ASHS Press Releases

American Society for Horticultural Science

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ASHS Press Releases
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Study finds physical properties of growing medium change primarily after first drying cycle

Scientists have found a new method to simultaneously and continuously determine water retention and shrink/swell properties of plant growing media during drying and wetting cycles. The experiments performed on slightly decomposed Sphagnum peat showed encouraging results. The researchers found that the simple, fast method allowed for a fairly accurate measurement of the physical properties of growing media that varied over time during the same experiment.

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Plant size and light found most important in predicting daily water use

A study using greenhouse-grown petunias found that plant size and light are the most important factors affecting daily water usage (DWU) by plants. Researchers discovered that daily light integral is the most important environmental factor affecting DWU. A quantitative model developed during the study provides guidelines for accurate watering of greenhouse plants and may improve irrigation scheduling and reduce water consumption.

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Genetic materials show potential as breeding cultivars for water-stressed regions

A study of 820 accessions of USDA’s Citrullus PIs and 246 watermelon breeding lines were evaluated for their drought tolerance at the seedling stage under extreme water stress conditions in a greenhouse. Twenty-five accessions were identified as the potential sources of tolerance to drought. The study recommended that the accessions with the highest or moderate drought tolerance could be used as genetic sources to develop watermelon rootstocks or cultivars for drought tolerance.

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Three potential fungicides show "no advantage" over standard programs

Alternative Organic Fungicides Don’t Measure Up for Apple Scab ManagementA study compared the efficacy of three potential alternative fungicides (potassium bicarbonate, neem oil, and Bacillus subtilis) with the standard organic sulfur/lime-sulfur (SLS) fungicide program and a non-treated control for management of apple scab. Results showed that the alternative fungicides did not offer advantages over the standard SLS fungicide program in organic apple production, and in some cases had distinct disadvantages in terms of non-target impacts.

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Owning an in-ground irrigation system shown to affect residential lawn watering behaviors

To Water or Not to WaterA study compared lawn irrigation perceptions, knowledge, and behaviors of homeowners with and without in-ground sprinkler systems (IGS and NIGS, respectively). Homeowners with IGS watered more frequently than NIGS; 67% to 90% of IGS and 19% to 31% of NIGS homeowners watered two to three times per week or more. The authors recommend educational efforts for all homeowners to help conserve water and protect water quality, adding that efforts should concentrate more on IGS homeowners.

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