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  • Author or Editor: Jeff S. Kuehny x
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This decision case concerns production and marketing problems that many ornamental growers incur. At the retail level, popular ornamental crops are often used as loss leaders to draw the public into stores to make other purchases. As a result, retail buyers are concerned not with quality but with price and volume. To meet the needs of price-conscious buyers, growers may attempt to reduce their production costs by reducing the level of production inputs, with some sacrifice in product quality. The owners of Two Sisters Greenhouses must decide whether they are going to produce lower-quality plants, change marketing strategies, or grow alternative crops to retain their current profit margins. This case study was intended for use in greenhouse management, nursery management, and floriculture courses where students assume the role of a decisionmaker in poinsettia production and marketing.

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Rhizomes of Curcuma alismatifolia Roxb. `Chiang Mai Pink', C. gracillima Roxb. `Violet', and C. thorelii Roxb. were soaked in gibberellin (GA4+7) at 0, 200, 400, or 600 mg·L-1 (ppm) and planted into 15.2-cm-diameter (6 inches) containers. The plants were grown in a greenhouse at 30 °C day/23 °C night (86.0/73.4 °F) temperatures. When shoot height was 10 cm (3.9 inches), the plants were drenched with 118 mL (3.9 fl oz) of paclobutrazol at 0, 2, 3, or 4 mg a.i. per 15.2-cm-diameter container. Gibberellin4+7 delayed shoot emergence and fl owering but did not affect the fl ower number. Paclobutrazol rates were not effective in controlling height of C. alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink' averaging 85 cm (33.5 inches), C. gracillima `Violet' averaging 25 cm (9.8 inches), or C. thorelii averaging 17 cm (6.7 inches). Curcuma alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink', C. gracillima `Violet', and C. thorelii had postproduction longevities of 4.6, 2.6 and 3.8 weeks respectively, making these three species of curcuma excellent candidates for use as fl owering pot plants.

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Rhizomes of Curcuma alismatifolia `Chiang Mai Pink' and tissue cultured plants of C. cordata, C. petiolata `Emperor', C. thorelii, Kaempferia sp. `Grande', Siphonichilus decora and S. kirkii were grown in a greenhouse under 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-hour photoperiods. All plants grown under the 8-hour photoperiod became dormant over a 15 week time period. After 90 days, most ginger species grown under the 16- and 20-hour photoperiods were taller than those grown under 8 and 12 hours. A larger number of unfolded leaves was indicated for all ginger species grown under 16- and 20-hour photoperiods compared to those grown under 8- and 12-hour photoperiods except for C. thorelli. The percentage of unfolded leaves as determined by quartile indicated similar results. The number of underground rhizomes of C. alismatifolia, C. cordata, and C. petiolata increased when plants were grown at 16 and 20-hour photoperiods. The number of tuberous-roots (t-roots) increased as photoperiod decreased below 16 hours for C. alismatifolia, C. cordata, C. petiolata, Kaempferia sp. and S. kirkii. Siphonichilus decora produced no t-roots while C. thorelii produced the most t-roots at 16 hours. Vegetative growth of gingers grown in this study, except for C. thorelii, was maintained and increased at photoperiods of 16 and 20 hours.

Photoperiods of 8 and 12 hours induced dormancy and t-root production of most of these gingers.

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Biodegradable and plastic containers were evaluated for greenhouse and landscape production of ‘Score Red’ geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum), ‘Grape Cooler’ vinca (Catharanthus roseus), or ‘Dazzler Lilac Splash’ impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) at Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, LA; Longwood Gardens (LWG), Kennett Square, PA; and University of Arkansas (UA), Fayetteville, AR. Of the 5-inch containers, the highest geranium and vinca shoot growth occurred in plastic containers compared with bioplastic and rice straw containers. Of the 4-inch containers, paper containers produced the greatest geranium shoot growth compared with the peat containers at LSU and LWG. Shoot growth in impatiens was similar for all container types at all three locations. When all container types were considered, there was no difference in the root growth of geranium or impatiens at all three locations. However, vinca had the highest root growth in paper containers compared with that in peat and coconut fiber. The root:shoot (R:S) ratio of geranium were mixed for all pot sizes, types, and locations. Vinca R:S ratio was highest in both the 4- and 5-inch plastic control containers at LSU and lowest in both plastic containers at LWG. Direct plant containers generally performed well in the landscape as the plants grown in plastic containers at LWG. Plants grown in all tested containers produced marketable plants for both the retail and landscape markets. However, growers and landscapers should be aware of growth differences that may occur when using biodegradable containers and align production practices accordingly.

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Dimethyl ammonium chloride (DAC, `Triathlon'), sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde, and streptomycin (`Agri-mycin 17') were used as dips to treat Zantedeschia rehmannii superba Engl., Zantedeschia elliotiana ×maculata (Hook.) Engl., and Zantedeschia albomaculata (W.Wats.) Baill. rhizomes to control Erwinia soft rot. A 30 min 200 ppm (mg·L−1) streptomycin dip provided the best control of Erwinia soft rot for all three Zantedeschia species and a 1-hour 10% formaldehyde dip provided the second best control of inoculated rhizomes. Rhizomes inoculated with Erwinia required more days to emerge. Chemical treatments did not affect days to emergence or final plant growth.

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Forty-five cultivars of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) were field-grown using best management practices at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter) Botanic Gardens in Baton Rouge during the Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 seasons. Recommended cultivars were selected for commercial production in Louisiana based on fresh weight and lettuce size (width and height). Nitrate (NO3 ) concentration was analyzed for each cultivar, as lettuces are known to accumulate and concentrate NO3 , and were then compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) oral reference dose (RfD—the EPA’s maximum acceptable oral dose of a toxic substance) of 1.6 mg NO3-nitrogen (N) per kilogram body weight per day. Recommended butterhead cultivars were Caliente and Harmony (21.6 and 13.9 ppm NO3 , respectively); recommended green-leaf cultivars were Salad Bowl and Tango (10.6 and 4.6 ppm NO3 , respectively); recommended red-leaf cultivars were Red Salad Bowl, Red Sails, and New Red Fire (15.2, 15.4, and 24.0 ppm NO3 , respectively). The only recommended romaine cultivar was Green Towers (11.2 ppm NO3 ), and recommended crisphead cultivars included Raider and Ithaca (17.6 and 14.9 ppm NO3 , respectively). Of the highest yielding cultivars, New Red Fire accumulated the greatest NO3 concentration: 24.0 ppm in both years 1 and 2. The NO3 concentration is less than the levels of concern for both men and women 20 to 74 years old, 3.9% of the RfD for men and 4.59% of the RfD for women.

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