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American Society for Horticultural Science

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Study reports on use of grape marc compost, planting depth, irrigation frequency for xyrophytes

Scientists investigated native aromatic xyrophytes for use in extensive green roofs in semiarid Mediterranean regions using locally produced grape marc compost as a substrate component. Aromatics Artemisia absinthium, Helichrysumitalicum, and H. orientale were found suitable for growth in extensive Mediterranean green roofs under limited irrigation and substrate depth (7.5 cm). The researchers determined that including 20% grape marc compost in the substrate enhanced plant establishment and growth during the first drought period.

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Study shows reducing nitrogen levels and using selected cultivars minimizes environmental impact, doesn’t affect fruit yield or quality

Bell pepper was used in a study designed to reduce environmental pollution by increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Nitrogen was applied at four different concentrations to two pepper cultivars. Results showed that nitrogen treatments had no significant negative impacts on fruit physical or chemical quality, including sugar content and acidity. Reduced nitrogen applications did not affect nutritional components of the peppers such as beta-carotene and lycopene content, nor did they reduce antioxidant activity.

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Findings could change traditional citrus winter irrigation strategies

Researchers studied well-watered citrus to determine changes in water relations during cold acclimation, independent of drought stress. Potted sweet orange and Satsuma mandarin trees were exposed to progressively lower, non-freezing temperatures to promote cold acclimation. Results indicated that water relations of citrus during cold acclimation vary from those known to occur as a result of drought stress. The results could challenge traditional measures of plant water status in irrigation scheduling during winter.

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Invasive pests compromise native trees’ ability to recover from Guam’s severe storms

Researchers compared the impact of two tropical cyclones that occurred in Guam in 1997 and 2004 on the resilience and health of the native tree species Cycas micronesica. Findings revealed that 100% recovery followed the 1997 typhoon, but infestations of two invasive insects were responsible for 100% mortality of the trees during the 5 years after the 2004 typhoon. The invasive pests eliminated the species' resilience to tropical cyclone damage in less than 10 years between the two typhoons.

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