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Gary W. Knox, Fred Burkey, and Christine Kelly-Begazo

The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program (FYN) provides special educational and outreach activities directed at the community to help Floridians reduce pollution and enhance their environment by improving landscape management. The Commercial Landscape Industry Professionals program (CLIP) was developed to provide training in FYN principles to Florida's landscape professionals. CLIP was pilot-tested from 1997 to 1999 in the six-county Indian River Lagoon area of coastal east-central Florida. Teaching resources, audiovisuals, teaching outlines, and reference materials were developed to create an FYN/CLIP curriculum, which was delivered to landscape maintenance personnel through a series of training programs. In addition, the pilot program developed marketing approaches, incentives, and recognition programs for landscape professionals to encourage their participation in CLIP training programs. Evaluations of training programs and results of pre- and post-test questionnaires demonstrate the effectiveness of the FYN/CLIP program.

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Glenn D. Israel, Janice O. Easton, and Gary W. Knox

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service (FCES) teaches residents the importance of proper landscaping practices. FCES offers several educational programs that teach residents how to integrate energy and water conservation, pest management, and waste recycling practices into their home landscapes. In 1997, extension staff and volunteers planned and conducted environmental landscape management (ELM) programs resulting in >800,000 customer contacts. A survey was conducted to measure the adoption of recommended best management practices by program participants and nonparticipants. Results show that, of 39 practices examined, Master Gardener trainees increased the number of practices used by an average of 7.3, while educational seminar and publications-only participants increased by an average of 4.5 and 2.8 practices, respectively. Nonparticipants showed essentially no change. When practices are examined one at a time, the Master Gardeners made statistically significant increases in 28 of the 39 recommended practices. Educational seminar and publications-only participants made similar gains in 31 and 6 practices, respectively, and the nonparticipant comparison group made significant increases in 2 practices and decreases in 8. The results suggest that the publications-only strategy for delivering information to homeowners is less effective than strategies combining educational seminars or intensive training with relevant publications.

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Mack Thetford, Gary W. Knox, and Edwin R. Duke

Full sun trial gardens were established at two sites in northern Florida. Six U.S. native and three non-native warm season grass species were evaluated in a split-plot design. Only eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides), elliott's lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii), gulf hairawn muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and ‘Central Park' maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) showed a significant response to supplemental irrigation or fertilization. Supplemental irrigation did not influence foliage height for any of the grasses, whereas supplemental fertilization influenced foliage height only for chinese fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides). The response differences between locations were attributed in part to soil types. This study observed minimal or no response of shoot growth to supplemental irrigation or fertilization for the grass species tested, thereby affirming the broad adaptability and minimal need for inputs for these ornamental landscape plants.

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Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Keona L. Muller, Rosanna Freyre, and Zhanao Deng

Nettleleaf porterweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis) is a potentially invasive ornamental plant in Florida. Plant growth, visual quality, flowering, and seed viability were assessed for nettleleaf porterweed and eight closely related alternatives planted in northern and southern Florida. In northern Florida, ‘Mario Pollsa’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), ‘Violacea’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis), ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), ‘Red Compact’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta speciosa), and nettleleaf porterweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis) achieved high flower ratings between 4 (average to good flowering) and 5 (abundant flowering, peak bloom) during 4 or more months. Also, jamaican porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), ‘Violacea’ porterweed, ‘Red Compact’ porterweed, and nettleleaf porterweed achieved visual quality ratings between 4 and 5 (good to excellent quality) throughout most of the study. In southern Florida, the same cultivars received high flower ratings but generally for shorter periods of time. Also, ‘Violacea’ porterweed and ‘Red Compact’ porterweed consistently received visual quality ratings that were above 4 (good quality, very desirable). During the course of the 28-week study, nettleleaf porterweed produced the greatest number of spiked inflorescences with 39% to 80% seed viability. At both locations, ‘Violacea’ porterweed did not produce any viable seed and seed viability was less than 10% for ‘Mario Pollsa’ porterweed, coral porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis), and ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed.

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Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Zhanao Deng, Keona L. Nolan, and James Aldrich

A wild-type selection of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and eight cultivars were evaluated in northern and southern Florida for 144 weeks. Onset of flowering generally began by April and May in southern Florida and 4 to 8 weeks later in northern Florida. Fruit was first noted 4 to 8 weeks after most cultivars began flowering. Landscape performance and fruit production varied widely among taxa and location. ‘AKA’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, and ‘Firestorm’ heavenly bamboo did not flower or fruit in either location. Greater plant growth, survival, and fruiting were observed in northern Florida than in southern Florida. In both locations, the wild-type form of heavenly bamboo produced more fruit than ‘Alba’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Monfar’, and ‘Moyer’s Red’. Seed viability was fairly consistent among fruiting cultivars, ranging from 69% to 89%. Nuclear DNA content and ploidy analysis indicated that all nine nandina cultivars were diploids, suggesting that tetraploidy is not the genetic cause of the non-fruiting trait in ‘AKA’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, and ‘Firestorm’. Results of this study offer insight into future non-invasive heavenly bamboo breeding efforts and emphasize the importance of cultivar and geographic distinctions when regarding the invasive status of a species.

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Rosanna Freyre, Zhanao Deng, Gary W. Knox, Steven Montalvo, and Victor Zayas

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Benjamin D. Anderson, Gary W. Knox, Ann R. Blount, Cheryl L. Mackowiak, and Edward F. Gilman

Rhizoma peanut has the potential for use as an ecologically friendly groundcover or turf alternative. Little is known about height and cover characteristics of this plant, which are important ornamental considerations. The objectives of this field study were to characterize maximum average canopy height, height variability, the time to reach full canopy cover, and the time at full canopy cover of seven released and nine experimental selections of rhizoma peanut grown in full sun or under 30% shade at two North Florida locations. Greater height and a less uniform canopy were observed for shaded plants. Establishment, as measured by full canopy cover, did not occur until the second year after planting. Shade treatment had little effect on the time to reach full canopy cover or the duration of full canopy cover, indicating that rhizoma peanut will perform equally in full sun or under 30% shade. Recommended selections for ornamental use based on these variables include ‘Brooksville 67’, ‘Brooksville 68’, EX3, and EX8.

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David M. Czarnecki II, Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Rosanna Freyre, and Zhanao Deng

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Cecil T. Pounders, Eugene K. Blythe, Donna C. Fare, Gary W. Knox, and Jeff L. Sibley

This study reports on the performance of 34 clones of crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L., L. fauriei Koehne, and L. indica × L. fauriei hybrids) grown in field plots at four locations representative of different environments in the southeastern United States. Traits evaluated were spring leaf-out and initiation of flowering in the second season after field planting and plant height after 3 years of growth. Cluster analysis (Ward's method) was used for grouping and comparison of means across locations for each trait. Best linear unbiased prediction was used for estimating random effects in linear and generalized linear mixed models to better determine the general performance of the clones under a variety of environmental conditions. Each clone's trait stability was quantified using the regression of an individual genotype's performance for each of the three studied traits on an environmental index based on the trait mean for all genotypes grown in an environment. Sequence of clone leaf-out and size rankings were more stable across the environments than the sequence in which the various clones initiated flowering. L. fauriei clones and clones originating from the initial cross between L. indica and L. fauriei were generally later to leaf out, earlier to flower, and more vigorous growers than L. indica or the complex L. indica × L. fauriei clones that were evaluated. First flowering was affected by environmental variation more with interspecific hybrids than with L. fauriei and L. indica clones. Performance, particularly with respect to plant height, of several clones did not agree with previously published classifications. Information generated by this study will allow crapemyrtle breeders, landscape professionals, and consumers to better select the most appropriate crapemyrtle clone for a particular application.

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Mohammed I. Fetouh, Abdul Kareem, Gary W. Knox, Sandra B. Wilson, and Zhanao Deng

A number of privet species (Ligustrum spp.) that are important to the nursery and landscape industry have escaped cultivation and become invasive or weedy in the United States and other countries. Induced tetraploids in these species may produce new selections or cultivars with reduced or eliminated invasive potential. Applying drops of semisolid agar containing 0.1% to 0.3% colchicine and 0.2% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to newly emerged seedlings of japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.) resulted in 15.6% to 22.6% tetraploid induction. The nuclear DNA content of tetraploids was 5.31 pg/2C, 101.9% higher than that of diploids. Compared with diploid plants, tetraploids were more compact, with an average of 31.0% shorter plant height and 33.1% smaller canopy width. Tetraploids had 29.2% thicker internodes, and their leaves were 39.5% larger and 33.8% thicker, resulting in 42.1% to 24.1% greater fresh or dry leaf weights (per leaf) in tetraploids compared with diploids. Without indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) treatment, cuttings from tetraploids showed 28% lower rooting than diploids. IBA treatments improved the rooting of tetraploid cuttings, resulting in 65% rooting success. These results indicate that tetraploids can be readily induced in japanese privet and induced tetraploids show significant changes in plant growth and size, shoot growth, leaf morphology, and rooting of cuttings. The modified tetraploid induction method and the induced tetraploids are expected to be useful for producing new selections or cultivars with reduced invasive potential in japanese and other privets.