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Kimberly A. Poff and Jayne M. Zajicek

Uniconizole has great potential for use in both the landscape and nursery industry for improved plant quality, more efficient maintenance techniques, and increased water conservation. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of uniconizole and methods of application on growth, development, and water use of asiatic jasmine and vinca. Treatments consisted of 1.25 mg A.I., 2.5 mg A.I., or 5 mg A.I. applied in a 25 ml spray or 25 ml soil drench. Another study was conducted to determine if the growth regulation effects could be overcome by direct application of GA. GA3 and GA4+7 were applied at rates of 2.5 mg A.I., 12.5 mg A.I., or 25 mg A.I. in a 25 ml solution after growth reduction had occurred. The 5 mg A.I. uniconizole spray and drench treatments were most effective in reducing growth and whole plant transpiration for asiatic jasmine and vinca respectively. Transpiration per unit leaf area was not reduced for any treatment except for asiatic jasmine at the highest drench rate.

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Jinmin Fu, Jack Fry, and Bingru Huang

Deficit irrigation is increasingly used to conserve water, but its impact on turfgrass rooting has not been well documented. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of deficit irrigation on ‘Falcon II’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) root characteristics in the field using a minirhizotron imaging system. The experiment was conducted on a silt loam soil from the first week of June to mid-Sept. 2001 and 2002 using a mobile rainout shelter under which turf received applications of 20%, 60%, or 100% of actual evapotranspiration (ET) twice weekly. Neither soil water content (0 to 25 cm) nor tall fescue rooting between 4.1- and 50.1-cm depths was affected by irrigation at 60% compared with 100% ET. Despite consistently lower soil water content, tall fescue irrigated at 20% ET exhibited an increase in root parameters beginning in July or August. Tall fescue subjected to 20% ET irrigation had greater total root length and surface area on two of five monitoring dates in 2002 compared with that receiving 100% ET. Evaluation of tall fescue rooting by depth indicated that root proliferation at 20% ET was occurring between 8.7- and 36.3-cm depths. As evaluated under the conditions of this experiment, turfgrass managers using deficit irrigation as a water conservation strategy on tall fescue should not be concerned about a reduction in rooting deep in the soil profile, and irrigation at 20% ET may result in root growth enhancement.

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Eric B. Bish, Daniel J. Cantliffe, and Craig K. Chandler

The demand for plug transplants by the Florida winter strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) industry may increase as water conservation during plant establishment becomes more important and the loss of methyl bromide fumigant makes the production of bare-root transplants more problematic. A study was conducted during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons to determine the effect of container size and temperature conditioning on the plant growth and early season fruit yield of `Sweet Charlie' strawberry plants. Plants in containers of three sizes (75, 150, and 300 cm3) were grown in one of two temperature-controlled greenhouses (35 °C day/25 °C night or 25 °C day/15 °C night) for the 2 weeks just prior to transplanting into a fruiting field at Dover, Fla. Plants exposed to the 25/15 °C treatment had significantly higher average root dry weights at planting in 1995 and 1996 than did plants exposed to the 35/25 °C treatment. Plants exposed to the 25/15 °C treatment also had higher average fruit yields than the plants exposed to the 35/25 °C treatment (48% and 18% higher in 1995-96 and 1996-97, respectively). The effect of container size on plant growth and yield was variable. Plants propagated in the 150- and 300-cm3 containers tended to be larger (at planting) than the plants propagated in the 75-cm3 containers, but the larger container sizes did not result in consistently higher yields.

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Shaoyun Lu, Zhongcheng Wang, Yuejing Niu, Zhenfei Guo, and Bingru Huang

Improving the drought tolerance of widely used bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. var. dactylon] is important for water conservation and producing quality turf with limited irrigation. Mutants of bermudagrass were generated using gamma-ray irradiation with an aim toward developing dwarf and drought-resistant bermudagrass. The objectives of this study were to compare morphological characteristics between radiation-induced mutants and the wild-type of bermudagrass and to determine antioxidant responses associated with changes in drought resistance in the bermudagrass mutants. Three mutant lines (7-9, 10-5, and 10-12) that exhibit slow growth and good turf quality were chosen for this study. Plants were exposed to drought stress by withholding irrigation in a greenhouse. Mutant lines had lower canopy height, shorter internodes, and shorter leaves than the wild type under well-watered conditions. Under drought stress, all three dwarf mutant lines maintained higher relative water content and lower ion leakage and malondialdehyde content than the wild type. Antioxidant enzyme activities decreased in response to the drought stress in the mutant lines and the wild type, whereas nonenzymatic antioxidants increased under drought stress. Compared with the wild type, higher enzyme activities and antioxidant contents were maintained in mutant lines under drought stress. Our results indicated that bermudagrass mutants induced by gamma radiation exhibited dwarf characteristics and improved drought resistance, which was associated with maintenance of higher levels of antioxidant enzyme activities and nonenzymatic antioxidant contents.

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Gerard W. Wall and Guy McDonnell

, U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Phoenix, Ariz., and the NSF/DOE/NASA/USDA Interagency program on Terrestrial Ecology and Global Change (TECO II) (NSF-95-27 proposal no. IBN-9652614) (Gerard W. Wall, PI). Special thanks to Mr. Jose Olivieri for

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Catherine K. Singer and Chris A. Martin

Mulches applied to landscape surfaces can moderate soil temperatures by changing the surface heat energy balance and conserve soil water by reducing evaporation rates. In the Southwest, decomposing granite is commonly used as landscape mulch. However, organic mulches, such as pine residue mulch and shredded tree trimmings, are becoming more available as industry by-products. Recent impetus toward water conservation and recycling forest and urban tree waste into urban landscapes has increased the need to better understand how such mulch types effect the temperature, moisture. and light quality of drip-irrigated landscapes typically found in the Southwest. We compared effects of three mulches, two organic (composted ponderosa pine residue and shredded urban tree trimmings) and one inorganic (Red Mountain Coral decomposing granite), turf grass, and bare soil applied to 14 drip-irrigated landscape research plots on below-ground soil temperatures at depths of 5 cm and 30 cm, temperatures at the mulch-soil interface, mulch surface temperatures, diel mulch surface net radiation, and albedo. Below-ground soil temperatures were more buffered by organic mulches, and mulch-soil interface temperatures were lower under organic mulch than inorganic mulches. Inorganic mulch daytime surface temperatures were lower than organic mulch surface temperatures. Nighttime net radiation values were less negative over organic mulches than inorganic mulches and albedo was significantly higher for the inorganic mulch and bare soil treatments. These results provide evidence to show that organic surface mulches have higher resistances to heat transfer than inorganic mulches, which could improve landscape plant water and nutrient use efficiencies by lowering high summer root zone temperatures.

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William T. Hlubik, Nicholas Polanin*, Madeline Flahive DiNardo, Richard Weidman, David Smela, James Marko, and Sean Convery

Today's fast paced and technology-enriched lifestyles require that many traditional educational seminars and workshops be transformed into “sound bites” of “edu-tainment” if Extension is to keep pace with clientele needs for specific and timely information that's useful and straight to the point. To remain a viable source of timely research-based information, Extension can stay ahead of this curve by utilizing today's technology to inform and educate the public on current issues or outbreaks. This presentation will highlight two such cases where technology delivery systems were utilized to maximize audience size and create an informed public in as short amount of time as possible. Public Service Announcements (PSA's) televised over New Jersey's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), New Jersey Network (NJN), addressed water conservation and landscape issues during the recent northeastern drought. The potential viewing audience is over eight million people, including all of New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut. The second case study will highlight a fully interactive CD-ROM on the Asian Long Horned Beetle (ALB) that was created within 12 months of the pest's discovery in Jersey City, N.J. This CD-ROM, containing curricula, PowerPoint presentations and evaluative tools, is currently being used throughout the northeast and in Canada for the most recent infestation of ALB. Filming for both Rapid Response efforts was done with a Sony DSR-500 DV Cam Camcorder and a Canon XL-1 Camcorder. Digital editing was completed on an Apple G4 running OS X with Avid Express Meridian Non-Linear Editing Software version 4.5 with 3D effects, Apple Final Cut Pro 3.0, Adobe After Effects 5.5, and PhotoShop 7.0. Stills were taken with a Sony Mavica and Nikon CoolPix digital cameras.

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Ashley Kyber-Robison

In the past decade, there has been a growing trend toward conservation and management of wildlife and the environment. Growing suburban development has increased displacement of native animals from their natural habitats; thus, there is an ever-increasing need to manage not only existing forests and large land holdings for wildlife but also developed land areas. The idea of “backyard habitat” gardening and the “green movement” in golf course design address these issues of wildlife habitat and provide design solutions that hail the growing need for natural habitats. The same principles also can be used in commercial landscape design and ultimately in reclaiming grazing pasture land for dual habitat by farm animals and native wildlife. Just as the “American Lawn” provides minimal support for wildlife due to its lack of diversity, the manicured pasture of the American farm can also be limiting for wildlife. Providing areas of cover for nesting and protection can benefit the “kept” and “unkept” animals inhabiting the area. Furthermore, the biophilic landscape provides a psychologically healthy biosphere for the personnel working on the farm. In designing landscape plans with the primary goal of aesthetic enhancement of university experimental research farms, the principals of water conservation, integrated pest management, and providing wildlife cover and food are applied to develop an aesthetically pleasing design that also provides habitat for displaced wildlife. The intent of the project is to explore the possibilities in designing successful habitats for wildlife while preserving the ultimate goal of livestock production. Implementing successful ecologically sound landscapes enable the land-grant university to teach the public the benefits of wildlife conservation and the importance of its incorporation to all aspects of land use.

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Erin James and Marc van Iersel

Water conservation is increasingly important for growers in the United States, but there is little information on the use of alternative irrigation systems, such as ebb and flow, for the production of bedding plants. The objective of this study was to quantify the growth of Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr. `Blue Frost' and Begonia ×semperflorens-cultorum Hort. `Ambassador Scarlet' grown in an ebb and flow system in three soilless media and fertilized with P at 0, 50, or 100 mg·L-1 in the fertigation solution. After 5 weeks, plants grown with 50 or 100 mg·L-1 P had greater dry weight, height, and width than plants grown with 0 mg·L-1 P. Begonias grown with 50 or 100 mg·L-1 P had 38% more flowers than did those grown without P. Petunias flowered 4 to 7 days earlier when no P included in the fertilizer. Growing media had little effect on the plants. Begonias grown in Metro-Mix 220 had more inflorescences than those grown in Metro-Mix 366Coir. Changes in electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of all three media were similar over the course of the experiment. The EC dropped during the third and fourth week and rose again in the fifth week. The pH of the leachate from all three media dropped by an average of 1 unit during the experiment. The results indicate that petunias and begonias may be grown successfully with ebb and flow irrigation, using a variety of fertilizers and growing media. However, P must be included in the fertigation solution for optimal plant quality.

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Angela O'Callaghan*, Florence Brown, Denise McConnell, and Robert Morris

Southern Nevada Master Gardeners (MGs) donate 50 hours annually to educational and service projects. These volunteers respond to community needs by developing and staffing horticultural projects under UNCE supervision. In Las Vegas, 20 such projects exist. Some are more energy and information intensive than others. Mojave Guides are docents at the Desert Demonstration Garden, a part of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, not Extension. They commit to a shift at the garden, providing information to visitors. While they are directly supervised by garden staff, the hours they contribute are Master Gardener hours. These volunteers receive training in desert flora from gardens staff and participate in seminars on selected topics. The MG Orchard Team operates a teaching orchard at the Center for Urban Water Conservation in North Las Vegas. These volunteers maintain hundreds of fruit trees and grape vines. They receive training on topics related to fruit trees and orchard management. This project began in 1996. Since 2002, they have been formalizing their organization using the logic model and SWOT analysis. Many members work weekly at the orchard and take the produce to a local farmers market. This raises funds for the orchard and is an opportunity to teach the community about desert horticulture. Project PLANT volunteers work at the Red Rock National Recreation Area visitor center and grounds. They are docents who also learn about and maintain the native plants there, and prevent infestations of invasive weeds which threaten the area. Their monthly meetings include training on topics related to the project. These projects are successful because of the MGs themselves. They grew out of interest and continue because the volunteers have drawn commitment from others.