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D.A.J. McArthur and N.R. Knowles

The growth response of potato to infection by vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (VAM) (Glomus dimorphicum, G. intraradices, and G. mosseae), at increasing levels of soil phosphorus (P), was related to VAM-altered mineral status of the plant. In addition, the morphological development of the VAM was characterized using light and scanning electron microscopy.

Four weeks after inoculation, arbuscules and coiled hyphae were the predominate fungal structures within the roots, however, vesicle development increased steadily over the remainder of the 12 week growth period. As expected, the percent infection of roots by VAM decreased with increasing soil-P level. Leaf area, relative growth rate (RGR), lateral branching and root dry weight were increased by VAM, although the relative-response diminished with increasing soil-P level. A similar response to VAM-infection was evident for the concentration of and total shoot N, P and K. Examination of the shoot N status indicated that VAM influenced the rates at which the plant was partitioning N into various N pools. But again, differences between non-VAM and VAM plants tended to decrease with increasing soil-P level. These results indicate that VAM modification of dry matter accumulation and nutrient uptake is mostly a consequence of the alleviation of P-deficiency of the plant and the improved growth of roots, allowing increased mineral absorption.

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E.W. Pavel and T.M. DeJong

Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] fruit thinning was used to reduce the competition for assimilates among peach fruits and to identify periods of source- and sink-limited growth during development. Individual fruit size, based on diameter or calculated dry matter accumulation, increased in trees with lower crop loads compared to fruits of unthinned trees in three peach cultivars. Relative growth rate analysis indicated that peach fruit growth was apparently limited by the assimilate supply (source-limited) or by its genetic growth potential (sink-limited) during specific growth periods. In stage I and at the beginning of stage III of the double-sigmoid growth curve, periods of source-limited growth occurred in the later-maturing cultivars Flamecrest and Cal Red. Peach fruit growth was apparently sink-limited during stage II of the growth curve when fruit relative growth rates were similar for the thinning treatments. Fruit growth in `Spring Lady', an early maturing cultivar, appeared to be primarily source-limited during the season. Although total fruit dry matter production was reduced by thinning, individual fruit dry weight on thinned trees was higher than that on trees with a heavy crop load. This typical thinning response was apparently caused by the differences in the amount of time that fruits grew under sink-vs. source-limited conditions with different crop loads. Final crop yield depended on fruit count per tree and on the available assimilate supply, and was affected by the individual fruit growth potential.

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Junne-Jih Chen and Yu-Ju Liao

The effect of N source on `Kennebec' potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tuberization was investigated using single-node segments originated from in vitro virus-free plantlets and inoculated on media with two nitrate: ammonia ratios (low, 2:1; high, 5:1). Cell count and size and sugar-use characteristics were measured at intervals of tuber development. Tubers grown on high nitrate-ammonia medium exhibited higher rates of sucrose use and higher dry-matter accumulation than tubers grown on low nitrate-ammonia medium. The median value of tuber fresh weight increased from 0.66 to 1.23 g as a result of increasing nitrate-ammonia. Significant differences in cell size and growth rate were observed between the two N treatments. There was also a high correlation between tuber cell size and dry matter (r = 0.82, P ≤ 0.05). These data demonstrate the importance of the nitrate: ammonium ratio in determining C use, tuber cell size, and tuber weight. Chemical names used: α-naphtylacetic acid (NAA); 6-benzylaminopurine (BA).

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Junne-Jih Chen, Ming-Chung Liu and Yang-Hsiu Ho

Tuber production of calla lily (Zantedeschia elliottiana Spreng cv. Super Gold) was investigated using three size ranges (7-10, 4-7, and <4 mm shoot diameter) of in vitro plantlets acclimated in either pots or soil beds in a protected house. The shoots and tubers of large plantlets exhibited higher rates of dry-matter accumulation than did those of small plantlets. The diameter of tubers harvested from pots ranged from 0.67 to 4.1 cm with median values of 2.7, 2.1, and 1.9 cm for the plants derived from large, medium, and small plantlets, respectively. Plants grown in soil beds, regardless of size, produced larger tubers than did those grown in pots. Tubers >3 cm in diameter developed on 25% and 52% of plants grown in pots and soil beds, respectively. Our results suggest that improved calla lily production could be realized by using larger in vitro plantlets as the source material and growing them in soil beds in a protected house.

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Gina E. Fernandez, Laura M. Butler and Frank J. Louws

The growth and development of three strawberry cultivars commonly grown in a plasticulture system were documented. Strawberry plants were harvested monthly and divided by roots, crown, leaves, flowers, and fruit and then dried in an oven. The dry matter production and resource allocation proceeded along a predictable pattern of development. The establishment phase was characterized by an active period of growth of root, crown and leaves in the fall. Through the winter, the plants underwent slow growth, ending in a transition period in the late winter/early spring when resources were allocated to both vegetative and reproductive growth. In the spring, all plant parts received significantly increased allocation of, or redistribution of, resources. Cultivars of California origin, `Chandler' and `Camarosa', displayed similar trends in yield, dry matter production, seasonal resource allocation, and growth analysis variables throughout the season. `Sweet Charlie', a cultivar from Florida, showed lower dry matter accumulation and relative growth rate in the spring, higher harvest index and lower yield than the California cultivars.

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G.A. Picchioni, C.J. Graham and A.L. Ulery

Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal is an underused tree species with demonstrated potential as a new fruit crop and landscape ornamental plant. Best management practices for A. triloba are not adequately defined, particularly for field establishment in high-Na conditions characteristic of numerous southern U.S. production areas. We evaluated the growth and net macroelement uptake of field-grown A. triloba seedlings on soil amended with a single addition of gypsum at 0, 7.5, or 15.0 t·ha-1 and later receiving a regular supply of Na-affected but nonsaline irrigation water [sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) of 15.5 and electrical conductivity (EC) at 0.4 dS·m-1]. Over two growing seasons, the soil saturation extract Ca concentration increased while the soil saturation extract SAR decreased with increasing gypsum rate. Amending the soil with gypsum increased total lateral branch extension per tree by 60% to 73% and trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) per tree by 68% to 87% above a non-gypsum-amended control treatment. Total dry matter accumulation and the net uptake of N, P, and K per tree were over 100% greater following gypsum application as compared to controls. The growth and mineral uptake-enhancing effects of gypsum were likely related to functions of Ca at the root level and on soil physical properties that should be considered in establishing young A. triloba trees with irrigation water containing high sodicity but relatively low total salinity.

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Sheryl K. Lonsbary, John O'Sullivan and Clarence J. Swanton

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is grown using intensive tillage practices, which increase the cost of production and may lead to an increase in soil and water erosion. Research on alternative tillage practices for cucumber production has been limited primarily to exploring the benefits of no tillage. Alternative tillage practices, such as disking (one pass with a tandem disk) and zone tillage (one pass with a Trans-till) have not been investigated. Thus, the objective of this study was to compare the influence of reduced tillage practices on the growth, development, and yield of cucumbers. Seedling emergence varied between years, but was unaffected by a reduction in tillage, while cucumber leaf number, leaf area index, and vine growth were reduced by no tillage (P ≤ 0.05). Total dry matter accumulation and days to 50% open flower varied with tillage. No-tillage plots produced an average of 34 g·m-2 of dry matter compared to 47 g·m-2 for conventional tillage plots and took 1 day longer to reach 50% flower. Although growth differences were observed under all reduced tillage treatments, no reduction in total yield was observed when compared with conventional tillage yields. Alternative reduced tillage practices, such as disking or zone tillage, were found to be viable options for successful cucumber production. These alternative practices will reduce the cost of production, provide growers with greater time flexibility and ease of land preparation, and reduce the potential for water and wind erosion.

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Kaitlyn M. McBride, Richard J. Henny, Terri A. Mellich and Jianjun Chen

Adenium obesum (Forssk.), Roem. & Schult. has been increasingly produced as a flowering potted plant; however, there is no information regarding its tissue mineral composition. This study evaluated plant performance of A. obesum ‘Red’ grown in two container sizes and under four rates of a controlled-release fertilizer. Nutrient concentrations in flowers, leaves, stems, and roots were analyzed. Results showed that canopy height and width, stem caliper, top and root dry weights, and average flower count of A. obesum ‘Red’ increased linearly with the increased rate of fertilizer regardless of pot size. Tissue analysis indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations were lower in all organs compared with those reported for other ornamental potted plants such as Bouvardia Salisb., Euphorbia L., Rhododendron L., and Rosa L. The lower levels of tissue N and P accompanied with higher dry matter accumulation suggest that A. obesum ‘Red’ is efficient in use of N and P. The low tissue K levels were largely attributed to sodium (Na) substitution for K. Leaf K and Na concentrations were almost equal except at the highest fertilizer treatment in 1.25-L pots and the last two higher treatments in 3.0-L pots. The levels of other mineral elements were comparable to those of other reported ornamental potted plants. To produce high-quality plants in 1.25-L pots, Adenium ‘Red’ should be fertilized with 1.08 g N per liter of potting mix. For plants grown in 3.0-L pots, N rates of 0.36 g or 0.72 g per liter of potting mix would be recommended with a preference for 0.36 g.

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J. Ryan Stewart* and William R. Graves

Some buckthorn species from other continents have proven invasive in North American landscapes. Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana Walt.) is an attractive, native species that would merit increased use in horticultural landscapes if concerns about its potential invasiveness are allayed. Invasiveness often is associated with efficient use of water and other resources. We tested for differences between Carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) in photosynthesis, aboveground dry matter accumulation, and water-use efficiency. Seedlings were grown in columns of field soil within insulated pots outdoors for 98 days. Net photosynthesis of Carolina buckthorn was 17% to 39% greater than that of common buckthorn through day 22. This difference between species was reversed through the end of the treatment period with a concomitant increase in leaf temperature of Carolina buckthorn. Final dry weight of aboveground tissues was similar for the two species, but a greater proportion of dry matter was partitioned to stems for common buckthorn compared to Carolina buckthorn. Although common buckthorn initially had higher water-use efficiency (110 mg·g-1 per day) than did Carolina buckthorn (60 mg·g-1 per day), the water-use efficiency of both species decreased to similar values for the remainder of the treatment period. We conclude that young plants of common buckthorn do not use water more efficiently than do young Carolina buckthorn under field conditions in central Iowa. Considering the possible species differences in the relationship between temperature and photosynthesis, comparative water-use efficiency should be tested further in other environments where Carolina buckthorn might be used for landscaping.

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S. Serce and J.F. Hancock

A common complaint with day-neutral strawberries is that they perform poorly in mid-summer heat. Since most modern day-neutral cultivars are derived from the same Fragaria virginiana ssp. glauca clone from Utah, we felt it prudent to search for alternate sources of day-neutrality that were more heat-tolerant. We compared the sexual and vegetative performance of nine F. virginiana clones from a wide range of environments including the Utah site, and four F. × ananassa day-neutral types (`Aromas', `Fort Laramie', `Ogallala', and `Tribute') under constant temperatures of 18, 22, 26, and 30 °C and 12-h days. `Aromas' and `Tribute' carry the Utah source of day-neutrality, while `Fort Laramie' and `Ogallala' are old cultivars that have a different, complex background. After a 4-week period of acclimation, we counted the number of crowns, inflorescences, flowers, stolons, and daughter plants that emerged over a 10-week period, and measured the dry weights of component parts. ANOVA tables revealed that temperature regime (T), genotypes (G), and T*G were significant for flower number (FLN) and total dry matter accumulation, while species and T*G were significant for daughter plant number (DPN). Mean FLNs across the four temperatures were 6.8, 3.7, 3.3, and 1.2, while mean DPNs were 0.7, 0.9, 0.7, and 1.8. F. virginiana clones averaged 3.8 FLNs and 1.8 DPNs, while the F. × ananassa clones averaged 4.1 FLNs and 0.2 DPNs. There was generally more variability among the F. virginiana clones than the F. × ananassa clones, but the F. × ananassa cultivars, `Fort Laramie' and `Ogallala', performed best at 30 °C. The Wasatch clone did not flower in any treatment, suggesting it is not day-neutral.