Nine herbaceous perennial species were evaluated for use as flowering potted plants for late winter and early spring sales. Plugs of `King Edward' Achillea × Lewisii Ingw. (yarrow), Arabis sturii Mottet. (rockcress), `Alba' Armeria maritima (Mill.) Willd. (common thrift), `New Hybrid' Bergenia cordifolia (Haw.) Sternb. (bergenia), Chrysogonum virgianum L. (goldenstar), `War Bonnet' Dianthus × Allwoodii Hort. Allw. (Allwood pinks), Phlox × chattahoochee L. (Chattahoochee phlox), `Sentimental Blue' Platycodon grandiflorus (Jacq.) A. DC. (balloonflower), and Veronica L. × `Sunny Border Blue' (veronica) were established in 14-cm (0.8-liter) round plastic containers, grown for one season and covered with a thermoblanket for winter. Five plants of each species were transferred to a 21 ± 3C glasshouse for forcing under natural daylengths at six 10-day intervals beginning 1 Dec. 1993. Arabis sturii, Phlox × chattahoochee, Platycodon grandiflorus `Sentimental Blue', and Veronica × `Sunny Border Blue' flowered out of season without supplemental lighting. `Alba' Armeria maritima and Chrysogonum virginianum also flowered; however, their floral displays were less effective. `New Hybrid' Bergenia cordifolia did not flower and `King Edward' Achillea × Lewisii and `War Bonnet' Dianthus × Allwoodii only flowered sporadically, therefore, these perennials are not recommended for forcing out of season using our vernalization method.
The capacity of plant materials to resume normal growth after exposure to low temperature is the ultimate criterion of cold hardiness. We therefore determined the low-temperature tolerance of five commercially important herbaceous perennial species. Container-grown blanket flower (Gaillardia ×grandiflora Van Houtte. `Goblin'), false dragonhead [Physoste- gia virginiana (L.) Benth. `Summer Snow'], perennial salvia (Salvia ×superba Stapf. `Stratford Blue'), painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum Willd. `Robinson's Mix'), and creeping veronica (Veronica repens Loisel.) were subjected to 0, -2, 4, -6, -8, -10, -12, -14, -16, and -18C in a programmable freezer. The percentage of survival of most species was adequate when exposed to -10C. Producers of container-grown perennials are advised to provide winter protection measures that prohibit root medium temperatures from falling below -10C.
The limited use of the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc.) in the landscape may be due to its reputed, but uncharacterized, intolerance of drought. We examined the responses of katsura trees subjected to episodes of drought. Container-grown trees in a greenhouse were subjected to one of three irrigation treatments, each composed of four irrigation phases. Control plants were maintained under well-hydrated conditions in each phase. Plants in the multiple-drought treatment were subjected to two drought phases, each followed by a hydration phase. Plants in the single-drought treatment were exposed to an initial drought phase followed by three hydration phases. Trees avoided drought stress by drought-induced leaf abscission. Plants in the multiple- and single-drought treatments underwent a 63% and 34% reduction in leaf dry weight and a 60% and 31% reduction in leaf surface area, respectively. After leaf abscission, trees in the single-drought treatment recovered 112% of the lost leaf dry weight within 24 days. Leaf abscission and subsequent refoliation resulted in a temporary reduction in the leaf surface area: root dry weight ratio. After relief from drought, net assimilation rate and relative growth rate were maintained at least at the rates associated with plants in the control treatment. We conclude that katsura is a drought avoider that abscises leaves to reduce transpirational water loss. Although plants are capable of refoliation after water becomes available, to maintain the greatest ornamental value in the landscape, siting of katsura should be limited to areas not prone to drought.
Germinability of two, half-sib seed sources of Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc. and one seed source of Cercidiphyllum magnificum (Nakai) Nakai was determined after not stratifying or stratifying seeds at 3.5 ± 0.5 °C (38.3 ± 0.9 °F) for 8 days followed by germination for 21 days at 25 °C (77 °F) in darkness or under a 15-hour photoperiod. Stratification was not required for germination, but increased germination percentage, peak value, and germination value for both species. Stratification increased germination of C. japonicum from 42% to 75%, and germination of C. magnificum from 12% to 24%. Light enhanced germination of nonstratified seeds of one source of C. japonicum and of C. magnificum from 34% to 52% and from 8% to 15%, respectively. Stratification improved germinability of both species and obviated any preexisting light requirements the seeds may have had.
Crabapples (Malus spp.) are commonly planted ornamental trees in public and private landscapes. Hundreds of selections are available that represent a wide range of growth habits, ornamental traits, and varying degrees of resistance/susceptibility to disease. We distributed 1810 questionnaires in 13 states (Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania) to members of either nursery and landscape associations or the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ACLA, Herndon, Va.) to identify crabapple preferences across a broad geographic region of the United States. We also were interested in learning if regional disease problems were important to green-industry professionals as they decide which crabapples to include in their inventories. Our respondent population numbered 511 (28.2% response rate). A large percentage of respondents (79.4%) said their retail clients focused mostly on fl ower color when choosing crabapples for the home landscape, while commercial clients showed slightly more interest in growth habit (32.5%) than fl ower color (28.7%). `Prairifire' was identified by respondents in all regions, except the west-central (Colorado and Utah), as the crabapple most frequently recommended to clients when tree size is not important. Respondents in the west-central region most often (48.7%) recommend the fruitless selection `Spring Snow'. Respondents in all regions, except the west-central, identified apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) as the most prevalent crabapple disease and named scab-susceptible `Radiant' as the selection most frequently discontinued.
The ornamental horticulture industry in the United States (the green industry) is a multibillion dollar industry that contributes to the economy of every state. Greenhouse and nursery products rank in the top 10 commodities produced in 42 states. In 2004, a 38-question survey was developed and mailed to 1281 members of Iowa's green industry, including wholesale and retail greenhouses, nurseries and florists, garden centers, landscape designers and contractors, and arborists, to gather information on the scope, scale, and business climate of the green industry in Iowa. All business types were represented in the 117 usable surveys that were returned. Although size and type of businesses varied, a majority of respondents had only one location, were family-owned, and had been in business less than 6 years. Respondents reported few factors that could limit their business success, and most felt they were much stronger than their competitors in the areas of customer perception of product quality and service and ability to meet customer needs. The estimated value of sales and services directly related to Iowa's green industry in 2004 was $311.5 million, and a majority of respondents expected their business to grow in the areas of employment, annual gross payroll and sales, and total annual expenses by 2010.
A survey was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Iowa State University (ISU) extension programs and services to the turfgrass, nursery, and landscape plant installation and maintenance industries in Iowa. Completed questionnaires were received from 294 individuals (55% response rate). Respondents indicated they have a continuing need for pest identification and management information and that ISU extension is an important source for this information. In general, most respondents said quality of information provided by ISU extension was better than that offered by horticultural consultants or product suppliers; however, only 48% said extension was doing very well delivering programs and information in a timely manner. Demand for on-site visits with extension specialists was greater than that for distance learning opportunities, suggesting that extension must do a better job of marketing and making relatively new communication technologies palatable.
A major limiting factor in producing container-grown herbaceous perennials is low-temperature injury to cold sensitive roots and crowns during above ground winter storage. Growers and retailers of these plants understand the need for protection systems, yet specific recommendations are unavailable. The ability of several structureless systems to moderate temperature and protect 16 species of container-grown herbaceous perennials from low-temperature injury was investigated. Two light-excluding treatments consisting of 30 cm of straw between 2 layers of 4 mil white copolymer, and 18 cm deep in-ground beds protected with 1 layer of 4 mil white copolymer and 30 cm of woodchips provided the greatest moderation of winter low and early spring high temperatures but resulted in severe etiolation among test plants, A bonded white copolymer-microform overwintering blanket with translucent properties provided comparable plant survival, and prevented etiolated growth allowing plants to grow rapidly after uncovering, despite dramatic temperature extremes observed beneath this cover.
Industry input can assist postsecondary institutions as they strive to provide relevant knowledge and skill-building exercises for the professional development of their students. Using a mail questionnaire, we invited landscape contracting decision-makers to comment on the efficacy of landscape contracting curricula at colleges and universities. The population of Associated Landscape Contractors of America 2003 online member list (2049 companies) was organized into four strata based on company size. A stratified random sample of 400 companies was selected. We received 137 completed questionnaires (35% response rate). Most of the population was either satisfied or extremely satisfied (52%) with college graduates recently hired; only 8.1% of the population was dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied. When respondents were asked to consider four knowledge categories, a majority (53%) said recent graduates were deficient in business knowledge, followed by construction (25.1%), horticultural (9.6%), and design (5.1%) knowledge. When respondents were asked to rate the importance of topics that could be taught in undergraduate landscape contracting programs, business topics (personnel management, estimating and bidding, and clientele management) were identified as their top three choices. The population also named three business-related skills (client relationships, time management, and managing employees) among the five most important skills for landscape contracting professionals. Despite the stated importance of business knowledge and training, 68.3% of the population said when hiring for an entry-level landscape contracting position, they prefer candidates with strong horticultural skills over those with strong business skills. These results suggest landscape contracting firms would welcome a postsecondary-trained work force with improved business skills; however, this business training should not come at the expense of horticultural course work and experience.
Double impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook.) `Blackberry Ice' (variegated-leaf) and `Purple Magic' (green-leaf) were grown on flood benches and irrigated with 50, 100, 200, or 300 mg·L-1 (ppm) N to study the effect of fertility on growth and development. Electrical conductivity (EC) levels at week 9 were similar for both cultivars at each fertilizer rate, except for the 100 mg·L-1 N where EC levels of `Blackberry Ice' were more than double those of `Purple Magic'. This indicated that the nutrient demands were less for `Blackberry Ice' and fertilization rates lower than 100 mg·L-1 N would be required. After nine weeks, plants grown with 100 mg·L-1 N had a 22% larger plant diameter than plants grown with either 50 or 200 mg·L-1 N. Fertilization rates of 50 mg·L-1 N resulted in plants which were covered with a higher percentage of blooms per unit of leaf area, but the plants were smaller. Plant tissue dry weight (leaf, bud, stem, and total) increased to the highest level at 100 mg·L-1 N, then decreased with further increases in fertilization rate. For maximum shoot growth with flood irrigation, growers should apply 100 mg·L-1 N when growing `Purple Magic' double impatiens and a fertilization rate between 50 and 100 mg·L-1 N for `Blackberry Ice'.