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Brian J. Pearson and Kimberly Moore

Increased global trade coupled with diversified employment opportunities demand college graduates possessing well-developed professional skills. Recent survey results identified the importance of professional skills among candidates seeking employment, with communication being recognized as the most important skill or quality when selecting candidates. The ability to work within a team structure, solve complex problems, and organize and prioritize work also ranked high among industry employment needs. Despite a rigorous focus on discipline-oriented knowledge and skills, development of professional skills in students of horticulture may be overlooked or not fully developed. Teaching methods can be modified to incorporate development of professional skills and discipline-oriented knowledge to enhance student employment preparedness and directly address industry needs.

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Brian J. Pearson, Kimberly Moore and James Barrett

Increased global trade coupled with diversified employment opportunities have generated demand for college graduates to possess enhanced interpersonal and foreign communication skills and a well-developed understanding of foreign culture. Horticultural employment opportunities also require students to possess a mastery of horticultural theory with an established record of direct, hands-on experience. Despite these needs, financial limitations of students and academic departments coupled with a lack of available opportunities may restrict students from developing these critical skills. Through development of cooperative learning programs, students have an opportunity to master and refine their horticultural skills while simultaneously raising funds, which are allocated for professional development including an international learning program. This article provides a successful overview of a student-based cooperative learning program that enhances student learning opportunities.

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Kimberly A. Moore and Brian J. Pearson

The development of course content and assignments focused on basic horticultural knowledge and theory (hard skills) in an online setting is relatively straightforward and uncomplicated. However, it is slightly more challenging to improve a student’s soft skills like communication, problem solving, critical observation, and professionalism in an asynchronous online classroom environment. To address this challenge, we developed assignments, such as the challenge question, that focused on having students solve situational horticulture problems. In another assignment, we gave students data from an experiment and asked them to summarize and interpret the data. The recent addition of an online scholars ignite assignment (3-minute thesis competition) has turned each student into the teacher for a brief moment and makes the student an active learner and active listener. The addition of etiquette rules to the syllabus, weekly online tasks, and reminders help to develop professionalism and time management skills in addition to organization skills. It is impossible to cover all soft skills in any class but by offering various assignments and assessments, many soft skills are potentially improved.

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Brian J. Pearson, Kimberly A. Moore and Dennis T. Ray

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Brian J. Pearson, Richard M. Smith and Jianjun Chen

Hops (Humulus lupulus) is a perennial, herbaceous crop cultivated for its strobiles, or cones, which contain a resinous compound used for flavoring and aroma in food, tea, and beer. The United States is the second largest global producer of hops with greater than 15,000 ha in production. Increased demand for hop products has recently resulted in production of hops in nontraditional production areas (non-Pacific northwest U.S. region). To examine cultivation potential of hops within the southeastern United States, 60 hop rhizomes consisting of four varieties were transplanted into native, deep sand soil (Candler and Tavares-Millhopper soil series) within a protected, open-sided greenhouse and evaluated for growth, strobile yield, and brewing values for a period of 2 years. Plant bine length was recorded weekly for 20 weeks throughout year 1 with mean bine lengths of 609, 498, 229, and 221 cm at harvest for ‘Chinook’, ‘Columbus’, ‘Amalia’ and ‘Neo1’, respectively. Mean harvested strobile dry weight recorded for year 1 was 21.2, 17.9, 9.0, and 8.2 g/plant for ‘Columbus’, ‘Chinook’, ‘Neo1’ and ‘Amalia’, respectively. With the exception of ‘Neo1’, mean strobile mass was lower for all cultivars during year 2 with 16.6, 10.3, 25.8, and 2.6 g/plant for ‘Columbus’, ‘Chinook’, ‘Neo1’ and ‘Amalia’, respectively. Alpha acid concentrations by percentage strobile mass for year 1 were 6.8%, 9.7%, 3.8%, and 4.3% for ‘Columbus’, ‘Chinook’, ‘Amalia’, and ‘Neo1’, respectively. Alpha acids varied year 2 with concentrations of 4.8%, 10.4%, and 5.6% for ‘Columbus’, ‘Chinook’, and ‘Neo1’, respectively. Findings support viability of hop production in the southeastern United States and establish the benchmark for future varietal trialing investigations.

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Cody J. Stewart, S. Christopher Marble, Brian J. Pearson and P. Christopher Wilson

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Debalina Saha, S. Christopher Marble, Brian J. Pearson, Héctor E. Pérez, Gregory E. MacDonald and Dennis C. Odero

Mulch is often applied in landscape planting beds for weed control, but little research has focused specifically on mulch and preemergence (PRE) herbicide combinations. The objectives of this research were to determine the efficacy of herbicide + mulch combinations and which factors significantly affected weed control, including herbicide formulation and posttreatment irrigation volumes. Additional objectives were to determine efficacy derived from mulch or herbicides used alone under herbicide + mulch combinations and to identify differences in the additive (herbicide + mulch combinations) or singular (herbicide or mulch) effects compared with the use of herbicides or mulch only. Large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis), garden spurge (Euphorbia hirta), and eclipta (Eclipta prostrata) were used as bioassay species for prodiamine, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, and indaziflam efficacy, respectively. The experiment consisted of a factorial treatment arrangement of two herbicide formulations (granular or spray applied), three mulch types [hardwood chips (HWs), pine bark (PB), and pine straw (PS)], two mulch depths (1 and 2 inches), and three levels of one-time, posttreatment irrigation volumes (0.5, 1, and 2 inches). Three sets of controls were used: the first set included three mulch types applied at two depths receiving only 0.5-inch irrigation volume, the second set included only two herbicide formulations and three one-time irrigation volumes, whereas the last set received no treatment (no herbicide or mulch) and only 0.5-inch irrigation volume. High levels of large crabgrass and garden spurge control (88% to 100%) were observed with all herbicide + mulch combinations evaluated at mulch depths of 1 inch or greater. When comparing mulch types, the best eclipta control was achieved with hardwood at 2 inches depth. The spray formulation of indaziflam outperformed the granular formulation in most cases when used alone or in combination with mulch. Overall, the results showed that spray formulations of prodiamine and dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin were more effective than granular formulations when applied alone, whereas indaziflam was more effective as a spray formulation when used both alone and in combination with mulch. Increasing irrigation volume was not a significant factor for any of the herbicide + mulch combinations when evaluating overall weed control.