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  • Author or Editor: R.W. McNew x
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Use of groundcovers in the landscape is often limited due to their slow establishment rate compared to that of turf. Hedera helix L., (English ivy), Euonymus fortunei `Coloratus' (Turcz.) Hand.-Mazz. (purpleleaf wintercreeper euonymus), and Liriope spicata Lour. (creeping lily-turf) were evaluated in a full sun and 50% shade environment to determine the effects of fertilizer applications on their establishment and growth. Fertilizer treatments, of 13N-13P-13K at a rate of.45 kg/93 m2, used were: 1) at planting only; 2) at planting and once during the summer; 3) at planting, in summer, and once in the fall; or 4) at planting, in summer, in fall, and once the following spring. Data collected included fresh and dry weight comparisons of pruned material, percentage canopy cover, plant quality and vigor by visual assessment and photographs, and time required for maintenance of each plot. Results show limited fertilizer effects and interaction according to species during the first several months of growth. Establishment and survivability of Hedera was influenced mainly by light exposure rather than fertilizer applications. There was no difference in establishment rates between Liriope and Euonymus, however, under shade, Euonymus did not develop its characteristic fall color. Hedera was established in one season under 50% shade and can be considered very competitive with turf under the same conditions.

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To examine the effects of mulching and fertilization on nutrient availability and plant growth in landscape beds, plots were established using four mulches (cottonseed hulls, cypress wood, pine bark, pine straw) and three fertilizer application methods (granular, liquid, time-release). Fertilizer was applied either below the mulch on the soil surface or over the mulch surface. Marigolds, Tagetes erecta L., were planted during the summer, followed by pansies, Viola×wittrockiana Gams, during the winter. Applied fertilizers, existing soil nutrients, and water-soluble nutrients from the new mulch provided an adequate supply of nutrients for marigold growth. Placement of fertilizer above or below the mulch did not affect marigold growth. Pansy growth was limited by depletion of soil N during the marigold season and by leaching of applied nutrients in the winter while plants were not actively growing. Mulch lowered soil temperatures and slowed pansy recovery in the spring. Pine straw allowed soil temperatures to rise earlier in the spring and improved pansy growth.

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Resistance to race 3 and 4 of downy mildew (Peronospora farinosa f.sp. spinaciae) was examined in separate field inoculation tests. Three Arkansas cultivars and three other commercial spinach cultivars were compared by periodically scoring individual leaves for disease severity 7 to 28 days after inoculation. Leaves were scored on a 0 to 6 scale with 0 = 0% of the leaf surface being covered with sporulation and 6 = 90-100%. Resistance was evaluated by comparing disease ratings on a given day as well as the area under the disease progress curve. Arkansas spinach cultivars exhibited significantly lower disease severity ratings in field inoculation tests for all sample dates for both races 3 and 4 when compared to known susceptible cultivars.

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Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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