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Courtney L. Tchida and Mary H. Meyer

Miscanthus is one of the most popular ornamental grasses. Reports of self-seeding however, have occurred in the Central Atlantic states, making it a possible weed threat. Ascertaining whether Miscanthus self-seeds or not may determine its continued use as an ornamental, decorative plant. With more than 50 named cultivars of Miscanthus sinensis and several other Miscanthus species available in the trade, wide morphological variation appears to exist within this genus. Because Miscanthus is a warm-season grass requiring a relatively long growing season, self-seeding may vary depending on the USDA Hardiness Zone in which the plant is grown. Mature inflorescences from 35 different cultivars or species of Miscanthus were collected or acquired from nurseries or arboreta in USDA Zones 4, 5, 6, and 7 in the fall or early winter of 1996. Inflorescences were examined for seed set by hand cleaning. The percentage of viability seed and seed germination was determined by germination in laboratory conditions. Results varied by cultivar or species and as well as by source. A comparison of results will presented and the implications of Miscanthus self-seeding or becoming a potential weed threat will be discussed.

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Perrin J. Carpenter and Mary H. Meyer

The objectives of the project were to design and implement an educational campaign on low-input lawn care, measure its effectiveness, and use the information gained to develop a model education plan that other communities could use. Residents of Edina, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, initiated the project by expressing an interest in reducing the amounts of chemical inputs (fertilizers and pesticides) used on residential lawns. The program's educational goal focused on teaching Edina's residents about proper timing and rate of application of all lawn inputs, as well as cultural techniques for producing a healthy lawn. The educational campaign consisted of informational articles published in Edina's quarterly community magazine; the establishment of 19 demonstration sites in which volunteer homeowners worked with Master Gardener mentors learning low-input lawn care techniques; a WWW page where information about lawn care and the project itself was posted; and a public seminar conducted by a turf specialist. Two surveys (May 1996 and April 1997) were distributed, each to a random sample of 800 Edina residents. The surveys measured lawn care knowledge and current practices, attitudes concerning pesticide use and the environment, as well as the effectiveness of this educational program. Recommendations for other community educational programs will be presented.

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Mary H. Meyer and Helen C. Harrison

Using Native Plants is a 120-min videotape that was developed as a result of a Cooperative Extension Partnership Programming Grant between the Univ. of Minnesota, Minnesota Extension Service and the Cooperative Extension–Univ. of Wisconsin-Extension. The content covers woodland wildflowers, prairie establishment and maintenance, landscaping lakeshores, and using native plants in traditional gardens settings.Video segments include: Eloise Butler Wildflower garden, Minneapolis, Minn.; Curtis Prairie, Madison, Wis.; Big Sandy Lake, Minn.; and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen. Developed originally as advanced Master Gardener training, the program was a national satellite broadcast on 29 Feb. 1996. It was viewed by at least nine states and more than 500 participants. Video production costs, including a 20-page participant's handout with extensive references and plant lists, were just under $13,000. A cost analysis, evaluation, sample of the participant's packet, pictures from the videotape and an order form will be presented. Copies of the tape and print packet may be obtained for $50 from Minnesota Extension Service, 1.800.876.8636, or Univ. of Wisconsin-Extension, at 1.608.262.3346.

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Esther E. McGinnis and Mary H. Meyer

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) has horticultural and restoration potential, but the achenes are difficult to germinate due to complex dormancy requirements. This study identified treatments to overcome physiological dormancy and determined light and temperature requirements for optimum germination. We first tested the effects of perigynia removal and light on achene germination. In the second experiment, achenes were subjected to varying durations of dry-cold or dry-warm storage conditions and a presowing soak in gibberellic acid (GA3). In a third experiment, we studied whether storage conditions, cold stratification, and sowing temperatures affected germination. Pennsylvania sedge germination was improved by dry-warm storage, perigynia removal, cold stratification, and germination in light.

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Esther E. McGinnis, Alan G. Smith and Mary H. Meyer

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) is an upland forest sedge with restoration and horticultural potential as a low-maintenance groundcover for dry shade. For large landscape and restoration plantings, seed or achenes in this case are much preferred due to lower labor and material costs. However, pennsylvania sedge typically produces few achenes in its native habitat. As a first step in improving achene production, this research evaluated the effect of vernalization and photoperiod on floral initiation and development. We conclude that this sedge is an obligate short-day plant that does not require vernalization for flowering. Plants flowered when exposed to daylengths of 6 to 12 hours. Flowering was completely inhibited with 14-hour photoperiods. Pennsylvania sedge was florally determined after 4 weeks of 8-hour photoperiods. Inflorescence quantity and normal floral development varied by clone and by weeks of exposure to 8-hour photoperiods. For two of the clones, the largest number of normal monoecious inflorescences was produced with 8 to 10 weeks of 8-hour photoperiods while the other two clones only required 6 to 8 weeks of exposure to inductive photoperiods. Therefore, it is important to evaluate observable variation between clones when attempting to propagate pennsylvania sedge.

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Shuoli Zhao, Chengyan Yue, Mary H. Meyer and Charles R. Hall

The floral industry has experienced declining sales in the past few decades, causing many to speculate as to the underlying causes. To identify consumers’ spending patterns for fresh flowers and potted plants, we extracted and analyzed quarterly expenditure interview data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, 1996 to 2013. Our analysis revealed consumption trends over time by age group, and compared the differences in expenditure patterns across states. Additionally, we employed the Heckman two-step model to estimate how flower consumption is affected by sociodemographic characteristics, geographic factors, housing status, and seasonal factors. The estimation results show that the source of declining demand can be attributed to the decrease in both number of flower purchasers and expenditure among purchasers. Many factors including age, marital status, gender, education, income, number of earners in household, population size of the residing city, house type, and number of rooms in the house affect the demand for fresh flowers and potted plants. Given that floral expenditure has been decreasing among consumers under 40 years of age for the past two decades, innovative marketing strategies to target this age cohort are essential for the floral industry’s success in the future.

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Michael A. Arnold, Mary H. Meyer, Tim Rhodus and Susan S. Barton

Based on a survey of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), membership need was identified for an online peer review system to validate innovation and recognize excellence in science-based teaching and extension scholarship for promotion and tenure purposes. This system would also provide a clearinghouse for instructional materials of merit for use in classrooms, laboratories, and outreach education, which fall outside the parameters of the three academic journals of ASHS. It was determined HortTechnology already provided a valued outlet for peer review of manuscript style teaching and extension scholarship; however, a need was identified for a mechanism to provide peer review of instructional materials which did not conform to a traditional manuscript format. Herein we describe the process that led to the development and launch of HortIM™, a new peer review system for teaching and extension instructional materials. An online peer review process for juried assessment of instructional materials such as articles, bulletins, case studies, fact sheets, instructional videos, teaching modules, and laboratory exercises was developed. A beta test of initial solicited materials in each category was piloted resulting in an initial database of these scholarly materials. This activity culminated in an initial opening of the system for submissions in Fall 2016. This article documents the development of HortIM™, including the submission and review process.

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Daniel R. Miller, Robert J. Mugaas, Mary H. Meyer and Eric Watkins

Several studies have been conducted on low-maintenance turfgrass species; however, relatively few have evaluated mixtures or blends. The objective of this study was to evaluate low-maintenance turfgrass mixtures or blends for turf quality under minimal input conditions. Eight turfgrass mixtures or blends were planted in 2009 at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Chaska, MN) on a low-fertility soil to assess their adaptability to low-input conditions (minimal water and fertilizer and no pesticides after establishment). The year after establishment, plots were divided into no-mow and minimal mow treatments. Plots were evaluated for establishment in 2009 and overall quality and percent weed cover in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Native grass mixtures established slowly with greater weed encroachment, but over time resulted in high-quality ratings. Under minimal mowing, the Tall Fescue Blend [tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)] performed the best for quality, while three fine fescue (Festuca sp.) mixtures and the Tall Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass Mixture [tall fescue + kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)] also had acceptable quality ratings. The Kentucky Bluegrass Blend (kentucky bluegrass) was less competitive with weeds and had unacceptable quality ratings. Under no-mow conditions, the native grass mixtures and the Tall Fescue Blend had the highest overall quality ratings.

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Mary H. Meyer, Rhoda Burrows, Karen Jeannette, Celeste Welty and Aaron R. Boyson

The North Central Consumer Horticulture Working Group developed and distributed a 14-question survey to determine the confidence of north-central U.S. extension Master Gardeners (MGs) in making integrated pest management (IPM) recommendations and their use of IPM. The online survey was completed by 3842 MGs in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. MGs indicated they personally engaged in a range of IPM practices, including prevention, monitoring, cultural, and chemical controls. However, 81% indicated a need for more training in identifying diseases, and 65% say they needed more training in identifying insects. Only 16% indicated they had received advanced pest management training within the past 5 years. These MGs had higher mean scores for confidence, as well as prevention, monitoring, and cultural control and chemical awareness/control practices than those not participating in advanced training. Years of experience as an active MG and confidence in using IPM-related garden activities were correlated positively (r = 0.261). MGs with advanced pest management training were more confident in making IPM recommendations to other gardeners and were much more likely to use IPM practices than MG without advanced training.

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Karl E. Foord, David C. Zlesak, Tom G. Bartholomay and Mary H. Meyer

An online survey of readers of the University of Minnesota Extension's electronic Yard & Garden Newsletter (Y&G News) revealed significant differences between respondents on the basis of current employment and Master Gardener affiliation. Fifty-three percent of the respondents were general public (GP); 31% were Master Gardener trained (MGT), followed by full-time horticultural employees (FTE) and part-time horticultural employees (PTE) , each of whom made up to 8% of the 500 readers who responded to the survey. Overall, respondents indicated a high level of satisfaction with the newsletter (4.8 out of 5.0), and 81% indicated that the newsletter had provided them with “specific information that they found extremely valuable” in the past 2 years. PTE and MGT respondents rated the newsletter as significantly more useful than did the GP. FTE placed greatest value on timely information related to pest control. GP subscribers indicated that annuals and perennials were the horticultural topics they were most interested in for future issues. All subscribers highly value the newsletter for its usefulness and timeliness and indicated that the newsletter improved their ability to make horticultural decisions. Ninety-nine percent would recommend the newsletter to a friend. The mission of the Y&G News and content changes based on survey responses and available resources are discussed.