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Mark T. Windham and Robert N. Trigiano

Ten cultivars of Cornus florida (Barton, Cherokee Princess, Cloud 9, First Lady, Fragrant Cloud, Plena, Purple Glory, Rubra, Springtime, and Welch's Jr. Miss) were evaluated for horticultural characters of canker incidence, susceptibility to spot anthracnose and freeze damage, bloom number, bract length, and phenology. Of the ten cultivars, only `Barton' and `Cloud 9' were similar for all characteristics studied. DNA amplification fingerprinting (12 standard primers) and Arbitrary Signatures from Amplification Profiles (four minihairpin primers) were used to test our hypothesis that `Barton' and `Cloud 9' were genetically distinct, but phenotypically similar. Polymorphisms were not observed; therefore, we could not reject the null hypothesis that `Barton' and `Cloud 9' are the same genotype.

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Linda Gombert, Mark Windham, and Susan Hamilton

Fifty-seven cultivars of zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.) were studied for 17 weeks to determine their resistance to alternaria blight (Alternaria zinniae Pape), powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum DC ex Merat) and bacterial leaf & flower spot [Xanthomonas campestris pv. zinniae (syn. X. nigromaculans f. sp. zinniae Hopkins & Dowson)]. A disease severity scale was used to determine acceptability for landscape use. At week 4, all cultivars were acceptable. At week 10, eleven cultivars were acceptable. At week 17, all cultivars were unacceptable. Ten cultivars had been killed by one or more pathogens by week 17. Only two cultivars showed any tolerance to any disease (powdery mildew) at week 17.

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Amy J. MacKenzie, Terri Woods Starman, and Mark T. Windham

Trichoderma harzianum Rifai, a fungus that controls soilborne pathogens, can enhance growth of several vegetable and floriculture crops. Zero, 5, or 25 g of T. harzianum (isolate T-12) peat–bran amendment was added per kilogram medium in an effort to enhance the rooting of four chrysanthemum [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] cultivars, two considered easy to root (`Davis' and `White Marble') and two considered hard to root (`Dark Bronze Charm' and `Golden Bounty'). Adding the T. harzianum amendment at both rates tested increased root and shoot fresh weights during 21 days of rooting, relative to the control. Supplementary treated cuttings were transplanted into nontreated growing medium after 21 days. Midway between transplant to flowering, increases in height, shoot dry weight, and root fresh and dry weight were detected in `Dark Bronze Charm' with T-12, relative to the control; increases in height, shoot fresh and dry weight, and number of nodes were detected in `Golden Bounty' with T-12. By this time, there were no detectable differences in `Davis' or `White Marble'.

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Amy J. MacKenzie, Terri W. Starman, and Mark T. Windham

Trichoderma harzianum is a well-documented biocontrol agent that has been shown to enhance rooting of chrysanthemum `White Marble'. The objective of this research was to determine if T. harzianum would enhance rooting of hard-to-root chrysanthemum cuttings. Two hard-to-root cultivars (`Dark Bronze Charm' and `Golden Bounty') and two easy-to-root cultivars (`Davis' and `White Marble') were propagated in a 1:1 peat-perlite medium amended with T. harzianum at a rate of 0, 5, or 25g/kg medium. Measurements were taken 7, 14, and 21 days after insertion of the cuttings into the medium. Interactions occurred between rate of amendment and day of measurement for some variables measured. However, overall there was increased root fresh and dry weight of all cultivars when T. harzionum rates were 5 or 25 g/kg medium. Increased root fresh and dry weight occurred on days 14 and 21 for most cultivars. Root fresh and dry weight increased with increasing rate of amendment on day 14 but there was no difference between the 5 and 25 g/kg rates on day 21. Shoot fresh weight was increased with 5 or 25 g/kg each measurement day for all cultivar except `White Marble' and shoot length was increased with 25g/kg for all cultivars.

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Denita Hadziabdic, Robert N. Trigiano, Stephen Garton, and Mark T. Windham

Axillary and apical buds from five Cornus kousa cultivars (`Little Beauty', `Samaritan', `Heart Throb', `Rosabella', and `Christian Prince') were initially established on two basal media, woody plant medium (WPM) and woody plant medium/broad leaved tree medium (BW), amended with the following concentrations of 6–benzylaminopurine (BA): 0, 2, 4, and 8 μm. After explants were transferred at 4-week intervals for 28 weeks beginning in April, only microshoots of `Samaritan', `HeartThrob' and `Rosabella', were harvested from proliferating cultures and placed on rooting media. `Little Beauty' and `Christian Prince' did not perform well in multiplication phase of tissue culture and were excluded from further studies. Rooting media contained WPM or BW supplemented with either 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) or indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) at the following concentrations: 0, 0.5, 1.5, 4.5, and 13.5 μm. Six weeks following rooting experiment, preliminary data were collected and results showed that total of nine plants rooted on both WPM and BW media supplemented with IBA, 17 plants rooted on media supplemented with NAA, and 14 plants rooted on media supplemented with IAA. These results indicated that NAA and IAA appeared to be better for root production on C. kousa cultivar microshoots than IBA. Additionally, WPM supported more root production, when compared to BW, even though both media resulted in rooted microshoots. Proliferating masses were placed on fresh medium with 2μm BA and were used again for the rooting projects.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Carl E. Sams, and Mark T. Windham

Field-grown dogwood trees in a commercial nursery were sprayed with 0%, 1%, or 2% soybean oil emulsified with Latron B-1956 at 2-week intervals from 10 June until 19 Aug. 1998. In 1999, dogwood trees were sprayed with 0%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, or 2.5% emulsified soybean oil at 2-week intervals from 22 June until 26 Aug. The trials had treatments arranged in randomized complete-block designs with eight trees per block and six and four replications in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Disease severity of powdery mildew was estimated using the following scale: 0 = healthy, 1 < 2%, 2 < 10%, 3 < 25%, 4 < 50%, 5 > 50%, and 6 = 100% of foliage with symptoms or signs of powdery mildew. In 1998, trees sprayed with soybean oil had higher net photosynthesis rates and more caliper and height growth than control trees. Untreated trees and ≈25% of foliage infected with powdery mildew on 8 July, while trees sprayed with 1% or 2% soybean oil had about 2% of leaves infected. In 1999, the powdery mildew was already present on foliage (wet spring) when the first application of oil was made. Repeated sprays of soybean oil did not reduce the incidence of powdery mildew. Thus, soybean oil appeared to provide protective control of powdery mildew but not curative control of a heavy infestation of the fungi. Photosynthesis was increased by soybean oil for the first month of spraying in 1999, but did not differ after that. Repeated applications of even the high rates of oil did not cause phytotoxicity.

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Denita Hadziabdic, Robert N. Trigiano, Stephen Garton, Mark T. Windham, and William E. Klingeman

Axillary buds from a single Cladrastis kentukea tree were initially cultured on two media, woody plant medium (WPM) and Murashige and Skoog (MS) containing 0, 1, 2, or 4 μm 6–benzylaminopurine (BA). Cultures were transferred to fresh media every 4 weeks. Elongated shoots were harvested after 39 weeks and transferred to half-strength MS medium supplemented with the following concentrations of IBA: 0, 3, 30, 100, and 300 μm for 3 d, then returned to half-strength MS without growth regulators. Explants exposed to 300 μm of IBA produced significantly more roots (75%) compared to explants exposed to other treatments. Fifty-four and 45% of the microshoots rooted when exposed to 100 and 30 μm IBA, respectively. Only 4% of the microshoots rooted when exposed to 3 μm IBA and none of the control microshoots rooted. Although the 300 μm treatment yielded the most rooted plantlets, there was significantly higher terminal meristem abortion compared to other treatments. There were no statistical differences between the numbers of roots and total root length among all treatments. Additionally, all microshoots that rooted had lenticels, suggesting that presence of lenticel cambial activity can possibly improve rooting abilities of selected microshoots. Rooted microshoots were gradually acclimatized to nonsterile environment.

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Phillip A. Wadl, Mark T. Windham, Richard Evans, and Robert N. Trigiano

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Mark Windham, Robert Trigiano, Donna Fare, Cecil Pounders, Lisa Vito, and James Mynes

Encore Azaleas® have become very popular in the Deep South due to multiple bloom cycles. All cultivars are rated for plant hardiness zone 7 and have also performed well in zone 8. The ability of Encore Azalea® cultivars to perform well in the Mid South (zones 6a and 6b) is unknown. A 3-year study was undertaken to determine the performance of 21 cultivars of Encore Azaleas® in multiple locations in zones 6a and 6b. After one winter, several cultivars have had multiple bloom cycles in zone 6a and 6b and suffered little or no freeze damage. These cultivars were Autumn Amethyst™, Autumn Bravo™, Autumn Carnival™, Autumn Chiffon™, Autumn Coral™, Autumn Monarch™, Autumn Rouge™, and Autumn Ruby™. Autumn Amethyst™ had the most consistent bloom cycles in both spring and fall cycles of all cultivars tested. Superior winter hardiness of Autumn Amethyst™ may be due to known winter hardiness of its female parent – `Karen's' (Hindodegiri × Rhododendron yeodensis var. poukhanese).