Selecting Species to Develop a Field-grown Wildflower Sod

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Graduate research assistant, Department of Horticulture, Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375.
  • | 2 Professor, Department of Horticulture, Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375.

Twenty-nine annual and perennial wildflower species were evaluated for sod development based on ratings for appearance, root mat density, and stability following undercutting and storage and performance after replanting. Species selection was based on the lack of a large taproot, adaptability to the southeastern climate, flowering period, and potential for surviving root undercutting. Species were seeded in fall and spring, and leaf area and root mass samples were compared. Wildflower sod was undercut at a 5 cm (2 in) depth in March (fall-seeded plots) and May (spring-seeded plots) and then stored on clear plastic for 7 weeks and replanted. Fall-planted species had a higher survival rate than spring-planted species. Species selected for sod development were Achillea millefolium L., Chrysanthemum leucanthemum L., Coreopsis lanceolata L., Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt., Gaillardia aristata Foug., Monarda citriodora Cerv. ex Lag., Rudbeckia hirta L., and Verbena tenuisecta Briq. To reduce damage to aerial growth during harvesting, paclobutrazol, daminozide, and uniconazole were tested on eight greenhouse-grown wildflower species. Uniconazole had limited growth control over Rudbeckia hirta, Monarda citriodora, Coreopsis lanceolata, and Coreopsis tinctoria.

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