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Michael S. McCoy, Kathleen M. Kelley and Dan T. Stearns

The Associated Landscape Contractors of America reported in 2004 that the lawn and landscape industry experienced considerable growth during the last 10 years: an increase of 31% from 2002 to 2003, and 126% from 1998 to 2003. An understanding by landscaping professionals of what factors influence consumers' evaluation and selection process when purchasing landscaping services is instrumental in formulating business and marketing plans that will more effectively target new customers, increase the customer base, and ultimately increase profits. To determine these factors, a questionnaire was developed and mailed to 5000 randomly selected households in the metro-Philadelphia area. Recipients were asked to consider factors deemed relevant to the selection and purchase of a landscaping service provider and rank them in order of importance. Questions pertaining to both the landscape industry, such as types of services purchased or how much was spent on these services, and the participants' demographic status were included. A total of 504 completed surveys were received, representing a 10% response rate. Results indicated that the “quality of work” factor was most important, followed by “cost,” and “types of services offered” when analyzed by both the frequency as well as by an average mean ranking of factors. Further analysis of results showed little or no influence on the ordering of factors by independent variables, such as types of service purchased, how much was spent on the service(s), household income, or education levels of the participants.

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W.T. Kelley, D.M. Granberry and D.C. Sanders

Hank Kemble is the only county agent role ever cast in a network television series. On Green Acres, Mr. Kemble always had advice for novice farmer Oliver Douglas. Unfortunately, Mr. Kemble's advice was usually vague and uncertain. More unfortunate is that this is the only image many people have regarding Cooperative Extension. As the last segment of the land-grant system established, Extension personnel were the last recognized as equals among faculty. The mistaken image of the county agent as a book-trained farm boy with no common sense and a government job has been reinforced by declining respect for the farming community. In reality, county agents today deal with social and agricultural issues in urban and rural communities. Agents work with reduced staffs while being educators, scientists, and administrators in addition to routine duties. Extension specialists routinely teach and conduct research. National and international recognition and peer-reviewed publications are necessary for promotion while conducting traditional duties, too. As educational requirements of agents and specialists increased, numbers of undergraduates entering Extension dropped (<1% of Univ. of Georgia horticulture graduates in the last 5 years). Georgia specialists with a PhD increased from 60% (1979) to 89% (1996). Agents with MS degrees increased from 36% (1987) to 45% (1996). Image, salary, and job security determine if Extension can attract qualified personnel. Extension was never a Hank Kemble organization and graduates must be convinced that Extension is a viable and respectable career and Hank Kemble doesn't work here anymore.

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M.T. Kelley, G.C. Elliott and R.J. McAvoy

Four different granulated rockwool (RW) aggregates were combined with peat at 15, 30, or 45 percent (v/v) RW resulting in twelve different peat:RW media. The RW aggregates used were either fine or coarse textured and absorbent or repellent to water. A soil based medium was used as a control. Bulk volume, bulk density, total porosity, water porosity (WP), and aeration porosity (AP) were determined for all media. Hybrid lily, cvs. `Enchantment' and `Jamboree', growth in these media were compared by measuring the dates of visible bud and anthesis, flower number, leaf number and area, plant height and dry weight of stems, leaves, and flowers. Physical properties of the RW media varied significantly from the soil based medium. Increasing the volume percent RW had a negative linear effect on WP but a positive linear effect on AP for all RW aggregates. Lily growth in the soil based medium was statistically similar to all RW media. The dates of visible bud and anthesis, as well as leaf number and area decreased linearly as the volume percent repellent coarse RW increased.

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K.M. Kelley, S.A. Weinbaum, P.B. Catlin and T.T. Muraoka

Nitrogen (N) deficiency reduced biomass and altered N allocation within large walnut tree canopies (Juglans regia L. cv Serr). N-fertilized control trees contained 2.5 times more N in current year spurs, leaves and fruit than did those of N-deficient trees. The N content and biomass allocated to kernels was reduced in N-deficient canopies to a greater extent than was al location to current year shoots and foliage. N removal in abscised leaves and fruit was 3 times greater in canopies of fertilized trees than in N-deficient trees.

A non-destructive method is described to calculate total spur, leaflet and fruit numbers. Calculations were based on ratios of fruit counts on selected scaffold limbs to total fruit number per tree. Dry weight and N content of representative spurs, leaflets and fruit permitted estimation of whole canopy biomass and N content in these organs. N contained in current year spurs and the N lost from the tree in fruit and leaf litter were calculated for both N-fertilized control and N-deficient trees.

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D.J. Gray, E. Hiebert, C.M. Lin, K.T. Kelley, M.E. Compton and V.P. Gaba

Agrobacterium-mediated transformation (AMT) was compared with a particle bombardment (PB) for stable transformation of `Eden Gem', a melon with high embryogenic potential. Pretreated cotyledonary explants were either wounded via particle bombardment prior to Agrobacterium infection or were bombarded with plasmid-coated gold microparticles, using a modified particle inflow-type gun. Although similar numbers of embryos initially were obtained with each method, most produced via AMT became abnormal, possibly due to the growth-regulatory effects of the antibiotic mefoxine, which was used to inhibit Agrobacterium. Stably transformed plants and progeny were obtained only with PB, as determined by detection of the NPTII gene in R0 plant by Southern hybridization and, in progeny, by PCR amplification.

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D. J. Gray, Z. T. Li, D. L. Hopkins, M. Dutt, S. A. Dhekney, M. M. Van Aman, J. Tattersall and K. T. Kelley

Pierce's disease (PD), caused by the xylem-limited bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, is endemic to the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. Although native southern grapevines are tolerant to X. fastidiosa, all varieties of Vitisvinifera grown in the region will succumb to PD. Genetic transformation to add disease resistance genes, while not disturbing desirable phenotypic characters, holds promise for expanding the southeastern U.S. grape industry by allowing use of established fruit and wine varieties. We utilize embryogenic cell cultures and Agrobacterium strain EHA105 to refine transformation systems for Vitis species and hybrids. V. vinifera`Thompson Seedless' is employed as a model variety to test various transgenes for disease resistance, since as many as 150 independent transgenic plant lines routinely are produced from 1 g of embryogenic culture material. Transgenic plants are stringently screened for PD resistance in greenhouses by mechanical inoculation with X. fastidiosa. Transgenic plants are compared with both susceptible and resistant control plants by assessing typical PD symptom development and by assaying bacterial populations in xylem sap over time. Using these procedures, nine putative PD resistance genes have been inserted into grapevine and over 900 unique transgenic lines have been evaluated. A range of susceptible-to-resistant responses has been catalogued. Thus far, the best construct for PD resistance contains a grape codon-optimized hybrid lytic peptide gene in a high-performance bi-directional 35S promoter complex. Certain transgenic plant lines containing this construct exhibit better resistance than that of resistant control vines.