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Abstract

The root system of woody perennial crops exists in an extremely complex environment. We as horticulturists and problem solvers need to improve our understanding of the role of the interactions of soil microrganisms, soil media, and the root rhizosphere. It is for this purpose that several ASHS Working Groups—Rootstocks and Compound Genetics, Citrus Crops, Mycorrhiza, Pomology, Nursery Crops, and Viticulture and Small Fruits—have combined to help sponsor this symposium. Plant pathologists and soil microbiologists were invited to elucidate on the impact of pathogenic and beneficial soil bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. As brought out by authors in the following papers, practices employed in managing horticultural crops often discourage the development of plant growth-stimulating microorganisms. Such practices as fumigation and high application rates of fertilizers can alter the composition of the rhizosphere. Conversely, the bacteria, fungi, and nematodes can also alter the rhizospheres by producing substances such as antibodies and toxic metabolites. In citrus, mycorrhizae can alter the nutrient balances, which can indirectly suppress pathogenic fungi.

Open Access

Abstract

This paper is in part a review of the literature on overcoming rest development in temperate woody perennials. In addition, we discuss the role of sublethal stress and hydrogen cyanamide in rest. A hypothesis is presented on the mechanism of rest development and rest breaking in temperate woody perennials.

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Aims of this investigation were to determine whether chlorophyll fluorescence values obtained from excised leaves of woody perennials subjected to salinity stress under laboratory conditions provided a measurable indicator of whole plant salinity tolerance. Laboratory tests consisted of measurements of the ratio of variable to maximal chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) performed on excised leaves taken from thirty woody perennials following immersion in salt solutions ranging from concentrations of 2% to 7%. Based on reductions in Fv/Fm of excised leaves following salinity treatments plants were ranked in order of tolerance. Whole plants of six of the thirty species tested were then subjected to a foliar applied salt at a concentration of 7% and placed under glass for 14 weeks. Damage to, and recovery of whole plants from salt damage as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf necrosis and chlorophyll content mirrored tolerance ranking of excised leaves under laboratory conditions. In addition, based on reductions in plant growth at the cessation of the experiment, salt tolerance followed a similar order as that obtained from Fv/Fm values of excised leaves. Results indicate that testing of excised leaf material of woody perennials under laboratory conditions using chlorophyll fluorescence offers a potentially quick, reliable and inexpensive procedure that can provide a useful means of estimating whole plant salt tolerance.

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We have shown that high-level resistance to plum pox virus (PPV) in transgenic plum clone C5 is based on post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), otherwise termed RNA silencing (Scorza et al. Transgenic Res. 10:201-209, 2001). In order to more fully characterize RNA silencing in woody perennial crops, we investigated the production of short interfering RNA (siRNA) in transgenic plum clones C3 and C5, both of which harbor the capsid protein (CP) gene of PPV. We used as a control, plum PT-23, a clone only transformed with the two marker genes, NPTII and GUS. We show in the current report that C5 constitutively produces two classes of siRNA, the short (21-22 nucleotides) and long (≈27 nucleotides) species in the absence of PPV inoculation. Transgenic susceptible clone C3 and the control clone PT-23, when healthy, produce no siRNA. Upon infection, these clones produce only the short siRNA (21-22 nt). This siRNA production suggests that plum trees naturally respond to virus infection by initiating PTGS or PTGS-like mechanisms. This study also suggests that high-level virus resistance in woody perennials may require the production of both the short and long size classes of siRNA, as are produced by the resistant C5 plum clone.

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145 POSTER SESSION (Abstr. 535–546) Substrates for Container Production–Floriculture/Woody Ornamentals

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Timing nutrient application to periods of high nutrient demand could increase nutrient use efficiency and reduce the potential for fertilizer leaching or runoff. However, current recommendations for field nursery and landscape ornamentals (extension publications) suggest fertilizing in late fall and early spring despite research with perennial fruit crops that demonstrates low uptake potential during those times. Research is needed to resolve this apparent conflict. Application rates for woody ornamentals, established in the 1960s and 1970s, also need reexamination in the light of environmental concerns.

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Seasonal alteration of the cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations of spruce (Picea engelmannii Parry) and brome grass (Bromus inermis Leyss) was investigated by the antimonate precipitation cytochemical technique. Electron microscopic (EM) observations revealed that electron-dense Ca2+ antimonate deposits, an indication of Ca2+ localization, were seen mainly in the vacuole, the cell wall and the intercellular space in samples of both species, collected on 14 July 1997. Few deposits were found in the cytosol and nuclei, showing a low resting level during summer months. On 8 Aug. 1997 following a decrease in daylength of 1 hour and 12 minutes, Ca2+ accumulation was initiated in spruce with increased cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits, but not in brome grass. On 8 Sept. 1997, Ca2+ accumulation occurred in the cytosol of brome grass. This followed a drop in ambient temperature to 12 °C. Cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ deposits continued to increase in spruce. Controlled experiments confirmed that it was the low temperature, not shortening daylength, that triggered Ca2+ accumulation in brome grass. High cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations lasted about three months in spruce from early August to early November. However, the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations in brome grass lasted only about 20 days from early September to the end of the month. During winter and spring, both species had low resting cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations. The relationship between the duration of the high cytosolic and nuclear Ca2+ concentrations and the status of the developed dormancy/cold hardiness is discussed in light of current findings.

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water limits consisting of three putative water use characterizations—mesic, mixed and xeric—and plant material of three different types—woody, herbaceous perennial, and turf—to develop K p values integrated at the irrigation zone and entire landscape

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