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News and Events :

Hawaii Orchid Growers Association Meeting

Was held in Hilo, Hawaii on November 2 - 4.  Dr. Tracie Matsumoto was a guest speaker presenting Miltoniopsis Flowering.  Past research has indicated that cool temperatures and short photoperiods are required for flowering of Miltoniopsis.  However, equipment to modify day length and temperatures are often cost prohibitive.  Plant growth regulators such as gibberellic acid (GA??) are successful in promoting flowering in other orchid genera.  We have successfully used 5 mM GA?? solutions as a soil drench and foliar spray to increase inflorescence emergence in various grexes of Miltoniopsis.  Plants most responsive to the GA?? treatment are those approaching the first full flowering season and flowering seasons occurring March to August compared to those flowering in January and February.  Equivalent concentrations of ProGibb?? can also be used in place of GA??, however, cultivars such as Martin Orenstein 'Shirley P' display inflorescence and flower deformities with ProGibb?? but not GA?? treatments.

17th Annual International Tropical Fruit Conference

Was held in Hilo, Hawaii on September 28 - 30.  Some of the guest speakers included Dr. Lisa Keith presenting Rambutan Disease Update. 

Dr. Tracie Matsumoto presented Management of Flowering and Fruiting of 'Kaimana' litchi in Hawaii.  'Kaimana' litchi was selected in Hawaii based upon its high fruit quality and capacity to flower under Hawaii's mild winter climate.  In Hawaii, consistent litchi production is achieved through management practices that limit high nitrogen content and new vegetative flushes during the time of year when cooler temperatures induce flowering.  To further refine this procedure, foliar fertilizer was used instead of ground application granular fertilizer to 1)provide consistent levels of nutrients to the trees, 2) reduce reliance on fertilizer availability dependent upon rainfall and 3) limit the amount of residual fertilizer held in the soil.  Preliminary experiments utilizing pruning and foliar fertilizer to synchronize and condition 'Kaimana' litchi trees were conducted at the USDA/ARS PBARC litchi orchard for two consecutive seasons (2005, 2006).  The production of twenty-four 8-9 year old 'Kaimana' trees averaged about 100 lb per tree per year for the two seasons.  To further evaluate this method, this pruning and foliar management protocol was expanded to commercial 'Kaimana' fields located in Kona and Hamakua.  The pruning and foliar fertilizer application successfully resulted in flowering and fruiting of litchi in Kona similar to the trees in the USDA/ARS PBARC litchi orchard.  However, the pruned and foliar fertilized trees resulted in vigorous vegetative growth and reduced flowering and fruit production in the Hamakua orchard.  The best treatments for this location were non-pruned control trees or non-pruned trees treated with foliar fertilizer only.  These experiments are being repeated at the various locations for the next litchi season. 

 ARS Magazine - USDA's science magazine, published monthly by ARS


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