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William M. Womack, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Dormant-budded `Prize' azaleas (Rhododendron sp.) were held at 2C, 7C, 13C, or 18C for 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks then forced in walk-in growth chambers (29C day/24C night). Holding at 2C delayed flowering by 5-7 days over 7C and 13C. Plants held at 2C, 7C, or 13C for at least 4 weeks had approximately 50% buds showing color at marketability (8 open flowers). Plants held at 18C never exceeded 35% buds showing color at marketability. Increase in buds showing color was not apparent for plants were held at 7C, 13C, or 18C for more than 6 weeks; however, holding at 2C resulted in increasing percentages of buds showing color for holding periods longer than 6 weeks. Plants chilled at 13C and 18C showed significant increases in bud abortion after 8 or 10 weeks of cooling with most plants never reaching marketability (8 open flowers). These plants also had an increased proliferation of bypass shoots during cooling and forcing over other treatments.

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Hazel Y. Wetzstein and Charles S. Vavrina

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) transplants can be affected by an intermittent physiological problem manifested by loss of apical meristem function and retarded growth rates, referred to herein as apical meristem decline (AMD). Production losses associated with this condition can be substantial. Similar abnormal and arrested development of the shoot apex has been observed in a number of other species, and referred to as blindness, budlessness, toplessness, blindwood, and bud abortion. A developmental study using scanning electron microscopy was conducted in `Agriset' tomato during an occurrence of AMD to evaluate and compare normal and afflicted plants. The AMD condition was associated with cessation of leaf primordia development and lack of flower initiation. The shoot apex of plants with AMD remained vegetative compared to normal plants which at the same age had well-differentiated flower primordia. No evidence of abortion, die back, or necrosis of the shoot apex was observed. The effects of mineral nutrient additions on symptom development varied with year. In year 1, N fertilization reduced the incidence of both AMD and retarded bud growth (i.e., the percentage of normal plants increased from 29% to 97% with N applications). Preplant applications of P, alone or in conjunction with CaCO3 and trace elements, also ameliorated AMD. In year 2, AMD was observed only at very low levels, i.e., 4% or less, and mineral nutrition had no apparent effect on AMD or normal plant number.

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Tijana Blanusa, Eleni Vysini, and Ross W.F. Cameron

encouraged flower bud abortion. To clarify whether a proportion of buds abort under reduced SMC, we tagged visible floral buds in Petunia during Expt. 2 to monitor what proportion of those fully developed into flowers. For up to 14 d after differences in

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Tony K. Wolf and M. Kay Warren

Examination of `Riesling' grape (Vitis vinifera L.) in Virginia suggested that a high incidence of bud necrosis (BN) in some vineyards was associated with canopy shade and rapid shoot growth. BN appeared to originate as an abortion and dehydration of the primary, and occasionally secondary, buds of the developing dormant bud. BN frequency was lowest among the basal four nodes of a given shoot or cane, and increased in frequency through node 20. Experiments were conducted in 1991 and 1992 to evaluate the specific involvement of shoot growth rate and canopy shade on `Riesling' BN. Shoot growth rate (SGR), measured in a 17-day period around bloom, had a significant, positive relationship with BN in one of two vineyards. BN was positively associated with cane diameter and average internode length. Applying the growth retardant paclobutrazol significantly reduced SGR and BN incidence up to 80% among nodes 6 to 15 in two separate vineyards. Artificial shade (64% or 92% reduction in photosynthetic photon flux), suspended over vine canopies in the 3-week period before véraison, did not affect BN. Shoots of canopies that had been thinned before bloom to 10 shoots/m of canopy expressed slightly lower BN levels than shoots sampled from canopies that had been thinned to 20 shoots per meter. `Riesling' BN appeared more influenced by shoot vigor than shade under Virginia growing conditions. Chemical name β-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-α-(1,1-dimethyl-ethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Christopher B. Cerveny and William B. Miller

development and storage before cooling, ethylene can cause a number of physiological and morphological disorders, including gummosis (excretion of polysaccharides), flower bud abortion, shortened leaves or flowers, reduced or eliminated roots, deformed anthers

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Michael R. Mason and William B. Miller

Interactions of ethephon and irradiance reduction were investigated in terms of flower bud blasting in Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum Thunb. `Nellie White'). Silver thiosulfate (STS) was investigated as an inhibitor of ethylene-induced bud abortion. Fourteen days of 92% irradiance reduction significantly increased bud abortion when plants were exposed to 2.1 mm ethephon. Bud abortion was 39% and 60% for plants grown in ambient and reduced irradiance, respectively. Silver thiosulfate was applied to plants 2 or 3 weeks after the date of the first visible bud, followed by ethephon treatment 2 days later. Bud abortion was significantly reduced by 1 or 2 mm STS, without phytotoxicity. Pretreatment with 1 or 2 mm STS as early as 4 weeks before ethephon exposure significantly reduced ethephon-induced bud abortion. Silver thiosulfate application could inexpensively reduce flower bud abortion during latter stages of greenhouse forcing of Easter lilies.

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Anil P. Ranwala and William B. Miller

Experiments were conducted to evaluate storage temperature, storage irradiance and prestorage foliar sprays of gibberellin, cytokinin or both on postharvest quality of Oriental hybrid lilies (Lilium sp. `Stargazer'). Cold storage of puffy bud stage plants at 4, 7, or 10 °C in dark for 2 weeks induced leaf chlorosis within 4 days in a simulated consumer environment, and resulted in 60% leaf chlorosis and 40% leaf abscission by 20 days. Cold storage also reduced the duration to flower bud opening (days from the end of cold storage till the last flower bud opened), inflorescence and flower longevity, and increased flower bud abortion. Storage at 1 °C resulted in severe leaf injury and 100% bud abortion. Providing light up to 40 μmol·m-2·s-1 during cold storage at 4 °C significantly delayed leaf chlorosis and abscission and increased the duration of flower bud opening, inflorescence and flower longevity, and reduced bud abortion. Application of hormone sprays before cold storage affected leaf and flower quality. ProVide (100 mg·L-1 GA4+7) and Promalin (100 mg·L-1 each GA4+7 and benzyladenine (BA)) effectively prevented leaf chlorosis and abscission at 4 °C while ProGibb (100 mg·L-1 GA3) and ABG-3062 (100 mg·L-1 BA) did not. Accel (10 mg·L-1 GA4+7 and 100 mg·L-1 BA) showed intermediate effects on leaf chlorosis. Flower longevity was increased and bud abortion was prevented by all hormone formulations except ProGibb. The combination of light (40 μmol·m-2·s-1) and Promalin (100 mg·L-1 each GA4+7 and BA) completely prevented cold storage induced leaf chlorosis and abscission.

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Wayne Brown, Theo J. Blom, George C.L. Chu, Wei Tang Liu, and Lisa Skog

The sensitivity of easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) to either ethylene or methane (products of incomplete burning in gas-fired unit heaters) was tested during rooting [3 weeks at 18 °C (65 °F)], vernalization [6 weeks at 6 °C (43 °F)] and subsequent greenhouse forcing (15 weeks at 18 °C). Starting at planting, easter lilies were exposed for one of seven consecutive 3-week periods (short-term), or for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 21 weeks starting at planting (long-term) to either ethylene or methane at an average concentration of 2.4 and 2.5 μL·L-1(ppm), respectively. Short- or long-term exposure to ethylene during rooting and vernalization had no effect on the number of buds, leaves, or plant height but increased the number of days to flower. Short-term exposure within 6 weeks after vernalization reduced the number of buds by 1 bud/plant compared to the control (no ethylene exposure). However, extensive bud abortion occurred when plants were exposed to ethylene during the flower development phase. Long-term exposure to ethylene from planting until after the flower initiation period resulted in only two to three buds being initiated, while continued long-term exposure until flowering caused all flower buds to abort. Short-term exposure to methane at any time had no effect on leaf yellowing, bud number, bud abortion, or height and had only a marginal effect on production time. Long-term exposure to methane from planting until the end of vernalization increased both the number of buds, leaves and height without affecting forcing time, leaf yellowing or bud abortion.

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Linda S. Campbell, Timothy A. Prince, and Harry K. Tayama

Uniconazole (Sumagic) drench applications of 1.9, 2.7, and 3.8 mL per plant and spray applications of 10, 20, and 30 ppm resulted in shorter plants and more blasted flower buds compared to control plants. Drench applications also resulted in more chlorotic leaves than controls. Average lily height with Sumagic ranged from 19 to 29 cm after Sumagic drench and spray applications, respectively. Average plant height was 29 and 31 cm for ancymidol spray and drench application, respectively. Bud abortion was 10, 12, and 17% for spray treatments of Sumagic at 10, 20, and 30 ppm, respectively, while ancymidol spray caused no abortion. Bud abortions were 8, 7, and 11% from Sumagic drenches of 1.9, 2.7 and 3.8 mL/plant compared with 0% from ancymidol drenches. Plants drenched with Sumagic exhibited leaf chlorosis on day of bloom of 18, 16 and 16%, respectively, for the three respective rates of application while ancymidol caused 11.8% chlorosis. The number of buds initiated was not affected by the treatments, Further studies should be conducted to determine the effect of lower application rates of Sumagic on Easter lilies.

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Chi Wang and Kevin L. Grueber

Control of plant height and flowering are two major problems associated with the production of Hypoestes phyllostachya Bak. (polka-dot plant). In seed-propagated cultivars, sprays of ancymidol (A-Rest), chlormequat (Cycocel), paclobutrazol (Bonzi), and uniconazole (Sumagic) were effective in inhibiting shoot growth and internode elongation at 100, 1000, 33, and 10 mg·l-1, respectively. Daminozide (B-Nine), even at 6000 mg·l-1, was ineffective compared to untreated controls. Ethephon (Florel) was effective in retarding plant growth at 500 mg·l-1, but at 1500 mg·l-1 resulted in leaf distortion and horizontal shoot growth.

H. phyllostachya was determined to be a quantitative (facultative) short day plant. Seed-propagated plants with 16 or more nodes flowered regardless of photoperiod, but flowering was more rapid under short days (SD) than under long days (LD). Application of ethephon significantly inhibited shoot elongatioo and number of flower buds formed and also increased the incidence of flower bud abortion. In seed-propagated plants, 500 mg·l-1 ethephon did not adversely affect flowering when applied at any time during the first seven weeks after the start of SD. At 1500 or 2500 mg·l-1, ethephon applied at any time during the first five weeks after the start of SD maximized the number of vegetative buds and minimized the number of viable flower buds. When applied more than six weeks after SD began, ethephon did not promote the formation of vegetative axillary buds but did promote flower bud abortion.