The University Trial Garden as a Tool for Evaluating and Introducing New Plant Materials

in HortTechnology

The University of Georgia trial garden has been in existence since 1982, and the method of evaluation and distribution of taxa has evolved over the years. Annual and perennial taxa are evaluated systematically, over the entire season, providing season-long summaries for each one. Annuals are evaluated every 2 weeks, and scores are based on plant performance, including foliar health, flower numbers and the appearance of disease and insect damage. Perennials are evaluated similarly, however flowering time, flowering persistence and height in the landscape are also noted. Summaries for each taxon are presented in tabular and graphic form. Many new crops have been evaluated and introduced to the floriculture industry. New crops are placed in the horticulture gardens and evaluated by garden personnel and by commercial growers and landscapers. Plants have been distributed free of charge to propagators and growers, resulting in rapid market acceptance of successful taxa.

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