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  • Author or Editor: Catherine Sabota x
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Shiitake mushrooms are grown on hardwood logs or bagged synthetic hardwood media. Domestic production of shiitake mushrooms was 3.9 million pounds in 1990-91 with a value of $16.3 million. Production of shiitake is expanding throughout the U.S., but shiitake mushroom strains are so environmentally sensitive, and wood species so diverse that evaluations of shiitake strains and wood species must be conducted on a regional basis to provide reliable results for producers. The objectives of this project were to determine the best wood species, the most productive shiitake strain and the species/strain interaction for the southern region. At the end of 30 months, there were very significant (P<0.01) differences among strains and wood species and a significant (P<0.05) interaction. Five wood species--sassafras, white oak, red oak, sycamore, and cherry--were each inoculated with 8 shiitake spawn strains–WR46, V3, WW44, West Wind, Twice Flowering, WW70, CW25, and WR85. Logs were soaked as needed and mushrooms were harvested at marketable sizes. The shiitake strains WR46, WW44, and WW70 produced the highest yields over all wood species and red oak and white oak were the most productive tree species over all shiitake strains. The optimal shiitake strain × wood species combinations were WW44 and WR46 on red oak and WW70 on white oak.

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Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a polysaccharide that has numerous medicinal benefits. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of various rates of chipped and sawmill bark added to the substrate on lentinan found in shiitake mushrooms. Crude polysaccharide extract (CPE) and lentinan (LTN) content was significantly different among shiitake mushrooms grown on various artificial substrates containing different percentages of sawdust and chipped bark. The addition of chipped bark content from 0% to 50% increased the CPE content, but an increase in chipped bark content from 50% to 100% decreased the CPE and LTN content. CPE content in mushrooms was greater when equal proportions of sawdust and bark were used. A 100% heartwood treatment had the least CPE content.

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Sixty-six perennial ornamental cultivars were established and then grown under low maintenance, intensive weed competition, and severe mowing conditions. These cultivars were evaluated for their potential application for roadside/median beautification. Experimental plots were cleared with Roundup® prior to planting. During the first 3 weeks of establishment, plants were irrigated as needed. Plants were grown for one season, then pruned back to simulate bush-hog mowing. Plants were grown under low maintenance and no weed control conditions for two growing seasons. Plants were evaluated each season for simulated bush-hog damage recovery potential, survivability under severe weed competition, height, and spread. Two-way analysis of variance with repeated measurements showed that height and spread variation had a significant interaction between plant cultivar and time of evaluation. Several Zephyranthes sp. cultivars performed poorly under severe weed competition and mowing damage resulting in a high mortality rate. Cultivars that did perform well for the 2-year evaluation period include Lagerstroemia indica ×fauriei `Natchez,' Lagerstroemia indica ×fauriei `Muskogee,' Vitex agnus-castus `Shoal Creek,' and Myrica cerifera. Rosa × `Chuckles' and Rosa × `Knock Out' cultivars, with their popular showy appearance, performed moderately well and showed high potential for roadside/median beautification applications.

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