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  • Author or Editor: Jayne Zajicek x
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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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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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In the last quarter century, the epidemic of overweight and obese Americans has increased strikingly. This, in turn, has caused a substantial rise in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol, hypertension, osteoarthritis, stroke, type II diabetes, specific forms of cancer, and other diseases. The main purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of gardening activities on activity levels, body mass index (BMI), allergies, and reported overall health of gardeners and nongardeners. The sample population was drawn from two sources: an online survey and an identical paper-pencil formatted survey, which was distributed to church, garden, and community service groups within Texas and parts of the mid-western United States. A total of 1015 people participated in the study. Results from this study indicated nongardeners were less physically active when compared with gardeners. However, frequency of gardening did not have a statistically significant impact on gardeners’ BMI. There was also no difference in BMI between gardeners and nongardeners. Gardeners indicated having more frequently reoccurring symptoms for “ear infection/ear ache,” “high cholesterol,” “kidney stone,” “gallstones,” and “arthritis,” indicating gardening may be being used as a distraction therapy, helping gardeners to cope with pain and remain active when other forms of exercise may not be an option. There was no statistically significant difference in incidence of allergies between gardeners and nongardeners.

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Visual-motor integration is influential in childhood development. Historical anecdotal evidence supports gardening as aiding in children’s development of fine and gross motor skills. The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of a school gardening program on children’s development of visual-motor integration. Preschool children ages 2 to 6 years old enrolled in private tuition-based schools were included in the sample. For 6 months, control group students studied using a traditional school curriculum whereas treatment group students participated in gardening as part of their lessons. The Beery-Buktenica visual-motor integration short-form instrument was used to quantitatively measure students’ levels of visual-motor integration. No significant differences were found in overall comparisons between the treatment and control group students. However, in demographic comparisons, significance was found; standardized scores for males in the treatment group improved whereas scores for males in the control group decreased. Results indicated that male preschoolers may respond especially well to gardening programs in the classroom in developing visual-motor integration.

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A questionnaire based on the Life Satisfaction Inventory A (LSIA) was used to investigate older adult (age 50+ years) gardeners' and nongardeners' perceptions of personal life satisfaction and levels of physical activity. The LSIA measures five components of quality of life: “zest for life,” “resolution and fortitude,” “congruence between desired and achieved goals,” “physical, psychological, and social self-concept,” and “optimism.” Additional multiple-choice questions were asked to determine respondents' level of physical activity, perceptions of overall health and well-being as well as to gather demographic information. The survey was posted on a university homepage for ≈1 month. Responses were gathered from 298 participants who differentiated themselves as gardeners or nongardeners by responding positively or negatively to the question “do you garden?” Results indicated statistically significant differences in comparisons of overall life satisfaction scores with gardeners receiving higher mean scores indicating more positive results on the LSIA. Four individual quality-of-life statements included in the LSIA yielded statistically significantly more positive answers by gardeners when compared with nongardeners. Other questions regarding healthful practices revealed that personal reports of physical activity and perceptions of personal health were statistically significantly more positive among gardeners when compared with nongardeners.

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Researchers at the University of Florida and Texas A&M University developed a survey to gain insight into demographic and educational influences on undergraduate students who major in horticulture. Five universities participated in the study of undergraduate horticulture programs. These included the University of Florida, Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, University of Tennessee, and Kansas State University. About 600 surveys were sent to schools during the 1997 fall semester. The questionnaires were completed by horticulture majors and nonmajors taking classes in horticulture departments. The survey consisted of two main sections. The first section, which was completed by all students, explored student demographic information, high school history, university history, and horticulture background. Only horticulture majors completed the second section, which examined factors influencing choice of horticulture as a major. Statistically significant differences were found between horticulture majors and nonmajors when comparing the two groups on the variables of transfer status, gardening experiences, and the importance of gardening. There was a significantly higher percentage of transfer students among horticulture majors. The decision to major in horticulture occurred somewhat early in academic programs, with the largest representations in high school or early in college. Overall, majors had more gardening experience than nonmajors and considered the hobby of gardening as a strong influence in choosing their major. This information should be considered in recruitment efforts since students reported that this interest fostered in them a desire to pursue horticulture as a major. School garden programs at the primary level and horticulture classes at the high school level could possibly influence more students to choose horticulture as a major at the college level. Currently, trends in recruiting efforts in academic programs at the university level are intense and competitive, as students are given more and more career option information. Consequently, data from this study may be useful for horticulture departments developing targeted recruiting programs.

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The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYHP) had an effect on the science standardized test scores or science grades of fourth-grade primary school students in Houston, TX. To conduct the study, five pairs of Houston elementary schools were selected as either treatment or control schools. The treatment group included a total of 148 fourth-grade students whose teachers reported using the NWF’s SYHP. The control group consisted of a total of 248 fourth-grade students whose teachers used a traditional science curriculum. To measure academic achievement, scores on a standardized science test and science grades were compared between the treatment and control students. Results from this study indicated Caucasian students scored higher than minority students on the Stanford standardized science exam. Significant differences existed in the Stanford standardized science exam scores between male and female students for the treatment group only. Overall, the results from this study also showed that the SYHP was equally as effective at science instruction as the traditional curriculum within the Houston Independent School District (HISD) after teachers gained familiarity with using the habitat for instruction.

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the presence of live interior plants or window views of exterior green spaces on employee job satisfaction. A survey was administered through an online database. The survey included questions regarding physical work environment, the presence or absence of live interior plants, windows, exterior green spaces, environmental preferences, job satisfaction, and demographical information. About 600 office workers from Texas and the Midwest responded to the on-line workplace environment survey. Data were analyzed to compare levels of job satisfaction of employees that worked in office spaces that included live interior plants or window views of exterior green spaces and employees that worked in office environments without live plants or window views. Demographic information collected allowed controlling for salary, occupational level, educational level, age group, gender, and ethnicity. This research data can be particularly useful in urban planning, commercial property design and to encourage the incorporation of plants and green spaces in interior and exterior development projects.

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The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between parental attitudes toward nature and their child's outdoor recreation and how these attitudes related to their reports of their child's health problems. The sample for this study consisted of parents of 6- to 13-year-old children from the United States, who accessed the survey from an informational website for gardeners between Mar. and Aug. 2009. Surveys were collected until 142 completed questionnaires were received. The online survey included questions about parents' attitude toward nature, parents' attitudes toward their child's outdoor recreation, an inventory of potential children's health problems, the time children spent in various indoor and outdoor activities, and demographic questions. Descriptive statistics were used to tabulate mean scores on the parental attitude toward nature (PAN) scale and parental attitude toward their child's outdoor recreation (PACOR) scale, both of which indicated overall positive views. Pearson's product–moment correlations indicated statistically significant relationships between the PAN scale, the PACOR scale, and time children spent outdoors. Relationships between time spent indoors on video games or watching television and health problems in children were identified. Time spent outdoors in free play was inversely related to reports of health problems in children.

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The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument to measure parental attitude toward nature (PAN) and parental attitude toward their child's outdoor recreation (PACOR) to allow researchers to better understand the factors influencing children's outdoor recreation and suggest programs for changing the recent decline in outdoor activity in children. The construction of this instrument followed the Dillman method of constructing survey instruments to improve response rates and to ensure higher quality results. Two scales were developed in three phases. In the first phase, an initial set of instrument questions were developed by adapting questions from previous research. The accumulated questions were then pilot tested and revised based on feedback and reliability. Each inventory was then tested following Dillman's four stages of survey pretest procedures: stage 1—review by knowledgeable colleagues and analysts, stage 2—interviews to evaluate understanding of instructions and questions, stage 3—pilot testing, and stage 4—a final check. The final Cronbach's alpha reliability analyses of the PAN scale and the PACOR scale indicated high levels of internal consistency. The number of questions was reduced following the results of an “alpha if item deleted” tool within SPSS statistical analysis software to improve internal consistency and to reduce load on participants.

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