Location: Southern Horticultural Research2013 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objectives are to develop new and improved crop production practices and disease and insect control practices for ornamental, small fruit and other horticultural crops adapted to the U.S. Gulf Coast region. The developed management techniques are needed to minimize production losses and improve crop quality and yield for the purpose of increasing net income.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Identify and evaluate nutritional and cultural requirements, non-Apis pollination efficiency, insect pest problems, and plant disease problems to improve orchard establishment, human health benefit, crop yield, and post-harvest quality of fruit crops. Management techniques to be evaluated include planting systems, irrigation systems, fertilizer selection and timing, non-Apis bee colony establishment, suitability of bio-control organisms, pesticide selection and timing, cultivar selection, fruit handling, and post-harvest storage conditions. Identify and evaluate different organic substrates, insect pest problems, and plant disease problems to improve production options and crop quality of ornamental plants. Management techniques to be evaluated include irrigation and nutritional requirements of plants grown in different organic substrates, suitability of bio-control organisms, cultivar selection, pesticide selection and timing, pesticide application technology, disinfestant selection, and sanitation practices.
3. Progress Report:
This report serves as the final report for project 6404-21430-001-00D, entitled "Production Management Research for Horticultural Crops in the Gulf South" which will terminate November 30, 2013 and will be replaced by new project 6404-21430-003-00D entitled "Production and Disease and Pest Management of Horticultural Crops". Progress in small fruit horticultural research included findings that fertilizer rate did not greatly influence elemental distribution in ‘Tifblue’ rabbiteye blueberry plants with 75% of total-N and P and 50% of K being partitioned in woody tissues and the vast majority of the remaining nutrient distributed in leaves; and that the skin of muscadine cultivars contained antioxidants, ellagic acid, polyphenolics, and resveratrol, and not pulp and juice. Progress in small fruit entomology research included findings that Peponapis pruinosa, an unmanaged solitary bee, was a more efficacious and reliable pollinator of cucurbit crops than were honey bees, thus could save costs of purchasing pollinators; developed methods to rear parasitoid wasp species that suppress blueberry gall midge populations on Mississippi farms; discovered bumble bees can successfully distribute a biological control agent, Gliocladium catenulatum, to the stylus of blueberry flowers to prevent Botrytis blossom blight. Progress in small fruit plant pathology research included the findings that the cultural practice of raised beds and organic soil amendments did not increase long term survival or vigor of any southern highbush blueberry cultivars in fields with high inoculum pressure; and that the application of calcium nitrate fertilizer, in preference to ammonium N fertilizer, reduced severity of anthracnose crown rot on strawberries. Progress in ornamental horticulture research included usage recommendations for whole pine tree substrate to incorporate 33% peat moss to increase buffering capacity, to maintain pH between 5.0 and 6.5 for sensitive crops, and to carefully use fertilizers with high nitrate or ammonium components. Progress in ornamental entomology research included patenting of a new insect “origami” trapping station that incorporates a solar-charged light for nighttime collections for monitoring strawberry rootworm that damages azalea and several other shrubs in commercial plant nurseries, and development of two techniques for monitoring Ambrosia beetles, which threatens ornamental and native trees. Progress in ornamental plant pathology research involved development of fungicide timing recommendations to control azalea web blight by scheduling applications by calendar-date and adjusting calendar-timings due to the influence yearly weather differences using scouting protocol; use of a hot water treatment that did not harm azalea to eliminate Rhizoctonia, the web blight pathogen, by submerging azalea stem cuttings in hot water; and development of a weekly spray schedule using an environmentally friendly hydrogen peroxide formulation to control a foliar rust disease in the greenhouse.