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- Author or Editor: Gary W. Knox x
A random sample was made from 2000 Extension customers who had attended programs on Environmental Landscape Management within 17 counties in Florida. Four-hundred Master Gardeners and 500 other citizens were sent a questionnaire that gathered information on demographics as well as six landscape practices. Incentives and barriers to practice adoption were also examined. The return rate of the questionnaires was 83%. Results of the analysis and their implication for Extension programming will be presented.
Environmental Landscape Management (ELM), an extension education program, approaches every landscape as a “system” in which cultural practices interact with each other and the environment. ELM guidelines integrate site conditions, landscape design, plant selection, cultural factors, and recycling in a comprehensive, environment-friendly strategy for managing a landscape. Use of ELM practices by Floridians will conserve resources and protect the environment. The ELM program was evaluated from 1992 to 1994 in 10 counties to measure the program's impact on participants' landscape practices and to provide information on ways to improve program delivery and effectiveness. The evaluation was accomplished by comparing pre-program information on the use of ELM practices with that of a follow-up conducted six months after the program. Responses of this Program Group (n = 473) were compared to those of a Comparison Group of randomly selected Floridians (n = 186). ELM training increased the Program Group's adoption of most practices pertaining to pest management, irrigation, and mowing and pruning. ELM training increased adoption of some fertilization practices and a few recycling and wildlife practices. Energy conserving practices were not widely used by respondents. Respondents maintaining their own yards or those without a permanent irrigation system were more likely to adopt a wide range of ELM practices. The Program Group generally had higher initial levels of adoption of ELM practices than the Comparison Group.
Plant growth, visual quality, flowering, and seed production were assessed for 10 fountain grass (Pennisetum) cultivars planted in northern and southern Florida. All fountain grass cultivars except Rubrum Dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) and Red Buttons fountain grass (Pennisetum messiacum) achieved flower ratings of 3 to 5 in both locations during the first growing season. During the second growing season, chinese fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), ‘Cassian’ chinese fountain grass (P. alopecuroides), ‘Hameln’ chinese fountain grass (P. alopecuroides), and ‘Red Buttons’ fountain grass flowered better in northern Florida, and green fountain grass (P. setaceum) and ‘Rubrum Dwarf’ fountain grass flowered better in southern Florida. Visual quality of chinese fountain grass and its cultivars generally declined in October without resuming growth through May. ‘Little Bunny’ chinese fountain grass (P. alopecuroides) and oriental pennisetum (Pennisetum orientale) declined dramatically during the first season and did not survive the 84-week study in northern or southern Florida. ‘Rubrum’ fountain grass (P. setaceum) and ‘Rubrum Dwarf’ fountain grass did not produce any seeds.
Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and 14 cultivars were transplanted in northern and southern Florida and evaluated for landscape performance, flowering, growth, and seed viability. All plants survived the 84-week study at both locations with the exception of `Morning Light', where 22% to 33% of the plants died. In northern and southern Florida, `Arabesque', `Adagio', `Cosmopolitan', and `Gracillimus' received the highest visual quality ratings on average throughout the entire study, yet other cultivars such as `Central Park' and `Silberfeder' performed well but had much narrower windows of peak performance. Cultivars such as `Little Kitten' and `Sarabande' performed far better in southern Florida than in northern Florida. Regardless of location, `Morning Light' and `Puenktchen' generally did not perform as well as other cultivars. In northern Florida, four consecutive months of very good to excellent flowering (75% to 100% canopy coverage) were observed for `Adagio', `Arabesque', `Cosmopolitan', `Gracillimus', `Little Kitten', `Sarabande', `Silberfeder', and `Zebrinus'. However, in southern Florida, peak flowering periods for these cultivars were delayed and generally only lasted for 1 to 2 months. On average, plants in northern Florida were larger and produced 2.8 times more flowers than plants in southern Florida. All cultivars produced viable seed with germination of viable seed ranging from 53.6% (`Cabaret') to 100% (`Gracillimus') in southern Florida, and from 49.8% (`Arabesque') to 100% (`Adagio', `Little Kitten', `Sarabande', and `Variegatus') in northern Florida.
Environmental Landscape Management (ELM) is an extension education program developed to promote resource conservation and environmental protection through appropriate landscape design and maintenance practices. Use of ELM practices by Florida home owners and landscape professionals will conserve energy and water, recycle yard wastes, and reduce inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. Site analysis and appropriate landscape design and plant selection are inherent components of ELM. Guidelines for ELM integrate irrigation, fertilization, pest control, recycling of yard wastes and other cultural practices to result in a holistic approach to landscape management.
Five videos, 3 slide sets, 20 newspaper releases, and a 45-page booklet, The Florida Environmental Landscape Guide, have been produced to support ELM. This information also will be available on CD-ROM in each county extension office.
The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program (FYN) provides special educational and outreach activities directed at the community to help Floridians reduce pollution and enhance their environment by improving landscape management. The Commercial Landscape Industry Professionals program (CLIP) was developed to provide training in FYN principles to Florida's landscape professionals. CLIP was pilot-tested from 1997 to 1999 in the six-county Indian River Lagoon area of coastal east-central Florida. Teaching resources, audiovisuals, teaching outlines, and reference materials were developed to create an FYN/CLIP curriculum, which was delivered to landscape maintenance personnel through a series of training programs. In addition, the pilot program developed marketing approaches, incentives, and recognition programs for landscape professionals to encourage their participation in CLIP training programs. Evaluations of training programs and results of pre- and post-test questionnaires demonstrate the effectiveness of the FYN/CLIP program.
Leaf physiology and growth parameters of Aucuba japonica (Thunb.) cv. Variegata were assessed under conditions of full sun (photosynthetic photon flux = 1531 to 2073 μmol·m-2·s-1) and under shadecloth (light transmittance of 69%, 47%, and 29% full sun) over 2 years. Two days after treatment initiation, net CO2 assimilation (A) was proportional to light level, although stomata1 conductance to water vapor (gs) was not influenced by shading. Subsequently, A, gs, transpiration rate, and water use efficiency of 100% sun-grown plants were often <50% that of shade-grown plants. After 1 month of exposure to 100% sun, leaves were chlorotic and necrotic; plant appearance was normal for plants grown under shadecloth. The growth index and total, leaf, stem, and root dry weights were inversely related to light level. Relative water content and chlorophyll concentration in leaves that had expanded before treatment initiation were reduced with increasing levels of irradiance, but these variables were not altered in leaves produced after treatment initiation. Plants from all treatments experienced dieback when transplanted to the field under conditions of full sun. We conclude that A. japonica is shade obligate, performing best with exposure to 47% of full sunlight.
The Florida Cooperative Extension Service (FCES) teaches residents the importance of proper landscaping practices. FCES offers several educational programs that teach residents how to integrate energy and water conservation, pest management, and waste recycling practices into their home landscapes. In 1997, extension staff and volunteers planned and conducted environmental landscape management (ELM) programs resulting in >800,000 customer contacts. A survey was conducted to measure the adoption of recommended best management practices by program participants and nonparticipants. Results show that, of 39 practices examined, Master Gardener trainees increased the number of practices used by an average of 7.3, while educational seminar and publications-only participants increased by an average of 4.5 and 2.8 practices, respectively. Nonparticipants showed essentially no change. When practices are examined one at a time, the Master Gardeners made statistically significant increases in 28 of the 39 recommended practices. Educational seminar and publications-only participants made similar gains in 31 and 6 practices, respectively, and the nonparticipant comparison group made significant increases in 2 practices and decreases in 8. The results suggest that the publications-only strategy for delivering information to homeowners is less effective than strategies combining educational seminars or intensive training with relevant publications.
Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex Wright) is a non-native plant that was introduced to Florida sometime in the 1940s and since then has naturalized in most of the state and in other southern states. Since 2007, we have developed at the University of Florida/Institute for Food and Agricultural Science in Gainesville the first Ruellia L. breeding program aiming to develop fruitless plants with different flower colors and growth habits that will not be invasive by seed dispersal. A combination of polyploidization and hybridization methods was used. In 2011, a total of 15 plants were selected and grown in southeastern, north–central, and northwestern Florida (Fort Pierce, Citra, and Quincy) using a randomized block design with three blocks and three plants per plot at each site. Plants were evaluated monthly for landscape performance, flowering, and fruiting. Two hybrids (R10-102 and R10-108) had outstanding potential as new fruitless cultivars for the plant industry having improved landscape performance and flowering.
Full sun trial gardens were established at two sites in northern Florida. Six U.S. native and three non-native warm season grass species were evaluated in a split-plot design. Only eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides), elliott's lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii), gulf hairawn muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and ‘Central Park' maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) showed a significant response to supplemental irrigation or fertilization. Supplemental irrigation did not influence foliage height for any of the grasses, whereas supplemental fertilization influenced foliage height only for chinese fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides). The response differences between locations were attributed in part to soil types. This study observed minimal or no response of shoot growth to supplemental irrigation or fertilization for the grass species tested, thereby affirming the broad adaptability and minimal need for inputs for these ornamental landscape plants.