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  • Author or Editor: Edward Bush x
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A study was initiated at Bracy's Nursery, Amite, La., in Apr. 1997 to evaluate the influence of seven controlled-release fertilizer sources and three top-dressed application rates in production of 4-gal (15.7-L) containers of `LaFeliciana' peach and swamp red maple. The fertilizers tested were Osmocote Plus 15-9-11, Osmocote Plus 16-8-12, Woodace 20-5-10, Woodace 20-4-11, Customblen 24-4-6, Nutricote (Type 270) 17-7-8, and Nutricote (Type 360) 17-6-8. Application rates were 1.75, 2.25, and 2.75 lb N per cubic yard. The experiment was completely randomized within blocks (species) and each treatment was replicated five times. A control treatment was also included. For `LaFeliciana' peach, Nutricote and Osmocote yielded the superior results when shoot height and visual quality ratings were determined in October (6 months after initiation). Increases in application rate did not significantly increase shoot height or visual quality ratings in most cases. For swamp red maple, shoot height was not affected by fertilizer source or application rate. Caliper ranged from 19.2 to 23.0 mm but was only slightly influenced by fertilizer source and application rate. Visual quality ratings were significantly higher for Osmocote Plus 16-8-12 when compared to some of the other fertilizer sources.

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A study to determine the influence of light duration on seed germination was performed in a temperature-controlled growth chamber. Light treatments consisted of 0 (control), 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 h of light exposure. Cool fluorescent light bulbs provided 19 μMol·m-2·s-1 light. Fifty seeds of each treatment were placed into separately labeled 6.0-cm-diameter petri dishes lined with Whatman #42 filter papers moistened with 2 mL of distilled water. Seed of both species germinated poorly in the control treatment. Mean time of germination (MTG) and germination percentage increased for both species when seeds were exposed to light. Pre-soaking seed in gibberellic acid (GA) significantly improved germination percentages of both species compared to the untreated control. Centipedegrass germination percentage and MTG also increased with light exposure. Carpetgrass seed germination was not enhanced by GA treatments with light exposure. The results of this experiment suggests that, if seed are covered too deeply, excluding light, MTG and percentage germination will be reduced. However, pre-soaking seed in a GA solution can improve dark germination by as much as 50% for both grass species.

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Three slow-release fertilizer formulations (Osmocote 14–14–14, 18–6–12, and Nutricote 17–6–10) at three rates (1, 2, and 3 lb/yd3) were incorporated into 4 pine bark: 1 sand (by volume) media filling 1-gal nursery containers. Additional treatments included slow-release fertilizer formulations at 1 lb/yd3 fertigated with 100 ppm N 20–10–20 fertilizer. As fertilizer rates increased, vegetative height, width, and dry-weight accumulation generally increased for both pinched and no-pinch mum crops. Fertigated pinch and no-pinch mums were the largest plants with the greatest dry-weight accumulation for each fertilizer formulation. The high rate for all slow-release fertilizers produced the greatest vegetative growth for nonfertigated treatments. This research suggest that higher rates for incorporated slow-release fertilizers and/or fertigation are required to produce maximum vegetative growth.

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University-based horticulture departments and extension agents have explored the relationship between gardening programs and consumer knowledge and preferences. Studies have established positive correlations between garden participation and increased science scores and heightened environmental stewardship. The objective of this research was to determine if participation in “Lettuce Grow” garden workshops cohosted by the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center (LSU AgCenter) and Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge (VOA-GBR) had positive effects on child care providers’ garden knowledge and willingness to implement garden programming with children aged 5 years and younger. Participation led to a 67% increase (P ≤ 0.05) in horticulture knowledge for participants and resulted in 76.2% of the child care providers actively engaged in growing a garden with youth aged 5 years and under. Based on this experience, we highly recommend universities partner with local nonprofits to engage in deeper meaning, science-based garden extension projects.

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A small inexpensive (less than $1000) container yard, measuring 10 × 10 ft square, with an automatic irrigation system was designed for schools participating in the Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Program: A School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration. Students helped install the container yard on their school site and oversee native plant production through the course of the school year. Teachers and other school staff checked the nursery during summer months to ensure that the irrigation system was working properly and the plants were healthy. Students grew ≈1000 restoration seedlings per year in their container yard. Each year they transplanted their seedlings and grass plugs on trips to habitat restoration sites across Louisiana's coastal zone. Since the inception of the program in 2000, the students using this container yard design have produced nearly 24,500 trees and shrubs and over 8000 grass plugs.

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Selective broadleaf weed control is a major economic issue facing commercial landscapers and homeowners alike. Minimal selective post-emergent weed research has been successful in controlling landscape weeds. The objectives of this experiment were to determine the efficacy of seven selective broadleaf herbicides [nicosulfuron (0.66 oz/acre), flumioxazin (8 oz/acre), penoxsulam (2.3 fl oz/acre), bensulfuron (1.66 oz/acre), glyphosate (1% by volume), sulfentrazone (8 fl oz/acre), trifloxysulfuron (0.56 oz/acre) and the control] and to determine the ornamental phytotoxicity on three groundcover species (Liriope muscari, Ophiopogon japonicus, and Trachelospermum asiaticum). A RCBD design was used with five blocks. Each block was split establishing either mulched or bare soil plots (nonmulched). The ground-covers were established three months before herbicide application. On 29 June 2005, four weed species were evenly seeded into the blocks with one hundred seeds each of Sesbania exaltata, Ipomea hederacea, Amaranthus retroflexus, and Euphorbia maculata. Herbicides were applied using a CO2 backpack type sprayer on 6 Sept. 2005. Plant and weed control data were taken to evaluate phytotoxicity and efficacy at 0, 1, 7, 14, and 28 DAT. On 27 Oct. 2005, weeds were harvested from each plot and dried for a minimum of 48 h and weighed. No significant differences in phytotoxicity were observed on either Liriope muscari or Trachelospermum asiaticum. However, there was a significant increase in phytotoxicity exhibited by the Ophiopogon japonicus treated with sulfentrazone compared to all of the other herbicides. Glyphosate demonstrated the best overall control of all broadleaf weeds except Sesbania, while trifloxysulfuron showed the best control of Sesbania. There were no significant differences in herbicide efficacy between the mulched and nonmulched plots. Further research is being done to measure the effects of herbicide efficacy and phytotoxicity in 2006.

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Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 2005) and Hurricane Rita (Sept. 2005) were devastating to the central U.S. Gulf Coast region. Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $10–11 million in wholesale nursery crop damage in Louisiana, while Hurricane Rita caused an estimated $5 million in damages. Average wholesale nursery crop sales in Louisiana account for about $120 million annually. 317 wholesale growers in Louisiana (49% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Katrina, while 158 wholesale growers (24% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Rita. Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Katrina numbered 367 (28% of the state total). Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Rita numbered 329 (24% of the state total). Retail plant dealers accounted for $511 million in sales in 2002, the year for which figures are most recently available. In the landscape and horticultural services segment of Louisiana's green industry, 703 (36%) were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and 450 (23%) were impacted by Hurricane Rita. While growers and retailers experienced economic hardships ranging from 1 month to permanent, most landscape contractors and horticultural service providers rebounded quickly and were actively involved in storm cleanup and recovery. Some, however, lost equipment, office structures, storage buildings, and vehicles. It is estimated that at least 20,000 of the 56,600 green industry employees in Louisiana were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita to some degree. Louisiana's green industry overall provides about $2.2 billion in economic contributions annually.

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An experiment to determine the nonstructural carbohydrate composition and nodal survival (LT50) of common carpetgrass was conducted between 1993 and 1994 at Baton Rouge, La. Nonstructural carbohydrates in stolons were primarily sucrose [70-130 mg·g-1 dry weight (DW)] and starch (8-33 mg·g-1 DW). Total nonstructural carbohydrate (TNC) composition of stolons ranged between 30 to 165 mg·g-1 DW. Node survival following exposure to 2 °C ranged from 0% in August-sampled grass to 48% in December. The LT50 following acclimation under field conditions was -2 to -4 °C. Environmental factors influenced nonstructural carbohydrate composition, partitioning, and node survival. No relationship between TNC concentration and low-temperature tolerance was found. This research confirms previous reports that low-temperature tolerance of carpetgrass is very poor, and its culture may be limited to geographical areas having moderate winter temperatures.

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Proper irrigation management is essential for producing quality container-grown woody ornamentals and reducing off-site runoff. Research has shown that tensiometers can be used as an effective tool to schedule irrigation for woody ornamentals. The objective of this experiment was to compare the effect of cyclic and tensiometric irrigation methods on growth of lantana. Lantana camara `New Gold' liners were established in a 3 pine bark: 1 peat:1 mason sand (by volume) medium. Low-tension switch tensiometers were compared to scheduled overhead [one time a day (1×) at 0600 and cyclic irrigation three times a day (3×) at 0600, 1200, and 1800] for the production of 1-gallon lantana plants. Three low-tension tensiometers (1/block) were set at 7 cb and allowed to irrigate over a 12-hour period. Three separate planting dates occurred and then terminated after ≈7 weeks. Tensiometric irrigation increased root and shoot growth compared to scheduled irrigation for the 24 May 1999 harvest date. Cyclic irrigation produced plants with shoot and total root weights >1× and tensiometer treatments for the September harvest date. Tensiometers sharply reduced irrigation requirements compared to scheduled irrigation volume by at least 50% of the 1× and 3× treatments weekly. Analysis of nutrients in leachate for June indicated increased B and Fe concentrations in the 3× irrigation treatment. Lower concentrations of Ca, Mg, and Na were measured in August. Lantana growth was acceptable for all irrigation treatments and harvest dates.

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