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  • Author or Editor: Barbara Fair x
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Sages (Salvia sp.) have long been popular as summer annuals, culinary herbs, and landscape perennials. We selected ‘Hot Lips’ hybrid sage [Salvia ×microphylla (Salvia greggii × S. microphylla)], a recently introduced perennial sage, to assess efficacy of the growth regulator flurprimidol for controlling height. Substrate drenches of flurprimidol at 0, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2, and 4 mg per pot were applied using 240 mL of solution per pot on 17 June 2010. Plant height was recorded at treatment, 27 days after treatment (DAT), and 48 DAT. Flurprimidol drench concentrations of 0.25 mg per pot and higher controlled plant height by 20% to 41% 27 DAT and by 26% to 50% 48 DAT. While all treatments at 48 DAT produced a significantly shorter plant, concentrations between 0.25 to 1 mg would provide growers options for controlling plant growth by 26% to 44%. Using concentrations over 1.0 mg did not produce any additional control of height in hybrid sage.

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Landscape plant evaluations were conducted in eight states: Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont for 17 switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and five little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) cultivars. Additional locations in Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Quincy, and Wimauma), Nebraska (Lincoln), and Lubbock and San Marcos completed 1 or 2 years of the trials. Plants were established in 2012 and data were collected for 3 years, 2013–15. Sites were asked to compile annual data on plant height, width, flowering time, fall color, pests, foliage color determined by the Royal Horticultural Society’s color chart, plant form, flowering date, floral impact, self-seeding, winter injury, landscape impact, and mortality. Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center (Overton), Florida (all four locations), and Vermont had the highest mortality rate. Southern Florida locations lost 50% of their plants by the end of 2014. Wide variation was reported for landscape impact, individual cultivar height, and width from different regions of the United States. Three of the 17 switchgrass cultivars, Cloud 9, Northwind, and Thundercloud, had a rating of 4.0 or higher averaged over six or more locations for plant form, floral, and landscape impact. ‘Shenandoah’ and ‘Warrior’ switchgrass had a rating of 4.0 or higher averaged over six or more locations for plant form and landscape impact, but not floral impact. Only one of the five little bluestem cultivars, Blue Heaven® rated 4.0 or higher, for plant form and landscape impact when averaged over six or more locations. This range of variability in landscape plant performance demonstrates the importance of local plant evaluations.

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