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  • Author or Editor: Cheryl R. Boyer x
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A survey of commercial nursery growers was conducted to identify cultural practices used in wintercreeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei) production. Growers that have or have not experienced anthracnose incited by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides on wintercreeper euonymus participated in the survey. Nurseries reported using a variety of practices to produce quality plants for sale. Plant culture appeared similar between nurseries with anthracnose problems on wintercreeper euonymus and those without anthracnose problems.

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Dahlia (Dahlia ×hybrida) is an important floriculture crop that has gained popularity in recent years. Greenhouse growers have recently reported a phenomenon known as “dahlia decline,” that can affect potted dahlias in greenhouse production. The crop exhibits graying foliage, root decline, and plant death, and the phenomenon has reportedly caused partial or total crop loss and has no known initiating factor. We hypothesized that plant exposure to supraoptimal root-zone temperatures (RZTs) during production may decrease dahlia root quality, especially above 40 °C and could initiate dahlia decline. Because there is a lack of understanding on how supraoptimal RZT may impact dahlia growth and development, experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of supraoptimal RZTs on seven dahlia cultivars in Spring 2019 and 2020. Dahlias were grown for 4 to 5 weeks in the greenhouse and then root zones were exposed to ≈22 (control), 35, 40, 45, or 50 °C using a water bath. Root quality was rated before treatment and rated weekly after the hot water bath treatment, along with vegetative growth parameters for 4 weeks. In both years, significant decline in root ratings were observed. ‘XXL Veracruz’ and ‘XXL Sunset’ average root ratings decreased after a 45 and 50 °C treatments in year 2 and both cultivars demonstrated increased root rating averages by 3 weeks after treatment. Cultivars exhibited a significant increase in root rating in the final observations when compared with root ratings taken 1 week posttreatment even if the initial decline after treatment was not significant. Overall plant height was significantly impacted, resulting in shorter heights in both years for all cultivars as treatment temperatures increased to 50 °C in comparison with the control and 35 °C, and a few cultivars exhibited significantly shorter height at 40 and 45 °C. Ultimately, our research did not show typical plant responses that were consistent with reported dahlia decline, but we were better able to characterize dahlia response to supraoptimal RZT.

Open Access

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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Online, direct selling (ODS) has become the leading way that people acquire goods, with Amazon (Seattle, WA) being the largest online vendor in the United States. This study sought to determine if horticultural businesses were engaging in ODS with Amazon, ebay, and other websites. Researchers examined the ODS activity of 498 businesses using quantitative content analysis methods, and found that 93 horticultural industry businesses were conducting some form of ODS through their websites, but only four offered products on Amazon. Results indicate that ODS remains an untapped marketplace for the horticultural industry, particularly for small, rural businesses.

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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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We held a technology session at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science in Atlanta, GA, to provide guidance for technology choices in extension education and an opportunity to learn more about engaging new audiences, including the millennial generation (people born between 1982 and 2000). The use of technology is now an integral part of extension-client interaction. Presenters in the session gave examples of when technologies such as blogs, social media accounts, or web conferencing tools allowed extension personnel to increase engagement with online consumers and ultimately help fulfill extension’s mission of extending knowledge and changing lives. Effective engagement requires both educators and learners to be satisfied with the exchange. It is critical to monitor the quality of these digitally facilitated exchanges as compared with traditional face-to-face interactions. Additionally, it is possible to quantify digital engagement with readily available metrics, such as “retweets” (a reposted or forwarded message) or “likes” (indication an item is appreciated). These allow innovative and substantive reporting to further justify continued use of digital technologies for enhancing client-extension relations.

Open Access