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Douglas F. Welsh

Xeriscape, water conservation through creative landscaping, offers a viable alternative to traditional landscapes which require high inputs of water and labor. Xeriscape is not cactus and rock gardening; but, quality landscaping combining beautiful, function, and water efficiency.

Xeriscape is based on horticulturally sound principles, including: good design, through soil preparation, practical turf areas, appropriate plant selection, efficient watering techniques, mulching and proper maintenance.

Green plant and water industries across the nation have recognized Xeriscape as a proactive, education tool to curb excess water-use by the public and private sectors. In an era where water may become the limiting factor in economic growth for many regions of the nation, Xeriscape may truly be the state-of-the-art.

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Andrew R. King, Michael A. Arnold, Douglas F. Welsh, and W. Todd Watson

In previous studies, baldcypress [Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.] clones were selected for improved field tolerance to alkaline soils, drought, foliar or soil salinity exposure, and for ornamental traits. Objectives of the current research were to 1) determine the clonal responses to potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) across seasonal developmental stages of cuttings; and 2) to determine whether rooting and callus percentages and rooted cutting quality (root number, length, and mass) would be sufficient for commercial production should these clones be released to industry. Cuttings were taken from 24 clones at three distinct stages of stem maturity (softwood, semihardwood, and hardwood). Three concentrations of K-IBA were tested [0, 7,500, and 15,000 mg·L−1 (0, 31.1, 62.2 mm, respectively)] on each clone at each stage. Rooting percentages ranged from ≈94% (clone MX1MC33) at the softwood stage to 0% for several clones at the hardwood stage. Some clones such as MX5MC17 rooted at statistically similar percentages in the softwood and semihardwood stages (88% and 83%, respectively). Clone EP3DC16 rooted at low levels (less than 20%) in all stages. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) interactions occurred between growth stage and clone in some cases. Clone EP8DC14 rooted at 59% at the softwood stage but only 37% at the semihardwood stage. Root number and length exhibited three-way interactions (P ≤ 0.05) among clone, developmental stage, and K-IBA concentration. Mean total root length ranged from 2 cm per cutting on semihardwood cuttings of MX2MC31 treated with no growth regulator to 81 cm per cutting on softwood cuttings of TX8DC38 treated with 7500 mg·L−1 K-IBA. Mean root length varied from 2 cm for several clones at the semihardwood stage to 11 cm for softwood cuttings of MX2MC31 treated with 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA. The greatest rooting percentages across K-IBA concentrations were typically at the softwood stage. Cuttings treated with either 7,500 or 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA rooted at the greatest percentages across stem maturity stages. No clone rooted well in the hardwood stage. The high concentration of K-IBA (15,000 mg·L−1) sometimes induced basal stem damage.

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Michael A. Arnold, Don C. Wilkerson, Bruce J. Lesikar, and Douglas F. Welsh

Studies were conducted using Zea mays L. and Taxodium distichum L. seedlings as model systems to study Cu leaching from Cu(OH)2-treated containers. Initial experiments developed Cu toxicity curves (as CuSO4) in an inorganic (sand) or organic (bark-sand) medium with single (acute) or multiple (chronic) applications. A second pair of experiments investigated short-term (35 days) Cu accumulation and plant responses to irrigation with water (125 mL/plant per day) recycled through a fixed reservoir volume (9.5 L) from 0.7-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers filled with an inorganic or organic medium. Finally, plant responses and Cu leaching were monitored during growth in 2.3-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers filled with two organic media fertigated with high (8.0) or low (6.5) pH solutions. Different Cu(OH)2 concentrations and application methods were tested. Leachate data from the latter studies were used to calculate potential Cu concentrations in nursery runoff using various water application methods and pot spacings. Expression of Cu toxicity symptoms depended on exposure, concentration, and medium for each species. Plants subjected to chronic exposure and grown in an inorganic medium developed toxicity symptoms at lower doses than plants subjected to acute exposure and grown in an organic medium. Several measures of plant growth were greater for both species when grown in 0.7-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers, but not in 2.3-L containers. Plants in Cu(OH)2-treated containers seldom exhibited Cu toxicity symptoms in shoot tissues, even with an inorganic medium. Soluble Cu content of the recycled solution from Spin Out-treated containers increased slightly (<1.2 mg·L-1) during the 35-day experiment. Longer-term studies with nonrecycled leachate from 2.3-L containers indicated that Cu leaching increased after 60 to 90 days. Copper leaching was greater with the combination of applied solution of pH 6.5 and bark-sand-peat medium than with the combination of applied solution of pH 8.0 and bark-sand medium, and increased with greater concentrations of Cu(OH)2 in container wall treatments or when containers were filled before latex carrier was dried. Calculations of potential nursery runoff indicated that the levels of soluble Cu in effluent for most concentrations and spacings projected were below EPA action levels for potable water (1.3 mg·L-1) when overhead irrigation was used.

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Andrew R. King, Michael A. Arnold, Douglas F. Welsh, and W. Todd Watson

In previous studies, baldcypress [Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.] clones were selected for tolerance to high pH soils, drought and salt exposures, and ornamental characteristics. The objective of the current research was to determine the treatment combinations that yielded optimum root quantity (percentage) and rooted cutting quality (root number, length, dry mass, and shoot dry mass) on vegetative cuttings for a representative clone. Cuttings were treated with factorial combinations of one of four potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) concentrations [0, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 mg·L−1 (0, 20.72, 41.44, 62.16 mm, respectively)], wounded or not wounded (1-cm long basal incision), and rooted in one of three substrates (100% perlite, 100% peatmoss, or 50% perlite:50% peatmoss). Data indicated a tradeoff between potential rooting quantity and root quality measurements in response to different substrates. Although rooting percentages were affected by substrates only at P ≤ 0.10 (53% in 100% perlite versus 36% in 100% peatmoss), there were highly significant (P ≤ 0.0001) differences in rooted cutting potential among substrates as measured by the percentage of cuttings with basal callus. Cuttings placed in 100% perlite callused at 85%, whereas cuttings placed in 100% peatmoss callused at ≈53%. The 100% peatmoss treatment, however, yielded cuttings with significantly greater root quality for all measurements, except root number per cutting. Wounding cuttings proved to have deleterious effects on root quality measurements. Total root length was ≈14.5 cm for non-wounded cuttings and ≈10.8 cm for wounded cuttings. Increasing K-IBA concentrations did not significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affect rooting or callus percentages but did significantly affect root dry mass, total root length, and average root length per cutting. Total root length increased from 10.8 cm at 0 mg·L−1 K-IBA to 16 cm at 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA. Mean root number per cutting increased from ≈1.6 with wounded cuttings planted in 100% peatmoss to ≈3.1 with non-wounded cuttings planted in 100% perlite. Results suggested that high-quality softwood baldcypress cuttings should not be wounded, should be treated with 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA, and grown in a substrate with intermediate water-holding capacity to achieve an acceptable balance between rooting percentage and rooted cutting quality objectives.