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Pruning Shears

Flowers are harvested with sharp knives or electric pruning shear. On standard carnations two to three nodes and on spray carnations three to four nodes are left on the shoots for the next flowering. Flowers should be cut in the early morning when plants are turgid. Standard carnations are harvested as open flowers or in the bud stage. Spray carnations are harvested with two flowers open and the rest showing color. Flowers are handled carefully to avoid breakage and bruising. It is important to expose flowers to a 40° to 48°F environment as soon as possible to reduce plant temperature. Precooling the flowers maintains quality and increases longevity.

Above all else, investment in a pair of high-quality pruning shears is mandatory. One manufacturer even has a special hand grip designed for left-handed people, swivel handles and a model with blade removal for maintenance. For miniature roses, there are smaller versions of these pruning shears which rely on a smaller, straight-edged blade surface. For removal of large woody canes at the bud union, a pruning saw will allow access for flush removal. Attempts to use pruning shears for these jobs usually result in damage to the bud union. It is best to approach cane removal with a proper saw designed specifically for the job. For cutting large-diameter canes a pair of lopping shears with 30- or 45-cm handles can facilitate the cutting without placing too much pressure on the hands. Again, attempts to cut large-diameter canes with pruning shears will require a lot of extra strength. Lopping shears with long handles solve the strength problem and make the cut clean and sharp. Invest in a small wire brush (about 5 cm wide by 75 cm deep) to help remove loose bark from the bud union. Such treatments can often encourage basal breaks and stimulate new growth since growth often finds it impossible to break through the heavy tree-like bark encountered on older bushes. Finally, save on profanities while pruning by buying a good strong pair of leather gauntlet gloves or hand gloves that are puncture-proof. There is nothing as irritating as a thorn under the nail to cause a string of words rarely heard in a rose garden!

Harvesting is done manually when the capsules are dry at the ends of the branches. Pruning shears are used to cut branches and also remove inflorescence containing 15–20 capsular fruits. Once harvested, the fruit are carried in baskets to a land or a warehouse where, after drying, they will be processed in specific equipments or manually. The machines separate the capsules from the seeds and classify them for subsequent packing in polyethylene bags, where they remain preserved for more than five years in perfect condition without any plant protection treatment (Cruz et al., 2008).

Human beings disseminate all kinds of pathogens over short and long distances in a variety of ways. Within a field, humans disseminate some pathogens, such as tobacco mosaic virus, through the successive handling of diseased and healthy plants. Other pathogens are disseminated through tools, such as portable mini electric garden shears, contaminated when used on diseased plants (e.g., pear infected with fire blight bacteria), and then carried to healthy plants. Humans also disseminate pathogens by transporting contaminated soil on their feet or equipment, using contaminated containers, and using infected transplants, seed, nursery stock, and budwood as mentioned previously. Finally, humans disseminate pathogens by importing new varieties into an area that may carry pathogens that have gone undetected, by traveling throughout the world, and by importing food or other items that may carry harmful plant pathogens. Examples of the role of humans as a vector of pathogens can be seen in the introduction into the United States of the fungi causing Dutch elm disease and white pine blister rust and of the citrus canker bacterium, in the introduction in Europe of the powdery and downy mildews of grape, and, more recently, in the rapid spread of sorghum ergot almost throughout the world (Fig. 2-20).

The primary fungi of an ambrosia beetle are abundant in a gallery only when larval stages are present (Kajimura and Hijli 1992). Thus, the best isolates of primary fungal symbionts can be made a month or two after initial infestation. Galleries are exposed by sawing thin sections from the infested bole. It is important to work as quickly and as aseptically as possible, using alcohol-flamed saws, wood chisels, and/or pruning shears. Adult insects can be removed, and visible fungal growth within the several-millimeter-diameter gallery can be isolated using sterile fine forceps. Thin slices or chips of galleries should be preserved, dried, and mounted, or mounted directly on slides with fixative mounting medium, such as lactophenolaniline blue, for later study.

Ambrosia fungi in the genus Corthylus and most Xyleborus species generally form a thick, whitish palisade layer on the walls of galleries if eggs and/or larvae are present. That fungal growth can be isolated easily by streaking or spot plating on isolation media (see next section on “Culture”).

Fungal growth usually is not so evident on the gallery walls or larval cradles of xylomycetophagous insects; thus, small slices and chips of wood should be removed aseptically for plating. Slices or fragments of galleries can be placed aseptically in a sterile moist chamber (Appendix I) to encourage fungal growth in the absence of actively feeding larvae, so that primary ambrosia fungi can be isolated, often within a few days, before contamination from saprobic fungi.

Live beetles trapped in flight or taken from galleries are difficult to handle because of their small size and smooth cylindrical shape. A simple vacuum apparatus consisting of a sterile micropipette tip with a small aperture attached to a rubber hose fixed to a vacuum pump or vacuum line allows one to pick up individual beetles and transfer them easily from dish to dish or to sterile glass slides for dissection.

Beetles can be surface disinfected to reduce the presence of nonmycangial microbes by washing in sterile 0.1% HgCl2 solution or dilute sterile bleach (NaHCl2) for 2–4 minutes, followed by several rinses in sterile water. Investigators can also free adult beetles of external nonmycangial microbes by placing them alternately in plates of sterile wet filter paper for 18 hours and then on dry sterile filter paper for 6 hours. Several transfers typically remove most external microbes. Individual beetles can be stored on sterile moist filter plates for months at refrigerator temperature until needed for dissection and isolation. Prevention of dehydration appears to be the critical factor for keeping them alive during long-term storage.

The process of harvesting in Stevia is very important to obtain the highest leaf biomass yield with the most desirable quality and quantity of the sweet compound of steviol glycosides with a desirable taste. The time to harvest Stevia crop varies dependent on the place and time. The first harvest generally can be done 4 months after cultivation and the subsequent harvest is suggested to be done once every 3 months or 40–60 days later. Generally, three commercial harvests can be done every year. Optimum biomass and steviol glycoside quality and quantity can be obtained at the stage of flower bud initiation. It is suggested to cut the branches about 5.0 cm above the ground with tree branches powered pruning shears before stripping the leaves. As the tips of the stems contain as much steviol glycoside as the leaves, they can be added to the harvest yield. It is recommended to cut the stems leaving about a 10 cm portion above the ground to induce the emergence of new flushes, for the subsequent harvest (Kassahun et al., 2013). Benhmimou et al. (2017) reported that the optimal yield depended on the harvesting time and the yield of summer harvesting (August) was higher than that of autumn harvesting (October).

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