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  • Author or Editor: Allen Owings x
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The LSU Agricultural Center and Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association initiated an ornamental plant promtion, marketing, and recommendation program in 1996. Called `Louisiana Select', this program is intended to actively promote outstanding ornamental plants to Louisiana's gardening consumers. In addition, it provides county agents and industry professionals information on plants that should be recommended. The selection committee consists of an extension horticulturist, two county agents, a landscape contractor, a wholesale greenhouse grower, a wholesale woody ornamental producer, and two representatives from retail garden centers. Plants are usually promoted in the spring and fall of each year. Plants previously named as Louisiana Select recipients include `New Orleans Red' (Red Ruffle) coleus, mayhaw, `Henry's Garnet' virginia sweetspire, `Homestead Purple' perennial verbena, `Telstar' dianthus, bald cypress, `New Gold' lantana, `Confetti' lantana, `Trailing Purple' lantana, `Dallas Red' lantana, `Silver Mound' lantana, `Lady in Red' salvia, `New Wonder' scaevola, `Goldsturm' rudbeckia, and `Foxy' fox-glove. A theme (“Fall is for Planting Native Trees”) has also been promoted. Point of purchase signs promoting the Louisiana Select program and individual plants are made available to garden centers. Significant sales increases ranging from 300% to 2500% have been reported for seelcted plants with annual bedding plants and perennial flowers enjoying the greater sales volume increases.

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The LSU Agricultural Center and Louisiana Association of Nurserymen initiated an ornamental plant promotion and recommendation program in 1996. Called `Louisiana Select', this program is intended to actively promote outstanding ornamental plants to Louisiana's gardening consumers. Plants are promoted in the spring and fall of each year and have included `New Orleans Red' coleus, mayhaw, `Henry's Garnet' Virginia willow, `Homestead Purple' verbena, `Watchet' azalea, `Telstar' dianthus, bald cypress, `New Wonder' scaevola, “Fall is for Planting Native Trees”, and lantana (`New Gold', `Dallas Red', `Confetti', `Trailing Purple', and `Silver Mound'). Point of purchase signs and banners promoting the `Louisiana Select' program and individual plants are provided to retail garden centers. Significant sales increases ranging from 300% to 2500% have been reported for the selected plants, with annual bedding plants and perennial flowers enjoying the greater sales increases. Plants for promotion are selected by a committee of wholesale greenhouse producers, retailers, landscape contractors, and cooperative extension service personnel.

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A greenhouse study was conducted to determine the influence of media containing varying volumetric proportions of composted cotton gin trash and pine bark on the growth of Coleus × hybridus 'Golden Bedder'. All media treatments were amended with 1.5 lbs/yd3 Micromax and 8 lbs/yd3 dolomite. Plant height, shoot dry weight, and visual quality ratings were determined six weeks after potting. Media composed of 100% cotton gin trash produced plants with significantly less height and shoot dry weight. Height inhibition was apparent by 3 weeks after potting. Coleus grown in media composed of 60-1002 pine bark had higher visual quality ratings than those grown in media having cotton gin trash as the primary constituent.

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Coleus were trialed for landscape performance during 2003 and 2004 at Burden Center in Baton Rouge, La. This included a mid-spring through fall evaluation in 2003 and a spring through summer and summer through fall evaluation in 2004. Over 45 cultivars, including the Solar, Hurricane, Stained Glassworks, and Aurora series, were evaluated. Visual quality ratings were taken twice monthly and included compactness, foliage color, uniformity, and overall aesthetics. Flower observations were noted. Beds were located in full sun and consisted of a raised row of an Olivier silt loam soil. Plants were drip irrigated as needed to prevent stress. A separate study compared sun and shade (60%) performance of Kong coleus cultivars in the late summer through fall 2004. The Solar series performed well in 2003 and 2004, and generally had visual quality ratings signifi cantly greater than cultivars in the Hurricane, Stained Glassworks and Aurora series. Height was also greater in the Solar series. The Hurricane series had signifi cant flowering early in the evaluation periods, although `Louise' was slower to fl ower than `Benji' or `Jenni'. Kong coleus cultivars in 60% shade were about 50% shorter than those in full sun. `Aurora Black Cherry' was superior to the other cultivars in the series in terms of visual quality and slowness to fl ower. `Mississippi Summer Sun' (a/k/a Razzle Dazzle) and `Red Ruffle' were top performers among the nonseries cultivars evaluated.

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A study was initiated at Bracy's Nursery, Amite, La., in Apr. 1997 to evaluate the influence of seven controlled-release fertilizer sources and three top-dressed application rates in production of 4-gal (15.7-L) containers of `LaFeliciana' peach and swamp red maple. The fertilizers tested were Osmocote Plus 15-9-11, Osmocote Plus 16-8-12, Woodace 20-5-10, Woodace 20-4-11, Customblen 24-4-6, Nutricote (Type 270) 17-7-8, and Nutricote (Type 360) 17-6-8. Application rates were 1.75, 2.25, and 2.75 lb N per cubic yard. The experiment was completely randomized within blocks (species) and each treatment was replicated five times. A control treatment was also included. For `LaFeliciana' peach, Nutricote and Osmocote yielded the superior results when shoot height and visual quality ratings were determined in October (6 months after initiation). Increases in application rate did not significantly increase shoot height or visual quality ratings in most cases. For swamp red maple, shoot height was not affected by fertilizer source or application rate. Caliper ranged from 19.2 to 23.0 mm but was only slightly influenced by fertilizer source and application rate. Visual quality ratings were significantly higher for Osmocote Plus 16-8-12 when compared to some of the other fertilizer sources.

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Annual vinca, Catharanthus roseus, is exceptionally adaptive to the summer heat and the sandy loam or clay soil in the southeastern region and provides season-long blooms once established in landscape plantings. A wide variety of colors, sizes, and applications are available for landscape use. However, diseases such as alternaria leaf spot and phytophthora leaf blight are prevalent in this region in vinca plantings. Effective disease control requires frequent fungicide application that is expensive and may pose negative effects on the environment. Proper planting techniques including date of planting, fertilization rate at planting, and variety selection may improve plant growth, reduce disease severity, and save landscape service business labor in disease management. Plants of three varieties: open-pollinated `Cooler Hot Rose', F1 hybrid `Titan Rose', and trailing variety `Mediterranean Lilac' were planted on 1 Apr. or 1 May in landscape plots. Plants were at the same growth stage at the time of planting and were fertilized with Osmocote 14–14–14 (3 months) at 0, 35, 70, or 140 g·m2. Plant growth index indicates that plant growth increased significantly at increasing fertilization rates; however, plant overall quality ratings were not significantly different among fertilized plants. Disease incidence in July suggests that late planting may reduce alternaria leaf spot in open-pollinated and hybrid upright type vinca. Disease severity in August was more pronounced on trailing vinca and more severe when plants were not fertilized or fertilized with the highest fertilization rate. Tissue analysis indicates that trailing vinca `Mediterranean Lilac' may require less fertilization than upright type.

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Four rates of seven plant growth regulators were foliar-applied to 11.4 liter containers of Photinia × fraseri after initial root establishment. Growth regulators studied were uniconazole, paclobutrazol, dikegulac-sodium, ancymidol, 6-BA, GA4+7 and, 6-BA + GA4+7. Six months after application, plant height, plant width, growth index, and number of lateral and terminal branches were recorded.

Applications of uniconazole (30 mg a.i./liter), 6-BA alone or in combination with GA4+7, and dikegulacsodium stimulated lateral branching. The number of lateral branches increased linearly as paclobutrazol rates increased from 60 to 180 mg a.i./liter. Growth index decreased with increasing application rates of uniconazole and paclobutrazol, while the growth index of photinia treated with other growth regulators wasn't affected by application rate. Plant height was increased in GA4+7 treated plants.

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The action of foliar-applied uniconazole, paclobutrazol, dikegulac-sodium, ancymidol, 6-BA, GA4+7, and 6-BA + GA4+7 On container–grown Photinia × fraseri was studied over a one year period. Vegetative growth habit was evaluated at three month intervals. Shoot dry weight and histological examination of stern anatomy in the apical meristematic region was conducted at experiment termination.

Several plant growth regulators, primarily uniconazole, 6-BA, 6-BA + GA4+7, and dikegulac-sodium, stimulated lateral branching. Linear increases in lateral branching occurred as application rates increased. High application rates of uniconazole and paclobutrazol created an asymmetrical growth habit and decreased dry weight accumulation.

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All-American daylily cultivars named from 1994–2004 were evaluated for landscape performance and daylily rust (Pucciniahemerocallidis) susceptibility during 2003 and 2004. Cultivars included `Black-Eyed Stella', `Bitsy, `Leebea Orange Crush', `Plum Perfect', `Judith', `Starstruck', `Frankly Scarlet', `Lullaby Baby', `Lady Lucille', and `Chorus Line'. Bareroot plants were planted in raised beds composed of an Olivier silt loam soil in full sun and received irrigation as needed to prevent stress. Visual quality ratings were made weekly from 19 Apr.–25 Oct. 2003 and 15 Mar.–20 Sept. 2004. Visual quality ratings included growth habit, based on compactness, foliage color, uniformity, and overall aesthetics, and flowering, based on longevity and visual appeal. Other flower observations were made in regard to time in bud and peak blooming periods over the same time frames. Flowering observations indicated that `Black Eyed Stella' and `Bitsy' were the only cultivars showing reliable repeat bloom potential. Among the other cultivars, `Judith' was the earliest to bud and bloom, but also had a blooming period of only 2–3 weeks compared to 4–5 weeks of bloom for other cultivars. Daylily rust ratings were taken in Sept. and Nov. 2003 and in Aug. and Nov. 2004. Rust was most severe on `Judith', `Leebea Orange Crush', `Starstruck', and `Lady Lucille'. `Judith' and `Leebea Orange Crush' showed rust symptoms earlier than other cultivars. `Plum Perfect', `Frankly Scarlet', `Bitsy', `Black Eyed Stella', and `Lullaby Baby' were least susceptible to daylily rust.

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