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School Children's Relationship to Plants in Finland

Modern children in Western societies are losing their direct contacts with nature. Laaksoharju and Rappe (p. 689) examined the relationship of 9 to 10-year-old Finnish school children with the green environment and vegetation. Data were gathered in Spring 2006 via two questionnaires in Helsinki and Paltamo to determine how well rural and urban children, and boys and girls, are connected to nature. The authors found that the relationship to nature is stronger in rural surroundings. In particular, urban boys did not necessarily consider themselves to be part of nature and did not see that vegetation had any meaning for them.

Establishment of Florida Shrubs via Low-volume Irrigation

Previous research determined that three common shrub species could be established from 3-gal containers in the Florida landscape under natural rainfall when irrigated with 3 L of water every 4 days in USDA hardiness zones 8b and 9a, or every 2 days in zone 10b until first roots reached the canopy edge (approximately 20 weeks after planting). Shober et al. (p. 751) found that 20 weeks of low-volume irrigation was effective for the establishment of a variety of container-grown Florida native and non-native shrubs, provided that they are monitored for symptoms of drought stress for 2 years after planting.

Herbicides for Roadside Establishment of Seashore Dropseed

Seashore dropseed is a salt-tolerant coastal grass currently utilized as a native roadside re-vegetation species in Hawaii. Despite achieving success as a roadside groundcover species, weed control has been problematic due to the lack of selective weed control tools. To develop a cost-effective weed management protocol for transplanted seashore dropseed, Baldos et al. (p. 772) assessed its tolerance to applications of roadside right-of-way herbicides and table salt. They identified oxadiazon and oxyfluorfen as safe for pre-emergence weed control, while sulfosufuron was identified as safe for post-emergence sedge control.

Senior Quality of Life and Health Scores Higher for Gardeners

Adults aged 50 years and over represent a growing population in the U.S. This age group often adopts more sedentary lifestyles and is in need of preventative health programming. Sommerfeld et al. (p. 705) used the Nutrition and Life Satisfaction Survey to investigate gardening as a preventative health intervention by comparing older adult gardeners to nongardening older adults based on their perceptions of personal life satisfaction, personal physical health, and perceived health. In all comparisons, gardeners had more positive scores when compared to nongardeners.

Even New Gardeners Eat More Vegetables

Over one-half of older U.S. adults do not consume five or more daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Sommerfeld et al. (p. 711) used an online survey to investigate differences in fruit and vegetable consumption among long-term gardeners, newer gardeners, and non-gardeners in adults over the age of 50 years. They found that even newer gardeners were more likely to consume vegetables versus non-gardeners, but no differences were found in fruit consumption. Attention should be given to developing gardening programs attractive to older adults as a tool to improve health and nutrition.

Containerized Strawberry Plants Evaluated in Australia

The productivity of containerized and bare-rooted (BR) plants of strawberry was investigated in subtropical Queensland, Australia. Five sets of experiments compared plants in small 75-cm3 cells with BR plants, and six sets compared plants in large 125-cm3 cells with BR plants. Menzel and Toldi (p. 786) found that plants in small cells had lower yields than BR plants, and plants in large cells had yields similar to BR plants. They suggest that containerized plants are not economically viable in Queensland under the current price structure and growing system.

Broad Mites Found on Primocane-fruiting Blackberries

Broad mites had not been reported in blackberry. They were thought to be unable to survive temperate winters. Vincent et al. (p. 718) found broad mites on primocane-fruiting blackberry in organic production in Arkansas. Broad mites reduced leaf area and survived the winter in Arkansas, but some cultivation practices influenced broad mite populations. Broad mite numbers were greater on some genotypes than on others. Prime-Ark 45® may be susceptible to this pest.

Virtual Grower Software Helps Calculate Greenhouse Heating Costs

In many parts of the U.S., heating a greenhouse is second only to labor in ongoing costs of production. It is often difficult to get accurate estimates on how much heat is needed. Frantz et al. (p. 778) describe a computer model that allows users to build greenhouses and simulate heating needs in 230 U.S. locations. Users can define their conditions and generate heating cost estimates for up to 1 year, or make simple changes to determine the savings opportunities. Four case studies are described that assess the accuracy of the model in commercial greenhouses.

Corn Gluten Meal as an Herbicide for Squash

Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a non-selective pre-emergence or pre-plant-incorporated organic herbicide that inhibits root development, decreases shoot length, and reduces plant survival. Webber et al. (p. 696) investigated the impact of CGM applications on direct-seeded squash plant survival and yields. Although broadcast applications of CGM applications significantly reduced crop safety and yields, banded applications (CGM placed between rows) provided greater crop safety and yields. CGM, in a banded application, has potential use as an organic pre-emergence or pre-plant-incorporated herbicide in a wide range of direct-seeded organic vegetables.

Cost of Grafted Tomato Production in the U.S.

U.S. tomato growers are interested in the cost of grafted transplant propagation to determine the relevance of this technology for domestic production. Producing grafted tomato seedlings can add variable expenses through additional labor, materials, and seed costs. Rivard et al. (p. 794) report that the production of grafted transplants added $0.46 to $0.74 per plant depending on general transplant production requirements and other factors at two commercial operations. Grafted tomato propagation may be an emerging enterprise in the U.S., and the potential benefit as well as a detailed account of variable expenses related to grafting is provided.

Trinexapac-ethyl and Overseeding Do Not Affect Traffic Tolerance of Bermudagrass Varieties

Four bermudagrass varieties (Quickstand, Tifway 419, Riviera, and Yukon) were evaluated for tolerance to simulated traffic in a sand-based system. The effects of trinexapac-ethyl (TE), a plant growth regulator used to produce a denser, compact plant, and three rates of overseeded perennial ryegrass were also investigated as sub-plot treatments. Deaton and Williams (p. 724) observed no increase in traffic tolerance due to the main effects of TE or overseeding. Variety was the only parameter observed to positively affect traffic tolerance of bermudagrass.

Student Perceptions of Problem-solving Skills in a Landscape Horticulture Case Study

Problem-based learning has become a popular pedagogical strategy. Woline and VanDerZanden (p. 820) reported on student performance when completing online, ill-structured case study problems based on a residential landscape. Students understood the need for developing problem-solving skills, but they were more concerned with obtaining the right answer than with developing a strategy for solving problems. Students rated determining the best solution the most important, 4.75 in 2007 and 4.90 in 2008 (where 1= least important and 5= most important). They rated determining what standards and judgment criteria should be used to evaluate possible solutions the least important.

Production Costs Calculated for Growing Woody Plant Liners

Fixed and variable cost inputs are modeled by Jeffers et al. (p. 804) for three common liner production operations including field ground bed, polyhouse-covered ground bed, and polyhouse-covered container systems. Costs are projected for familiar woody ornamental liner species in each of deciduous shade tree, broadleaf evergreen, and needle-leaf evergreen liner categories. Their models illustrate how individual plant production costs vary due to available growing space and by differing inputs required within each system. Advantages of altering crop planting densities as well as pros and cons of each liner cropping system are discussed.

Deer Repellent Efficacy Tested on Japanese Yews

Protecting ornamental plants, crops, and orchards from white-tailed deer continues to be a challenge for growers and homeowners. Curtis and Boulanger (p. 730) compared the duration and efficacy of six commercial and two experimental deer repellents for protecting yews. Deer avoided repellents containing putrescent egg solids up to 6 weeks, while other repellents tested, including those with pachysandra extracts, failed after 4 weeks. After 8 weeks during winter, all repellents showed an average of >30% reduction in surface area, an amount of shrub loss that would be unacceptable to most homeowners.

Stolon Carbohydrates Affect First Year Green-up of Bermudagrass

Macolino et al. (p. 758) report that the water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) content of stolons had a direct influence on spring green-up in nine seeded bermudagrass varieties in the first year of establishment. The authors regressed days needed to achieve 80% green cover (D80) in spring against November and March values of WSC content and found a significant inverse relationship between November and March WSC content in stolons and D80. These results suggest that bermudagrass varieties with high WSC in stolons recover more rapidly from dormancy during establishment than those with low WSC content.

Broad Industry Coalition Has Positively Impacted Kentucky Horticulture

Ingram (p. 817) describes extension education methods used to assess the need for and to assist in the organization of the Kentucky Horticulture Council (KHC), a coalition of 13 industry and professional associations related to horticulture. KHC has provided leadership in industry strategic planning, promoted opportunities for expansion of the horticulture industry, educated state agriculture, legislative, and university leaders, and positioned the industry to access emerging resources. KHC can continue to be an important force for the industry, but any such coalition requires strong, committed leadership and operating funds from stable sources.

Tomato Production Using Crucifer Cover Crops for Weed Suppression

Bangarwa et al. (p. 764) evaluated the economics of tomato production associated with crucifer cover crops under low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and virtually impermeable film (VIF) mulches followed by hand weeding and compared those with methyl bromide under LDPE mulch. Cover crops were not effective in suppressing weeds. Net returns relative to methyl bromide were ≥$54/acre in plots that were covered with LDPE mulch and hand-weeded throughout the growing season, regardless of the crucifer cover crops. VIF mulch increased the cost of production over LDPE mulch, which resulted in a loss of ≥$181/acre in net return relative to methyl bromide.

Production of Seaside Alder Using Controlled-release Fertilizer

Nitrate-nitrogen contamination of groundwater is a challenge for sustainable nursery crop production. Nursery production of nitrogen-fixing nodulated plants could reduce nitrogen fertilizer use and result in more efficient use of applied nitrogen; however, nodulation is sensitive to applied nitrogen. Beddes and Kratsch (p. 740) demonstrated that vigorous nodulated plants of seaside alder can be produced with minimal nitrate leaching by applying controlled-release fertilizer at lower than manufacturer-prescribed rates. Seaside alder is a rare, nitrogen-fixing species that has been found to be well suited for landscape use. It can be produced easily from cuttings or seed by commercial growers.

Reconditioning Perlite During Hot Water Treatment Reduces Costs

Planting greenhouse tomatoes in used perlite without reconditioning, desalination, and disinfection is risky and frequent replacement is costly. Reconditioning and treating perlite with hot water for recycling provide favorable solutions and save natural resources. Hanna (p. 746) reports on three recycling methods developed in the past 5 years. The no stir/sift then disinfect method combines perlite reconditioning with hot water treatment. It reduced labor input by 49% and 81% compared to the stir then disinfect method and the sift then disinfect method, respectively. The same method reduced recycling cost by 22% and 50% compared to the other two methods, respectively.

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