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Developing and
enhancing the
genetics of economically-important

Watermelon Research and Development Group

Report from 2009 Annual Meeting

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Atlanta, GA
February 1, 2009

Stephen R. King, Chair
Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center
Department of Horticultural Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2133
Phone: 979-845-2937
Cell: 979-229-8746

Elisabetta Vivoda, Vice-Chair
Harris Moran Seed Co.
Davis, CA

Todd C. Wehner, Secretary
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
Email: Todd_Wehner@NCSU.Edu
Phone: 919-515-5363
Fax: 919-515-2505

The Annual Meeting of the Watermelon Research & Development Working Group was held Sunday, February 1, 2009 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, GA, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meeting was held in conjunction with The Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists and the Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Sciences (SR-ASHS). Please register for the SR-ASHS meeting even if you only attend the WRDWG meeting. The meeting room and accommodations are provided by SR-ASHS at no charge to our group. Registration information and hotel accommodations are provided in the SR-ASHS Pre-Conference Newsletter available at the SR-ASHS website ( This year we have the option to pre-register through the ASHS secure website. To pre-register, go to the ASHS web site ( and enter the ASHS Online Store ( In the Categories menu select the link: Southern Region ASHS Online Shopping Cart. You can pay for your meeting registration, annual dues, and ACB Club dues. You will receive a receipt via email.

It was mentioned at last year’s meeting that we may want to re-organize the meeting to better accommodate discussions. If you have an idea about how to better organize the meeting, please contact the Chair of Vice-chair as soon as possible so we can begin to look at any changes to our format. If there are no comments, the structure of the meetings will likely stay similar to in the past.

One last note: We are in need of a sponsor for refreshments this year. If you would be willing to sponsor refreshments, please contact either the Chair of Vice-chair.

Hotel Accomodations:
The Westin Peachtree Plaza
210 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Hotel Phone: 404-659-1400
Group Reservations: 800-937-8461

Group Room Rates:
Single and Double Rooms - $144/night
Triple and Quad Rooms - $164/night

Call toll free number above and ask for the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists group rate. Group rates available for January 27 through February 6, 2009.

Other Information:
Check in is 3:00 pm - Check out is Noon.
No resort or service fee will be charged. However, there will be a $75.00 charge if you check out earlier than your reserved checkout date, unless you advise the hotel at or before check-in.
Cancellations must be made three (3) days prior to check-in date or a one-day fee will be charged.
Complimentary: High speed Internet access in sleeping rooms; local and 1-800 calls; access to health club and pool; and discount valet parking.

Additional information available on the SR-ASHS Website:


  • 8:00 a.m. Welcome. Stephen King, Chair, WRDG.
    • Opening discussions: Refreshment sponsorship is getting expensive! (Please let Pete Suddarth know how much we appreciate Abbott & Cobb sponsoring the refreshments this year).
    • Current Membership, Website updates, Announcement for election of next vice-Chair.
  • 8:30 a.m. Seed Company updates, new releases or news of any kind. Abbott & Cobb; Harris Moran; Syngenta; Zeraim Gedera; Willhite; If you are in industry, please tell us any news you may have – email announcements are fine if you won’t be present.
  • 9:00 a.m. Statewide watermelon trials for 2007. Gilbert Miller: Seedless and Miniwatermelon Variety Trials at EREC, 2002-2008; Jonathan Schultheis: 2008 North Carolina Variety Trials; George Boyhan: 2008 Georgia Variety Trials and 2007-08 Pollenizer trials; others are welcome to discuss their trials!
  • 10:00 a.m. Break.
  • 10:30 a.m. An economic evaluation of using watermelon juice in ethanol production. Merritt J. Taylor*1, Wayne Fish2, Benny Bruton2 and Vince Russo2. 1Wes Watkins Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Oklahoma State University, Lane, OK, 2USDA-ARS, SCARL, Lane, OK. *(
  • 10:45 a.m. Activities of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Mark Arney, Executive Director, NWPB.
  • 11:15 a.m. General discussions. Topics (other topics welcome as time allows – email to chair to get them put on the agenda; summaries to be emailed to group after the meeting):
    • Sizing problem on second crop watermelons in California (email from Oct.).
    • Fruit softening around seed cavity in seedless in Australia (email from Jan.).
  • 11:45 a.m. Election of new Vice-Chair, Secretary.
  • 12:00 p.m. Lunch break.
  • 1:00 – 1:30: Regional watermelon grafting effort evaluating effects on yield and quality in marketable melons. Richard L. Hassell*1, Jonathan R. Schultheis2, Stephen M. Olson3, and William Terry Kelley4. 1Clemson Universty CREC, 2N.C. State, 3University of Florida, and 4University of Georgia. *(
  • 1:30 – 1:45 Reaction of watermelon rootstocks to  root-knot nematode in field tests.J. A. Thies*1, J. J. Ariss1, R. L. Hassell2, S. Olson3. 1U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, USDA, ARS, Charleston, SC; 2Coastal Research and Education Center, Clemson University, Charleston, SC; 3University of Florida, Quincy, FL. *(Judy.Thies@ARS.USDA.GOV).
  • 1:45 – 2:00 Managing Fusarium wilt of watermelon with acibenzolar-S-methyl and fungicides. K. L. Everts*1,2, and X. G. Zhou1, 1University of Maryland College Park, Salisbury and 2University of Delaware, Newark. *(
  • 2:00 – 2:15 Inheritance of resistance to powdery mildew, a new disease of watermelon. A.Y. Tetteh and T.C. Wehner*. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. *(
  • 2:15 – 2:30 New fungicides for managing Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon. C.S. Kousik1 and R. Hassell2. 1USDA-ARS, US Vegetable Lab, 2700 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC; 2Coastal Research and Education Center, Clemson University, Charleston, SC. *(
  • 2:30 – 2:45 Inheritance of high fruit yield in two watermelon populations. R. Kumar and T.C. Wehner*. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. *(
  • 2:45 – 3:00: Discovery of Markers Linked to the ZYMV-FL Resistance Gene and Their Use in Marker-assisted Selection in Watermelon. Karen Harris1, Kai-Shu Ling1, William P. Wechter1, Amnon Levi1*, D.F. Jenelle2, Michael J. Havey2, Nihat Guner3 and Todd C. Wehner3. 1USDA-ARS, US Vegetable Lab, 2700 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC; 2USDA-ARS, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; 3North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. *(
  • 3:00 – 3:15: New flesh colors in watermelon? Stephen R. King1*, Angela R. Davis2, and Haejeen Bang1. 1Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; 2USDA-ARS, SCARL, Lane, OK. *(
  • 3:15: Additional Discussions. Adjourn.


  • Abbott & Cobb:Atlanta, Georgia - 2009

Please let our sponsor know that we appreciate them for providing the refreshments for the Annual Meeting. Thanks!

Past Sponsors

  • Abbott & Cobb:Atlanta, Georgia - 2009
  • Seminis Vegetable Seeds / Zeraim Gedera: Dallas, Texas- 2008
  • Sakata Seed America: Mobile, Alabama - 2007
  • Harris Moran: Orlando, Florida - 2006
  • Syngenta Seeds: Little Rock, Arkansas - 2005
  • Abbott & Cobb:Tulsa, Oklahoma - 2004
  • Seminis Seeds:Mobile, Alabama – 2003
  • National Watermelon Promotion Board: Kissimmee, Florida - 2002
  • Sugar Creek Seed Inc.: Ft. Worth, Texas - 2001
  • Willhite Seeds: Lexington, Kentucky - 2000
  • Novartis Seeds Inc.: Memphis, Tennessee - 1999
  • Sunseeds: Little Rock, Arkansas - 1998
  • Barham Seeds: Birmingham, Alabama - 1997
  • American SunMelon: Greensboro, North Carolina - 1996
  • Willhite Seeds: New Orleans, Louisiana - 1995
  • Asgrow Seed Company: Nashville, Tennessee - 1994
  • American SunMelon:Tulsa, Oklahoma - 1993


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Department of Horticultural Science Box 7609North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC 27695-7609919-515-5363
Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 1 February, 2009