophilic antioxidant activity (LAA) and total antioxidant activity (TAA) differed. The results obtained in this study indicate that Alabama-grown blackberries vary in their quality indices and are an excellent source of natural antioxidants. Information compiled will assist in marketing, handling, postharvest storage of these fruit and serve as a guide to partial fulfillment of recommended daily dietary requirements.