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Jennifer DeWolfe, T.M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek

Researchers wonder what it takes to improve athlete performance. Research has suggested that plants reduce anxiety, and reduced anxiety could, in turn, improve athletic performance. Research also shows that plants have psychological and restorative value such as improving coping mechanisms in human subjects as well as the potential to improve concentration and focus attention that could affect performance of athletes. The main objective of this research was to investigate the impact of greenery/landscaping on athletic performance and cognitive and somatic anxiety in track and field athletes. Four university track and field teams and 128 athletes participated in the study. Individual athlete performance and athletes' scores on the competitive state anxiety inventory-2 (CSAI-2) cognitive and somatic anxiety tests were collected from seven track meets that occurred during one spring competition season. Greenness/landscaping level was determined by Likert scale rating averages from professional horticulturists who individually rated each site. A regression analysis found that greenness level was a predictor (P = 0.000) of best performance by athletes. More of the athletes' best performance marks were at the track and field site that had the highest greenery rating, and many of the athletes' worst performance marks were achieved at the site that had the lowest greenery rating. Results also indicated that all athletes performed better at the more vegetated track and field site regardless of event and level of anxiety. All athletes performed similarly at each of the track and field sites regardless of ethnicity, gender, or grade classification. However, the overall average mean anxiety scores for all the athletes involved in this study were somewhat high in comparison with the instrument-normed scores for both the cognitive and somatic anxiety scales.

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S.R. Henss, J.M. Zajicek and R.D. Lineberger

Performance of college-level floral design students was compared using a sample of 140 students from Texas A&M University. The experimental group was enrolled in the online version of the course, while the control group was enrolled in the traditional version of the course. Students in both groups were asked to fill out surveys at the beginning and end of the semester. In addition, student floral designs were evaluated at the beginning and end of the semester, and student grades were compared at the end of the semester. No statistically significant differences were noted in terms of student course satisfaction. However, differences were noted in course grades, with those enrolled in the traditional section of the course outperforming those in the online section. Overall, the students in both sections of the course did well in terms of grades, floral design skill scores, and course satisfaction. Results indicated that certain student characteristics may be indicators for student success in online courses.

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Amy N. Campbell, J.M. Zajicek and C.D. Townsend

A study was developed to compare secondary high school students' knowledge and attitude changes toward environmental issues after the completion of an interdisciplinary instructional unit in environmental science. The population for the study was high school horticulture and environmental science students. The study consisted of four student groups, including two control groups and two experimental groups, one each from an environmental science class and a horticulture class. The control groups did not participate in the treatment, which consisted of an environmental mini-unit and plant propagation experiment that the experimental groups completed. Both student groups responded to a pre- and posttest questionnaire. There were no significant differences in overall attitude scores between treatment and control groups. Significant differences were noted in knowledge gains between the horticulture control group and treatment group, with students participating in the mini-unit scoring significantly higher in knowledge gain. There was also a positive correlation between attitude scores of students who had success with their propagation experiments. The results of this study indicate that it is important to test students' attitudes and knowledge when determining the effectiveness of new environmental curriculum. The high correlation between success in the propagation experiment included in the miniunit and attitude supports findings that an activity-based curriculum has the potential to raise the awareness of students on environmental issues.

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Jennifer L. Boatright, J.M. Zajicek and W.A. Mackay

A study was conducted to test the ability of hydrophilic polymers to retain moisture in annual bedding plant beds in addition to reducing NO3 and NH4 leaching. Petunia plants were transplanted into raised concrete benches containing a drainage pipe that allowed for excess leachate to be collected. Beds that were treated with 0 or 366 g·m–2 of hydrogel and 0 or 186 g of ai N. Watering of beds followed a strict irrigation schedule and soil moisture was monitored daily. At termination, plant dry weight was measured and analyses of plant tissue and leachate were conducted for NO3 and NH4 concentrations. Results from this study demonstrated that, under suboptimal conditions of minimal irrigation and fertilization, polymer incorporation had a significant effect on water, NH4, and NO3 retention in soils. Water leaching was decreased by 17%; NH4 retention was increased by 83%; and NO3 retention, where additional N was added, was increased by 64% due to polymer incorporation. In addition, a 47% reduction in NO3 concentration of water leachate was detected when polymer was incorporated under minimal fertilization. Growth or N levels of petunia were not significantly affected by polymer incorporation.

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek and Marshall J. McFarland

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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Jayne M. Zajicek, Susan L. Steinberg and Marshall J. McFarland

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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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted Ligustrum was controlled by uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i./pot. Uniconazole inhibited growth by inducing shorter internodes with smaller diameter and by reducing secondary branching and new leaf production. As a result, the total leaf area of the treated plants was 6396 less than the control plants. The chlorophyll content of recently expanded leaves was 27% lower in treated than in control plants, even though there were no visual differences in leaf color. Leaves of treated plants also had a 28% higher stomatal density than the control. The liquid flow conductance of Ligustrum was 3.7 × 10-14 m·s-1·Pa-1 and was similar for plants in both treatments. Differences in daily water, use between the two treatments began to appear at the same time as differences in growth. Total water use of treated plants was 13% less than that of the control. When daily water use was normalized on a-leaf-area basis, water use between treatments was similar, suggesting that differences in total water use were primarily due to differences in leaf area. For plants in both treatments, peak sap flow rates in the main trunk ranged between 60 and 100 g·h-1·m-2. Leaf conductance, transpiration rates, and water potential were also similar for treated and control plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyll) -4,4, -dimethyl-2-(l,2,4-triazo1-l-y1)-l-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) was limited either by pruning or by a soil drench of `uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i. per pot. Both treatments changed the water use of hibiscus. Five days after treatment with uniconazole, plants showed reduced water use, an effect that 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. Pruned or chemically treated plants used 6% and 33% less water, respectively, than the control. Chemically treated plants had a smaller leaf area, and individual leaves had lower stomatal density, conductance, and transpiration rate than control plants. Under well-watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of control or pruned plants was 120 to 160 g·h-1·m-2, nearly three times higher than the 40 to 70 g·h-1·m-2 measured in chemically treated plants. Liquid flow conductance through the main trunk or stem was slightly higher in chemically treated plants due to higher values of leaf water potential for a given sap flow rate. The capacitance per unit volume of individual leaves appeared to be lower in chemically treated than in control plants. There was also a trend toward lower water-use efficiency in uniconazole-treated plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-l-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

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I.H. Perry, J.M. Zajicek and S.L. Hatch

Understanding the effect of catastrophic disturbances on natural communities is necessary and vital to planning and executing development and to reclamation and restoration projects. Two nearby sites one catastrophically disturbed by flooding and one undisturbed area were compared. Field vegetation analysis three years after the flood in the disturbed area showed changes in the community structure along the stream, no overstory and a majority of obligate emergent wetland vegetation. In the undisturbed site, community structure along the stream is uniform; the overstory is well-developed, and herbaceous plants are predominantly facultative wetland but with few emergents. The field water quality analysis of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and specific conductivity are compared in the areas. GIS (Geographic Information System) analysis used the USGS 1:24,000 maps of the area and SCS county soil survey maps to analyze erosion risk, soil types, topography and vegetation potential in the 200 km2 Miller Springs Natural Area and the immediately surrounding 5 10 km2 watershed.

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Jennifer L. Boatright, J.M. Zajicek and W.A. Mackay

Two experiments were conducted in which a polyacrylamide gel (Hydrosource, Western Polyacrylamide) was incorporated into 56 × 38-cm, raised, concrete beds, 20 cm deep, with a drain pipe in the center of each bed. In Expt. 1, treatments included (in grams of i.a. N) 0, 186, 372, or 558 plus 0 or 366 g hydrogel/m2, for a total of eight treatments. Each treatment was replicated three times. Petunia plants were transplanted into each plot for a total of 30 plants per treatment. Plants were kept well watered. Polymer incorporation had no effect on soil water retention, soil NO3 or NH4 retention, or plant growth. Expt. 2 included treatments of 0 or 186 g of ai N and 0 or 366 g hydrogel/m2. Each treatment was replicated six times with 10 plants per replication, resulting in a total of 60 plants per treatment. Minimal irrigation was imposed on treatments. This study demonstrated that under suboptimal conditions of minimal irrigation and fertilization, polymer incorporation significantly increased soil moisture (17%), NH4 retention (83%), and NO3 retention where additional N was added (64%) compared to soils without polymer.