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Jason Singhurst, D. L. Creech and J. Williams

In Texas, 5,500 native species are distributed over an area comprised of ten regional habitat types. In the Piney Woods region of east Texas, 2,300 plant species occupy 15 million acres. In east Texas, the USFWS has identified 4 species that are federally endangered and 15 that are candidates for that listing. Interest in protecting rare plant habitats and reintroducing those species into similar and appropriate ecosystem types has led to new tools in research and development. Remote sensing is one; this technology is used to derive information about the earth's land and water areas from images acquired at a distance Multispectral and spatial techniques are applied to process and interpret remote sensing imagery for the purpose of producing conventional maps, thematic maps, reource surveys, etc., in the fields of agriculture, botany, archeology, forestry, geography, geology. and others. Remote sensing is used to classify vegetation, interpret forest photogrammetry, estimate timber production, and identify crops, individual plants and leaf structure. This specific project was initiated to determine the potential of remote sensing as a tool to locate known and new rare plant communities in east Texas. To develop benchmark data, a Daedalus scanner image of a previously surveyed and AutoCAD® mapped area, the Vista forest on the SFASU campus, was utilized to develop correlations between imagery, vegetation types and species. By inserting various scan images under the Vista forest AutoCAD® map, known tree species were analyzed through their specific spectral emission characteristics across nine bands. This pilot project has indicated that it is simple to separate pines from hardwoods and illustrate major land use features. However, separation at the species level or groups of species has not been achieved. This paper will trace the history of this project, describe problems and obstacles encountered, and make recommendations for future strategies.

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J.L. Sibley, J.D. Williams, L. Waters and W. Lu

International experiences enhance opportunities for future employment in that many companies, and particularly government agencies desire graduates that comprehend the global economy of our world. Traditional and emerging opportunities with ports of entry, Homeland Security, and international companies are increasing. There are seven primary avenues to an International Experience for Auburn Horticulture students. In recent months, some students have been deployed to military assignments. Through the IPPS we have been able to facilitate student exchange programs. Several graduate students have accompanied faculty on plant expeditions or in agricultural development or research efforts. However, these three types of opportunities are not long-term or sustainable. The E.T. and Vam York Endowment provides monetary support, often equal to air fare, to faculty and graduate students for short duration trips. A similar endowment created by Bill and Margaret Stallworth provides monetary awards for airfare and other incidentals to undergraduates on international internships six months or longer in duration. The Henry P. Orr Fund for Excellence commemorates out-of-the-classroom experiences championed by Orr for almost 40 years at Auburn. The purpose of the Orr Endowment is to provide short-term study tours of gardens of the world for students and faculty. In Summer 2005 we begin our first Horticulture Study Abroad Program operated on a cost recovery basis providing 13 semester hours of academic credit at a cost similar to taking the same course load on campus. Altogether, our current goal is to involve about 10% of our students annually in international opportunities.

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J. David Williams, D. Joseph Eakes and Harry G. Ponder

Strong academic abilities and practical work experience are important to employers of horticulture graduates. In greatest demand are students with competent personal and leadership abilities and technical skills. Increased class size and increased university core curriculum requirements hinder our capacity to develop these added skills within our curriculum. However, through extracurricular offerings we can offer students ways to develop skills that are not fully expressed in the academic arena. Student interaction in the traditional horticulture club requires practicing interpersonal relation and often conflict resolution skills. Students learn to work as a team to accomplish goals that they have set for themselves as a group. The Associate¥ Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) Student Career Days experience offers a highly effective means for reinforcing cognitive skills gained in the classroom and laboratory, as well as supplementing academic learning opportunities with technical activities beyond those offered in the curriculum.

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K.H. Al-Juboory, D.J. Williams and R.M. Skirvin

Shoots of greenhouse-grown Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis L.) were surface disinfected and explanted on modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with BA (10 μm) and NAA (2.5 μm). One month later the shoots were transferred to MS proliferation medium supplemented with TDZ (0.1 or 0.5 μm) and NAA (40 μm). An average of three microshoots developed on each stem treated with TDZ. Pruned shoots grown on MS medium supplemented with GA3 (20 μm) and BA (20 μm) branched better than unpruned shoots (3.7 vs. 1 per explant, respectively). Rooted shoots grown ex vitro grew and developed a shape suitable for commercial sale in 3 months. Chemical names used: N -(phenyl-methyl)-l H -purine-6-amine (BA); gibberellic acid (GA3); 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NM); N -phenyl-W-1,2,3-thiadiazo-5-yl urea (Thidiazuron, TDZ).

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J.T. Reed, M.R. Williams and D. Fleming

Results from research funded by RAMP (Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program) funds conducted with sweetpotato growers in Mississippi during 2004 and 2005 are discussed. Insects were sampled on a weekly (2004) or biweekly (2005) schedule on land planted to potatoes with and without insecticidal input. Potatoes were harvested from each cooperator's field and evaluated for insect damage one or more times at the end of the season. Insect pest populations in Mississippi sweetpotatoes were relatively low during 2004 and 2005. Under these conditions, the percentage of sweetpotatoes damaged by insects was only slightly reduced by insecticides. Chrysomelid leaf beetles including flea beetles, cucumber beetles and tortoise beetles were the most obvious group of pest insects. The most prominent insect species in sweep net samples during the season was the sweetpotato flea beetle, however damage by this pest was negligible. The most damaging insect based on our evaluation of root damage was the twelve-spotted cucumber beetle. Root feeding by whitefringed beetles, white grubs, and sugarcane beetles was sporadic within the fields in the study, and damage by these insects was generally minimal in 2004 and 2005. Preliminary assessments of the effect of crops planted the year previous to the planting of sweetpotatoes indicate the following order of greater to lesser insect damage: pasture, soybeans, corn, sweetpotato, and cotton. Delay of harvest beyond the optimum harvest date tended to increase insect damage in marketable roots. Pesticide evaluations associated with the study indicate that some reduction in damaged roots may be derived from application of a soil-incorporated insecticide at lay by.

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W.G. Foshee, W.D. Goff, K.M. Tilt, J.D. Williams, J.S. Bannon and J.B. Witt

Organic mulches (leaves, pine nuggets, pine straw, grass clippings, and chipped limbs) were applied at depths of 10, 20, or 30 cm in a 3 × 3-m area around young pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees. These treatments were compared to an unmulched herbicide treatment and a common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] sod. Trunk cross-sectional areas (TCSAs) of the mulched trees were larger than those of trees in the sod or unmulched plots and increased linearly as mulch depth increased. All mulches influenced TCSA similarly. Mean TCSA for mulched trees increased 14-fold compared to an increase of 8-fold for the unmulched trees and the sod in this 3-year study. Thus, common yard-waste mulches can be used effectively to increase growth of young pecan trees.

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Brian H. Murphree, Jeff L. Sibley, D. Joseph Eakes and J. David Williams

The influence of three shade levels on propagation of golden barberry (Berberis koreana Palib. × B. thunbergii DC.) selection `Bailsel' was evaluated in studies initiated 29 Apr. and 18 Sept. 1998. After 57 days, root ratings were higher in plants under 70% and 80% shade treatments than 60% shade for both studies. In study one, viability was lower among plants under the 60% shade level than those under 70% or 80% shade levels. Viability among treatments was similar in study two. Based on visual observations, leaf retention appeared greater under the 70% and 80% shade treatments than the 60% shade treatment for both studies. Cuttings rooted under 70% and 80% shade levels generally had a uniform golden hue, whereas the foliage of those rooted under 60% shade often had a red hue and showed signs of desiccation for both studies. Root dry weights were greater for cuttings under the 60% shade levels than 70% or 80% shade.

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A.W. Fleener, C.W. Robinson, J.D. Williams and M. Kraska

Children's gardens have recently been shown to increase life skills. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects that gardening/plant activities from the Junior Master Gardener curriculum, Literature in the Garden, have on children's life skills. The life skills examined were leadership, teamwork, self-understanding, decision-making skills, and communication skills. About 130 third-grade students from a Lee County, AL, school participated in the study. Students were equally divided into control and experimental groups, and each student was given the youth life skills inventory (YLSI) as a pre- and posttest. The experimental group participated in eight gardening/plant activities after the pretest, whereas the control group did not complete the activities. No significant differences were found between pretests and posttests for teamwork, self-understanding, decision making, communication, and overall life skills. Significant decreases from pretest to posttest were found on leadership skills for the experimental group. Several trends were observed with students who read more for fun, read more each week, and read more garden books generally increasing in life skills.

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Jeff L. Sibley, D. Joseph Eakes, J. David Williams and Harry G. Ponder

The unprecedented, yet sustained, growth of undergraduate enrollment in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University can be attributed to many factors, including an increased industry demand for horticulture graduates nationwide. Perhaps the basis of some of Auburn's growth, while appearing to be unique, may be of value in other programs. This paper chronicles the growth of the Auburn Department of Horticulture undergraduate program and highlights some of the traditional teaching methods employed within the department as well as some unique methods that contribute to the program. The paper offers ideas and practices that may be beneficial to other horticulture programs and may encourage teaching faculty at other institutions to publish similar departmental profiles that may prove beneficial to colleagues.

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Edward E. Carey, Lewis Jett, William J. Lamont Jr, Terrance T. Nennich, Michael D. Orzolek and Kimberly A. Williams

High tunnels are becoming an increasingly important production tool for vegetable, small fruit, and cut flower growers in many parts of the United States. They provide a protected environment relative to the open field, allowing for earlier or later production of many crops, and they typically improve yield and quality as well as disease and pest management. Producers, ranging from small-scale market gardens to larger scale farms, are using high tunnels of various forms to produce for early markets, schedule production through extended seasons, grow specialty crops that require some environmental modification, and capture premium prices. The rapid ongoing adoption of high tunnels has resulted in numerous grower innovations and increased university research and extension programming to serve grower needs. An informal survey of extension specialists was conducted in 2007 to estimate numbers (area) of high tunnels and crops being grown in them by state, and to identify current research and extension efforts. Results of this survey provide an indication of the increasing importance of these structures for horticultural crop production across the country.