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Yang Gao and Deying Li

Foliar application of fertilizers on turfgrass via overhead fertigation or spray can improve nutrient absorption efficiency and uniformity. Foliar fertilizers can also be combined with other chemical applications to save labor and energy. However, foliar application of nitrogen may result in root growth reduction. The objective of this study was to evaluate if a liquid organic amendment can be tank-mixed with liquid fertilizer to improve creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) performance. This greenhouse study was conducted on ‘Penncross’ creeping bentgrass grown in sand or 90 sand:10 peat (v/v) root zones. Three fertilizer packages (4N–0P–0.8K, 29N–0.9P–2.5K, and 20N–8.8P–16.6K) with or without the organic amendment, a liquid suspension derived from naturally mined humic materials, were tested in the study. Tank-mixing organic amendment resulted in better or same turfgrass visual quality and lower clipping yield compared with foliar fertilization alone. Tank-mixing organic amendment in liquid fertilizers resulted in an average increase of root/shoot biomass ratio from 0.62 to 0.65 grown in the sand-based root zones. The effect of organic amendment was shown in all liquid fertilizers tested except 20N–8.8P–16.6K. The results showed tank-mixing organic amendment with the right liquid fertilizer can reduce mowing frequency without reducing the turf quality. Field work is needed to test if the increased root/shoot biomass ratio by tank-mixing organic amendment with liquid fertilizer can contribute to drought tolerance in creeping bentgrass maintained at fairway height in sand-based root zones.

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Qingling Li, Yuesheng Yang and Hong Wu

Echinacea purpurea L. is one of the important ornamental and medicinal plant species. Ploidy manipulation is a valuable tool for improving plant quality or production in E. purpurea as well as in many other plants. To study the segregation of pure ploidy plantlets from colchicine-induced ploidy chimeras in E. purpurea, we used a chimera plantlet that consisted of 1.93% diploid, 35.04% tetraploid, and 63.03% octoploid cells as the source material for experiments. The results showed that three factors significantly influenced the segregation, i.e., the component ratios of different ploidy cells in the chimera, the number of sequential passages, and the methods of segregation culture of the chimera plantlets. Other factors, such as explant types (i.e., leaf, petiole, or root) and 6-benzyladenine (BA) concentrations (i.e., 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, and 1.2 mg·L−1) occasionally influenced the segregation. Pure chromosome-doubled polyploids are not easily obtained in various plant species, so segregation culture of ploidy chimeras may potentially be more effective. The morphological characteristic and content of cichoric acid were compared among diploid, tetraploid, and octoploid plants. Results indicated that tetraploid and octoploid plants had more stunted growth, larger stomata, lower stomata frequency, more chloroplast number in guard cells, and higher cichoric acid content than original diploid lines.

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Longyi Yuan, Yang Gao and Deying Li

Petroleum-based spills on turfgrass often occur during lawn care maintenance. Damage caused by diesel and hydraulic fluid is particularly difficult to correct. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of combining mulching with remediation for reseeding spilled areas in lawns. Diesel and hydraulic fluid were applied to plots at a rate of 15 L·m−2. Immediately after the spill treatments, two liquid humic amendments and an activated flowable charcoal were applied at a volume rate of 8 L·m−2, respectively, with tap water/dishwashing detergent used as a control. Nitrate nitrogen was added to each remediation treatment to facilitate remediation. The spilled areas were reseeded with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and then mulched with biochar, peat pellets, and paper pellets, respectively. At 6 weeks after seeding, humic amendment 1 and activated charcoal showed better turf quality than humic amendment 2. Peat pellet mulching presented better turf quality than other mulching methods. Reseeding perennial ryegrass and mulching with peat pellets after remediation with either humic amendment 1 or activated charcoal resulted in acceptable turf quality 6 weeks after diesel and hydraulic fluid spills. Therefore, this reestablishment method is recommended as a practical way to deal with diesel or hydraulic fluid spills in cool-season turfgrasses.

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Min-Li Liu, Ching-Hsiang Hsieh and Yun-Yang Chao

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June Liu, Zhimin Yang, Weiling Li, Jingjin Yu and Bingru Huang

Cold stress is a major factor limiting the growth of warm-season turfgrass species. Cold tolerance in warm-season turfgrass species could be improved through in vitro selection for somaclonal variations. The objectives of this study were to establish an effective in vitro culture protocol for generating plants from calli using mature seeds of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) and to determine whether in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variations would lead to improved cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The optimal concentrations of supplemental compounds in the culture medium for callus induction, embryogenic callus formation, and plant regeneration were determined. The supplemental compounds included 2,4–dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D), 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), kinetin (KT), naphthalene-1-acetic acid (NAA), CuSO4, and acidic hydrolysis casein (AHC). The highest rates of callus induction (97.50%), embryogenic callus formation (66.88%), and regeneration (55.94%) were obtained with the supplemental compounds of 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D and 10.0 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for callus induction; with 3.0 mg·L−1 2,4-D, 15 mg·L−1 CuSO4, and 1.0 g·L−1 AHC for embryogenic callus formation; and with 8.0 mg·L−1 6-BA, 0.2 mg·L−1 KT, 0.5 mg·L−1 NAA, and 10 mg·L−1 CuSO4 for plant regeneration. Embryogenic calli were subjected to 2 or 6 °C treatment for 90 days for in vitro cold selection of somaclonal variation. Plants regenerated from calli surviving cold treatment (cold-selected) for 45 or 60 days were then exposed to low temperatures [15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night)]. Plant variants derived from cold-selected calli exhibited significant improvement in their tolerance to low temperature of either 15/10 or 5/3 °C (day/night), as manifested by higher turf quality, leaf chlorophyll content, and membrane stability as well as lower levels of lipid peroxidation compared with the control plants. This study demonstrated the feasibility of in vitro selection for cold tolerance in seashore paspalum. The cold-tolerant variants could be useful germplasm for breeding programs and further molecular characterization of cold tolerance mechanisms.

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Zhao Xiang, Zhu Huisen, Gao Yang and Li Deying

Tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb) Dumort] has potential in cool arid regions, where it is often subject to salinity stress. The objective of this 2-year field study was to investigate the effect of nitrogen sources on tall fescue turf quality under salinity stress in the northern Great Plains of North America. ‘Wolfpack’, ‘Wolfpack II’, ‘Tar Heel’, ‘Tar Heel II’, ‘Jaguar 3’, ‘Jaguar 4G’, and ‘Arid 3’ were treated with NaCl and CaCl2 in equal amounts. Six N sources were used for fertilization: nitrate-N, urea-N, ammonium-N, urea-N/ammonium-N/nitrate-N, urea-N with urase and nitrification inhibitor, and organic N. Salt treatment reduced turf quality of all cultivars. Turf quality was affected differently by N source. Regardless of salt treatments, urea stabilized with a urease inhibitor and a nitrification inhibitor consistently had the best turf quality. Equal amounts of nitrate, ammonium, and urea-N yielded the lowest turf quality. However, there was no interaction between N source and salt treatment. These results were also supported by green density (GD), dark-green color index (DGCI), shoot chlorophyll (Chl) content, and leaf relative water content (RWC). Tall fescue cultivars responded to salinity treatment differently, with ‘Wolfpack II’ being the cultivar ranked consistently at the top and maintained above the acceptable level of visual quality.

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Longyi Yuan, Deying Li, Yang Gao and Wenjing Xiao

Deicing salts often are applied to sidewalks and roadways to enhance pedestrian and driving safety during freezing weather. For example, in eastern North Dakota, average annual snow days and amount are 29 days and 40 inches, respectively. This study was conducted in Fargo, ND, to investigate the population dynamics of turfgrass mixtures composed of kentucky bluegrass [KB (Poa pratensis)], creeping red fescue [RF (Festuca rubra)], and alkaligrass [ALK (Puccinellia sp.)] with the goal of optimizing turf quality by selecting seed ratios containing these species in home lawn mixtures and subject to frequent applications of deicing salts. A total of 21 mixtures were generated based on simplex-lattice design with KB, ALK, and RF contributing to 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of their respective full-seeding rate of 150, 150, and 300 lb/acre, respectively, after pure live seed (PLS) adjustment. The mixtures were tested at annual deicing salt rates of 0, 160, 320 lb/acre, which represent typical application. The results showed that the botanical component of the stands of grasses shifted over a 2-year period for all salt levels. Despite the good salinity tolerance of ALK reported elsewhere, it did not contribute to the improvement of turf quality in mixtures receiving deicing salts at 320 lb/acre per year. Therefore, ALK is not recommended for lawn, but mixing KB and RF in 48% and 52% of their respective full-seeding rates was recommended for areas adjacent to deicing salt applications.

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Kun Li, Qi-Chang Yang, Yu-Xin Tong and Ruifeng Cheng

In this study, the effects of light-emitting diode (LED) panels with different illumination schedules and mounted above butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) seedlings on lettuce growth and photosynthesis were examined, and the performance of the vertical and horizontal movable system on energy savings was evaluated. The illumination schedules used were fixed LED [F-LED (four LED panels illuminated the area below)] and movable LED [M-LED (two LED panels moved left and right once per day to illuminate the same area as F-LED)] at distances of 10 and 30 cm above the seedlings. The plant yields were uniform in all LED treatments. The highest light utilization efficiencies and lowest electricity consumption were found for the treatments with irradiation from a shorter distance above the seedlings. The true leaf numbers and ascorbic acid concentrations were the highest in the M-LED and F-LED treatments at a distance above the seedlings of 10 cm, while the leaf lengths and sucrose concentrations in these groups were significantly lower than those in the 30-cm treatment. These results indicate that illumination with M-LED can halve the initial light source input while maintaining yield and that sustained illumination from a shorter distance above the seedlings is the main factor in electricity savings.

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Yujie Yang, Donglin Zhang, Zhihui Li, Xiaoling Jin and Jinying Dong

To shorten Ilex seed germination time and speed up breeding cycles, immature embryos of Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ seedlings were removed from fruits at their heart-shape stage and cultured in vitro on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium or Woody Plant Medium (WPM) with 3% sucrose and 0.65% agar. Cultures were incubated at 27 °C for 2 weeks in darkness and subsequently moved to a growth chamber with 14-hour photoperiod (115 μmol⋅m−2⋅s–1). Embryos began to germinate 2–3 weeks after culture. The highest germination rate was 91.67% under 1/4 MS medium. Embryos cultured on MS medium also had high germination rates and produced the longest seedlings to 8.02 mm. Nodal segments with one axillary bud taken from embryo germination seedlings were cultured on MS medium with various concentrations of cytokinins and auxins for micropropagation. Zeatin (ZT; 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-trans-2-butenylaminopurine) increased the number of shoots and shoot lengths significantly more than 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). The recommended ZT concentration should be 2.28 µM. Rooting induction could be established on 1/4 MS medium with various concentrations of indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) or 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). IBA at 4.14 µM produced the best rooting percentage (91.67%) and good-root quality. All rooted plantlets were transplanted into a mixture of peatmoss and perlite (1:1 v/v) and acclimatized in a mist system. The average survival rate was 88.8%. The rapid embryo germination protocol for Ilex crenata could save Ilex breeders at least 2 years compared with traditional seed germination.

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Yee Kwan Chan, Yung Hua Yang and Ning Li

Lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) fruit were harvested at green, pink, and red developmental stages. The fruit of each group were used to determine developmentally and environmentally (chilling) regulated ethylene production. The rate of ethylene production in the fruit was green > pink > red. Storage at either 4 or 10 °C increased C2H4 production as much as 8.6-fold compared with control fruit stored at 25 °C. The green fruit were most responsive to chilling in terms of ethylene production.