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  • Author or Editor: D.J. Eakes x
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The unprecedented, yet sustained, growth of undergraduate enrollment in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University can be attributed to many factors, including an increased industry demand for horticulture graduates nationwide. Perhaps the basis of some of Auburn's growth, while appearing to be unique, may be of value in other programs. This paper chronicles the growth of the Auburn Department of Horticulture undergraduate program and highlights some of the traditional teaching methods employed within the department as well as some unique methods that contribute to the program. The paper offers ideas and practices that may be beneficial to other horticulture programs and may encourage teaching faculty at other institutions to publish similar departmental profiles that may prove beneficial to colleagues.

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The influence of three shade levels on propagation of golden barberry (Berberis koreana Palib. × B. thunbergii DC.) selection `Bailsel' was evaluated in studies initiated 29 Apr. and 18 Sept. 1998. After 57 days, root ratings were higher in plants under 70% and 80% shade treatments than 60% shade for both studies. In study one, viability was lower among plants under the 60% shade level than those under 70% or 80% shade levels. Viability among treatments was similar in study two. Based on visual observations, leaf retention appeared greater under the 70% and 80% shade treatments than the 60% shade treatment for both studies. Cuttings rooted under 70% and 80% shade levels generally had a uniform golden hue, whereas the foliage of those rooted under 60% shade often had a red hue and showed signs of desiccation for both studies. Root dry weights were greater for cuttings under the 60% shade levels than 70% or 80% shade.

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Twelve peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] seedling rootstocks [Lovell, Nemaguard, Flordaguard, 14DR51, five Guardian™ (BY520-9) selections, and three BY520-8 selections] budded with `Cresthaven' were planted in 1994 and evaluated through 2000 to determine performance under commercial management practices. Mesocriconema xenoplax population densities were above the South Carolina nematicide treatment threshold of 50 nematodes/100 cm3 of soil after 1996. However, symptoms of peach tree short life (PTSL) were not observed. Tree mortality was less than 14% through 1999, with most of the dead trees exhibiting symptoms consistent with Armillaria root rot. About 13% of the surviving trees in 1999 were removed in 2000 due to symptoms of phony peach. There were no differences in tree mortality among rootstocks. Tree growth, photosynthesis, and suckering varied among rootstocks, but leaf conductance, internal CO2, and leaf transpiration did not. Foliar calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus varied among rootstocks, but all were within the range considered sufficient for peach trees. Fruit yield varied among rootstocks, but yield efficiency did not, indicating that higher yield corresponded with larger trees. Bloom date did not vary among rootstocks, but harvest date was advanced as much as 2 days for some rootstocks, compared to Lovell. Fruit weight varied among rootstocks but skin color, flesh firmness, and soluble solids content were similar. All rootstocks performed satisfactorily for commercial peach production.

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Average leaf area (LA) and petiole length (PL) was determined for 13 red maple selections May–Sept. 1993. Bloom types were determined based on the predominate flower structures present in Spring 1993 and 1994. Leaves were collected from an existing field study installed in Mar. 1990. Trees were drip-irrigated throughout the study, thereby eliminating moisture stress concerns. Acer×freemanii `Scarsen' (LA = 131.5 cm2), `Morgan' (LA = 93.6 cm2), and `Autumn Blaze' (LA = 83.9 cm2) had the largest leaves. Acer rubrum `Autumn Flame' (LA = 40.0 cm2) had the smallest leaves. Acer rubrum `October Glory' (PL = 17.1 cm) had the longest petioles followed by `Fairview Flame' (PL = 15.4 cm). Shortest cultivar petioles were on A. rubrum `Franksred' (PL = 9.3 cm) and `Tilford' (PL = 9.3 cm). Flowers were predominately pistillate on `Autumn Flame', `Franksred', `Morgan', `October Glory', `Redskin', `Scarsen', and `Schlesingeri'. Flowers were predominately staminate on `Fairview Flame', `Karpick', `Northwood', and `Tilford'. `Autumn Blaze' did not exhibit flowers in 1993 or 1994. Some seedlings in the study were pistillate, and others were staminate.

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Several experiments were conducted to determine release rates of five oxadiazon-coated fertilizers. Five fertilizers and 4-mm glass beads (nonabsorbent control) were coated with 14C-oxadiazon + formulated oxadiazon, then placed in a separatory funnel and leached with 20 ml of water for 14 days. 14C-oxadiazon was quantified by use of liquid scintillation spectrometry. For glass beads, Nutricote, Meister, and Osmocote, 70% to 80% of the 14C-oxadiazon was recovered in the first two leaching events. Oxadiazon leached from Polyon was 47% during the first two events and remaining oxadiazon was slowly released over the next 12 leaching events. 14C-oxadiazon from the other fertilizers over the last 12 days of leaching was less than that recovered from Polyon. Evaluation of the total surface area of a 50-g sample revealed Polyon had the greatest total surface area of the five fertilizers. Scanning electron micrographs before and after leachingindicated potential erosion of the Polyon surface compared to little or no change in the surfaces of the other fertilizers.

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Twelve red maple selections in an existing field trial were evaluated for leaf chlorophyll content with a SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter, total foliar N concentration with a LECO CHN analyzer, and total foliar chlorophyll content (CHL) by N,N-dimethylformamide extraction. Selections included Acer rubrum L. `Autumn Flame', `Fairview Flame', `Franksred' (Red Sunset™), `Karpick', `Northwood', `October Glory', `Redskin', `Schlesingeri', and `Tilford', and A. ×freemanii E. Murray `AutumnBlaze' (`Jeffersred'), `Morgan' (`Indian Summer'), and `Scarsen' (Scarlet Sentinel™). `Franksred' and `Northwood' had the highest monthly SPAD-502 values in 1993 and 1994. Lowest SPAD-502 values were on `Redskin' and `Autumn Blaze' each year. Foliar N concentration ranged from 2.62% for `Autumn Flame' to 2.01% for Redskin. CHL levels on a fresh-weight basis ranged from 5.38 mg·g–1 for `Fairview Flame' to 3.94 mg·g–1 for `October Glory'. SPAD-502 and extractable CHL values were correlated (r = 0.45; P ≤ 0.001); however, the correlation (r = 0.15; P ≤ 0.38) between SPAD-502 values and total foliar N concentration was nonsignificant.

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