UVALDE Dr. Daniel Leskovar, a Texas AgriLife Research plant physiologist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, has been investigating ways to help vegetable plants make a less stressful transition from the greenhouse to the field.
"This research can aid in the successful production and possibly even the further profitability of some vegetable crops by producing high-quality, more adaptive plants that will establish well," Leskovar said. "It could also enable some vegetable plants to produce beyond their regular season or succeed within a stressful growing environment."
An expert in vegetable physiology, Leskovar said his research has been "centered in the identification and understanding of plant adaptation mechanisms to temperature, water and biological stresses as part of an integrated vegetable cropping system." He and his collaborators already have been successful in creating heartier pepper, tomato, watermelon and cantaloupe seedlings for transplantation.
Leskovar has been joined in his research efforts by other AgriLife Research personnel, including researchers from the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Centers in Weslaco and Amarillo, and a researcher from the Institute for Adriatic Crops in Croatia.
"Our work has primarily involved modulating naturally occurring growth regulators in vegetable plants," Leskovar said. "One of these is abscisic acid, or ABA, which is a hormone naturally produced by the plant.
"Abscisic acid affects the closing of plant stomates and controls plant physiology such as leaf transpiration," he said. "The hormone also slows plant growth temporarily, which is important for producing compact transplants in commercial nurseries."
In many southern regions of the U.S, high temperatures, dry winds and rapidly drying soil after planting are detrimental to or impair the early growth of vegetable transplants, Leskovar said.
"Results of our previo
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Texas A&M AgriLife Communications