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  • Author or Editor: Paul Thomas x
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Abstract

Cultivar testing is an essential part of cultivar development programs. The main purpose is to determine the regional environmental adaptability and market fit of the new cultivars or hybrids. It is essential to know whether the items to be tested have the required disease resistance for the areas, whether they meet the needs of the industry as far as type or quality is concerned, and whether they will perform well under the environment of the region. Private research stations may not be in the immediate vicinity of the area of intended use, but adequate testing in these untested areas is still essential prior to release of new cultivars.

Open Access

Franklinia alatamaha Bartr. ex Marshall represents a monotypic genus that was originally discovered in Georgia, USA, but is now considered extinct in the wild and is maintained only in cultivation. Although Franklinia is very ornamental, with showy flowers and crimson/maroon fall foliage, it tends to be short lived when grown as a landscape tree and is known to be susceptible to a variety of root pathogens. Gordonia lasianthus (L.) Ellis is an evergreen tree native to the southeastern United States, typically growing in riparian habitats. Gordonia lasianthus has attractive foliage and large, white, showy flowers, but limited cold hardiness. Hybridization between F. alatamaha and G. lasianthus could potentially combine the cold hardiness of F. alatamaha with the evergreen foliage of G. lasianthus and broaden the genetic base for further breeding and improvement among these genera. Controlled crosses between F. alatamaha and G. lasianthus resulted in intergeneric hybrid progeny. A morphological comparison of parents and the progeny is presented. ×Gordlinia grandiflora Ranney and Fantz (mountain gordlinia) is proposed as the name for these hybrids and is validated with a Latin diagnosis.

Free access

Perennial growers experience marketing difficulty when the stem length, or height of their perennial stock is excessive. Both wholesale and retail outlets desire to keep height to a minimum, while still promoting the production of flowers. The objective of this study was to screen containerized, spring-planted perennials for response to the growth retardants Sumagic, Bonzi, and B-Nine. Each perennial variety used was treated with B-Nine (Daminozide at 5000 ppm Bonzi (paclobutrazol) at 240 ppm, and Sumagic (uniconizole-P) at the following rates: 0, 40, 80, 120, and 160 ppm.Pre-cooled plugs of cultivars were selected from the genera Achillea, Coreopsis, Echinaceae, Digitalis, Gaillardia, Phlox, Rudbeckia, Alcea, Veronica, and Monarda. A randomized complete block design was implemented. Eight of the nine cultivars were responsive to Sumagic, with a 12% to 79% range of reduction in height. Seven cultivars were responsive to Bonzi with a 20% to 61% range of reduction. Only one cultivar was responsive to B-Nine, requiring two applications of 5000 ppm, to yield a 22% reduction in height at 4WAT. Based upon growers' desire for up to 50% height reduction, a 30% height reduction assessment point was established as a minimum rate for production, and a 50% to 60% reduction was established as the maximum landscape rate (based upon in-landscape persistence).

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Nine perennial bedding plants were screened for responsiveness to the plant growth retardant, Sumagic (uniconazole-P). Two weeks after planting, plugs were treated with one foliar spray of Sumagic at 0, 40, 80, 120, or 160 ppm at the label-recommended volume. Plant growth of Gaillardia grandiflora `Goblin' was not reduced by Sumagic. Height of Achillea × `Moonshine' was reduced 8% to 12% at 4 weeks after treatment (WAT), and the reduction persisted through 8 weeks after planting (WAP) to the landscape. Phlox paniculata `Joliet' responded linearly to increasing Sumagic rate with a maximum height reduction of 32% at 160 ppm. Coreopsis grandiflora `Sunray', Rudbeckia fulgida var. Sullivantii `Goldsturm' and Monarda didyma `Blue Stocking' responded significantly to Sumagic with 30% to 60% height reductions at 4 WAT, but no persistent effects at 8 WAP. Height of Veronica alpine `Goodness Grows' was reduced 32% to 68% at 4 WAT, but all Sumagic rates resulted in persistent reductions in plant height at 12 WAP. Plant height of Alcea rosea mix and Echinacea purpurea were excessively reduced (up to 79%) at 4 WAT, but there were no persistent effects on height of Alcea in the landscape. All rates of Sumagic resulted in persistent reductions in height of Echinacea at 8 WAP, but only plants treated with 120 and 160 ppm Sumagic were still significantly shorter than controls at 12 WAP

Free access

The influence of cooling, photoperiod and chemical branching on early spring flowering of perennial species was studied. Cooling was provided while plants were in plugs (128 plugs per tray) and dikegulac-sodium, a compound found to induce breaks in other species, was applied prior to, during and after cooling. Plants were cooled in insulated lighted coolers for 4, 8 or 12 weeks at 4C, and brought to a greenhouse with night temperatures between 8-12C. Long and short days were provided in the greenhouse after plants came out of the coolers. Little response to dikegulac occurred, however, Campanula, Sedum, Leontopodium, Catananche, Aubrietia, Arabis, Gypsophila, Anchusa and Aquilegia responded to cooling and photoperiodic treatment. Flowering and vegetative characteristics such as internode elongation and plant height responded to photoperiod and cooling but not all genera responded similarly. Anchusa, Campanula, Aquilegia and Gypsophila flowered significantly earlier under LD compared to SD. Twelve weeks of cooling resulted in flowering of all genera, however, some genera were equally responsive to shorter cooling times.

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Annual vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don] is intolerant of high fertility, cool temperatures, and wet soil conditions, making vinca difficult for growers to produce alongside other, more tolerant bedding plants. Our objective was to develop better recommendations for producers. Growth of `Grape Cooler' vinca was compared using different production inputs, including type of media (with or without bark), form of micronutrient source, and form of N. Optimal root and shoot dry weights occurred in peat-lite media with either sulfated or chelated micronutrients adjusted to pH 5.5. Root and shoot dry weights were greatest when high nitrate-N to ammonium-N ratio fertilizers were used. Root and shoot dry weights were negatively affected by high levels of ammonium-N in the fertilizer solution. Root development is the critical factor in the production of high-quality vinca. Our data suggest that root development may be optimized by using fertilizer products that have a high nitrate to ammoniacal nitrogen ratio. Micronutrients in the sulfate form also seem to enhance growth when medium pH is maintained near 5.5. Use of high-porosity, peat-based mixes appears to provide an optimal root growth environment.

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Brushing 2-week-old `Sunny' tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seedlings, grown in a commercial production greenhouse, for a period of 5 weeks reduced transplant growth and improved plant appearance. Brushing reduced stem length 37% and leaf area 31% relative to nontreated control plants. Plants were darker green in color, stockier, easier to handle, and tougher (exhibited less breakage) than nontreated plants.

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Development of this software was initiated after receipt of a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant. The visually realistic software, which uses digital photography as a software base, will serve as an effective and cost-efficient means through which students in landscape horticulture programs can improve their skills in estimating job costs prior to entering the job market. The software will allow students, while in a classroom setting, to visualize a job site from various perspectives, determine the tasks (landscape installation/landscape maintenance) that must be accomplished, and calculate an estimate taking into account direct costs (materials, labor, equipment), indirect costs (overhead), and profit. The interactive nature of the software will allow students to compare their estimates with one of known accuracy generated simultaneously by the computer. Incorporation of this software into academic curricula should increase prospects of long-term success for the many students who plan to start their own landscape horticulture businesses soon after graduating from college and university programs.

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