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Gardeners Express Strong Interest in Organic and Sustainable Plants

Gardeners surveyed by Hawkins et al. (p. 817) indicated that they were highly interested in both organically and sustainably grown ornamental and vegetable plants. Respondents responded that they would pay 10% to 15% more for organic or sustainable plants, which indicated a strong potential market. Certain groups of people, specifically younger respondents and women, had the strongest interest in these plants. Those individuals with higher education levels and incomes indicated they were willing to pay more for organic and sustainable plants than other respondents.

Optimum Composted Cattle Manure Rate for Bulb Onion

When cultivating bulb onion with low-input chemical fertilizer, compost or manure is often the main nutrient source. Lee (p. 798) reports that 40 Mg·ha−1 beef cattle manure compost resulted in increased marketable yield. Compost allocations over 40 Mg·ha−1 did not increase onion bulb yield, but accumulated soil nutrients and reduced stands.

Fertilizer Influences Biomass Yield and Allocation in Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a species with potential as a multipurpose crop. In addition to its use in medicinal preparations, stinging nettle may be harvested for food, fiber, and forage. Agronomic studies were performed by Rutto et al. (p. 751) to facilitate adoption of stinging nettle as a specialty crop. They report the influence of nitrogen (N) level and different N and potassium combinations on biomass yield and allocation under greenhouse conditions. They concluded that N is the most important element in stinging nettle nutrition.

Weed Control in Overseeded Bermudagrass Turf Using Indaziflam

Henry et al. (p. 774) evaluated the effect of indaziflam on overseeded ryegrass establishment and crabgrass control. Perennial ryegrass cover following applications of indaziflam at 0.5 oz/acre did not differ from the untreated check, while applications of 0.5 oz/acre resulted in a 45% to 58% reduction in cover 257 days after treatment. A September application of indaziflam at 0.75 oz/acre followed by 0.5 oz/acre in March provided over 90% crabgrass control by June. Indaziflam application regimes of this nature would allow for successful fall overseeding of perennial ryegrass every 2 years and control winter annual weeds such as annual bluegrass.

Survey of Water Quality in Greenhouses and Nurseries

Physical, chemical, and biological water quality was surveyed in 24 ornamental plant greenhouses and nurseries at several sampling points. Meador et al. (p. 778) found that source water had the highest physical and microbial quality of all sampling points. However, average quality of recycled water in catchment basins or tanks often did not meet recommended levels for horticultural irrigation. Density of aerobic bacteria also increased from the water source to irrigation outlets, indicating biofilm inside lines. Results indicate a need for more effective treatment to improve water quality, particularly with recirculated irrigation.

Cover Cropping for Weed Control in Organic Vineyards

Weed control using three cover crop and two cultivation treatments was evaluated for 2 years in a newly established organic vineyard in northwestern Washington (Olmstead et al., p. 757). In the first year, weed dry weight was lowest in the alleyway of the control and offset cultivator treatments at mid-season. In the second year, winter wheat and austrian winter pea were eliminated from the respective cover crop plots by mid-season. ‘Madeline angevine’ produced more shoot growth than ‘Pinot noir précoce’, and shoot growth of both varieties in the control treatment was significantly longer than in other treatments, illustrating the importance of weed control during vineyard establishment.

Cellulosic Water and Polyacrylamide Gels Delay Poinsettia Wilting in Interiorscapes

Poinsettias are popular interiorscape plants known for their long display life; consequently, repeated waterings are needed. This process is labor-intensive and expensive. Slow-release water sources could delay plant wilting and would obviate the need for specialized planters. Cellulosic water is a gel that slowly releases water as the cellulose matrix is broken down by microorganisms. Stamps and Savage (p. 766) found that watering intervals for potted poinsettias could be increased by about 1 week for every 8 oz of cellulosic water surface-applied to the pots. Surface-applied hydrated polyacrylamide gel extended days to wilt in a similar manner.

Rootstock Effects on Grafted Tomato Fruit Quality

Grafting with resistant rootstocks can be used as an effective tool for controlling soilborne diseases in organic heirloom tomato production. However, it is unknown whether grafting affects composition and sensory attributes of heirloom tomatoes. Barrett et al. (p. 804) report that the use of rootstocks did not significantly affect the soluble solids content, pH, total titratable acidity, or vitamin C content of heirloom tomato fruit. The results of consumer sensory analysis of the influence of grafting on appearance, acceptability, and flavor of tomato fruit were inconsistent in this 2-year study.

Resistance in Taro Germplasm to Phytophthora Leaf Blight

Miyasaka et al. (p. 838) evaluated 119 taro varieties from Asia, Hawai‘i, and several South Pacific Islands over 12 consecutive years for yield and resistance to corm rots and phytophthora leaf blight in Hawai‘i. Five varieties (Dirratengadik, Merii, Ngesuas, Ochelochel, Sawa Bastora) had superior yields and significantly lower disease severity ratings for blight and rots. Two popular commercial varieties from Hawai‘i (Bun Long, Maui Lehua) had relatively high disease severity levels and yielded poorly, suggesting that conventional breeding of taro to improve blight resistance could enhance yields of commercial taro varieties.

Hybrid Bluegrass vs. Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue under Reduced Maintenance

In transition-zone environments, cool-season turfgrasses are susceptible to heat and drought stresses. Recently, attention has been given to hybrid bluegrass as an alternative to traditional kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. A study was conducted at Padova University in Italy to compare establishment and performance of tall fescue (‘Apache’, ‘Regiment’, ‘Murray’), kentucky bluegrass (‘Cynthia’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Geronimo’), and hybrid bluegrass (‘Solar Green’, ‘Thermal Blue’, ‘Thermal Blue Blaze’) under reduced-input maintenance. Fiorio et al. (p. 810) found that tall fescue performed better than kentucky bluegrass or hybrid bluegrass; however, the latter may be used instead of kentucky bluegrass if sown in autumn.

Low Rates of Nitrogen Produce High-quality Landscape-grown Herbaceous Perennials

Fertilizer guidelines for herbaceous perennials often are defined to achieve peak growth, not optimum plant quality. Plant growth parameters and quality were examined for five herbaceous perennials in landscape beds supplied with nitrogen (N) fertilizer at five rates. Some species required an excess of 12 lb/1000 ft2 N per year to reach maximum size, chlorophyll content, and shoot biomass. However, Shurberg et al. (p. 787) found that low levels of N fertilization (2 to 4 lb/1000 ft2 N per year) produced good to excellent quality plants. Basing fertilizer rates on quality rather than growth reduces the potential for excess fertilizer to leach.

Rooting Winter Cuttings of Heller’s Japanese Holly

Heller’s japanese holly, a dwarf variety dating back to the 1930s, is still grown by commercial nurseries for landscape use in USDA hardiness zones 5b to 8a. An auxin treatment traditionally has been recommended for rooting cuttings. Blythe and Sibley (p. 771) found that terminal stem cuttings taken in winter rooted readily both with and without a 1-second basal quick-dip in auxin solution. Although treatment of cuttings with auxin was found to be unnecessary, auxin treatment resulted in larger root systems, which could allow earlier transplanting into larger nursery containers.

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