ASHS Press Releases

American Society for Horticultural Science

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Drought Tolerant Watermelon Accessions Identified

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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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Saving Apples from Extinction

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Study finds growing location temperature not a factor in cryopreservation method

A study investigated post-cryoviability of dormant buds for three commercial cultivars of Malus domestica grown in three distinct geographic locations in the United States. Dormant winter buds were harvested at the three locations, cryopreserved, and bud viability was tested by grafting. The data showed that the growing locations of the apple dormant bud source had little effect on their cryosurvival.

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Unique Cobalt Bluebonnet Premiers

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'Lady Bird Johnson Royal Blue' bluebonnet developed as bedding plant

A new variety of bluebonnet dubbed 'Lady Bird Johnson Royal Blue' has been introduced. Developed by researchers for use as a bedding plant, the new cultivar features a striking cobalt color. Seed will be available by the 2013 planting season.

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Colorful Native Plant Recommended for Mediterranean Green Roofs

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Dianthus fruticosus withstands challenges of reduced irrigation, shallow planting

Researchers in Greece tested 160 native Dianthus fruticosus plants in substrates with soil, substrates without soil, and at depths of either 7.5 or 15 cm. The plants were watered for several months then subjected to a simulated drought. The study concluded that D. fruticosus is "very promising" for use on extensive green roofs in the Mediterranean region, as the species showed sufficient growth in shallow substrates and reduced irrigation environments.

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Study Outcomes Could Significantly Reduce Fertilizer Costs in Greenhouse Tomato Operations

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Controlled-release fertilizer found more efficient for plants’ nutrient usage in capillary watering systems

A study examined tomato plants treated with controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) and liquid fertilizer (LF) for nutrient utilization efficiency in fruit production and seasonal nutrient uptake. No significant difference was found in marketable fruit yield between CRF- and LF-treated plants. However, nutrient uptake per plant and during fruit production was higher with LF, proving that CRF used nutrients more efficiently. The researchers recommend CRF as suitable for use in subirrigation capillary watering systems.

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A Winning Combination for Organic Broccoli Crops

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Legume/cereal cover crops, organic fertilizers increase return, yield in trials

Researchers evaluated the contribution of nitrogen from a mixed legume/cereal cover crop and organic fertilizers to an organic broccoli crop. The economic benefits of the treatment were assessed for resulting crops. Use of cover crops increased net return above harvest and fertility costs when the yield reduction by nitrogen immobilization did not occur. However, the net return increase by the use of cover crops diminished as the rate of organic fertilizer application increased.

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