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Stephehs D. Verkade and Arlene Marturano

The Clemson University Sandhill Research and Education Center is one of four branch stations of the South Carolina Agriculture and Forestry Research System, with a mission to conduct research and extension education programs in urban ecology. The Carolina Children's Garden has been created in partnership with other state agencies, funding sources, and volunteers as a site for environmental education. Learning from gardens and landscapes has steadily decreased since the late 1940s and today the average child spends 6 hours at indoor pursuits at school, an equal number at the television or computer screen at home, leaving little time for outdoor exploration. Recently, children's gardens have been established around the county as resources to reconnect children with their environment. The 2-acre Carolina Children's Garden is an interpretive framework for visitors to experience gardening as a tool for bringing families in touch with nature, each other, and local environmental issues. A volunteer team designed and installed eight theme gardens, an entertainment stage, and picnic area as the first phase of this garden. Themes include Mesozoic Memories Dinosaur Garden, Three Bears Garden, Growing Healthy Garden, Butterfly Garden, McGregor's Garden, and Alphabet Garden. The development of the garden has generated community interest and positive media exposure, inspires lifelong appreciation of the natural environment, encourages replication of ideas, and facilitates family recreation in a learning environment.

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Thomas H. Yeager* and Kenneth A. Kuhl

Nursery operations have strategically positioned themselves close to markets and many are now an agricultural entity surrounded by urban encroachment. The environmental pressures of society have mounted at unprecedented rates, resulting in additional regulations for nurseries. Development and implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the nursery industry allows nurseries to be proactive and not wait for regulations that might harm the industry. Univ. extension personnel with BMP subject matter expertise can play a pivotal role in assisting the industry with development and implementation of proactive BMPs. Important steps that have served as a model for BMP development and implementation include the following. Establish need—the industry leadership must explain to nursery personnel the reasons why BMPs are needed and elicit assistance with BMP development from university personnel. Committee guidance—the industry leadership establishes a steering committee of nursery personnel representing various interests of the industry to work with university and regulatory personnel to conceptualize BMPs and develop objectives. Consensus development—steering committee communicates their objectives to the nursery industry, explains the impacts, and provides a mechanism for feedback to achieve broad-based stakeholder participation. BMPs drafted - steering committee writes a draft BMP manual that is available for industry review. Industry-wide input—steering committee aggressively seeks input from the industry, implements as many suggestions as possible, and informs industry of BMP manual revisions. Educational programs—university extension personnel conduct training for nursery operators implementing BMPs and track the impact of BMPs on nurseries.

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J.B. Hartman, D. Vuylsteke, D. Makumbi, R.N. Ssebulibe, and D.A. Karamura

The East African highland bananas are a sub-group of the Musa AAA group and are unique to the mid-altitude and highlands of Eastern Africa. In much of the area where they are grown, highland bananas are the main staple crop for both rural and urban populations. Yields of highland bananas have fallen precipitously in many areas and production deficits have been met by shifting highland banana production into new areas. Yield reductions have been attributed to a number of factors, including plant parasitic nematodes, the banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus), and black Sigatoka leaf streak (Mycosphaerella fijiensis). A program to breed improved highland bananas was established at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Center (IITA-ESARC) in collaboration with the National Banana Program of Uganda in 1994. Following preliminary studies of fertility, breeding began in 1997. The breeding program has taken as its model IITA's successful plantain-breeding program. The plantain-breeding program has used an ideotype breeding approach to selection of improved plantain hybrids. The unique features, culture, and end-use of highland bananas have necessitated the definition of a new ideotype. Results of studies during the past 2 years have identified traits unique to highland bananas and a highland banana ideotype has emerged.

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J. David Williams, Charles H. Gilliam, Gary J. Keever, and John T. Owen

The Auburn University Shade Tree Evaluation is an ongoing trial of a moderately diverse range of species, and varieties of larger-growing trees. The study was initiated in 1980 with the planting of 250 selections in three replications of three trees each, located at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Piedmont Substation in east-central Alabama. Among the fruit of the investigation have been an evaluation of 10 red maple (Acer rubrum) selections with respect to growth and fall color characteristics; a comparison of growth rate and aesthetic characteristics of 14 oak (Quercus) selections; a comparison of the growth and fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) susceptibility of 10 callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) selections; and a 12-year evaluation of the overall best performing trees. The Shade Tree Evaluation has served as a precedent for six additional landscape tree evaluations in Alabama. It has provided a living laboratory for a wide range of educational audiences including landscape and nursery professionals, county extension agents, urban foresters, Master Gardeners, garden club members, and horticulture students. Knowledge gained from the Shade Tree Evaluation has been shared through presentations at meetings and conferences.

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Charles R. Hall, Alan W. Hodges, and John J. Haydu

This research was made possible by a grant from the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Committee of the U.S. Forest Service, along with funding from the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and the Associated Landscape

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Milton E. Tignor and Sandra B. Wilson

Information is more accessible to students than ever before. Gone are the days of a single instructor being the ultimate authority on a specific scientific discipline. Search engines, online journals, virtual libraries, and the development of Internet II will continue to drive the increase in availability of information. With basic computer skills, the average college student can put their hands on more subject data than they could possibly read during the time frame of a semester-long course. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to give students the logical tools to evaluate information and construct intelligent arguments. One particular area of interest to the horticulture industry is the impact of environmental regulations and public concern over common horticultural production practices such as irrigation, land development, application of pesticides, and developmental manipulation using growth regulators. South Florida is a mosaic of pristine natural areas, major agricultural production regions, densely populated urban areas, and regions of rapid suburban growth. As a result, there is heightened public awareness of environmental issues, which often leads to spirited conflicts among people with diverse professional backgrounds and personal interests. This catalyzed the development of a new course entitled “South Florida Flora and Ecosystems” that uses several different types of critical thinking exercises to help relate course content information into the cultural and political framework of South Florida. Techniques such as role playing, utilizing guest speakers with opposite opinions on the same topic, and active evaluation of data were used to enhance student learning, increase environmental awareness, and place undergraduate horticultural students one step closer to becoming “society-ready” graduates.

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Manuel C. Palada, Thomas J. Kalb, and Thomas A. Lumpkin

AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit international agricultural research institute whose mission is to reduce malnutrition and poverty among the poor through vegetable research and development. Over the past 30 years, AVRDC has developed a vast array of international public goods. The Center plays an essential role in bringing international and interdisciplinary teams together to develop technologies, empower farmers, and address major vegetable-related issues in the developing world. In its unique role, AVRDC functions as a catalyst to 1) build international and interdisciplinary coalitions that engage in vegetable and nutrition issues; 2) generate and disseminate improved germplasm and technologies that address economic and nutritional needs of the poor; 3) collect, characterize, and conserve vegetable germplasm resources for worldwide use; and 4) provide globally accessible, user-friendly, science-based, appropriate technology. In enhancing and promoting vegetable production and consumption in developing world, AVRDC's research programs contribute to increased productivity of the vegetable sector, equity in economic development in favor of rural and urban poor, healthy and more diversified diets for low-income families, environmentally friendly and safe production of vegetables, and improved sustainability of cropping systems. Recent achievements at AVRDC that greatly impact tropical horticulture in the developing world include virus-resistant tomatoes raising farmers income, hybrid sweet pepper breaking the yield barrier in the tropics, flood-resistant chili peppers opening new market opportunities, broccoli varieties for monsoon season, pesticide-free eggplant and leafy vegetable production systems and fertilizer systems that protect the environment. Beyond vegetable crops, AVRDC is playing an important role in expanding and promoting research and development efforts for high value horticultural crops, including fruit, ornamentals, and medicinal plants through its new Global Horticulture Initiative. AVRDC believes that horticulture crop production provides jobs and is an engine for economic growth. The important role AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center plays in developing and promoting tropical horticultural crops is discussed in this paper.

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Daniel I. Leskovar, Shinsuke Agehara, Kilsun Yoo, and Nuria Pascual-Seva

production in subtropical and temperate areas ( Brewster, 2008 ). Improvements in water use efficiency in agriculture are needed as a result of scarcity of fresh water, increasing costs, and increasing world population growth ( Bessembinder et al., 2005

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Chin H. Ma and Manuel C. Palada

High levels of N fertilizers are generally applied in intensive leafy vegetable production in the peri-urban agriculture of Southeast Asia. This study was conducted to develop a simple and rapid method of determining nitrate-N accumulation in selected leafy vegetables. Five leafy vegetables, including amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), kangkong (Ipomoea aquatica), Ethiopian kale (Brassica carinata), choysum (Brassica campestris sp. parachinensis), and leafy lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were grown on raised beds in 32-mesh nethouse in randomized complete-block design with four replications. The crops were fertilized with eight N levels: 0, 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 350 kg·ha-1 in three splits. At harvest, nitrate contents were determined in tissue sap of fully expanded leaf blades, petioles and whole plant using a Cardy nitrate meter. Chlorophyll content readings were also measured on the same leaf using a chlorophyll meter. Nitrate accumulations varied with vegetable species. Significant correlations (P< 0.001) existed between N fertilizer rate and nitrate content as well as leaf chlorophyll and yield. Using N application rate of 200 kg·ha-1, nitrate accumulation in Ethiopian kale was highest (7000 ppm), followed by kangkong (4000 ppm), amaranth (3500 ppm), and leafy lettuce (1200 ppm). The correlation between leaf chlorophyll meter reading (LCMR) and nitrate content was also significant (P< 0.001), suggesting the feasibility of using Cardy nitrate meter test and LCMR for monitoring production of low-nitrate and safe vegetables. The Cardy meter was also sensitive in detecting soil nitrate-N below 20 ppm and is a rapid and reliable alternative to conventional distillation method.

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Carole L. Bassett, D. Michael Glenn, Philip L. Forsline, Michael E. Wisniewski, and Robert E. Farrell Jr

Reduced availability of water for agricultural use has been forecast for much of the planet as a result of global warming and greater urban demand for water in large metropolitan areas. Strategic improvement of water use efficiency (WUE) and drought tolerance in perennial crops, like fruit trees, could reduce water use without compromising yield or quality. We studied water use in apple trees using ‘Royal Gala’, a relatively water use-efficient cultivar, as a standard. To examine whether genes useful for improving WUE are represented in a wild relative genetically close to M. ×domestica, we surveyed Malus sieversii for traits associated with WUE and drought resistance using material collected from xeric sites in Kazakhstan. This collection has been maintained in Geneva, NY, and surveyed for various phenotypes and has been genetically characterized using simple sequence repeats (SSRs). These data suggest that most of the diversity in this population is contained within a subpopulation of 34 individuals. Analysis of this subpopulation for morphological traits traditionally associated with WUE or drought resistance, e.g., leaf size and stomata size and arrangement, indicated that these traits were not substantially different. These results imply that some of the genetic diversity may be associated with changes in the biochemistry, uptake, and/or transport of water, carbon, or oxygen that have allowed these trees to survive in water-limited environments. Furthermore, genes responding to drought treatment were isolated from ‘Royal Gala’ and categorized according to the biological processes with which they are associated. A large fraction of upregulated genes from roots were identified as stress-responsive, whereas genes from leaves were for the most part associated with photosynthesis. We plan to examine expression of these genes in the M. sieversii population during water deficit in future studies to compare their patterns of expression with ‘Royal Gala’.