The Ohio State Univ.'s Agricultural Technical Institute is a 2-year institution within the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. For over 20 years the school on the Wooster campus has offered technical programs in ornamental horticulture and floriculture leading to the Associate of Applied Science degree. Enrollment in the programs of Floral Design and Marketing, Greenhouse Management, Landscape Contracting, and Construction, Nursery Management, and Turfgrass Management is near 350 students. During the past year, a new program was developed with the primary purpose of serving those students who wish to transfer into a baccalaureate program within the college. Students are granted an Associate of Science degree in Horticulture upon completion of the curriculum requirements at the technical college. Those following this track have a unique opportunity for exposure to two different learning situations. They can progress toward their goal without loss of credit. The curriculum allows students to explore several areas of horticulture before commitment to their specialty. Beginning students have the advantage of a small campus with an active learning assistance program.
Deciduous holly branches were visually rated over a period of 5 weeks to evaluate differences in display life between various cultivars of winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and japanese winterberry (I. serrata) x winterberry. Holly branches were naturally defoliated and the postharvest performance of the cut branches was therefore based on the quality and longevity of the fruit. Chemical treatments including floral preservative, floral preservative plus silver, and anti-transpirant were also evaluated. `Bonfire' and `Sunset' had the highest ratings for marketability based on the longevity and quality of their fruit. `Bonfire' and `Winter Red' had the highest fruit density per stem. Treatment with floral preservatives significantly increased the display life of holly branches. Preservative plus silver delayed deterioration later in the study, presumably by delaying the senescence of the fruit. Anti-transpirant treatment did not decrease solution uptake by the holly stems. Cold storage of dry branches at 0.00 ± 1.11 °C (32.0 ± 2.0 °F) did not significantly reduce branch display life if held for 23 days or less. Cut branches of all cultivars had a longer display life when stuck in sand and left outdoors in a lath house than when rated in vase solutions indoors. This study indicates that deciduous holly branches provide an attractive alternative cut branch for both interior and outdoor holiday displays.