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Sudeep Vyapari, Edmund L. Thralls, and Michele S. Scheiber

A study was conducted to evaluate establishment of root-bound vs. nonroot-bound container-grown Plumbago auriculata Lam. in a landscape. A total of 144 plants were transplanted from #1 containers in a rain-out shelter at Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka, Fla., in June 2004. The field soil type was amended with composted yard waste. The three treatment types used for the study were: 1) root-bound plants; 2) root-bound plants with a vertical slice made through the root ball at a 90° angle; and 3) nonroot-bound plants. To evaluate the effect of these three treatments during the course of establishment period, harvesting was done once every 2 weeks. Data on growth indices (height × width × width), shoot dry weight, root dry weight, and length of the longest root were recorded. The experimental design was a completely randomized design consisting of three treatments, 12 harvest dates (days after planting), and four replicates per harvest date. Plants were maintained according to the best management practices recommended by the UF/IFAS, and were irrigated once a day using microirrigation. Experimental data were analyzed for significance of correlation among variables using SAS version 9.1. Results of the correlation and regression analysis indicated that the increase in the shoot dry weights (g), root dry weights (g), growth indices (m3), and root: shoot ratio had significant relationship with the harvest dates. Correlation among harvest dates and shoot dry weight, root dry weight, or growth indices was found to be positive. However, results of the study indicated that as the number of days after planting increased, the root to shoot ratio decreased.

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Sudeep Vyapari, Robert J. Graves, and Edmund L. Thralls

A survey of landscape service providers was conducted in conjunction with the 2004 Tree and Landscape Short Course in Tampa, Fla. A greater proportion of participants (56%) provided landscape maintenance services, and 60% of the businesses were independently owned. About 67% of the respondents indicated that their businesses were in operation for over 10 years with 33% of the participants making one million dollars or more in gross sales per year. Although 43% of the respondents indicated that they served only one type of account, at least 29% of the providers served two types of accounts, and 24% served three types. In response to various questions on a Likert scale of 1–5, about 39% of the respondents completely agreed that word-of-mouth is the best marketing method and 41% agreed that an attractive logo on company trucks works as a great marketing tool. Many participants either agreed (27%) or were neutral (27%) when asked if they thought that the customers have no understanding of the costs involved in providing services to them. The survey results show that 73% of the respondents believe the most important factor that impacts and helps retain a customer base at a steady level is quality of work performed followed by professional employees, appearance, and knowledgeable employees. Cheap prices or discounts offered were rated as being low factors in retention of customers. Most service providers (31%) do not communicate with their customers using brochures, newsletters, flyers, emails, or websites. About 61% of service providers promote low water use plants followed by use of Florida native plants.