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S.M. Olson, D.O. Chellemi, and P.C. Andersen

Since the fall of 1986, tomato growers in northwestern Florida and southwestern Georgia production areas have encountered plants in their fields with unusual growth characteristics. Early symptoms consist of interveinal chlorosis of the young leaves. Subsequent top growth becomes severely distorted with leaflets along the midrib failing to expand properly, resulting in a “little-leaf” appearance. Additional symptoms included cessation of terminal growth, leaves with twisted and brittle midribs, and axillary buds failing to develop properly. Fruit that set on mildly affected plants are distorted, with radial cracks extending from the calyx to the blossom scar. In severely affected plants, fruit failed to set. The problem usually occurs at very low levels, but in 2 years since 1986, the problem has caused some economic damage. To determine a possible cause, samples were taken for virus detection. None were detected in affected plants. Samples were also taken of tissue and soil from affected areas for nutrient and pesticide analysis. No explanation could be developed from any of the tissue or soil samples. The problem usually occurs in wet areas and after very warm temperatures. The problem appears to be very similar to a nonparasitic disease that occurs in tobacco, called “frenching.” In tobacco, frenching occurs in wet, poorly aerated soils with a soil pH >6.3 and during warm temperatures. There seems to be an organism or organisms present under certain conditions that live on the root surface and exude chemicals that cause this distorted growth.

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Haim Nerson

Two field experiments were conducted in Bet Hashita (1992) and Newe Ya'ar (1993), Israel, in order to examine the possibility of using plant growth habit, chlorflurenol, and plant population density to concentrate yield of pickling cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) under a simulated once-over mechanical harvest system. Two near-isogenic cucumber lines, WI 1983G normal and WI 1983G little leaf, were grown under three plant densities, 5, 10, and 20 plants/m2, and at flowering half of the plants were treated with 50 mg·L-1 chlorflurenol solution. The little leaf line produced a smaller canopy than the normal line under five plants/m2 but a larger canopy under 20 plants/m2. The average commercial yield of the little leaf line was higher than that of the normal leaf line by 28% and 55% in Bet Hashita and in Newe Ya'ar, respectively. The highest yield of each line was achieved under the highest plant density. The average commercial yields under 20 plants/m2 were 1.13 and 0.91 kg·m-2 in Bet Hashita and 1.86 and 0.92 kg·m-2 in Newe Ya'ar for little leaf and normal leaf, respectively. Chlorflurenol increased fruit number per unit area but did not increase yield. Nevertheless, it increased the proportion of small fruits, which are more valuable. The present study shows that the little leaf growth habit can increase the yield concentration in pickling cucumber and make this crop more suitable for a once-over mechanical harvest. Chemical name used: methyl-2-chloro-9-hydroxyfluorene-9-carboxylate (chlorflurenol).

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John M. Ruter

Loropetalum chinensevar.rubrum, Chinese fringe-flower, was introduced into the United States in 1989 and quickly became on of the most popular plants in the nursery trade. Growth abnormalities (little-leaf disorder) became a problem on container-grown plants in pine bark substrates during the late 1990s. Symptoms are as follows: darkening of older growth, shortening of internodes, upward cupping of leaves, crinkling of new growth, particularly the distal part of the leaf, decrease in leaf size. In severe cases leaf necrosis occurs along with stem elongation, thus branches appear to be elongating without new leaves. Petioles become very short. Branchlets may also be reflexed or drooping. In Florida, an eriophyid mite has been touted as the causal agent for the disorder. On plants sampled from Georgia nurseries, eriophyid mites have never been detected. `Ruby' consistently has the problem, while it has also been noted on `Sizzling Pink' and `Suzanne'. Plants in the ground do not express the problem. There may be an element present in native soil that is not supplied in sufficient quantity in organic substrates. Foliage from a commercial nursery was sampled for micronutrients concentrations. Initial data indicated that copper, zinc, and nickel were low and could be causing the problem. In May 2005, a study was initiated at a commercial nursery in Grady County, Ga. Copper and zinc sulfate, along with nickel lignonsulfonate, was applied as foliar sprays to symptomatic plants of `Suzanne' growing in #5 containers. Within two weeks after treatment, plants sprayed with copper sulfate resumed normal growth. Control plants, or plants treated with zinc or nickel did not resume normal growth. A second study was initiated in June to evaluate different rates of copper sulfate and Kocide, a copper fungicide. Medium to high rates of copper sulfate and the high label rate of Kocide were effective. The plants in this study had severe symptoms and required repeat applications of copper. Further research is needed on appropriate formulations of copper, rates of application, and rates of incorporation into pine bark substrates to eliminate the problem.

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Dean E. Knavel

Plant spacing or population studies with normal internode-length `Calypso' and short-internode Ky Littleleaf (Ky-LL), both gynoecious-flowering, in 6-row beds for once-over harvest in 1987, 1988, and 1989 showed that increasing spacing increased leaf area per plant, but had no effect on leaf area, fruit number, and total fruit weight in Grades 1, 2, and 3 per growing area. `Calypso' plants had more leaf area than Ky-LL, but both had similar number and weight of fruit. The best spacing for `Calypso' and Ky-LL was 15 × 21.5 cm for an average of 28.5 plants/m2 (283,570/ha). Ark Littleleaf (ARK-LL), a monoecious-flowering normal-internode length genotype, had more leaves and greater leaf area than `Calypso' and KY-LL plants. Increasing bed spacing of Ark-LL plants from 30 × 30 to 30 × 45 cm increased leaf area, fruit number and fruit weight per plant, but not per growing area. For fruit number and weight in Grades 1, 2, and 3, the best row spacing of Ark-LL plants was a single row of 15 cm or a 30 × 30 cm double row with fruit weight of 25,500 and 27,000 kg/ha, respectively. Data for the three plant types in various row spacings to be conducted in 1990 will be presented.

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Juan Pablo Arce, J. Benton Storey, and Calvin G. Lyons

Fall soil treatments of ZnEDTA and ZnSO4 at three increasing rates (32.2, 64.4 and 128.8 g. Zn/tree) and 1, 2 and 3 spring foliar sprays of NZN (0.35 g. Zn/tree/application) were tested to correct Zn deficiency in three year old `Earligrande' peach trees. All Zn carriers increased the Zn leaf content. Peach trees treated with three applications of NZN were equal to the medium or high rates of soil applied ZnEDTA or ZnSO4 respectively, in appearance, chlorophyll content and foliar Zn content. Three applications of NZN at 0.35 g. of Zn/tree (473 ml/378 gal H2O) gave excellent tree response and was cost effective.

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Gary J. Keever, William D. Goff, and Mark S. West

Pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] trees were grown in containers in a pine bark and sand medium amended with O, 3.0, 5.9, 8.9, or 11.9 kg dolomitic limestone/m. Mouse-ear symptom expression, characterized by small, rounded, cupped, and slightly wrinkled leaflets, increased linearly as dolomitic lime rate increased. Plant growth was best at 3.0 kg dolomitic lime/m, which resulted in a growth medium pH of 4.3.

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William D. Goff and Gary J. Keever

Container-grown pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] trees with “mouse-ear” symptoms, characterized by small, rounded, cupped, and slightly wrinkled leaflets, were repotted into two types of media amended with three rates of dolomitic limestone (0, 5.4, or 10.7 kg·m-3). In both media [4 milled pine bark: 1 sand; 1 soil: 1 peat: 1 perlite (by volume)], mouse-ear symptoms in the season following repotting were dramatically reduced at the lower lime application rates. Medium Fe, Ca, Cu, and Mn and foliar Ca, Mg, Mn, Zn, and B were affected by lime rate 10 months after repotting in one or both media. Medium pH increased quadratically as lime rate increased. Greatest plant recovery occurred when no lime was added, resulting in a pH of 3.9 in the bark-sand medium and 4.2 in the soil-peat-perlite medium.

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A.P. Nyczepir, B.W. Wood, and C.C. Reilly

Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees exhibit nickel (Ni) deficiency in certain orchard situations. The symptoms are manifest as either mouse-ear or replant disorder and in certain situations are associated with nematode parasitism. A field microplot study of pecan seedlings treated with either Meloidogyne partityla or Criconemoides xenoplax or both found that parasitism by M. partityla can result in enhancement in the severity of mouse-ear symptoms and a reduction in foliar Ni concentration. The Ni threshold for triggering morphological symptoms in young developing foliage was between 0.265 and 0.862 μg·g–1 dry weight, while the threshold for rosetting was between 0.007 and 0.064 μg·g–1 dw. Results indicate that parasitism by M. partityla is a contributing factor to the induction of Ni deficiency in pecan and raises the possibility that nematode parasitism and Ni nutrition can be contributing factors to many plant maladies.

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Yiqun Weng, Shanna Johnson, Jack E. Staub, and Sanwen Huang

Agricultural Experiment Station in Hancock, WI. Ten non-replicated plants of each RIL were phenotyped for two morphological traits [little leaf ( ll ) versus standard-sized ( LL ) leaf; determinate ( de ) versus indeterminate ( De )] 3 weeks after planting