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  • Author or Editor: David L. Creech x
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The SFA Arboretum is evidence that small horticulture programs can capitalize on what's right outside the back door of the building. Initiated in 1985 as a lab project in a landscape plant materials course on the south side of the Agriculture building, the collection has grown to over 3000 taxa displayed in a ten-acre public garden setting. The Arboretum's mission is to 1) promote the conservation and use of native plants, 2) evaluate “new” landscape plant materials, and 3) serve as a living laboratory for students in Horticulture, Agriculture, Biology and Forestry. Funding improvements in the last two years and the creation of a Board of Advisors and a Volunteer Corps organization has addressed problems in routine landscape maintenance and getting “new” garden developments off the ground. A “Plants with Promise” program acquires, tests, propagates, distributes and promotes superior “new” woody plants. Outstanding performers include Bignonia capreolata 'atrosangainea', Campsis grandiflora, Cinnamomum chekingensis, Euschapis japonica, Scuttelaria suffretescens 'pink', Sinojackia rehderiana, Taxodium mucronatum, Viburnum propinquum, various Styrax species and varieties, several Michelia species, Illicium henryi, three Mexico oaks, and many others. AutoCAD maps and a plant inventory database tracks plant location and acquisition data. A just-completed GIS-based analysis of the university forest paves the way for a campus-as-arboretum effort. The premise of this paper is that high-visibility, easy-access display/evaluation gardens offer Horticulture Departments the opportunity for enhanced student recruitment, community involvement, external funding, environmental education, and the potential for significant contributions to the nursery industry.

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Nationwide, horticulture enrollments have fallen from the peak in the late 1970's. For instance, Stephen F. Austin State University enjoyed a maximum horticulture enrollment of 99 undergraduates in 1977. By fall 1990, that enrollment had fallen to 30. The absence of CADD (computer-assisted drafting or design) on SFASU's campus suggested an opportunity for horticulture to fill a void. This paper will discuss the decision-making process and costs involved in setting up a ten-station AutoCad lab with good plotting capability. A successful marketing effort has resulted in easy-to-fill sections with wide appeal across campus. CADD courses make sense in horticulture if the resource is not available in other departments, technical support is available, and the tool has value to related projects in the horticulture program.

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Blueberry growers are encouraged to monitor soil, leaf tissue, and irrigation water on a regular basis. Recommendations are based on soil, leaf, and water guidelines established from previous studies. A 1986-1988 blueberry field study in east Texas and Louisiana revealed the following significant associations with low vigor fields: 1) high soil pH, Ca, Mg and low Zn, 2) high leaf Na and B, and 3) high irrigation water conductivity and bicarbonates. The findings will be compared to other benchmark studies. pH, conductivity, and nutrient monitoring procedures of a large east Texas rabbiteye blueberry field are described. Careful record-keeping allows blueberry growers to fine-tune fertigation performance by altering nitrogen source and rate depending on changes in soil pH and conductivity.

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Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich. var. distichum [baldcypress (BC)], Taxodium distichum var. mexicanum Gordon [Montezuma cypress (MC)], and a Taxodium hybrid (‘Nanjing Beauty’: BC × MC cross, T302) were evaluated for salt tolerance in 2006 at Nacogdoches, TX. Plants were irrigated weekly with four levels of salinity [0, 1, 3.5, and 6 ppt (0, 17, 60, and 102 mol·m−3)] for 13 weeks and then 0, 2, 7, and 12 ppt (0, 34, 120, and 204 mol·m−3) for another 12 weeks. Salinity treatments did not have a significant effect on growth rate; however, there were significant differences in growth rate among the three genotypes. Genotype T302 produced the greatest wet weight, whereas MC had stronger apical dominance and exhibited the greatest increase in height over the course of study. As expected, sodium (Na) concentration in Taxodium leaves increased as sea salt concentrations increased but did not tilt Na/potassium (K) ratios to stressful disproportions. Of the three genotypes, BC exhibited the highest leaf content of Na, calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), and iron (Fe); MC had the lowest leaf content of Na, Ca, S, and Fe; and T302 was intermediate. The benefits of using a hybrid cross (T302) that maintains greater biomass than BC or MC across a range of salinities must be weighed against the potential additional pruning and training necessary for cutting-grown clones relative to BC and MC propagated from seed and flood tolerance relative to BC. Still, combining the best characteristics of different varieties of T. distichum should facilitate the production of favorable genotypes tolerant to a number of soil physical and chemical property fluctuations for arboricultural operations.

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In the context of intensified global climate change, Taxodium distichum has been attracting attention as an essential wetland plant. Through the literature visualization analysis software CiteSpace, the Spatial Distribution, Journal Distribution, Research Power, research status, and trends of T. distichum. The main conclusions are as follows. 1) The United States and China are the major countries for T. distichum research. The major institutions are Louisiana State University and the US Geological Survey. 2) The popular research areas mainly include growth, response, wetland, forest, climate change, adventitious root, and soil. 3) The research trends are soil and Florida (1992–98), survival (1999–2005), T. distichum (2006–12), salinity (2018–22), and sea-level rise (2020–22). These findings offer the current research status of T. distichum and could provide reference information for scholars in related fields to determine research directions and refine issues.

Open Access