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H. Ferris and M. V. McKenry

Abstract

The spatial distribution of nematodes in the soil of nine California vineyards was surveyed in summer and winter months. Soil samples were taken in the vine row and between rows at 15 cm depth intervals. There were no measurable seasonal changes in nematode distribution. Variation in the distribution of genera amongst vineyards was related to soil physical conditions and vineyard cultural practices. In general, highest concentrations of Meloidogyne spp. and Xiphinema spp. were in the upper 60 cm of soil in the vine row, whereas Tylenchulus semipenetrans was more deeply and uniformly distributed throughout the root zone.

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Emily K. Smith and S. L. Hamilton

Children's gardening programs are growing in popularity. Among public gardens, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) hosts the oldest children's gardening program in the United States. Founded in 1914, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Children's Gardening Program (BBG CGP) has succeeded in involving a steady flow of children year after year, creating an environment where children have the opportunity to interact with nature. Over 35,000 children have participated in the BBG CGP since its inception in 1914. A mail survey was conducted of alumni of the BBG CGP to identify how the program has affected their adult lives. A random sample of 700 participants was selected from the BBG CGP alumni records. The survey consisted of five major sections: 1) current gardening interest; 2) involvement with public gardens; 3) current involvement with children's gardening programs; 4) childhood experiences in the BBG CGP; and 5) demographic variables. Preliminary results suggest that the participants' childhood development and learning skills gained from this program have played an important role in their adult lives and that they regard the BBG CGP as having great value in their lives. Additional results and impacts of the program will be presented.

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M.P. Garber, J. M. Ruter, J.T. Midcap, and K. Bondari

A 2001 survey of 102 nurseries that were members of the Georgia Green Industry Association was conducted to assess irrigation practices of container ornamental nurseries. Mean nursery size was 64 acres (26 ha) and mean annual revenue was about $3 million. About 50% of the irrigation water was from wells and the other 50% came from surface sources, such as collection basins. Irrigation in smaller containers, including #1, #3, and #5, was applied primarily by overhead methods, while larger containers (#7, #15, #25) made extensive use of direct application methods, such as drip or spray stakes. Frequency of irrigation in the summer growing months was about three times that of the winter season. Georgia nurseries use irrigation practices suggested in Southern Nursery Association best management practices, including collection of runoff water (48%), cyclic irrigation (44%), watering in the morning (92%), and grass strips between the production beds and drainage areas (60%).

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C. Catanzaro and S. Bhatti

Twenty-one cultivars of poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. Ex Klotzsch] were evaluated by respondents who voluntarily completed a paper survey (n=293) at TSU. Rooted cuttings from five major U.S. suppliers were potted and grown during the preceding 4 months according to standard industry practices. Cultivars were displayed without their names for the survey, and respondents were asked to rate each cultivar on a Likert-type scale, where 1=strongly dislike and 5=strongly like. The top eight rated cultivars (mean > 3.9) were all traditional red forms, which included the new cultivar `Red Dragon', followed in descending preference by `Christmas Spirit', `Freedom Red', `Cortez Electric Fire', `Prestige Red', `Premium Red', `Novia Red', and `Candlelight'. For each cultivar, the price respondents indicated they would be willing to pay was highly correlated with the Likert-type scale score. When asked about purchases in the prior year, 89% of respondents bought at least one red poinsettia. Retail outlets and prices paid varied among respondents. Color was by far the most popular criterion respondents used to determine whether they like or dislike a cultivar, followed by foliage and price. Consistent with recent trends for value-added products, consumers indicated that they would be willing to pay significantly more for a purple-painted plant with glitter than for a white-flowered plant that was otherwise of comparable quality. These results suggest that, while red poinsettias continue to dominate the poinsettia market, niche markets exist for unique flower and foliage traits created through breeding and through enhancements such as paint and glitter.

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Anne M. Hanchek

Why do people visit the grounds of a botanical garden or arboretum? What draws them to that “experience of nature”? What can we do as horticulturists, landscape architects, and educators to make garden areas more appealing and fulfilling to visitors? The Prairie Interpretive Committee of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum asked these questions in 1991 as it convened to analyze the current and future status of the Arboretum's Bennett/Johnson Prairie. To understand visitor usage and needs, Arboretum members were surveyed about frequency of visits, reasons for visiting, specific visitor services, and suggestions for improvements. Among the 151 responses, the major reasons for visiting were the pleasures of walking, observing, and being at peace. “Open”, “wild,” and “natural” were common key words. There was keen interest in native plants and their historical role as well. Sitting areas, maps, path markers, plant labels, and self-guided tours were the primary requests for improvement. A high percentage found the demonstration area interesting and useful. The Interpretive Committee used this research to guide the landscape architect, create a brochure, and develop an integrative master plan for the prairie area.

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J.J. Ferguson and G.D. Israel

During Summer 1996, a disproportionate systematic sampling procedure was used to obtain an initial sample of 955 citrus growers from the mailing lists of extension agents in 27 counties. Of these, 451 usable responses were returned (67% response rate), providing an expected error of ± 4.3% with a 95% confidence interval. Surveyed growers obtained weather information during the 1995–96 winter from multiple sources, including the National Weather Service (NWS) (48%), commercial radio/TV (48%), Extension offices (18%), private meteorologists (9%), and other sources (10%). After the NWS discontinued agricultural freeze forecasts in Apr. 1996, growers indicated they would rely on commercial radio/TV (72%); private meteorologists (20%), and their County Extension Office (32%) for weather reports. When deciding which cold protection method to use, respondents adopted Extension (35%) and consultants' recommendations (30%), assessed the costs and benefits of cold protection (32%), and assessed risks based on grove history (38%). Cold protection methods used by percent respondents included: flooding groves (22%); grove heaters (2%); wind machines (2%); permanent overhead irrigation systems (2%); ground microsprinklers (76%); in-tree microsprinklers (18%); tree wraps (13%); and tree wraps or covers with microsprinklers (6%). Seventy-three percent of growers reported that their cold protection methods were very effective for a freeze with minimum temperatures of –2°C for at least 4 hr, with 12% and 3% reporting cold protection measures being very effective at –7 and –9°C, respectively.

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C. Catanzaro, S. Bhatti, S. Muhammad, and S. Abdullah

A high quality finished plant from each of 22 cultivars was displayed at a poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch] open house at Tennessee State University in Dec. 2004. The cultivars represented the range of flower colors, flower traits, and plant vigor available through the major suppliers Dummen USA, Ecke, Fischer, and Oglevee. Attendees of the open house completed a written survey (n = 101) in which they were asked to rate their cultivar preferences. Cultivars (identified only by an alphabetic letter) were rated by respondents on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike to 5 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean ≥4) included `Freedom Red', `Premium Red', `Nutcracker White', `Early Orion', `Cortez Electric Fire', and the new cultivars `Visions of Grandeur' and `Kris Krinkle'. Cultivars were also rated on the price range potential consumers were willing to pay. Respondents were willing to pay the most to purchase `Visions of Grandeur', which is a vigorous cultivar with large, pillowy, peach-colored bracts. Overall, traditional red cultivars and large, non-red cultivars were preferred. Most of the respondents indicated that they purchased red plants, and color was the most important selection criterion. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, women prefer some alternative inflorescence colors and unique bract shapes more than men.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton*

The success of long-term vegetable production and maintenance of environmental quality is dependent on soil quality. Indicators of soil quality include cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic matter (OM), carbon (C), pH, and the number and community structure of soil organisms. The use of appropriate compost has been shown to improve soil quality and enhance the response to fertilizer, therefore improving growth and yield of vegetable crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the chemical and biological properties of soil in response to compost use in conventional vegetables production systems. A survey was conducted on 5 farms (three in Immokalee, and one each in Delray Beach, and Clewiston) growing tomato, pepper, and specialty vegetables. Most of the farms were applying composted yard trimming waste alone or in combination with biosolids or horse manure at application rates of between 7 to 112 Mg·ha-1 once a year. Soil samples were taken from composted and non-composted areas in each farm during Feb. and Mar. 2002. Soil pH, OM, C, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, MN and Zn were higher in the composted areas compared with the non-composted areas for each farm. CEC values in composted areas were double those in non-composted areas. Most importantly, application of compost enhanced the overall soil microbial activity as determined by total microorganism number, SRD (species richness diversity), and TSRD (total species richness diversity) of six functional groups including heterotrophic aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, pseudomonads, and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, in all the participating farms. The greatest soil quality improvement was seen in soils receiving the highest rates of compost for the longest time.

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Kathleen M. Kelley, Bridget K. Behe, John A. Biernbaum, and Kenneth L. Poff

of the products named nor criticism of similar ones not named. We thank Mike Rutter and Judy L. Pfaff for their statistical support. We also thank the Garden Days coordinators at Michigan State Univ. for permission to conduct the survey and the

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Bridget K. Behe

Michigan fresh asparagus marketers were interested in profiling asparagus consumers in the Northeast and Midwest with regard to preferences, purchases, preparation, and consumption. A computer-assisted survey was conducted with a total of 1126 respondents representative of the population on average in 12 selected states in the Northeast and Midwest. Even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume three servings of vegetables daily, on average over the 2 weeks before taking the survey, 62% did not. Only 39% of the persons in the sample ate fresh asparagus in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Twenty-five percent ate it steamed on the stovetop. The conjoint analysis accounted for 63% of the variance in asparagus preference with attribute relative importance decreasing from price (42.0%), to brand (29.9%), to spear diameter (23.5%), to spear segment (4.6%). Light users consumed fresh asparagus at least once in the 4 weeks before the survey, during the peak fresh asparagus season. The potential to increase consumption in this large group (28% of the sample but 71% of asparagus consumers) is tremendous. They placed high relative importance on price per pound and will likely be the more price-sensitive group. If their consumption can be increased by one more asparagus consumption event per month, it could increase asparagus demand by 14%. Results show there is good market potential for a prepackaged fresh asparagus product in the Northeast and Midwest.