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Natural swimming pools (NSPs) rely on the interaction of bog vegetation, bacteria, and substrate to maintain water quality. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) levels in NSPs are critical because of their involvement in eutrophication. We conducted a 15-week greenhouse study to address the significant literature gap regarding nutrient removal capabilities of substrates and vegetation in the low-nutrient environment of NSPs. We used mass balance analyses to compare the performances of four substrates [river gravel (control), recycled glass, expanded clay, expanded shale] and two plant species [blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) and lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus)] under two flow conditions: free water surface and subsurface flow. At the end of the experiment, except for the recycled glass group, all other substrate groups reduced water nitrate (NO3) levels to less than 30 mg⋅L−1, the standard of the 2011 Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsentwicklung Landschaftsbau (FLL) guidelines. However, only the expanded clay group closely approached the P standard (≤0.01 mg⋅L−1). Expanded clay and expanded shale demonstrated potential as substrates for NSP bogs. The final aboveground biomass dry weight was strongly negatively correlated with the final NO3 and P water concentrations. However, direct plant uptake proved insufficient to remove all nutrient inputs, especially for P. Except for the recycled glass group (34%), a significant portion of N (79%–90%) from total N added was removed by aboveground biomass. However, P uptake by biomass was substantially lower (18%–37%). With acceptable vigor and biomass accumulation, blue flag iris may be a suitable species for vegetated NSPs, whereas lizard’s tail is not because of uncertain establishment. Compared with controlling N, managing P for FLL standards in NSPs will be more challenging. Our work begins to fill the essential gap in the NSP literature regarding nutrient removal capabilities of substrates and vegetation. Future work should continue to study alternative substrates and plant species for P removal, particularly in field conditions and over longer periods.

Open Access

The US landscape industry consists of 632,000 businesses with >1 million persons employed in 2022. The most common service that landscape service providers (LSPs) perform is pest management. Over the past 25 years, LSPs have been challenged to adopt more holistic approaches to pest management via the use of nonchemical and less toxic chemical controls. Integrated pest management (IPM), specifically scouting, may be a useful approach for LSPs to manage pests more sustainably and market new services, such as biological control releases. Scant literature is available on LSP scouting practices or consumer acceptance of scouting services. The goal of this study was to determine if IPM-aware consumers were more likely to purchase a scouting program offered by an LSP. An online survey was distributed across the United States through a third-party panel service. The final sample included 928 usable responses. Data were analyzed using a binary logistic regression model. Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported having some knowledge or were very knowledgeable of IPM. Respondents 65 years of age and older were 13.1% points less likely to purchase a scouting service. Education level did not influence purchase likelihood. Consumer knowledge of IPM had a positive influence on the purchase likelihood, respondents with “some knowledge” (5.6%) and “very knowledgeable” (8.6%) were more likely to buy IPM services. Further, if the consumer was open to purchasing the scouting program, it is plausible that they might be more willing to allow an LSP to use a combination of chemical and nonchemical methods to manage pests.

Open Access

A significant challenge faced by the US Pacific Northwest pear industry is the limited availability of diverse pear cultivars beyond conventional selections. This scant availability of new pear options that align with consumers’ consistent quality preferences falls short of their expectations and jeopardizes potential demand growth, which poses a threat to the industry’s long-term economic viability. We use a combined approach of sensory evaluation and contingent valuation to uncover preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for specific pear cultivars, encompassing both novel and traditional types. The outcomes reveal that the key determinants driving WTP are taste and texture attributes. Particularly for early-season pears, a greater liking score for flavor, firmness, and juiciness corresponds to an elevated WTP. For late-season pears, the range of quality attributes expands to encompass overall appearance and sweetness, in addition to the aforementioned factors. Participants who use social media to access information about pears exhibit a heightened WTP. These findings provide valuable insights for the industry to consider revitalizing existing pear orchards through the incorporation of alternatives to conventional pear cultivars.

Open Access

Invasive and nuisance plants, both introduced as well as native, have negatively impacted native flora and fauna and altered hydrological processes. Economic damage estimates range from $1.4 trillion globally to as high as $120 billion in the United States. Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) is native to at least 37 states in the United States. A medium-sized tree, eastern redcedar is commonly used as a landscape ornamental given its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions and its tolerance to many environmental pollutants. A tenacious conifer, eastern redcedar is valued for its landscape value and other uses, including wildlife habitat, lumber, medicines, and more. However, with wildfires suppressed and prescribed fires often discouraged, eastern redcedar has grown outside its original habitat and is an example of the term “range change.” This species’ predisposition to be opportunistic has allowed it to encroach on both abandoned and cultivated fields as well as grasslands. When the tree exhibits nuisance tendencies, control measures are warranted including prescribed fire, mechanical control, and herbicides. Ultimately, integrated control measures culminate in the best long-term results. The objective of this article was to describe eastern redcedar’s desirable ornamental features as well as landscape and utilitarian uses for humans and animals but also outline that it can be weedy to invasive depending on several factors discussed herein.

Open Access

Huanglongbing (HLB), an important citrus disease, causes many physiological and anatomical changes such as phloem dysfunction, imbalance in carbohydrate partitioning, decrease in leaf chlorophyll, and nutritional imbalances in the affected trees, ultimately resulting in tree decline. In Florida, HLB is associated with phloem-limited bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), and it is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri). No cure for HLB has been found, and most of the HLB management efforts have been focused on vector control or exclusion, improved nutrient management, and the use of HLB-tolerant rootstocks. Individual protective covers (IPCs) are a type of psyllid exclusion tool that is increasingly used by growers for HLB management of newly planted citrus trees. However, no studies have evaluated their influence on citrus tree physiology. This study investigated the effect of IPCs and different rates of insecticides on CLas infection and different physiological attributes, including soluble (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and nonsoluble (starch) carbohydrates, leaf chlorophyll, and leaf macronutrients and micronutrients over 2.5 years of field growth. The treatments (tree cover and insecticides rate) were applied in newly planted ‘Valencia’ sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) trees grafted on ‘Cleopatra’ (C. reticulata) rootstock. The IPCs prevented CLas transmission and accumulation of foliar starch, sucrose, and glucose commonly associated with HLB. IPC-covered trees had more leaf chlorophyll-a and chlorophyll-b than noncovered trees and more leaf nitrogen (N) and zinc (Zn). Our findings suggest that IPCs effectively prevent CLas infection and maintain the physiological health of young citrus trees under heavy HLB pressure. Therefore, IPCs are recommended as an important component of integrated pest management for this devastating disease.

Open Access

Florists use design theory to create arrangements that they assume will be pleasing to consumers, thus increasing purchase rates and spending. However, certain elements of design theory and their relationship with consumer acceptance and spending have not been empirically tested. Using mixed logit models and eye-tracking technology, we investigated whether consumer preferences support three key elements of existing floral design theory: line, color, and form. We also examined consumer preferences for floral species, which, although not a traditional element of design theory, may influence consumer purchasing decisions. Our findings challenge existing design theory because consumers did not uniformly favor it. Instead, they valued symmetrical form, arrangements with similar (but not identical) colors, and, surprisingly, the presence of roses in an arrangement was the most crucial factor in capturing consumer attention and increasing the willingness to pay.

Open Access

Methods to evaluate soil water repellency (SWR) require extensive studies on field soils and are subject to the heterogeneity of SWR throughout the soil profile as well as plant/soil interactions. The objectives of this study were to develop a synthetic method to create hydrophobic sand, and to determine if that hydrophobic sand would affect the establishment of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy, cv. Tifeagle) sprigs. Two techniques were developed to render sand hydrophobic: soap:sand method (hydrophobic sand; HSS) and sand:peat method (hydrophobic sand and read sedge peat; HSP). Both HSS and HSP remained severely hydrophobic at 0 cm depth for only 7 d, and at the 1- to 6-cm depth for 77 continuous days, as determined by water drop penetration time. Bermudagrass establishment, root growth, or shoot growth in two greenhouse experiments with four root zone substrates–HSS, HSP, WSAND (wettable sand), and WSP (wettable sand and reed sedge peat)—were not consistent. In conclusion, both HSS and HSP were shown to be safe and effective methods to synthetically produce hydrophobic sand for potential use in laboratory research, but further evaluation is needed to determine the feasibility of using HSS and HSP for turfgrass growth evaluations.

Open Access

Susceptibility to low-temperature injury and diseases is a major concern associated with ornamental camellia production. To comprehensively understand their growth, cold-hardiness, flowering, and disease resistance, 24 camellia (Camellia spp. and hybrids) cultivars and selections were evaluated in McMinnville, TN, USA (USDA plant hardiness zone 7a). During Mar 2011, camellias were planted in the field plots. Plant height and canopy width were measured annually from 2011 to 2019, and low-temperature damage was recorded in 2014 and 2023. The flowering duration was recorded each year from 2011 to 2020. The Camellia Yellow Mottle Virus, monochaetia leaf spot (Monochaetia sp.), edema, flower blight (Ciborinia camelliae), and flower spot (Botrytis cinerea) severity (% affected) were evaluated from Oct to Nov in 2016 and 2017. The season-long area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) was calculated. Cultivars Arctic Snow and Pink Icicle exhibited the greatest height, and Autumn Spirit, Elaine Lee, Arctic Snow, and Survivor had the widest canopy width, whereas Shishigashira had the lowest height and canopy width. ‘April Remembered’, ‘April Rose’, ‘Arctic Snow’, ‘Ashton’s Ballet’, ‘Autumn Carnival’, ‘Autumn Spirit’, ‘Elaine Lee’, ‘Survivor’, and C. chekiangoleosa selection were least affected by winter low temperatures, whereas ‘Korean Snow’, ‘One Alone’, C. sasanqua selection, ‘Pink Icicle’, and ‘Shishigashira’ were severely damaged. ‘Arctic Snow’ flowered most reliably (6 of 8 years), whereas ‘April Remembered’, ‘April Rose’, ‘Ashton’s Ballet’, ‘Autumn Spirit’, and ‘Survivor’ flowered five times. ‘Korean Fire’, ‘Classic Pink’, ‘Maroon Mist’, and ‘Spring’s Promise’ displayed the highest virus severity and AUDPC. ‘Arctic Snow’, C. sasanqua selection, and the C. chekiangoleosa selection had no viral symptoms. C. sasanqua selection and ‘Red Aurora’ were significantly impacted by edema disorder, with severity ratings of ∼43% and 26%, respectively. Monochaetia leaf spot severity was highest in ‘Red Aurora’ and ‘Spring’s Promise’, whereas ‘Anacostia’, ‘Arctic Snow’, ‘Ashton’s Ballet’, ‘Autumn Spirit’, ‘Classic Pink’, ‘Kuro Delight’, ‘One Alone’, ‘Pink Icicle’, ‘Shishigashira’, and ‘Survivor’ exhibited the least monochaetia leaf spot severity and AUDPC. Flower blight and flower spot were observed only in ‘Arctic Snow’ and ‘Survivor’. These findings will aid landscapers and nursery growers with selecting and managing camellia cultivars effectively.

Open Access

Increasingly, consumers are indicating that they would be willing to pay a premium for floral designs from a more sustainable floral provider. During the past several years, more environmentally sustainable floral foams and foam alternative media have been developed as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional floral foams comprised of phenol-formaldehyde plastics. Phenol-formaldehyde foam breaks down into microplastics, which ends up in landfills, soils, and waterways—including the planet’s oceans—if not disposed of properly. Eco-friendly foam alternatives are made from natural materials such as basalt minerals and coconut (Cocos nucifera) fiber (coir). The objective of this study was to investigate eco-friendly floral substrates for their commercial viability in the floral industry by analyzing the vase life of five of the most commonly use cut flower species in traditional vs. eco-friendly foam alternatives. Flowers selected for the experiment included ‘Freedom’ rose (Rosa hybrid), ‘Orange Queen’ alstroemeria (Alstroemeria hybrid), ‘Atlantis Yellow’ chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflorum), ‘Pink Nelson’ carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), and ‘Million Star’ baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculate). The flowers were selected based on their importance to the floral industry with regard to their overall volume of use in floral arrangements and volume of production. The findings from this study indicate the traditional phenol-formaldehyde–based floral foam maintained vase life longer for a majority of the flowers tested when compared with basalt floral fiber medium and coir pouches. However, the basalt floral fiber medium maintained a vase life of more than 7 days for all flowers tested, indicating it is an adequate medium to use in retail floral design production. The coir pouch did not maintain the customer-expected vase life of 7 days for all but one of the cultivars tested. This indicates that coir pouches are generally not suitable for traditional everyday retail floral design use, but could potentially be acceptable for special occasion designs in which the consumer prefers or specifies a more sustainable approach and/or can accept a shorter vase life.

Open Access