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American Society for Horticultural Science

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Watermelon Seedlings: Grafted vs. Non-grafted

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Grafted seedlings show superior storability in low temperatures, darkness

Researchers investigated whether grafted watermelon seedlings are superior to non-grafted seedlings under low-temperature storage in darkness. For the study, watermelon scions were grafted to pumpkin rootstocks. Results showed that the grafted seedlings had more soluble sugar and chlorophyll contents, higher activities of antioxidant enzymes, and less malondialdehyde content than non-grafted seedlings, suggesting that grafted watermelon seedlings are more suitable for the low-temperature storage in darkness than non-grafted seedlings.

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Sustainable Strawberries: Summer Cover Crops Effective

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Grass-based cover crops with fungal inoculants reduce weeds in strawberry fields

Field experiments investigated the effects of eight summer cover crop treatments combined with two arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal inoculants on strawberry growth and yields. Grass-based cover crop treatments produced the most aboveground biomass and all treatments reduced summer weed biomass compared with the control. The results suggest that cover crops can reduce summertime weeds and that native populations of AM fungi in the soil may be just as effective as a commercially available species.

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Clamshells Best for Retaining Tropical Fruit Quality

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Study recommends optimum packaging, storage temperatures for exported longan fruit

A study determined the optimum storage temperature for 'Biew Kiew' longans, the most widely grown longan cultivar in Hawaii. Researchers evaluated different package types under controlled and variable temperature regimes to improve quality retention of exported longans. Longan shelf life and quality were consistently maintained when stored in clamshell packages. The study said that clamshell packages also may reduce fruit injury, restrict disease spread, and promote brand identification.

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For Pomegranates, the Number of Arils Matters for Fruit Size

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Research finds that increasing arils may produce larger, more marketable fruit

Scientists evaluated compositional changes in pomegranates, determined correlations between fruit characteristics, and established factor analysis of fruit and aril indices. Results showed that number of arils per fruit was highly correlated with fruit size. Larger fruit contained greater numbers of arils, whereas individual average aril weight showed no significant relationship to fruit size. The study recommended crop production strategies aimed at increasing aril numbers as a means to cultivating larger pomegranates.

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Bumble Bees: the New Buzz for Cranberry Growers

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Native bumble bees outperform honeybees as cranberry pollinators

A study determined the richness and abundance of native bees in cranberry farms in southern coastal Oregon and compared foraging behaviors of honeybees and native bees. Scientists documented more than 25 bee species based on trapping data during a 2-year study, and found that five are likely to play a role in cranberry pollination. The results showed that native bumble bees can be important as alternative pollinators for cranberry production.

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Promising New Rootstocks for Grapefruit

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Study identifies grapefruit rootstocks to replace sour orange

Two adjacent rootstock trials were conducted in the east coast Indian River region of Florida to find rootstocks to replace sour orange because of losses to citrus tristeza virus and to replace Swingle citrumelo because of its limited usefulness in poorly drained coastal sites. The 7-year study focused on identifying rootstocks that increased juice soluble solids concentration, earliness of fruit maturity, and reduced tree size. The research results identified several promising rootstocks for grapefruit.

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