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J. Roger Harris, Nina L. Bassuk, Richard W. Zobel and Thomas H. Whitlow

The objectives of this study were to determine root and shoot growth periodicity for established Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh. (green ash), Quercus coccinea Muenchh. (scarlet oak), Corylus colurna L. (Turkish hazelnut), and Syringa reticulata (Blume) Hara `Ivory Silk' (tree lilac) trees and to evaluate three methods of root growth periodicity measurement. Two methods were evaluated using a rhizotron. One method measured the extension rate (RE) ofindividual roots, and the second method measured change in root length (RL) against an observation grid. A third method, using periodic counts of new roots present on minirhizotrons (MR), was also evaluated. RE showed the least variability among individual trees. Shoot growth began before or simultaneously with the beginning of root growth for all species with all root growth measurement methods. All species had concurrent shoot and root growth, and no distinct alternating growth patterns were evident when root growth was measured by RE. Alternating root and shoot growth was evident, however, when root growth was measured by RL and MR. RE measured extension rate of larger diameter lateral roots, RL measured increase in root length of all diameter lateral roots and MR measured new root count of all sizes of lateral and vertical roots. Root growth periodicity patterns differed with the measurement method and the types of roots measured.

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Susan D. Day, Sheri T. Dorn, Diane Relf and J. Roger Harris

The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Advanced Master Gardener-Tree Steward (AMGTS) program provides advanced training in leadership development and arboriculture to MG volunteer educators so they may expand the influence of extension through leadership in community forestry. A statewide survey of agents, MGs, and foresters served as the basis for developing the training package, which was funded in part by the Virginia Department of Forestry. According to a statewide survey, 70% of VCE MGs and extension agents with MG programs would like to be involved in community tree programming, while only 26% was currently involved. Typically, agents cited limited staff and volunteer resources as the primary factors in restricting program expansion. Furthermore, 90% of municipal foresters indicated they would like to work with trained volunteers. The AMGTS program simultaneously answers the desire of MGs to expand their role in the community landscape and the need of VCE to expand its outreach with increasingly limited resources. AMGTS training, guided by a 10-unit resource book, integrates technical and program management expertise to foster volunteer pride and self-sufficiency. This allows MG tree stewards to coordinate much of their own training and recruit and manage non-MG volunteers to whom they can provide limited training for specific projects, thus allowing program expansion without additional staff. The training is designed for delivery by knowledgeable professionals in the local community, such as arborists, horticulturists, college professors, extension specialists, MGs, and others who can provide quality training following the program guidelines.

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J. Roger Harris, Alex X. Niemiera, Robert D. Wright and Charles H. Parkerson

Three experiments were conducted to determine the feasibility of using Biobarrier, a landscape fabric with trifluralin herbicide-impregnated nodules, of various sizes to prevent root escape of trees from the drainage holes of 56-liter containers in below-ground pot-in-pot (P&P) and above-ground Keeper Upper (KU) nursery production systems. In addition, side holes or slits were cut in some container walls to test the effect of Biobarrier on the prevention of circling roots. In Expt. 1 (P&P), Betula nigra L. `Heritage' (river birch) trees with no Biobarrier had root ratings for roots escaped through drainage holes that indicated a 5-fold increase in numbers of roots than for treatments containing Biobarrier. All Biobarrier treatments reduced root escape and resulted in commercially acceptable control. In Expt. 2 (KU), control and the Biobarrier treatment river birch trees (30 nodules) had commercially unacceptable root escape. In Expt. 3 (P&P), control and 10-nodule treatment Prunus × yedoensis Matsum. (Yoshino cherry) trees had commercially unacceptable root escape, but treatments containing 20 and 40 nodules resulted in commercially acceptable control. Biobarrier did not limit shoot growth in any of the experiments. The results of these experiments indicate that Biobarrier did not prevent circling roots, but sheets containing at least 8 or 20 nodules of trifluralin acceptably prevented root escape from drainage holes in the pot-in-pot production of 56-liter container river birch trees and Yoshino cherry trees, respectively.

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John D. Lea-Cox, Cindy Zhao, David S. Ross, Theodore E. Bilderback, J. Roger Harris, Susan D. Day, Chuanxue Hong, Thomas H. Yeager, Richard C. Beeson Jr, William L. Bauerle, Andrew G. Ristvey, Mary Lorscheider, Sarah Dickinson and John M. Ruter

Increasing environmental concerns and legislation in many states and in other countries require that we take a more comprehensive sustainable “best management” approach to production techniques in nursery and greenhouse operations. This is particularly important because these production facilities are typically intense users of resources that are applied to relatively small land areas. We have developed an online knowledge center to facilitate the implementation of more sustainable practices within the nursery and greenhouse industry. A web-based knowledge center provides the most cost-effective mechanism for information delivery, as our potential audiences are extremely diverse and widespread. We currently have a registered user database of over 450 educators, growers, and industry professionals, and undergraduate and graduate students. A gateway website provides an overview of the issues and the goals of the project. The associated knowledge center currently has 25 in-depth learning modules, designed in a Moodle learning management framework. These learning modules are designed to actively engage learners in topics on substrate, irrigation, surface water, and nutrient and crop health management, which are integral to formulating farm-specific strategies for more sustainable water and nutrient management practices. Additional modules provide assessment and implementation tools for irrigation audits, irrigation methods and technologies, and water and nutrient management planning. The instructional design of the learning modules was paramount because there can be multiple strategies to improve site-specific production practices, which often require an integration of knowledge from engineering, plant science, and plant pathology disciplines. The assessment and review of current practices, and the decision to change a practice, are often not linear, nor simple. All modules were designed with this process in mind, and include numerous resources [pictures, diagrams, case studies, and assessment tools (e.g., spreadsheets and example calculations)] to enable the learner to fully understand all of the options available and to think critically about his/her decisions. Sixteen of the modules were used to teach an intensive 400-level “Principles of Water and Nutrient Management” course at the University of Maryland during Spring 2008 and 2009. The water and nutrient management planning module also supports the nursery and greenhouse Farmer Training Certification program in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Agriculture provides continuing education credits for all consultants and growers who register and complete any module in the knowledge center. Although these learning resources were developed by faculty in the eastern region of the United States, much of the information is applicable to more widespread audiences.