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Michael N. Dana

Interest in native plant species for general landscape planting, mitigation of environmental impact and ecological restoration plantings continues to expand with public awareness of environmental quality. An expanding area of opportunity exists for the landscape horticulture industry to supply non-traditional plant materials to support landscape planting with native species. To capitalize on the opportunity, horticulture and landscape architecture students and practitioners must become knowledgeable of species native to their region. Video is a useful medium for increasing such knowledge. This presentation will review the development, production, distribution and content of six video programs that survey the native herbaceous flora of Indiana prairies and woodlands. Each program is less than 30 minutes in length, to facilitate classroom use and presentation in broadcast formats. Botanically correct nomenclature is presented graphically as each species is introduced. The narration includes botanical, ecological and horticultural information, but emphasizes plant lore to increase interest for general audiences and provide memory clues for those attempting to learn the plants. This project, supported by the Indiana Association of Nurserymen, provides a good example of how horticultural industries can become leaders as the public expands its demand for improved environmental quality.

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

The objective of this study was to determine whether container size or incorporation of water-holding hydrogels in the container medium would affect growth of prairie perennials transplanted on a steep slope. Seedlings of pale-purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida Nutt.), rough blazingstar (Liatris aspera Michx.), gray-headed coneflower [Ratibida pinnata (Venten.) Barnh.], and little bluestem grass [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash.], were grown in 3.7-cm (1.46-inch) diameter tubes that were either 13 cm (5.1 inches) or 18 cm (7.1 inches) long containing either standard greenhouse mix or the mix amended with hydrogels Terra-sorb AG or Liqua-Gel, or a nonhydrogel experimental compound, GLK-8924. The seedlings were transplanted to the slope in May 1994, and harvested in June 1995. After two growing seasons, plants of pale-purple cone-flower and gray-headed coneflower from the longer containers were larger (dry weight) than those from the shorter containers. The blazingstar and little bluestem were unafffected by container size. Terra-sorb AG and Liqua-Gel did not significantly affect height growth of the prairie perennials. GLK-8924-amended medium resulted in smaller or similar height plants.

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

The objectives of this study were to compare the growth of prairie forb seedlings inoculated with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi to noninoculated seedlings transplanted to a highway right-of-way and to evaluate the effect of different VAM fungal species or combinations on posttransplant seedling growth. Four species of prairie forbs: pale-purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida Nutt.), prairie blazingstar (Liatris pycnostachya Michx.), prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa L.), and gray-headed coneflower [Ratibida pinnata (Venten.) Barnh.], were grown in greenhouse mix and inoculated with Gigaspora margarita Becker and Hall, or Glomus interadicies Schenk and Smith, or with a native Indiana prairie soil inoculum, or with a mix of all three. They were transplanted to a highway site in June, 1994. Only gray-headed coneflower exhibited a positive growth response to VAM inoculation. Inoculation of gray-headed coneflower with G. margarita produced the largest growth response by the end of the experiment.

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Lauren E. Howell and Michael N. Dana

The use of perennials in the garden and landscape is an area of much confusion for the home gardener. A customer-interactive computer program for point-of-sale marketing of perennials in garden centers which assures horticultural and aesthetic success is a potential solution to this problem. Literature of herbaceous perennials and perennial garden design was surveyed and landscape design professionals were interviewed to develop a complete algorithm for designing perennial border gardens. The assembled data were incorporated into the algorithm in the form of plant selection and placement rules and plant attribute heirarchies. The planting plan algorithm was tested and the resulting test gardens were critiqued by landscape design professionals. The algorithm was successful in designing horticulturally correct and aesthetically pleasing perennial border gardens. This algorithm is ready to be coded into a computer program for use as a customer-interactive, point-of-sale marketing tool.

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Lauren E. Howell and Michael N. Dana

A mail survey was conducted to determine attitudes held by garden center owners/managers about computers as customer-interactive marketing tools. The survey was sent to 220 garden centers in the 7-state North Central Region (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI), who were members of the Garden Centers of America. A response of 46% was received. Ownership of one or more computers was reported by 64% of respondents. Over 50% said they believe there is a place in garden centers for customer-interactive computer usage. Of those who did not agree that there is a place for point-of-sale computer usage in the garden center, the two most common objections were the impersonal nature of computers, and the cost. Survey results will contribute to development of perennial flower garden design software for use in point-of-sale marketing.

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Michael N. Dana and Ricky D. Kemery

Interest in direct-seeding establishment of wildflowers as a component of landscape planting has continued to increase. Seed may be very expensive. Information is needed on the quality of seed available to consumers and the landscape industry. The goal of this work was to assess the level and consistency of seed quality available from the wildflower seed production/marketing industry. Eleven species of native prairie forb wildflowers and eight species of “garden” wildflowers from seven companies were purchased in 1992 and 1993 and subjected to germination testing. Germination procedures were those of AOSA where available, or generalized from the literature when no guidelines existed. Results showed significant variation among wildflower species, among companies supplying the same species, and over the two seed years tested in the study. These data reinforce the need for seed quality testing and reporting as a part of the sales of wildflower seed.

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

Fir seedling transplant containers were used as an alternative to conventional plug containers (72 per tray) in a system to grow seedlings of native prairie perennials and install them on a highway site in central Indiana. Plants grown in deep-tube fir-seedling containers exhibited greater fresh and dry weights than conventional plug transplants with no root circling. Results from survival data indicate that plants grown in fir seedling containers offer better chances of success on highway sites with low soil fertility and poor soil structure. A chronology of installation methods, tools, and mechanization possibilities is presented.

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

Seedlings of six species of native prairie perennial forbs were installed monthly from Oct. 1993 to Nov. 1994 on two highway sites near West Lafayette, Ind. Survival varied significantly among species. Overall, 85% of Aster novae-angliae seedlings survived compared to 15% survival of Liatris pycnostachya seedlings. Survival also varied significantly with time of installation. Three species (Aster novae-angliae, Ratibida pinnata, and Veronicastrum virginicum) exhibited 95% survival when planted in mid-October, compared to 50% survival when planted in March. Fifty-seven percent survival of Echinacea pallida seedlings was observed with April plantings, compared to 9% survival of September plantings. Results of this study indicate that transplant survival rates of particular prairie species may be enhanced by precise timing of planting in late fall or early spring.

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Ricky D. Kemery and Michael N. Dana

Soil from four native prairie remnant sites was used as inoculum in pot culture to achieve vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) infection of Sudangrass [Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf]. The prairie sites varied in their management histories and degradation levels. Sudangrass plants that became infected with VAM grew better than those grown in standard pasteurized greenhouse mix or those grown in a pasteurized greenhouse–prairie soil mix. Soil from prairie remnants may serve as a beginning source of inoculum that can be increased via Sudangrass pot culture for inoculation of prairie plant seedlings in nursery production.

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William R. Graves, Robert J. Joly and Michael N. Dana

Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Wind.) and tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle] sometimes are exposed to high root-zone temperatures in urban microclimates. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that seedlings of these species differ in how elevated root-zone temperature affects growth, leaf water relations, and root hydraulic properties. Shoot extension, leaf area, root: shoot ratio, and root and shoot dry weights were less for tree-of-heaven grown with the root zone at 34C than for those with root zones at 24C. Tree-of-heaven with roots at 34C had a lower mean transpiration rate (E) than those grown at 24C, but leaf water potential (ψ1) was similar at both temperatures. In contrast, shoot extension of seedlings of honey locust grown with roots at 34C was greater than honey locust at 24C, E was similar at both temperatures, and ψ1 was reduced at 34C. Hydraulic properties of root systems grown at both temperatures were determined during exposure to pressure in solution held at 24 or 34C. For each species at both solution temperatures, water flux through root systems (Jv) grown at 34C was less than for roots grown at 24C. Roots of tree-of-heaven grown at 34C had lower hydraulic conductivity coefficients (Lp) than those grown at 24C, but Lp of roots of honey locust grown at the two temperatures was similar.