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  • Author or Editor: Jayne Zajicek x
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The purpose of this study was to examine the ability of preschool gardening programs to help children develop their ability to delay gratification. Children today face many opportunities for instant gratification, although the ability to delay gratification in early childhood has been linked to numerous benefits later in life. Opportunities to train children in the ability to delay gratification present educational challenges, in that it competes with other academic training needs, and it can be difficult to find programs that are interesting to young children. The population for this study was preschool children ranging in age from 2 to 6 years, with treatment and control groups drawn from different schools. Participants were tested individually and timed to determine their ability to delay gratification, with promises of larger rewards if the child could wait for 15 minutes. The results of this study did not identify a significant change in all children’s ability to delay gratification after a gardening program. However, analyses showed that females appear to have responded more positively to the gardening treatment in their ability to delay gratification, whereas males in the control group benefited more from traditional school lessons.

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The Green Brigade horticultural program is a community-based treatment and diversion program for juvenile offenders. The program is used for vocational training and rehabilitation. The objectives of this study were to determine if participation in the Green Brigade program improved the horticultural knowledge and the environmental attitudes of participating juvenile offenders. Participants of the Green Brigade program significantly improved their horticultural knowledge exam scores as a result of participating in the program. Participants also had significant improvements in their environmental attitude scores after completing the program. However, participants attending the Green Brigade program less than 60% of the time had significantly more negative environmental attitude scores than participants attending more frequently. Further analyses showed the program was equally effective at improving environmental attitude scores for all participants regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or grade in school.

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The Green Brigade horticultural program is a community-based treatment and diversion program for juvenile offenders. The objective of this study was to determine if participation in the Green Brigade program improved the self-esteem, locus of control, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school of participating juvenile offenders. Participants in the Green Brigade program had significantly lower scores than the comparative group on measures of self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school prior to and after completion of the Green Brigade program. Although the Green Brigade participants' scores were significantly lower than the comparative group's scores, the means were still considered `normal' for their age group. However, adolescents participating in coed sessions, where the hands-on activities involved plant materials, displayed more positive interpersonal relationship scores than participants in an all male session where the hands-on activities focused on the installation of hardscape materials and a lack of plant materials. No significant differences were found in rates of repeated crimes of juvenile offenders participating in the Green Brigade program when compared to juvenile offenders participating in traditional probationary programming.

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Dyssodia pentacheta, a low growing perennial Texas wild flower with potential for use in low maitenance landscapes, was propagated in vitro and with cuttings under a mist system. Over 80% of both semihardwood terminal cutting from stock plants and in vitro grown nodal segments, dipped in 0, 3, 10, or 30 M-3 IBA, formed roots after 4 weeks under an intermittent mist system. A 300 M-3 IBA basal dip was lethal to the cuttings. Dyssodia produced significantly more shoots per nodal explant in vitro on semisolid (2 g l-1 Gelrite) WPM with 1-10 M-6 BA than combinations of BA and 0.5 M-6 NAA. Shoots were successfully subcultured and grown for two passes on semisolid growth regulator free medium. When maintaining Dyssodia in vitro on WPM, void of plant growth regulators, 1% sucrose promoted shoot growth and suppressed phenolic production better than 2% sucrose.

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Designing a landscape involves the selection of plants with certain characteristics such as height, color, hardiness zone, bloom time, etc. A Hypercard stack, which is a specific type of software application for Macintosh computers, was developed to aid landscapers in the location of plants with the desired characteristics. This Hypercard stack, called the “Plant Stack”, is based on the book, Identification Selection and Use of Southern Plants for Landscape Design, by Dr. Neil Odenwald and James Turner. The stack is also useful as an educational tool; for example, it can be used as a set of flash cards. Use of the software for selecting southern plants will be discussed as will use of the same software as an educational tool.

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Growth of ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum `Texanum') was controlled by the application of the growth regulator, uniconizole, at 3 mg A.I. per 7.6 liter pot. Seventy-nine days after application, growth regulated plants had shorter internodes, smaller stem diameters and reduced secondary branching and new leaf production. Differences in daily water use between the two treatments began to appear at the same time that differences in growth became apparent. Total water use of treated plants was 13% less than the control. When daily water use was normalized on a leaf area basis, water use between treatments was similar, suggesting differences in total water use were primarily due to differences in leaf area. Under well-watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of plants in both treatments ranged between 60 and 100 g h-1 m-2 of stem area. Leaf conductance, transpiration rate and water potential were also similar for treated and control plants.

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Growth of potted hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Ross Estey) plants was controlled by either pruning or the growth regulator, uniconazole, at 3.0 mg a.i. per pot. Five days after treatment with uniconazole, plants showed reduced water use, an effect which became more pronounced with time. Water use of pruned plants was reduced immediately after pruning, but soon returned to the level of the control due to the rapid regeneration of leaf area. Chemically treated and pruned plants, respectively, used 33% and 6% leas water than the control. The reduction in water use due to the use of uniconazole had both a morphological and physiological component. Chemically treated plants had a smaller leaf area, and individual leaves had a lower stomatal density, conductance and transpiration rate than leaves of control plants. Under well watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of control or pruned plants was 120-160 g h-1 m-2, nearly three times higher than the 40-60 g h-1 m-2 measured in plants treated with uniconazole.

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The main objective of this research was to investigate the impact of plants within a university classroom setting on course performance and on student perceptions of the course and instructor. The study was designed to include a minimum of two classes of the same coursework taught by the same professor in the same room during one semester. Three sets of two classes each and 385 students were included within the study. Throughout the semester, the experimental class of students was treated by including an assortment of tropical plants within the classroom. Plants were not present in the control classroom of the study. The official university course and instructor evaluation survey was administered at the end of the semester. Additionally, each student provided demographic data, including class rank, gender, and ethnicity. To measure course performance, the professor for each course reported each student's grade for the course. No statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of grades/student course performance (P = 0.192). However, statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of overall course and instructor evaluation scores of treatment and control groups (P = 0.065). Statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of the individual courses/classrooms between control and treatment groups on statements in subsections of the course and instructor evaluation survey, including the areas of “learning,” “enthusiasm (of instructor),” and “organization (of instructor).” In these comparisons of the treatment and control groups, the differences that were most apparent were in students who had class in the classroom that was windowless and stark. The plants appeared to have the greatest impact on students in the room that was void of other natural elements.

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A study was conducted among the attendees of the Annual Texas Master Gardener Conference held in College Station, TX, in May 2006. Participants were asked to complete a 31-question survey to understand their knowledge of the nutritional attributes and storage guidelines of pecans (Carya illinoinensis). A total of 177 attendees completed the survey, corresponding to 32.2% of the total number of conference attendees. Participants were asked to complete the survey to test their nutritional knowledge, purchasing attitude, consumption, and storage preferences of pecans (23 questions). The remaining eight questions requested biographical and demographical information. Results revealed that taste was the main reason people ate pecans followed by the perception of eating something healthy. Over four-fifths of survey respondents knew that pecans contain heart-healthy fats and proteins. Approximately one-half of the respondents were aware that pecans are a source of minerals and antioxidants. However, 86.9% of the respondents believed that consuming pecans could lead to an increase in the levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol, which is opposite of what was reported by clinical studies. Over one-third of the respondents did not think that pecans require refrigeration to maintain flavor. Moreover, over half of the respondents did not believe that pecans store better if kept in the shell. Although the sample was limited because it was one of convenience, in general, respondents had good eating habits and a very positive attitude toward pecans. However, more educational programs are necessary to inform them about the health properties and proper storage methods of pecans.

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Seeds of tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata L.) and purple coneflower [Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench] were primed in aerated solutions of distilled water or 50 or 100 mM salt (potassium phosphate, pH 7.0) at 16C for 3, 6, 9, or 12 days. Coreopsis seeds primed in the 50 mM buffer germinated the most rapidly and uniformly, and, under stress conditions in the greenhouse, resulted in a faster-growing, more-uniform crop than other treatments. Seeds primed in distilled water and the 50 mM buffer germinated faster and at higher rates at suboptimal temperatures in the laboratory than nonprimed seeds. Priming of Echinacea purpurea seeds for 6 or 9 days in distilled water or in the 50 mM buffer resulted in faster, more-uniform germination than other treatments. Seedling emergence under stress conditions was improved by all priming regimes, with best emergence occurring in treatments that lasted > 3 days. Priming also increased germination rates of E. purpurea at suboptimal temperatures in the laboratory.

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