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This study reports on the performance of 34 clones of crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L., L. fauriei Koehne, and L. indica × L. fauriei hybrids) grown in field plots at four locations representative of different environments in the southeastern United States. Traits evaluated were spring leaf-out and initiation of flowering in the second season after field planting and plant height after 3 years of growth. Cluster analysis (Ward's method) was used for grouping and comparison of means across locations for each trait. Best linear unbiased prediction was used for estimating random effects in linear and generalized linear mixed models to better determine the general performance of the clones under a variety of environmental conditions. Each clone's trait stability was quantified using the regression of an individual genotype's performance for each of the three studied traits on an environmental index based on the trait mean for all genotypes grown in an environment. Sequence of clone leaf-out and size rankings were more stable across the environments than the sequence in which the various clones initiated flowering. L. fauriei clones and clones originating from the initial cross between L. indica and L. fauriei were generally later to leaf out, earlier to flower, and more vigorous growers than L. indica or the complex L. indica × L. fauriei clones that were evaluated. First flowering was affected by environmental variation more with interspecific hybrids than with L. fauriei and L. indica clones. Performance, particularly with respect to plant height, of several clones did not agree with previously published classifications. Information generated by this study will allow crapemyrtle breeders, landscape professionals, and consumers to better select the most appropriate crapemyrtle clone for a particular application.

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Each year, over 16 million tons of poultry litter is produced in the United States. Federal and state regulations now limit the amount of poultry litter that can be land-applied, making it difficult to store and dispose of poultry litter. The objective of this study was to evaluate composted poultry litter (CPL) as a fertilizer source for bedding plants at various rates in comparison with commercially available inorganic fertilizers in regard to plant growth and nutrient leaching. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate use of CPL as fertilizer for landscape annual bedding plants. Petunia spp. ‘Celebrity Red’ and Verbena hybrida ‘Quartz Scarlet’ were planted in raised beds simulating an urban landscape. Before planting, 10 inorganic fertilizer or CPL treatments were incorporated into the raised beds, including Peafowl® brand garden-grade fertilizer 13N–5.6P–10.9K (13-13-13) at rates of 4.9 g N/m2 and 9.8 g N/m2, Polyon® 13N–5.6P–10.9K (13-13-13) at rates of 4.9 g N/m2 and 9.8 g N/m2, and CPL at rates of 4.9 g N/m2, 9.8 g N/m2, 19.6 g N/m2, 29.4 g N/m2, 39.2 g N/m2, and 49 g N/m2. Use of CPL incorporated into landscape planting beds as a fertilizer source resulted in plants equal to or larger than plants grown with conventional inorganic fertilizers. Nitrate (NO3) and ammonia (NH4) levels in leachates from plots amended with CPL were comparable with plots amended with commercial inorganic fertilizers and nitrogen (N) levels were in most cases less in plots fertilized with CPL when compared with inorganic fertilizers when the same N rate was applied. Composted poultry litter may not be able to fully replace inorganic fertilizers, but it can reduce inorganic fertilizer requirements and provide an environmentally sound alternative to poultry waste disposal as well as provide beneficial aspects for plant growth in annual bedding plants.

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In five experiments, singlenode cuttings of `Red Cascade' miniature rose (Rosa) were treated with a basal quick-dip (prior to insertion into the rooting substrate) or sprayed to the drip point with a single foliar application (after insertion) of Dip `N Grow [indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) + 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA)], the potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA), or the potassium salt of 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (K-NAA); a single foliar spray application of Dip `N Grow with and without Kinetic surfactant; or multiple foliar spray applications of Dip `N Grow. Spray treatments were compared with their respective basal quick-dip controls {4920.4 μm [1000 mg·L-1 (ppm)] IBA + 2685.2 μm (500 mg·L-1) NAA, 4144.2 μm (1000 mg·L-1) K-IBA, or 4458.3 μm (1000 mg·L-1) K-NAA}. Cuttings sprayed with 0 to 246.0 μm (50 mg·L-1) IBA + 134.3 μm (25 mg·L-1) NAA, 0 to 207.2 μm (50 mg·L-1) K-IBA, or 0 to 222.9 μm (50 mg·L-1) K-NAA resulted in rooting percentages, total root length, percent rooted cuttings with shoots, and shoot length similar to or less than control cuttings. Exceptions were cuttings sprayed with 0 to 2.23 μm

(0.5 mg·L-1) K-NAA, which exhibited shoot length greater than the control cuttings. Addition of 1.0 mL·L-1 (1000 ppm) Kinetic organosilicone surfactant to spray treatments resulted in greater total root length and shoot length. Repeated sprays (daily up to seven consecutive days) had no or negative effects on root and shoot development.

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential for use of container substrates composed of processed whole pine trees (WholeTree). Three species [loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)] of 8- to 10-year-old pine trees were harvested at ground level and the entire tree was chipped with a tree chipper. Chips from each tree species were processed with a hammer mill to pass through a 0.374-inch screen. On 29 June 2005 1-gal containers were filled with substrates, placed into full sun under overhead irrigation, and planted with a single liner (63.4 cm3) of ‘Little Blanche’ annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus). The test was repeated on 27 Aug. 2005 with ‘Raspberry Red Cooler’ annual vinca. Pine bark substrate had about 50% less air space and 32% greater water holding capacity than the other substrates. At 54 days after potting (DAP), shoot dry weights were 15% greater for plants grown in 100% pine bark substrate compared with plants grown in the three WholeTree substrates. However, there were no differences in plant growth indices for any substrate at 54 DAP. Plant tissue macronutrient content was similar among all substrates. Tissue micronutrient content was similar and within sufficiency ranges with the exception of manganese. Manganese was highest for substrates made from slash pine and loblolly pine. Root growth was similar among all treatments. Results from the second study were similar. Based on these results, WholeTree substrates derived from loblolly pine, slash pine, or longleaf pine have potential as an alternative, sustainable source for producing short-term horticultural crops.

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A study was conducted at Auburn University to evaluate freshly chipped pine trees as an alternative substrate in container nursery crops. Two substrates were tested alone and in combination with aged pine bark (PB), peat (P), and composted poultry litter (PL). A 6:1 (v:v) PB: sand control treatment was also included. The two substrates were both composed of small caliper (2 to 10 cm) Pinus taeda processed in a chipper (including needles) (AUC); however, one substrate was additionally processed through a hammermill with a 0.95-cm screen (AUHM). Treatments included were 100% AUC, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:PB, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:P, 3:1 (v/v) AUC:PL, 1:1 (v/v) AUC:PB, 1:1 (v/v) AUC: P, 1:1 (v/v) AUC:PL, and the same treatments for the AUHM substrate. There were a total of 15 treatments with six replications per treatment. Each substrate was amended with 0.45 kg·m-3 gypsum, 6.35 kg·m-3 Polyon 17–6–12 (17N–2.6P–10K) and 0.68 kg·m-3 MicroMax. Trade gallon (2.8-L) containers were filled with respective substrates and planted with Lantana camera `New Gold' on 20 July 2005. AUC and AUHM treatments amended with either PL or P resulted in Lantana with growth indices similar to PB:sand (6:1). In general, plants tended to be larger when amended on a 1:1 basis with either PL or P, but were similar statistically to those amended 3:1. For example, plants grown with AUHM:P 1:1 or AUHM:PL 1:1 were 7.3% and 8.8% larger, respectively, than plants grown in the same medium at 3:1. The lowest growth indices tended to occur with AUC and AUHM alone or amended with pine bark. Lantana root growth followed a similar trend to growth indices in that greatest coverage of the rootball surface occurred with AUC or AUHM treatments amended with PL or P.

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Increased trace gas emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) are widely believed to be a primary cause of global warming. Agriculture is a large contributor to these emissions; however, its role in climate change is unique in that it can act as a source of trace gas emissions or it can act as a major sink. Furthermore, agriculture can significantly reduce emissions through changes in production management practices. Much of the research on agriculture’s role in mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been conducted in row crops and pastures as well as forestry and animal production systems with little focus on contributions from specialty crop industries such as horticulture. Our objective was to determine efflux patterns of CO2, CH4, and N2O associated with three different fertilization methods (dibble, incorporated, and topdressed) commonly used in nursery container production. Weekly measurements indicated that CO2 fluxes were slightly lower when fertilizer was dibbled compared with the other two methods. Nitrous oxide fluxes were consistently highest when fertilizer was incorporated. Methane flux was generally low with few differences among treatments. Results from this study begin to provide data that can be used to implement mitigation strategies in container plant production, which will help growers adapt to possible emission regulations and benefit from future GHG mitigation or offset programs.

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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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Two experiments were conducted with pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams `Bingo Yello') to determine the relationship between foliar nitrogen (% of dry weight) (FN) and either sap nitrate concentration (SN) in petioles or SPAD readings of foliage. FN was highly correlated to SN throughout both experiments (r = 0.80 to 0.91). FN was poorly correlated to SPAD readings early in both experiments (r = 0.54 to 0.65), but more highly correlated later when visual symptoms of N deficiency were apparent (r = 0.84 to 0.90). SN determined with the Cardy sap nitrate meter was a reliable predictor of FN in pansy, while SPAD readings were only reliable after symptoms of N deficiency were visually evident. FN can be predicted with SN using the following equation: log(SN) = 0.47*FN + 1.6 [r 2 = 0.80, n = 132]. Growers and landscape professionals can use SN readings to predict FN levels in pansy, and thus rapidly and accurately diagnose the N status of their crop.

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A study was conducted at Auburn University in Auburn, AL, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS, to evaluate clean chip residual (CCR) as an alternative substrate component for annual bedding plant production. Clean chip residual used in this study was processed through a horizontal grinder with 4-inch screens at the site and was then processed again through a swinging hammer mill to pass a 3/4- or 1/2-inch screen. Two CCR particle sizes were used alone or blended with 10% (9:1) or 20% (4:1) peatmoss (PM) (by volume) and were compared with control treatments, pine bark (PB), and PB blends (10% and 20% PM). Three annual species, ‘Blue Hawaii’ ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), ‘Vista Purple’ salvia (Salvia ×superba), and ‘Coral’ or ‘White’ impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), were transplanted from 36-cell (12.0-inch3) flats into 1-gal containers, placed on elevated benches in a greenhouse, and hand watered as needed. Ageratum plants grown at Auburn had leaf chlorophyll content similar or greater than that of plants grown in PB. There were no differences in salvia; however, impatiens plants grown in PB substrates at Auburn had less leaf chlorophyll content than those grown in CCR. There were no differences in ageratum, salvia, or impatiens leaf chlorophyll content at Poplarville. There were no differences in growth indices (GI) or shoot dry weight (SDW) of ageratum, while the largest salvia was in PB:PM and the largest impatiens were in PB-based substrates at Auburn. The GI of ageratum at Poplarville was similar among treatments, but plants grown in 4:1 1/2-inch CCR:PM were the largest. Salvia was largest in 4:1 CCR:PM and PB:PM, and although there were no differences in GI for impatiens at Poplarville, the greatest SDW occurred with PB:PM. Foliar nutrient content analysis indicated elevated levels of manganese and zinc in treatments containing CCR at Auburn and PB at Poplarville. At the study termination, two of three annual species tested at both locations had very similar growth when compared with standard PB substrates. This study demonstrates that CCR is a viable alternative substrate in greenhouse production of ageratum, salvia, and impatiens in large containers.

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Residual chipping material, also called clean chip residual (CCR), has potential use as a growth substrate in the nursery and greenhouse horticultural industries. A survey was conducted in the southeastern United States among companies conducting harvesting operations on pine (Pinus sp.) plantations for the production of pulpwood in the forest industry. Fourteen operators in four states (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida) were visited to evaluate the on-site status of residual material. Sample analysis of CCR revealed that it was composed of ≈37.7% wood (range, 14.2% to 50.5%), 36.6% bark (range, 16.1% to 68.5%), 8.8% needles (range, 0.1% to 19.2%), and 16.9% indistinguishable (fine) particles (range, 7.5% to 31%). pH ranged from 4.3 to 5.5 for all locations and electrical conductivity (EC) averaged 0.24 mmho/cm. Most nutrients were in acceptable ranges for plant growth with the exception of three sites above recommended levels for iron and four sites for manganese. Survey participants estimated that ≈27.5% of the harvest site biomass was composed of CCR. Some harvesters were able to sell CCR as fuelwood to pulp mills, while others did not recover the residual material and left it on the forest floor (44.3% total site biomass). Operations in this survey included typical pine plantation chipping and grinding operations (harvesters), woodyards (lumber, fuelwood, etc.), and operations processing mixed material (salvage from trees damaged in hurricanes or mixed tree species cleared from a site that was not under management as a plantation). Residual material varied depending on the plantation age, species composition, site quality, and natural actions such as fire. Average tree age was 11.5 years (range, 8 to 15 years), while average tree stand height was 37.0 ft (range, 25 to 50 ft) and average diameter at breast height (DBH) was 5.9 inches (range, 4 to 7 inches). Residual material on site was either sold immediately (28.6%), left on site for 1 to 3 months (28.6%), left on site for up to 2 years (7.1%), or not collected/sold (35.7%). Several loggers were interested in making CCR available to horticultural industries. Adequate resources are available to horticultural industries, rendering the use of CCR in ornamental plant production a viable option.

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