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Brian K. Maynard and William A. Johnson

Cupric hydroxide formulated as Spin Out™ [7% Cu(OH)2 in a latex carrier] was used to prevent the rooting-out of Taxus × media Rehd. `Densiformis' root balls into surrounding mulch or soil during storage over a 4-month period. Treatments evaluated in one study included: painting the bottom of the root ball with copper-paint, setting the root ball on copper-treated burlap or ordinary copper-treated burlap; rewrapping the root ball with copper-treated burlap before mulching or burlapping with copper-treated burlap, with appropriate controls. All treatments provided good control of rooting-out after 12 to 16 weeks storage. The most effective treatments were setting the root ball on copper-treated burlap (unmulched; 92% reduction in root count after 16 weeks) and rewrapping or burlapping into copper-treated burlap (mulched; 90% and 86% reduction in root count after 16 weeks). A second study used TexR® Agroliner (Spin Out™-treated non-woven fabric), on which root balls were set (unmulched treatments), rewrapped or burlapped (mulched treatments). TexR® Agroliner stopped rooting-out completely without adversely affecting plant quality. Using copper-treated burlap to prevent rooting-out during storage can reduce the incidence of re-balling and root removal prior to shipping and planting B&B nursery stock.

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Thomas C. Holt, Brian K. Maynard, and William A. Johnson

We assessed the capacity for nutrient removal of ornamental water garden plants being grown in treatment-production wetland biofilters. Plant biomass, nutrient uptake, tissue nutrient content, and production potential were compared for five popular ornamental water garden plant species: Typha latifolia L., Iris pseudacorus L., Phalaris arundinacea L. `Picta', Canna glauca L., and Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott. Plants were grown in triplicate 0.3 m2 × 0.3 m, deep gravelbed mesocosms fed with 20N-20P-20K Peter's fertilizer (Scotts-Sierra Horticultural Products Co., Marysville, Ohio) reconstituted to 100 ppm N. After 120 days, mean species total biomass ranged from 1.4 to 5.6 kg·m -2, while producing 105 to 206 divisions per square meter. Growth for Canna and Colocasia was greatest, while Typha produced the most divisions. Mean tissue N and P concentrations ranged from 18 to 29 and 2.1 to 3.0 mg·g -1, respectively. Maximum plant accumulation of 144 g N/m 2 and 15.6 g P/m2 accounted for 70% of the N and 15% of the P supplied by fertilizer. Mean removal of total N and P ranged from 42% to 90% and 18% to 58%, respectively, and was positively correlated with plant biomass. Nutrient removal ability was ranked as Canna = Colocasia > Typha > Iris = Phalaris.

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Thomas Holt, Brian K. Maynard, and William A. Johnson

Subirrigation is a viable alternative to mist for the cutting propagation of many woody and herbaceous plants. However, poor success has been reported with rhododendron cuttings. This study evaluated the rooting of two Rhododendron cultivars in a subirrigation system maintained at two different levels of substrate pH. Stem cuttings of Rhododendron `PJM' and R. `Catawbiense album' were wounded, treated with Dip `n Grow (1:10 dilution), and rooted in subirrigated perlite subirrigated with tap water (pH 7.5), or tap water adjusted to pH 4.5 with weak sulfuric acid (1N H2SO4). Percent rooting and root ball displacement were recorded after 7 weeks. The pH of the subirrigation system dramatically affected root initiation and development. At pH 4.5 `PJM' cuttings rooted 100% with an average displacement of 7.6 ml; cuttings of `Catawbiense Album' rooted 88% with an average displacement of 12.1 ml. At pH 7.5, `PJM' cuttings rooted 52.5%, with an average displacement of 0.8 ml, while `Catawbiense album' rooted 73% with an average displacement of 2.5 ml. A root ball displacement of ≥3 ml was judged to be commercially acceptable for rooted cuttings of `PJM' rhododendron, ≥4.5 ml for `Catawbiense album'. At pH 7.5 only 15% of the `Catawbiense album' cuttings and none of the `PJM' cuttings produced commercially acceptable rooted cuttings. At pH 4.5, 83% of the `Catawbiense album' cuttings and 93% of the `PJM' cuttings were commercially acceptable. Subirrigation is a suitable method of irrigating rhododendron cuttings during rooting if a low substrate pH is maintained.

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Thomas C. Holt, Brian K. Maynard, and William A. Johnson

Degraded water quality is a growing concern across the northeast and in many cases may be linked back to agricultural operations as nonpoint sources of nitrate and phosphorous pollution. Constructed wetlands have emerged as effective, low-cost methods of water treatment that have the potential to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution and contribute to agricultural sustainability. However, the costs of implementing treatment wetlands as a BMP are high, with little opportunity for cost recovery. We have initiated, at a wholesale plant nursery in Rhode Island, an economical solution to treating nursery runoff that incorporates into a treatment wetland the wholesale production of native and ornamental wetland plants. Our goal is to demonstrate how nursery growers may produce a high-demand crop while addressing nonpoint source pollution on their land. Over the next few years, we will evaluate the economic impact of converting nursery production space into treatment wetland production space. We also will research the feasibility of enclosing treatment wetlands in passively heated polyhouses to facilitate the year around treatment of agricultural runoff. Information gathered from both the on-farm demonstration and research sites will be extended to farmers and other agricultural businesses or professionals through outreach programming. The theory, objectives, and construction of the demonstration treatment-production wetland will be presented.

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William C. Johnson, William C. Johnson, Martin Goffinet, Mary J. Welser, Terence L. Robinson, H. Todd Holleran, Karl J. Niklas, and Steve A. Hoying

An increased incidence of graft union failure of apple trees during high wind events has been noted by researchers participating in the NC-140 regional rootstock testing project for certain rootstock-scion combinations. By measuring the strength of graft unions in a survey of mature apple trees in multiple stock-scion combinations, we have determined that there are significant differences. These differences may be attributable to genotype specific characteristics of rootstocks, scions, and/or rootstock-scion interactions. We are presently exploring potential biophysical and anatomical differences related to weak graft unions of apple rootstock and scion varieties. As traits correlated with weak graft unions are identified, they will be useful to help growers avoid the rootstock-scion combinations that are particularly susceptible to tree failure.

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Wayne J. Bourgeois, Charles E. Johnson, William A. Young, and Alvin J. Adams

The peach breeding program in Louisiana was initiated in the late 1940's to develop adapted cultivars for Louisiana. The objectives of the program have been to develop large fruited disease resistant fresh market cultivars for all areas of Louisiana. The state is divided into three climatic zones in reference to the breeding program (north, south, and coastal). Cultivars have been developed that are adapted specifically for each zone. A few cultivars produce marketable fruit in all three zones. The annual chill units vary from 350 to 1000+ over the three zones. Seventeen cultivars have been released since 1969 and these are used throughout the southeast U.S. in production areas. A primary breeding objective is to develop a sequence of cultivars to service the market from late April through September. Also equally important is development of genetic disease resistance to bacterial spot, Xanthamonas campestris pv pruni.