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N.S. Khoury, E.J. Holcomb, J.W. White and M. Rand

Recycled subirrigation systems are a possible solution to grower concerns over water use, ground water pollution, and regulations concerning these. The objectives of this experiment were to examine the differences between top- and subirrigated plants, with different fertilizer regimes and with mulches.

Six treatments of `Crimson Fire' and `Victoria' CVI geraniums were grown in 11 cm. pots. Treatments were: top irrigation, 100% N supplied with 20-10-20 soluble fertilizer; subirrigation, 100% N supplied with 20-10-20 soluble fertilizer; subirrigation, N supplied in equal portions of 20-10-20 soluble fertilizer and CRF, gel mulch; subirrigation, N supplied with CRF, gel mulch; subirrigation, N supplied in equal portions of 20-10-20 soluble fertilizer and CRF, wool mulch; subirrigation, all N supplied with CRF, wool mulch.

`Crimson Fire': fresh weight was not significantly different between top- and subirrigation; fresh weight at the same fertilizer level was not significantly different with either a gel or a rockwool mulch; all CRF resulted in the lowest fresh weights. `Victoria': top irrigated fresh weight was significantly higher compared to subirrigated. Gel mulched plants resulted in significantly lower fresh weights than wool mulched plants. All CRF resulted in the lowest fresh weights.

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Rajeev Arora, Dharmalingam S. Pitchay and Bradford C. Bearce

This study evaluated the effect of reversible water stress on heat stress tolerance (HST) in greenhouse-grown geraniums. Water stress was imposed by withholding irrigation until pots reached ≈30% (by weight) of well-watered (control) plant pots, and maintaining this weight for 7 days. Control plants were watered to just below field capacity, every other day. Leaf xylem water potential (LXWP, MPa), leaf-relative water content (LRWC,%), media water content (MWC, % fresh weight), and heat stress tolerance (HST, LT50) were determined for control and stressed plants. HST (LT50), defined as temperature causing half-maximal percent injury, was based on electrolyte leakage from leaf disks subjected to 25 to 60C. Control-watering was restored in stressed plants and above measurements made after 7 days of recovery. Data indicate: 1) LXWP, LRWC, and MWC in control and stressed plants were –0.378 and –0.804 MPa, 92.31% and 78.69% and 82.86% and 15.5%, respectively; 2) HST increased significantly in stressed as compared to control plants (LT50 of 55C vs. 51C); 3) control plants were near maximally injured by 53C treatment and sustained more than 3-fold greater injury than stressed plants at 53C. In recovered plants, LXWP and RWC reversed back to control levels, paralleled by loss of higher HST.

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Richard Craig, Richard A. Grazzini and R.O. Mumma

Resistance to mites and small insects in geranium results from the production of a viscous exudate on tall glandular trichomes present on the plant surface. This exudate exhibits sticky-trap properties immobilizing pests and reducing feeding and fecundity. The exudate is composed of long-chain 6-alkyl salicylic acids known as anacardic acids. The exudate of resistant plants contains 86% unsaturated anacardic acids. Susceptible genotypes possess fewer tall glandular trichomes and a trichome exudate which is dry and ineffective in trapping pests. The exudate from susceptible plants contains 70% saturated anacardic acids, thus explaining the physical state of the exudate. A single dominant locus controls the production of predominantly unsaturated versus saturated anacardic acids and thus resistance versus susceptibility. Other loci condition the ratio of C22:C24 unsaturated anacardic acids and the density of tall glandular trichomes. Current research involves the elucidation of the enzymatic pathway(s) involved in anacardic acid biosynthesis, identification of the regulatory enzymes and isolation of the mRNA transcripts associated with pertinent genes.

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Chi Won Lee, Chun Ho Pak and Jong Myung Choi

Micronutrient toxicity symptoms of seed geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum Bailey) `Ringo Scarlet' were experimentally induced by using 9 different concentrations of B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo and Zn in the fertilizer solution. Plants of 3-4 true leaf stage grown in peat-lite mix were constantly fed for 5 weeks with nutrient solutions containing 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mM of each micronutrient. The control solution contained 20 uM B, 0.5 uM Cu, 10 uM Fe, 10 uM Mn, 0.5 uM Mo and 4 uM Zn. Visible foliar toxicity symptoms developed when the nutrient solution contained 2, 0.5, 5, 1, 0.25, and 0.5 mM, respectively, of B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn. Reduction in dry matter yield was evident when 1 mM B, 2 mM Cu, 3 mM Fe, 2 mM Mn, 0.5 mM Mo, and 1 mM Zn were used in the fertilizer solution. Leaf chlorophyll contents decreased as Cu and Mn levels increased. Elevated levels of Fe increased tissue chlorophyll contents.

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Douglas A. Cox

Paclobutrazol (PBZ) was applied to `Mustang' geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum L.H. Bailey) as a single growth-medium drench at 0.06 mg a.i./pot or as a single foliar spray at 100 mg·liter-l when the plants had three to four expanded true leaves (34 days after sowing). At these rates, PBZ caused excessive growth suppression but plants flowered earlier than untreated controls. A single foliar spray of gibberellic acid (GA) at 100 mg·liter-l applied 0 (same day), 7, 14, or 21 days after PBZ reversed the growth suppression caused by PBZ. Plants treated with GA30 or 7 days after PBZ were as tall or taller and flowered at the same time as or later than the untreated (no PBZ, no GA3) controls. Plants treated with GA, 14 or 21 days after PBZ were shorter and flowered earlier than untreated controls but were taller than plants treated with PBZ alone. Response to GA3 was similar whether PBZ was applied as a drench or as a spray. Chemical name used: (+)-(R*,R*)-β([4-chlorophenyl]methyl)-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1 H -1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Chiwon W. Lee, Jong-Myung Choi and Chun-Ho Pak

Seed geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum) micronutrient toxicity symptoms were induced by applying elevated levels of B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn in fertilizer solution. Beginning at the 3-4 true leaf stage, seedling plants established in 11-cm (0.67-liter) pots containing peat-lite growing medium were fertilized at each irrigation for 5 weeks with solutions containing 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm plus the standard concentration of each micronutrient. The standard solution contained 20 μm B, 0.5 μm Cu, 10 μm Fe, 10 μm Mn, 0.5 μm Mo, and 4 μm Zn. All treatment solutions contained a fixed level of macronutrients. Visible foliar toxicity symptoms were produced when the nutrient solution contained 0.5 mm B, 0.5 mm Cu, 5 mm Fe, 1 mm Mn, 0.25 mm Mo, or 0.5 mm Zn. Reduction in dry matter yield was evident when 1 mm B, 2 mm Cu, 3 mm Fe, 2 mm Mn, 0.5 mm Mo, or 1 mm Zn was used in the fertilizer solution. Leaf chlorophyll contents decreased as Cu and Mn levels in the concentration range tested increased. Elevated levels of Fe increased tissue chlorophyll contents. The relationship between the nutrient solution and tissue concentrations of each of the six micronutrients was determined.

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Brian E. Whipker and P. Allen Hammer

Chemical plant growth retardant (PGR) treatments (mg·liter–1) were applied as foliar sprays to three zonal geranium cultivars: chlormequat at 1500, applied two, three, and four times, a combination of chlormequat at 750 and daminozide at 1250, applied one and two times, and paclobutrazol applied once at 5, 10, 20, and 30; twice at 5, 10, and 15; and three times at 5, plus an untreated control. Two paclobutrazol drench treatments at 0.1 and 0.25 mg a.i. per pot were also applied. The results of the PGR applications were significant at the cultivar × treatment interaction for leaf canopy height and plant diameter. Paclobutrazol rates of 10 to 15 mg·liter–1 resulted in acceptable height control for `Medallion Dark Red' and `Aurora'. `Pink Satisfaction' is a less vigorous cultivar and lower paclobutrazol rates of 5 to 10 mg·liter–1 were more suitable. When the total concentration of the single and multiple applications were compared, no additional height control was realized with the multiple applications of paclobutrazol.

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Terri Woods Starman and Shane Abbitt

Our objective was to distinguish between eight cultivars of two geranium species, Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bailey (cutting and seed geranium) and Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L'Hér. ex Ait. (ivy geranium), and evaluate their genetic relationships using the nucleic acid scanning techniques of DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF) and/or arbitrary signatures from amplification profiles (ASAP). Cultivars used in the study represented three commercial types: cutting, seed, and ivy geranium. Two seed geranium cultivars from each of the Dynamo and Orbit series were included. Cutting geranium cultivars were `Designer Lilac Chiffon' and `Starburst Red' and the ivy geraniums were `Bernardo Guiber' and `Vinco Guivin'. The ASAP amplification protocol used one of two arbitrary octamer primers, followed by reamplification with one of four different minihairpin primers. ASAP profiles were complex, with 66% of bands being polymorphic and useful in distinguishing between cultivars. Genetic relationships were evaluated by principal coordinate analysis and cluster analysis based on the Jaccard distance estimator. This analysis grouped cultivars by species according to commercial type, i.e., seed geraniums were in one large group, the cutting geraniums were grouped together, and the ivy geraniums were a separate branch.

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David G. Clark and Kathleen B. Evensen

Ethylene-regulated gene expression is being studied in several plant systems, but the exact mechanism of ethylene action during plant development and senescence is poorly understood. When geranium (Pelargonium Xhortorum) flowers are exposed to 1 μ1/L of ethylene gas for 1 hour, petals begin to abscise within 60-90 minutes from the start of treatment, The rapidity of the response implies that it must be very direct. We now demonstrate that ethylene acts at the level of message accumulation. We have constructed a cDNA library from mRNA isolated from ethylene-treated geranium gynoecia. Ethylene-induced clones have been isolated by differential screening of this library with cDNA probes synthesized from ethylene-treated and untreated geranium gynoecia mRNA. Identification and characterization of these clones will be discussed.

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C.L. Palmer, R.W. Langhans, R.K. Horst and H.W. Israel

Botrytis cinerea Pers. causes gray mold on greenhouse-grown geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum L. H. Bailey), among many other crops. Bicarbonates effectively control rose powdery mildew (Plant Dis. 76:247–480) and inhibit B. cinerea in vitro colony growth and conidial germination (Phytopathology 84:546, 1065). To examine bicarbonate effects on gray mold incidence and geranium growth, we sprayed seedling geranium cultivars Red Elite and Scarlet Elite weekly with 0, 25, and 50 mM NH4HCO3 or KHCO3. Seedlings were transplanted in Metromix 360 and misted every 24 m for 5 s to enhance disease development. Data were collected biweekly on disease incidence, floral number, plant height, and dry weight. Both cultivars performed similarly. Disease incidence decreased with application of bicarbonates. KHCO3 at 25 mM slightly increased dry weight and height over 0 mM, whereas 25 and 50 mM NH4HCO3 greatly increased both features. Fifty mM KHCO3 decreased height slightly, but had no effect on dry weight. Floral number decreased slightly with all bicarbonate treatments. It is indicated that KHCO3 at low levels and NH4HCO3 enhance seedling geranium growth by controlling gray mold incidence and by providing additional nutrients. (Supported by H&I Agritech Inc., Ithaca, NY 14850.)