In the summer of 1995 and 1996, 245 and 400 annual plant cultivars were evaluated for heat tolerance and landscape performance. Nine transplants of each cultivar were installed in raised beds amended with controlled-release fertilizer as per soil analysis recommendations, under full-sun and overhead irrigation, at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala. (lat. 32° 30′ N, long. 85° 40′ W). No mainte-nance, with the exception of one midseason pruning of petunia, was performed on any of the cultivars. Catharanthus roseus 'Blush Cooler' was the best performer in 1995 with a mean rating of 4.1 (of 5.0). Salvia farinacea `Victoria Blue' and Petunia ×milliflora `Fantasy Pink' performed well, with a mean rating of 3.5. In 1996, the cultivar with the highest mean rating was Gomphrena globosa `Lavender Lady' (4.1). Second highest was G. globosa `Strawberry Fields' (4.0). Other cultivars that performed well in 1996 and had high mean ratings were Verbena × speciosa `Imagination' (3.6) and Melampodium paludosium `Derby' and `Medallion' (3.5 and 3.5).
D.M. Quinn, B.K. Behe, J.R. Kessler and J.S. Bannon
J. Raymond Kessler Jr., Jeff L. Sibley, Bridget K. Behe, Darby M. Quinn and James S. Bannon
Fifty-seven herbaceous perennials were evaluated from July 1996 to October 1997 in USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Plants in this study generally performed better the first year after planting than the second year. Several selections did not reemerge the second year, though some natural reseeding occurred. Still other selections never fully recovered from the winter months or succumbed to stress in the summer. Plants that maintained an attractive foliage display while not in bloom and plants that had a high bloom rating during the bloom season are worth incorporating into a full sun perennial or mixed border in the southeastern United States. Performance of perennials in the landscape may vary from year to year as climatic conditions affect performance. Comparison of results from variety trials at other locations should help increase performance information reliability for perennial selection.
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.