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Lyn A. Gettys

Conventional wisdom suggests that native aquatic plants have evolved to fill a specific ecological niche, and that their growth is regulated by environmental conditions or the presence of natural enemies that limit the distribution or abundance of the species. However, it is becoming obvious that native species are not always well-behaved and can develop populations that quickly reach nuisance levels that require management to avoid negative ecological impacts. This work summarizes information presented at the American Society for Horticultural Science Invasive Plants Research Professional Interest Group Workshops in 2017 and 2018, and it highlights the phenomenon of species that are considered both native and invasive in the aquatic ecosystems of Florida. These “natives gone rogue” are compared with the introduced species they mimic, and the consequences of excessive aquatic plant growth, regardless of the origin of the species, are described.

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Lyn A. Gettys and Kimberly A. Moore

Wetland restoration is an important way to improve ecosystem services, but many wetland nurseries lack the facilities that are traditionally used to produce large numbers of native plants used in these projects. Our goal was to evaluate growth and performance of four wetland species in a variety of substrates, fertilizer regimes, and irrigation methods under greenhouse conditions. Plants were grown in pots with drainage holes filled with one of four substrates (potting substrate, topsoil, sand, 50/50 mix of topsoil, and sand) amended with 0, 1, 2, or 4 g of 15N–3.9P–10K controlled-release fertilizer per liter of substrate. Irrigation was supplied via an overhead system or subirrigation. After 16 weeks of production, plants were scored for visual quality and plant height before a destructive harvest. Broadleaf sagittaria (Sagittaria latifolia) was mostly unaffected by substrate type but performed best when subirrigated and fertilized with 4 g·L−1 of fertilizer. Growth of skyflower (Hydrolea corymbosa) and cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) was best when fertilized with 2 or 4 g·L−1 of fertilizer and grown using overhead irrigation. String lily (Crinum americanum) was unaffected by substrate type but produced the largest plants when subirrigated. These experiments provide guidance for cultivating these wetland species under greenhouse conditions, which may allow growers to efficiently produce plant material needed for the restoration market.

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Lyn A. Gettys and Kimberly A. Moore

Wetland restoration is critical for improving ecosystem services, but many aquatic plant nurseries do not have facilities like those typically used for large-scale plant production. We questioned if we could grow littoral aquatic plant species in a variety of substrates and irrigation methods similar to those used for traditional greenhouse production. Plants were grown in pots with drainage holes that were filled with potting substrate, topsoil, coarse builders’ sand, or a 50/50 mix of topsoil and builders’ sand. These substrates were amended with 2 g of 15N–3.9P–10K controlled-release fertilizer per liter of substrate and were watered using either overhead irrigation or subirrigation. Plants were grown for 16 weeks, then scored for quality and height before a destructive harvest. Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) and arrow arum (Peltandra virginica) performed best when subirrigated and cultured in potting substrate or sand. Golden club (Orontium aquaticum) and lemon bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) grew best when plants were cultured in potting substrate and maintained under subirrigation. These experiments provide a framework for using existing greenhouses to produce these littoral species and give guidance to growers who wish to produce plants for the restoration market.

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Lyn A. Gettys and Dennis J. Werner

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Lyn A. Gettys and William T. Haller

‘Miami Beauty’ anthurium (Anthurium andreanum), ‘Frieda Hemple’ caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum), ‘Debbie’ spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum), and ‘Regina Red’ syngonium (Syngonium podophyllum) were irrigated with water treated with bispyribac-sodium, quinclorac, topramezone, and trifloxysulfuron to identify herbicide concentrations that cause phytotoxic effects. Plants were irrigated four times over a 11-day period with the equivalent of 0.5 inch of treated water during each irrigation and were then irrigated with well water until they were harvested 43 days after the first herbicide treatment. Visual quality and dry weight data revealed that caladium was the most sensitive of the foliage plants, regardless of herbicide mode of action. Noticeable reductions in visual quality and dry weight of caladium were evident after exposure to 182, 144, 186, and 1135 ppb of bispyribac-sodium, quinclorac, topramezone, and trifloxysulfuron, respectively. Of the four herbicides evaluated in these experiments, only quinclorac caused noticeable damage to plants when applied at a concentration similar to the proposed use rate.

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Lyn A. Gettys and William T. Haller

‘Cocktail Whiskey’ begonia (Begonia semperflorens), ‘Sun Devil Extreme’ vinca (Catharanthus roseus), ‘Million Gold’ melampodium (Melampodium paludosum), and ‘Super Elfin’ impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) plants were irrigated with water treated with quinclorac, topramezone, imazamox, and penoxsulam to identify herbicide concentrations that cause phytotoxic effects. Plants were irrigated four times over a 10-day period with the equivalent of 0.5 inch of treated water during each irrigation and were then irrigated with tap water until they were harvested 28 days after the first herbicide treatment. Visual quality and dry weight data revealed that melampodium was the most sensitive of the bedding plants to quinclorac, imazamox, and penoxsulam, whereas vinca was the most sensitive species to topramezone. Noticeable reductions in visual quality and dry weight of melampodium were evident after exposure to 240, 580, and 10 ppb of quinclorac, imazamox, and penoxsulam, respectively, while dry weight of vinca was reduced after exposure to 110 ppb of topramezone. Current irrigation restrictions on imazamox, penoxsulam, and topramezone are adequate to minimize damage to these bedding plants if herbicide-treated waters are used for four irrigation events. However, irrigation restrictions should be established for quinclorac to prevent damage to sensitive bedding plants such as melampodium.

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Lyn A. Gettys and Dennis J. Werner

Stokes aster is a herbaceous perennial native to the southeastern United States. Stokesia is a monotypic genus belonging to the tribe Vernonieae Cass. (family Asteraceae Dumont). The level of genetic diversity within the genus is unknown. The goal of this study was to determine the level of genetic diversity and relatedness among cultivars of stokes aster. The genetic relatedness among 10 cultivars of stokes aster, one accession of Vernonia crinita Raf. (syn. V. arkansana DC.), and one accession of Rudbeckia fulgida Ait. var. sullivantii (Beadle et Boynton) Cronq. `Goldsturm' was estimated using 74 randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers. Similarity indices suggest that cultivars of stokes aster are very closely related, with values for all pairwise comparisons of cultivars of stokes aster ranging from 0.92 to 0.68. One cultivar, `Omega Skyrocket', had markedly lower similarity indices from the other cultivars, ranging from 0.72 to 0.68. Similarity indices between stokes aster and Vernonia and between stokes aster and Rudbeckia were 0.44 and 0.50, respectively.

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Heather Hasandras, Kimberly A. Moore and Lyn A. Gettys

Native aquatic plants are important to maintaining a balanced ecosystem, but they often are displaced by exotic invasive plant species. The research on the control and growth of the invasive aquatic species hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) using sand substrates and controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) provides a potential production technique for other aquatic plants. We questioned if we could use hydrilla production techniques to grow southern naiad (Najas guadalupensis), a Florida-native aquatic plant that is often mistaken for hydrilla. We grew southern naiad cuttings in containers filled with 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, or 0:100 coarse builder’s sand and sphagnum moss (by volume). Before planting, containers were fertilized with 0, 1, 2, or 4 g·kg−1 CRF (15N–4P–10K). Containers were submerged in large storage tubs filled with rainwater and grown for 8 weeks. Southern naiad shoot dry weight was greater in the 100% sand substrate than that in the 0% sand substrate. Substrate electrical conductivity (EC) levels were greater in the 0% sand with no difference among the other substrates. Shoot and root dry weight of plants fertilized with 1–2 g·kg−1 CRF were greater than 0 or 4 g·kg−1 CRF. Substrate EC also increased as fertilizer rate increased, with the highest EC observed at 4 g·kg−1 CRF. Based on our results, we would suggest growing southern naiad in substrates with 100% sand and fertilized with 1–2 g·kg−1 CRF.

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William T. Haller, Lyn A. Gettys and Taizo Uchida

Topramezone and bispyribac-sodium were registered for aquatic weed control in the last decade. A primary target for these products is fluridone-resistant hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), which is one of the most invasive submersed weeds in the southeastern United States. Both products have water use restrictions that prohibit irrigation of turfgrasses with treated waters until the herbicides have degraded to very low concentrations. The objective of these studies was to identify the concentrations of topramezone and bispyribac-sodium that are phytotoxic to turfgrasses that are commonly planted in Florida. Three species of turfgrass were irrigated twice weekly with 0.5 inch of treated water for 4 weeks (eight irrigations total). Cumulative EC10 values (the herbicide concentration that caused a 10% reduction in biomass compared with untreated control plants) after eight irrigations with water containing topramezone were 3.5, 4.3, and 17 ppb for ‘Palmetto’ st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), ‘Pensacola’ bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum), and ‘Tifway 419’ hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis), respectively. Bispyribac-sodium was less toxic to all turfgrasses evaluated, with EC10 values of 56, 16, and >800 ppb for ‘Palmetto’ st. augustinegrass, ‘Pensacola’ bahiagrass, and ‘Tifway 419’ hybrid bermudagrass, respectively. These results support label instructions and highlight the need to comply with irrigation restrictions because the typical use concentrations for submersed weed control with topramezone and bispyribac-sodium are in the 20–40-ppb range.