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William R. Grave

Differences in native habitat and leaf morphological traits have prompted speculation that black maple (Acer nigrum Michx.f.) is more drought resistant than sugar maple (A. saccharum Marsh.). In this study, growth of potted seedlings of the two species irrigated at 10-, 26-, or 42-day intervals was compared. For plants irrigated most frequently, dry mass, shoot: root ratio, stem length, and surface area of lamina were greater for sugar maple than black maple. The impact of drought was more pronounced in sugar maple than in black maple, causing reductions in stem length of ≈ 60% in sugar maple and ≈ 30% in black maple. Specific mass of lamina tended to be greater for black maple than sugar maple, particularly after drought, and it increased over time in both species. The slower growth, lower shoot: root ratio, and greater specific mass of lamina of black maple indicate. it is more drought resistant than sugar maple.

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William R. Graves

Growth, dry-matter partitioning, and specific mass of lamina of black maple (Acer nigrum Michx.f.) and sugar maple (A. saccharum Marsh.) irrigated at 10-, 26-, and 42-day intervals were compared. Total dry mass, stem length, and surface area of lamina were greater for sugar maple than for black maple for plants irrigated every 10 days. Reducing irrigation frequency curtailed growth of both species, but the reduction was greater for sugar maple than for black maple. The shoot: root ratio was lower for black maple than for sugar maple and was reduced by drought in both species, particularly among plants irrigated every 26 days. Specific mass of lamina increased as plants aged, was greater for black maple than for sugar maple, and decreased in response to irrigation at 42-day intervals. The slower growth, lower shoot: root ratio, and greater specific mass of lamina of black maple indicate this species has a greater capacity to withstand drought than sugar maple.

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William R. Graves

Root hydraulic conductance is often expressed on the basis of dry weight or surface area of leaves or roots of plants produced in solution or aggregate culture. In this study, biomass partitioning and its influence on the interpretation of root hydraulic conductance data were compared in 21- to 63-day-old Gleditsia triacanthos inermis Willd. (honey locust) seedlings grown in solution and sand cultures. The ratio of lamina to root dry weight decreased as seedlings aged but was always greater for solution-grown plants than for sand-grown plants. Expressed on the basis of root dry weight, steady-state water fluxes at applied pressures ≥ 0.28 MPa and hydraulic conductivity coefficients declined with root system age, with a sharp decrease among solution-grown plants between ages 21 and 35 days. Such a difference was not detected using data expressed on lamina surface area or dry weight, illustrating that caution must be exercised when reporting and comparing the conductance of roots cultured in different media.

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Jyotsna Sharma and William R. Graves

Attributes of Leitneria floridana Chapman have been recognized, but this North American shrub remains rare in commerce, and little information on propagation is available. We studied germination of seeds collected from several disjunct populations of L. floridana in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, ≤5% germination occurred when ripe drupes from Missouri and Florida were sown soon after collection. Effects of GA3 (750 mg·L-1 for 24 hours) were assessed on stored drupes leached with water and on seeds excised from stored drupes. Germination percentages were 21 and 32 for leached drupes and excised seeds from Florida, respectively, but ≤5% germination occurred among germplasm from Missouri and among untreated drupes from both provenances. Viability of ungerminated seeds among treatments ranged from 0% to 7%. In 2003, fleshy, apparently unripe drupes from Texas, which were scarified with H2SO4 and then treated with 1000 mg·L-1 GA3 showed 48% germination (germination value = 3.9). Up to 29% germination (germination value = 2.7) occurred when seeds were excised from unripe drupes from Arkansas and Missouri and then were treated for 24 hours with 750 or 1000 mg·L-1 GA3. We conclude that provenance, developmental stage of drupes when collected, storage, and pregermination treatments influence viability and germination of seeds of L. floridana. Barriers to germination may be avoided by collecting drupes when they are green and fleshy.

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Hongyi Zhang and William R. Graves

A subirrigation method for rooting stem cuttings was compared to intermittent mist. Both methods resulted in 100% rooting of `Charm' chrysanthemum [Dendranthema × grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] and coleus (Coleus × hybridus Voss.) after 2 weeks. Subirrigated cuttings of `Charm' chrysanthemum had a lower mean root dry mass than misted cuttings, but root dry mass of coleus was not affected. Percentage rooting and mean root dry mass of subirrigated cuttings of `Franksred' red maple (Acer rubrum L.) were 95% and 321 mg, whereas the mean root dry mass of the 33% of cuttings that rooted under mist was 38 mg. For Japanese tree lilac [Syringa reticulata (Blume) Hara], the percentage of cuttings with living callus, mean callus diameter, and percentage rooting were higher for subirrigated cuttings than for misted cuttings. In a second study, cuttings of `Franksred' red maple were subirrigated with a solution containing 0 to 7.2 mol N/m3 and not misted. Cuttings given 3.6 or 7.2 mol N/m3 had > 90% rooting after 2 weeks, whereas only 8% of unfertilized cuttings had rooted, and root mass and chlorophyll content were highest for cuttings given 7.2 mol N/m3. Subirrigation can replace mist during propagation of some florist and nursery crops, and subirrigating with fertilizer solution improves rooting of `Franksred' red maple.

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William R. Graves and Hongyi Zhang

Air temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) effects on relative water content (RWC), rooting percentage, root count, and root mass of unmisted, subirrigated stem cuttings of two taxa were determined. Leaf RWC of `Charm' chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] decreased until roots initiated and then increased, was lower for cuttings at 23 °C photoperiod/14 °C dark than for cuttings at 31 °C photoperiod/22 °C dark, and was lower at 193 than at 69 μmol·m–2·s–1 PAR. Neither temperature nor PAR affected leaf RWC of `Dollar Princess' fuchsia (Fuchsia ×hybrida Hort. ex Vilm.), which increased linearly before and after root initiation. Rooting percentage and root count were higher with photoperiods at 31 °C than at 23 °C for chrysanthemum after 7 days and for fuchsia after 10 days. Although all cuttings of both taxa had rooted after 14 days, root dry mass was higher with photoperiods at 31 °C than at 23 °C regardless of PAR for fuchsia and at 69 μmol·m–2·s–1 PAR for chrysanthemum. Propagators wishing to use subirrigation instead of mist, fog, or enclosure can minimize the decline in leaf RWC before root initiation and increase the number and dry mass of roots of chrysanthemum by using 69 μmol·m–2·s–1 PAR and a 31 °C photoperiod/22 °C dark cycle. Root dry mass of fuchsia also can be increased by the use of high temperature, but differences in rooting were independent of changes in leaf RWC.

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Hongvi Zhang and William R. Graves

Use of subirrigation to root stem cuttings was compared to using mist, and effects of fertilization during subirrigation were determined. All cuttings of Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura `Charm' and Coleus ×hybridus Voss. rooted, but misted D. ×grandiflorum `Charm' had a higher mean root mass than subirrigated cuttings. Percentage rooting and mean root mass of subirrigated Acer rubrum L. `Franksred' were 95% and 321 mg, whereas mean root mass of the 21% of cuttings that rooted with mist was 38 mg. Percentage cuttings with callus, mean callus diameter, rooting percentage, and mean root mass of Syringa retuculata (Blume) Hara were 77%, 124 mm, 21%, and 52 mg with subirrigation and 45%, 63 mm, 0%, and 0 mm with mist. Subirrigation with <7 mol N/m3 improved rooting of Impatiens hawkeri Bull. `Celebration Bright Scarlet' and A. rubrum `Franksred'. Subirrigation can replace mist, and effects of fertilizer in subirrigation solution vary among taxa.

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Hongyi Zhang and William R. Graves

A rapid, easy, and economical way to root softwood cuttings of red maple (Acer rubrum L. and A. × freemanii E. Murray) has been developed. Single-node cuttings were treated with 8 g IBA/kg and inserted in flats of perlite. Flats were placed in larger trays without drainage holes. Cuttings were subirrigated by adding a complete solution with 100 mg N/L to trays, saturating perlite at the bottom of the flat, below the cuttings. After 3 weeks, 94, 98, 100, and 100% of cuttings of `Indian Summer', `Autumn Flame', `Red Sunset', and `Autumn Blaze' had rooted, respectively. Leaves on cuttings remained turgid without mist or fog. In a subsequent study of `Red Sunset', 0, 50, and 100 mg N/L in the subirrigation solution resulted in 37, 100, and 100% rooting with 8 g IBA/kg and 0, 43, and 67% rooting without IBA. Rooting was fastest and chlorophyll in leaves was highest with both IBA and nutrients. Subirrigation can replace mist or fog when rooting cuttings of red maple.

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Jyotsna Sharma* and William R. Graves

Rhamnus alnifolia and Rhamnus lanceolata are shrubs of modest size with lustrous foliage. We evaluated seed germination of both species and propagated R. alnifolia by using softwood cuttings collected in early June. For R. alnifolia, cold stratification for up to 90 d resulted in 48% germination and a germination value of 1.9, whereas only 7% germination occurred among seeds stratified for 120 d. Seeds of R. alnifolia did not germinate if they were untreated or if scarified and stratified. Rhamnus lanceolata required 120 d of stratification to germinate, but percentages were low (≤ 5). Survival of germinants of both species was 90 to 100% regardless of prior seed treatment. Seedlings grew uniformly and had a mean leaf count of 11 and a mean height of 20 cm after 102 d. Application of 3000 and 8000 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) in talc led to 85% rooting of R. alnifolia, whereas rooting was ≤ 15% after use of solutions with those IBA concentrations. While 75% of untreated cuttings rooted, fewer roots formed without IBA. More roots developed in 100% vermiculite than in 1 vermiculite: 1 perlite (by volume), which also diminished the number and apparent health of leaves on cuttings during the rooting period. We conclude that talc-based IBA and vermiculite should be used to root softwood cuttings of R. alnifolia, and that both species can be propagated from stratified seeds. Rhamnus lanceolata is more recalcitrant than is R. alnifolia and merits further study to optimize germination success.

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Jyotsna Sharma* and William R. Graves

Tolerance of shade, flooding, drought, and nutrient-poor substrate is desirable among ornamental plants installed in managed landscapes. Many attractive native taxa have not been evaluated for their resistance to environmental stressors. We assessed Florida corkwood (Leitneria floridana Chapman) in its natural habitat in four disjunct populations in the United States and tested the physical and chemical properties of the soil at the study sites. Measures at all sites were made within two weeks in late June, 2003. Leaf area, plant height, length of new shoots, and the rate of photosynthesis were higher among plants receiving more than 600 μmol·m-2·s-1 of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) compared to plants that occurred where maximum PAR was lower. Soil texture ranged from clay loam to fine sand, and soil pH across sites was 4.5 to 6.6. Concentration of nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ranged from 3 to 75 mg·L-1, 7 to 11 mg·L-1, and 3 to 64 mg·L-1, respectively. Bases of plants in Florida were submersed in water, while soil moisture percentages in Missouri and Texas were 6 to 30. The apparent tolerance of L. floridana to shade, low and high soil moisture, and nutrient-poor soil in native habitats indicates that it could be used in a wide range of managed landscapes. Its capacity to adapt to shade may permit the use of L. floridana as an understory species in managed landscapes, but stewards of natural areas may need to maintain open sites within its native habitat to allow expansion of populations. Because this assessment of L. floridana included native populations across the natural range of the species, our results are uniquely suited for both horticultural and ecological interpretation and application.