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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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Weeds are a major problem in cutting propagation and compete with the main crop for water, sunlight, and nutrients, thus reducing growth and marketable quality of rooted cuttings. Due to the high labor cost of hand weeding, mulches can be an alternative method for weed control in the propagation environment. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of mulches (coarse vermiculite, rice hulls, paper pellets, and pine pellets) on rooting of stem cuttings and weed control when applied at 0.5- and 1-inch depths. Cuttings of three plant species [‘Nanho Blue’ butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), ‘Phantom’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)] were stuck in 2.5-inch-diameter containers filled with pine bark substrate and treated with mulch. In a separate study, seeds of four weed species [creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis), mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa)] were sown onto the mulch surface. Rooting percentage was unaffected by mulch type or depth for any of the three crop species (‘Nanho Blue’ butterfly bush, ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle, ‘Phantom’ hydrangea). Pine pellets did not affect root dry weight of any crop species, but root length and volume of ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle was reduced by pine pellets at 1-inch depth. Rice hulls slightly reduced the root length and volume of ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle, but the reduction was less than 50%. Pine pellets and paper pellets (both depths) reduced growth of all four weed species. Even though weed seeds germinated in pine and paper pellets, seedlings did not grow large enough to potentially affect crop rooting. In conclusion, pine pellets and paper pellets at 0.5-inch depth can be effective in suppressing weed populations with minimal effect on rooting.

Open Access

Flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida L.) are drought-sensitive ornamental trees. Two trials (in 2021 and 2022) were conducted to evaluate the physiological changes induced as a result of drought conditions. In an outdoor setting, trees were organized in a randomized complete block design. Three different irrigation treatments were applied at 125%, 25%, and 10% (control, moderate, and severe drought, respectively) of their daily water usage (evapotranspiration). The two physiological parameters normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and leaf moisture potential were collected every week for 1 month. Plant growth data (height and width) were collected at the beginning and the end of the study. Normalized difference vegetation index data collected with a handheld NDVI meter and a Sentera NDVI sensor mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were correlated for ground truthing. In 2021, control plants had a greater plant width increase and shoot biomass, whereas no significant differences in growth were observed among the treatments in 2022. In both trials, the NDVI was the greatest for control plants compared with the other treatments on days 7, 14, 21, and 27. In both studies, no differences were observed for leaf moisture potential on day 7, but was greatest for controls on days 14, 21, and 27. The correlation between the handheld NDVI and the UAV NDVI was found to be strong and positive, ranging from 0.84 to 0.93 (trial 1: P ≤ 0.0001, P ≤ 0.0001, P = 0.0002, and P ≤ 0.0001; trial 2: P = 0.0002, P ≤ 0.0001, P ≤ 0.0001, and P ≤ 0.0001 for weeks 1–4, respectively). This information will be applicable to understanding the physiology of the crop and the inclusion of emerging technology in crop production and monitoring.

Open Access

Ornamental plant and weed response to oxyfluorfen + prodiamine herbicide was evaluated in Connecticut and Tennessee, USA, in 2017 and 2018. Preemergence application of oxyfluorfen + prodiamine was made at 0 lb/acre, 2 + 0.75 lb/acre, 4 + 1.5 lb/acre, and 8 + 3 lb/acre to container-grown ornamental plants on an outdoor gravel pad and weeds in greenhouse experiments. Ornamental plants were treated first within a week after transplanting and again 6 weeks after the first treatment. Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), candlestick plant (Senna alata), and English ivy (Hedera helix) in Tennessee, USA; and ‘Blue Flag’ iris (Iris sp.), ‘Firecracker’ gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.), and ‘Green Carpet’ Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) in Connecticut, USA, were not injured with oxyfluorfen + prodiamine regardless of rate applied. Lily-of-the-Nile (Agapanthus africanus) in Tennessee, USA, and ‘Bowles’ periwinkle (Vinca minor) in Connecticut, USA, showed minor but commercially acceptable growth reduction with oxyfluorfen + prodiamine up to 4 + 1.5 lb/acre. Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum ×superbum) in Connecticut, USA, was the most sensitive ornamental plant. After the first application, average necrotic injury to Shasta daisy varied from 24% with 2 + 0.75 lb/acre to 31% with 8 + 3 lb/acre of oxyfluorfen + prodiamine. After the second application, necrotic injury was ≤ 5% with all oxyfluorfen + prodiamine rates tested and was commercially acceptable (≤ 20%). Oxyfluorfen + prodiamine reduced densities of creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), giant foxtail (Setaria faberi), and large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) ≥ 80% by 4 weeks after treatment. The fresh weed biomass 6 weeks after treatment indicated an 88% to 99% reduction compared with the untreated control.

Open Access

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.

Free access

Adoption of biological control tools in woody ornamental nursery production has lagged behind other agriculture fields. One of the major obstacles to adoption is lack of information on the efficacy of various biological control agents in nursery production systems. The predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii, sold commercially as “swirski mite,” is a generalist predatory mite that has recently been adopted as a generalist control for a wide range of mite and insect pests, including thrips (Thripidae), whiteflies (Aleyrodidae), eriophyid mites (Eriophyidae), broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus), and spider mites (Tetranychidae). A controlled-release sachet formulation of swirski mite was evaluated in three experiments to determine whether size of the tree, timing of first application, or sun intensity would affect treatment efficacy. Pest numbers on plants was evaluated biweekly for 12 weeks. The swirski mite sachets controlled broad mite and spider mite outbreaks on red maple trees (Acer rubrum) grown in nos. 3 and 15 nursery containers, respectively. Application at the time of red maple rooted cutting transplant was not necessary to achieve summer-long control of pests. No outbreaks of target pests on flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) in no. 5 containers grown under both full sun and shade, but with low levels of broad mite persisting in the shade treatment and thrips persisting in sun. These results suggest that swirski mite is a promising candidate for biological control in woody ornamental nursery production.

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Witchhazel (Hamamelis sp.) cultivars are now available in an array of forms and flower colors, including several native, pollinator-friendly cultivars. However, little is known about response of witchhazel cultivars to powdery mildew (Podosphaera biuncinata) or the growth and flowering characteristics of witchhazel cultivars in a nursery field production setting. To provide growth, flowering, and disease incidence data to nursery growers, a cultivar trial including 23 cultivars of witchhazel representing five species was planted Apr. 2016 in McMinnville, TN. Plant growth, flowering density, length of bloom, and foliar disease incidence were evaluated over three growing seasons between May 2016 and Oct. 2018. ‘Zuccariniana’ japanese witchhazel (H. japonica) and ‘Sunglow’ common witchhazel (H. virginiana) showed the greatest height increase during the trial, and ‘Sunglow’ also added the most width during the trial. Cultivars with negative height or width growth included Sweet Sunshine chinese witchhazel (H. mollis) and hybrid witchhazels (H. ×intermedia) Aphrodite, Twilight, and Barmstedt Gold. Ten of the 23 cultivars experienced winter injury in the form of stem necrosis. Root crown sprouts were observed for all cultivars at least once during the trial. ‘Wisely Supreme’ chinese witchhazel had the longest bloom period, followed by ‘Westerstede’ and ‘Twilight’ hybrid witchhazels, whereas ‘Quasimodo’ vernal witchhazel (H. vernalis) had the greatest density of flowers. The hybrid witchhazel cultivars Aphrodite, Nina, and Arnold Promise and the common witchhazel cultivars Green Thumb and Sunglow were resistant to powdery mildew under trial conditions in all 3 years. ‘Twilight’ and ‘Barmstedt Gold’ hybrid witchhazel, ‘Little Suzie’ common witchhazel, ‘Wisley Supreme’ chinese witchhazel, and ‘Shibamichi Red’ japanese witchhazel were moderately resistant to powdery mildew.

Open Access

In 1999, LSU Agricultural Center landscape trials of herbaceous ornamental plants included zinnias, ornamental sweet potatoes, vinca, and perennial verbenas. Based on growth habit, flowering and disease observations from 1999 and previous years, `Homestead Purple', `Tiger Rose', `Rose King', `Taylortown Red', and `Blue Princess' (`Biloxi Blue') are recommended perennial verbena cultivars for Louisiana landscapes. Zinnias evaluated included Zinnia angustifolia and Z. elegans cultivars. `Crystal White', `Profusion Orange', and `Profusion Cherry' (all Z. angustifolia cultivars) were superior landscape performers. Major incidence of bacterial leaf spot was reported on all Z. elegans cultivars in 1999. Over the last several years, the Pacifica series of vinca had significantly improved visual quality ratings in landscape trials when compared to the Heat Wave and Cooler series. In 1999, Mediterranean Deep Rose had visual quality ratings similar to Pacifica but had increased incidence of disease problems. Ornamental sweet potato cultivars recommended for landscape use in Louisiana based on trials in 1999 are `Blackie', `Black Beauty', `Margarite', and `Pink Frost' (`Tricolor'). `Summer Frost' is not recommended.

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All-American daylily cultivars named from 1994-2004 were evaluated for landscape performance and daylily rust (Puccinia hemerocallidis) 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. to 25 Oct. 2003 and 15 Mar. to 20 Sept. 2004. Included in the visual quality ratings were growth habit and flowering with favorable growth habit being compactness, foliage color, uniformity, and overall aesthetics, and favorable flowering being longevity and visual appeal. Flower observations were made in regard to time in bud and peak blooming periods over the same time frames. Daylily rust ratings were taken in September and November 2003 and in August and November 2004. 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 to 3 weeks compared to 4 to 5 weeks of bloom for other cultivars. Rust was most prevalent on Judith, Leebea Orange Crush, Starstruck and Lady Lucille. Judith and Leebea Orange Crush have 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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