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John M. Ruter and Jeff L. Sibley

In 1991, a cooperative project with the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., was initiated in Tifton, Ga. (USDA hardiness zone 8a) to evaluate red maples (Acer rubrum L.) potentially suitable for the coastal plain region of the southeastern U.S. Greatest annual height growth across all cultivars over 6 years was for `Alapaha', a seedling selection from southern Georgia with annual height growth of 35 inches (88.0 cm), and several seedling selections from northern Florida with annual height increases in excess of 33 inches (86.0 cm). Selections showing the least average annual height growth were NA-56024 and NA-57772 (`Red Rocket'). For commercially available cultivars, the most dependable for fall color in Tifton was `October Glory'®. In addition, two new selections from the National Arboretum have also shown excellent fall color—`Somerset' and `Brandywine'.

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Eugene K. Blythe and Jeff L. Sibley

Auxin solutions prepared with sodium cellulose glycolate (SCG; a thickening agent, also known as sodium carboxymethylcellulose) and applied to stem cuttings using a basal quick-dip extend the duration of exposure of cuttings to the auxin and have previously been shown to increase root number and/or total root length on stem cuttings of certain taxa. In a series of three experiments, 3.75-cm stem sections (representing the bases of stem cuttings) of three ornamental plant taxa were dipped to a depth of 2.5 cm for 1 s in solutions prepared with selected rates of SCG using either deionized water or a 10% dilution of an alcohol-based rooting compound (Dip 'N Grow). Each stem section was weighed before and after being dipped in the solution. Regression equations were determined for each experiment and the rate of SCG providing the maximum ratio of SCG solution weight to stem piece weight was determined by setting the first derivative of the regression equation equal to zero. Maximum adhesion of solution was obtained using SCG at 13.35 to 13.71 g·L−1 with an average rate of 13.5 g·L−1.

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Eugene K. Blythe and Jeff L. Sibley

‘Dwarf Burford’ holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’) is a significant nursery crop and is widely used in landscapes in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 to 9. Stem cuttings can be rooted at multiple times during the year, provided cutting wood is sufficiently mature, with auxin treatments traditionally used to encourage rooting. This study was conducted to determine if auxin treatment could be eliminated, thus reducing labor and chemical requirements in the cutting propagation process. In three experiments, terminal stem cuttings of ‘Dwarf Burford’ holly were taken in winter, prepared with and without use of a basal quick-dip in an auxin solution, and rooted in a warm, high-humidity environment. Rooting percentages for nontreated cuttings and cuttings treated with 2500 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) + 1250 ppm 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) were similar, while treatment of cuttings with 5000 ppm IBA + 2500 ppm NAA resulted in a decrease in rooting percentage. The number of primary roots and total root length were similar among the three treatments, except in one experiment where total root length was greater with auxin-treated cuttings than with nontreated cuttings. Initial shoot growth responses were variable among the three experiments. The treatment of cuttings with auxin was not required for successful rooting and can be eliminated from the process for winter stem cutting propagation of ‘Dwarf Burford’ holly.

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Eugene K. Blythe and Jeff L. Sibley

Heller’s japanese holly [Ilex crenata ‘Helleri’ (synonym: Ilex crenata f. helleri)] is a popular landscape plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5b to 8a because of its dwarf habit, slow growth rate, and dark green leaves. Plants can be propagated readily by stem cuttings and use of an auxin treatment is generally recommended to promote rooting. This study was conducted to determine if auxin treatment could be eliminated, thus reducing labor and chemical requirements in the cutting propagation process. In three experiments, terminal stem cuttings of Heller’s japanese holly were taken in winter, prepared both with and without use of a basal quick-dip in an auxin solution [2500 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) + 1250 ppm 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA)], and rooted in a warm, high-humidity environment. Both nontreated cuttings and cuttings receiving a 1-second basal quick-dip in the auxin solution rooted at, or near, 100%. However, treatment of cuttings with auxin resulted in larger root systems on the rooted cuttings, which could allow earlier transplanting into larger nursery containers. No inhibition of new spring growth was exhibited by cuttings treated with auxin in comparison with nontreated cuttings.

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Eugene K. Blythe, Jeff L. Sibley and John M. Ruter

Stem cuttings of golden euonymus (Euonymus japonicus `Aureo-marginatus'), shore juniper (Juniperus conferta `Blue Pacific'), white indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica `Alba'), and `Red Cascade' miniature rose (Rosa `Red Cascade') were successfully rooted in plugs of a stabilized organic substrate that had been soaked in aqueous solutions of the potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) at 0 to 75 mg·L–1 before inserting the cuttings. Cuttings were rooted under intermittent mist in polyethylene-covered greenhouses with rooting periods appropriate for each species. Rooting percentages showed some increase with increasing auxin concentration with juniper cuttings, but were similar among treatments for the other three species. Number of roots per rooted cutting increased with increasing auxin concentration with cuttings of juniper, Indian hawthorn, and rose, and was greatest using around 60 mg·L-1 K-IBA for cuttings of juniper and Indian hawthorn and 30 to 45 mg·L-1 K-IBA for cuttings of rose.

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Barrett C. Wilson, Jeff L. Sibley and James E. Altland

A study evaluating the effects of varying levels of chilling on foliar budbreak of linden (Tilia spp.) culivars was initiated in 1999 in Auburn, Ala. [lat. 32°36'N, long. 85°29'W, elevation 709 ft (216m), USDA Hardiness Zone 8a]. Littleleaf linden (T. cordata) `Greenspire' and `Fairview' required the most chilling to produce measurable budbreak and exhibited the lowest budbreak percentages. Silver linden (T. tomentosa) `Sterling' and american linden (T. americana) `Redmond' needed the fewest hours of chilling to produce budbreak and exhibited the highest budbreak percentages. `Sterling' was the top performer in foliar budbreak percentage and in subsequent growth. Although `Redmond' attained high budbreak numbers, its overall growth during the following growing season was inferior to that of `Sterling', `Greenspire' and `Fairview'. This information can contribute to the development of regional planting recommendations, which can aid in the selection of lindens suitable for the area in which they will be grown. Calculated r2 values indicated the models used provided a good fit to the data for all cultivars.

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Carlton C. Davidson, Jeff L. Sibley and D. Joseph Eakes

Traditional propagation courses seldom allow extensive evaluation of the variables required for successful propagation. A series of experiments were designed to give an individual student practical experience in woody plant propagation. Softwood terminal cuttings were taken on five shrub or tree species, dividing each species into separate experiments comparing talc vs. liquid auxin formulations. Selections evaluated included luster leaf holly with treatments of 3000, 8000, and 16,000 ppm K-IBA; hetz holly, crape myrtle, and anise tree with treatments of 1000, 3000, and 8000 ppm K-IBA; and sugar maple with 8000 and 16,000 ppm K-IBA. Budding and seed propagation also were evaluated in sugar maple. In each species, except sugar maple, liquid quick-dip at the highest K-IBA concentration produced the best rooting. The student gained many educational benefits in basic experimental design, evaluation of data collected, and drawing conclusions to findings significant by industry standards. The student also learned and how production cycles have an impact on various methods, development stages of cutting material, and wounding techniques. The practical propagation experience gained was of primary importance thereby further preparing the student for employment in the industry.

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Brian E. Jackson, Amy N. Wright and Jeff L. Sibley

In the southeastern United States, inconsistent pine bark (PB) supplies and overabundance of cotton gin by-products warrant investigation about the feasibility of replacing PB with cotton gin compost (CGC) for container horticultural plant production. Most research on the use of composted organic substrates for horticultural plant production has focused on shoot growth responses, so there is a need to document the effect of these substrates on root growth. In 2004, `Blitz' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), `Hot Country' lantana (Lantana camara `Hot Country'), and weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) were placed in Horhizotrons to evaluate root growth in 100% PB and three PB:CGC substrates containing, by volume, 60:40 PB:CGC, 40:60 PB:CGC, and 0:100 PB:CGC. Horhizotrons were placed in a greenhouse, and root growth in all substrates was measured for each cultivar. Physical properties (total porosity, water holding capacity, air space, and bulk density) and chemical properties (electrical conductivity and pH) were determined for all substrates. Physical properties of 100% PB were within recommended guidelines and were either within or above recommended ranges for all PB:CGC substrate blends. Chemical properties of all substrates were within or above recommended guidelines. Root growth of all species in substrates containing CGC was similar to or more enhanced than root growth in 100% PB.

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Jeff L. Sibley, John M. Ruter and D. Joseph Eakes

The objective of this study was to determine differences in the bulk anthocyanin content of bark tissue of container-grown red maple (Acer rubrum L. and Acer ×freemanii E. Murray) at two Georgia locations with different environmental conditions. Rooted cuttings and tissue-cultured plantlets of eight cultivars were grown in either Blairsville or Tifton, Ga. [U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6b and 8a; American Horticultural Society (AHS) Heat Zones 5 and 8, respectively], from June 1995 until Dec. 1996. Bark tissue from twigs of trees grown in Blairsville was visually redder and contained more total anthocyanin than did that of trees grown in Tifton. Levels of total anthocyanins were higher (P = 0.0007) at Blairsville (0.087 mg·g-1, N = 48) than at Tifton (0.068 mg·g-1, N = 47). At both locations the levels were highest in `Landsburg' (`Firedance'™), followed by `Franksred' (`Red Sunset'™) and `October Glory'. This is the first report to quantify anthocyanin differences in bark tissue of container-grown trees. Cooler nights in Blairsville might have contributed to increased coloration by reducing respiratory losses, thus leaving more carbohydrates available for pigment production.

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Jeff L. Sibley, John M. Ruter and D. Joseph Eakes

Acer rubrum `October Glory' has grown well in field studies across the southeastern United States. However, there is limited information on container production for this cultivar. Our objective was to evaluate first-year growth of container-grown `October Glory' at three locations with dissimilar climates in Georgia and Alabama. Rooted cuttings were planted in no. 3 containers at one location in Apr. 1995. Trees were transported the second week of June to Blairsville, Ga.; Auburn, Ala.; and Tifton, Ga. Trees were grown for 6 months until dormant and were harvested at the end of December. Location had no impact on final plant height increase (Blairsville, Auburn, and Tifton, 59.8, 53.0, and 60.2 cm, respectively). Increases in stem diameter and shoot dry mass were greatest at Tifton (8.4 mm, 17.5 g) and least at Blairsville (6.3 mm, 9.2 g), with Auburn similar to both locations (6.8 mm, 12.2 g). Root dry masses and root: shoot ratios were greatest in Tifton (17.2 g, 0.967), with no differences between Blairsville (4.9 g, 0.508) and Auburn (7.0 g, 0.641). Despite climatic dissimilarities, among locations, producers of container-grown `October Glory' could expect similar growth during the first year throughout Georgia and Alabama.