July 27, 2005
Sunflowers are one of our greatest American treasures. Their bright yellow flowers resemble the sun hence their common name. The scientific name (Helianthus) also means sun-like as Helios means "sun" and anthos means "flower". Sunflowers also get their name from following or tracking the sun, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.
Hot weather, inadequate moisture, drifting of herbicides, freezing temperatures, transplant shock, compacted soils, mower injury, and lack of nutrients are examples of factors that can cause abiotic problems. Abiotic disorders are caused by factors other than living (biotic) agents.
Grapes must be harvested at the right stage of maturity to insure high quality. There are several indicators of grape maturity. The color, size, sweetness, and flavor of the berry are the most useful indicators.