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William Klingeman, Charles Hall, and Beth Babbit

Though genetically modified (GM) ornamental cut flowers are already available commercially, U.S. academics and Green Industry growers have not assessed consumer perception about GM ornamental plants for landscape use. Because we must make inferences from studies of GM foods, we risk misunderstanding and alienating stakeholders and clients. If we misjudge the end-user, we jeopardize the market for future GM ornamental plant introductions. To address this gap, we surveyed Tennessee Master Gardener Volunteers in 2004. Respondents (n = 607) revealed that concern and belief about GM ornamental plants parallel U.S. expectation about GM foods. Average Master Gardener volunteer responses predict that GM ornamental plants would provide only slight benefits to both the environment and human health once used in the landscape. Compared with non-GM plants, GM ornamental plants are expected to be about the same or less invasive in the landscape. While all types of GM ornamental plants were expected to provide slight benefits, plant types were perceived differently with male respondents expecting perennials to yield the most environmental benefits and females indicating grasses and turf. Men and women also differed in their relative acceptance of GM ornamental plants, if genes were added from different types of organisms to achieve a genetic transformation of an ornamental shrub. Our results suggest that academic outreach and Green Industry marketing to promote new GM plant products should emphasize attributes of benefit, rather than GM transformation processes. Regardless, about 73% of TN Master Gardener respondents reported interest in buying GM ornamental plants if sold commercially, but the majority advocated a requirement for GM plant product labeling at point-of-sale.

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William Klingeman, Beth Babbit, and Charles Hall

Although genetically modified (GM) ornamental cut flowers are now available commercially, we have no knowledge of consumer perception about GM ornamental plants for landscape use and must make inferences from models drawn for GM foods. If we misjudge the customer, and consumers object to GM ornamental plant products for moral reasons, governmental or scientific mistrust, or limited understanding about GM technology, the market for GM ornamental plant commodities will fail. A survey of Master Gardener volunteers was conducted in 2004 to address this gap. Although Master Gardener perceptions likely differ from those of general U.S. consumers, responses are expected provide insight about beliefs applicable to the gardening public. Results from 607 Tennessee respondents revealed that concerns about GM ornamental plants parallel those expressed in the United States about GM foods. On average, Master Gardeners anticipate slight benefits to both the environment and human health should GM ornamental plants be introduced into the landscape. Male respondents chose perennials to provide the most environmental benefits, whereas females indicated grasses and turf. Genetically modified ornamental plants are also expected to be about the same or less invasive in the landscape than non-GM plants. Of respondents who anticipated more potential for GM ornamental plant invasiveness, women were more likely than men to predict plant escape. Men and women differed in relative acceptance of genes added from different organisms as a method of achieving genetic transformations in plants. This result suggests that outreach and marketing to promote new GM plant products should emphasize attributes of benefit rather than processes used to accomplish the goal. Regardless, although ≈73% of TN Master Gardener respondents reported interest in buying GM ornamental plants if sold commercially, participants advocated a requirement that GM plant products be clearly labeled at point-of-sale.

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William E. Klingeman*, Darren K. Robinson, and Gary L. McDaniel

Mugwort, or false chrysanthemum (Artemisia vulgaris L) is a well-adapted invasive plant that presents increasing management challenges to agricultural producers, Green Industry professionals and homeowners across portions of the eastern U.S. The ability of mugwort to regenerate from cut rhizome sections has not been adequately quantified for substrates that are typical of landscapes and nursery fields, container nurseries, and propagation beds. Cut rhizome sections were analyzed by rhizome color, length, and the presence or absence of a leaf scale. Media substrates included pine bark, sand, and soil. Rhizomes darken with time and color did not account for differences in growth among treatments. When grown in pine bark, sand, and soil substrates during 45-d trials, 85%, 78%, and 69% of 2 cm-long rhizome sections produced both roots and shoots. These results contrast with previous research. When rhizome fragments 0.5 cm long did not include a leaf scale, slightly fewer than 31% produced both roots and shoots in soil. Fewer rhizomes survived in soil, but root and shoot fresh masses of soil-grown rhizomes were greater than rhizomes that were regenerated in pine bark and sand. When rhizome sections had a leaf scale, survival, fresh masses of roots and shoots, shoot height, leaf number and root lengths were greater, regardless of substrate type. Root initials emerged in the internode between leaf scales and also adjacent to leaf scales. Shoot emergence preceded root emergence from rhizome sections. Growers, landscape managers and homeowners should scout regularly and initiate aggressive controls when mugwort populations are found.

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William E. Klingeman, Gretchen V. Pettis, and S. Kristine Braman

Although lawn care and landscape maintenance professionals appear increasingly willing to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and adopt nonchemical pest management alternatives into management practices, the opinions of landscape management professionals have not been assessed regarding anticipated influences of increased use of insect- and disease-resistant ornamental plants on grounds management activities, client satisfaction, or business profitability. Lawn care and landscape professionals are well positioned to implement many IPM practices into landscape use and to educate their consumer clients about ecologically sustainable landscape designs and beneficial management techniques. Conversely, if some of these professionals are unwilling to advocate installation of ornamental host plants that are resistant to certain pests or diseases, market success of such plants can be limited. To better understand perceptions of green industry professionals related to these issues, we surveyed lawn care and landscape business owners and employees to categorize their perceptions about insect- or disease-resistant ornamental plants and qualified their beliefs in relation to both personal and firm demographics. A total of 391 completed surveys were received from Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia participants. Data analyses revealed that lawn care and landscape maintenance professionals largely believe that insect- and disease-resistant plants will benefit their businesses and should result in increased client satisfaction. Only ≈4% of respondents stated concern that business would incur at least some negative effect if pest-resistant plants were made more available or used in greater numbers in client landscapes. Among all respondents, there was an average expectation that 60% or more of plants within a given client's landscape would have to be resistant to insect pests or plant diseases to result in a decrease in company profits. If insect- and disease-resistant ornamental plants were used more widely in client landscapes, respondents expected that the required number of site visits to client landscapes would remain unchanged and that moderate reductions in insecticide and fungicide use would result.

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Adriane Cannon*, Dennis Deyton, Carl Sams, and William Klingeman

Two experiments were conducted in a greenhouse to evaluate soy-bean oil (SO) formulations for effects on powdery mildew (PM) and photosynthesis of dogwood trees. In the first experiment, one-year-old potted trees were sprayed with different formulations of 2% SO one day before exposure to PM. The formulations were emulsified with: teric/termul, lauriciden, lecithin, lecithin/MD 1, lecithin/MD 2, or Latron B-1956. A commercial formulation of Golden Natur'l was also used. The trees were arranged in a completely randomized design with six replications and eight treatments. In the second experiment, trees were sprayed 4 days after initial exposure to PM with the same treatments and arranged in a similar experimental design. The severity of PM infection was rated using the scale: 1 = 0%, 2 = 1% to 3%, 3 = 4% to 6%, 4 = 7% to 12%, 5 = 13% to 25%, 6 = 26% to 50%, 7 = 51% to 87%, and 8 = 88% to 100% of leaves visually displaying PM. The net photosynthetic (Pn) rates were measured using an infrared gas analyzer. In the first experiment, trees sprayed pre-inoculation with Golden Natur'l, lecithin, lecithin/MD 1, or Latron B-1956 formulation had less PM than control trees at 19 and 24 days after spraying (DAS). Pn of leaves sprayed with lecithin or Latron B-1956 formulations had 68% and 40% lower Pn rates, respectively, of the control leaves at one DAS. However, by 11 DAS, none of the SO formulations significantly affected Pn rates. Leaves of plants (expt. 2) sprayed with teric/termul, lauriciden, lecithin, and lecithin/MD 2 formulations had less PM than control trees at 28 DAS. All formulations reduced Pn rates at 6 DAS, with only Golden Natur'l treated leaves recovering to rates similar to control leaves by 15 DAS.

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Gary L. McDaniel, William E. Klingeman, Willard T. Witte, and Phillip C. Flanagan

One-half (18 g·ha-1 a.i.) and three-fourths (27 g·ha-1 a.i.) rates of halosulfuron (Manage®, MON 12051) were combined with adjuvants and evaluated for effectiveness in controlling purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) and for phytotoxic responses exhibited by two kinds of container-grown ornamental plants. Adjuvants included X-77®, Scoil®, Sun-It II®, Action “99”®, and Agri-Dex®. By 8 weeks after treatment (WAT), halosulfuron combined with X-77®, Agri-Dex®, or Action “99”® at the lower halosulfuron rate provided <90% purple nutsedge suppression. In contrast, Sun-It II® provided 100% control when combined with the higher halosulfuron rate. Nutsedge control persisted into the following growing season and halosulfuron combined with either Scoil® or Sun-It II® provided >97% suppression of nutsedge tuber production. Growth of liriope [Liriope muscari (Decne.) Bailey `Big Blue'] was not inhibited by Scoil® or Sun-It II® adjuvants in combination with the low rate of halosulfuron. However, regardless of the rate of halosulfuron or adjuvant used, initial foliar chlorosis was observed in both daylily (Hemerocallis sp. L. `Stella d'Oro') and liriope. All liriope receiving halosulfuron with X-77®, Scoil®, or Sun-It II® adjuvants recovered normal foliage by 8 WAT. By contrast, at 8 WAT some daylily still maintained a degree of foliar discoloration. In addition to chlorosis, all treatments reduced flower number in daylilies. The number of flower scapes produced by liriope was not affected by halosulfuron when in combination with either Sun-It II® or Scoil®. The high rate of halosulfuron combined with X-77® or Action “99”® improved control of purple nutsedge. However, this rate inhibited growth of both species, daylily flower numbers, and scape numbers of liriope, regardless of adjuvant. Chemical names used: halosulfuron (Manage®, MON 12051, methyl 5-{[(4,6-dimethyl-2-pyrimidinyl) amino] carbonyl-aminosulfonyl}-3-chloro-1-methyl-1-H-pyrozole-4-carboxylate); proprietary blends of 100% methylated seed oil (Scoil® and Sun-It II®); proprietary blend of 99% polyalkyleneoxide modified heptamethyl trisiloxane and nonionic surfactants (Action “99”®); alkylarylpolyoxyethylene, alkylpolyoxyethelene, fatty acids, glycols, dimethylpolysiloxane, and isopropanol (X-77®); proprietary blend of 83% paraffin-based petroleum oil, with 17% polyoxyethylate polyol fatty acid ester and polyol fatty ester as nonionic surfactants (Agri-Dex®)

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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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Andrew Jeffers, Marco Palma, William E. Klingeman, Charles Hall, David Buckley, and Dean Kopsell

Production of high-quality nursery liners has long been a foundation principle for enabling success and business longevity in the competitive nursery industry. Unfortunately, many different characteristics can be used to define liner “quality,” ranging from physiological parameters measurable in scientific studies field establishment success and transplant production performance to gut-level hunches on the part of growers. A more complete understanding of what buyers are looking for in a bare-root liner would significantly enhance the success of producers in meeting the demands of end-users. As a result, a choice study involving a point-of-purchase simulation was designed to assess preferences of green industry professionals when viewing bare-root 1 + 0 nursery liners. A conjoint design was used for this study and involved six key attributes of liners: 1) number of first-order lateral roots (FOLR); 2) price; 3) production region; and uniformities of 4) height; 5) canopy density; and 6) liner caliper. A visual survey based on a large, color graphic depicting six distinct bare-root 1 + 0 liners with different combinations of attributes was administered together with a demographic questionnaire at four different green industry tradeshows and extension grower education and outreach venues in the southeastern United States. Results from 248 completed surveys corroborated previously reported results suggesting that high FOLR is the most important attribute influencing preference for 1 + 0 liner products followed by uniform liner height and canopy density. Contrary to a priori expectations, neither price nor region of production substantially influenced product preference. Utility values were calculated for each attribute level using outputs from the experimental model. These values can be used by growers to adjust production methods to improve liners with attributes that end-users value most. In addition, growers will be able to better estimate product ratings, redirect marketing efforts, and assess sales potential for various bare-root 1 + 0 liner products in U.S. markets.

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Andrew H. Jeffers, William E. Klingeman, Charles R. Hall, Marco A. Palma, David S. Buckley, and Dean A. Kopsell

Ornamental plant growers must be able to accurately assess production costs associated with woody liner stock to gain profit potential in a highly competitive industry. Fixed and variable cost inputs may not be intuitive or readily apparent to growers and may even differ between common types of production in the trade. To help liner producers identify profit-based price points for their woody ornamental liner stock, we modeled costs associated with producing familiar species and cultivars of a representative deciduous shade tree, a broadleaf evergreen, and a needle leaf evergreen liner. Production costs are projected down to individual plant units for each of the three most common liner production systems, including a field ground bed system, a polyhouse-covered (plant protection structure sheathed with one layer of 6-mil polyethylene film) ground bed system, and a polyhouse-covered container system. Production costs for individual plants varied due to the actual growing space available within each system. The field ground bed system offered greatest flexibility in crop planting density, with cost potentially distributed among the largest number of salable units. In addition to modeled costs, advantages and disadvantages of each liner cropping system are discussed.

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William E. Klingeman, David B. Eastwood, John R. Brooker, Charles R. Hall, Bridget K. Behe, and Patricia R. Knight

A survey was administered to assess plant characteristics that consumers consider important when selecting landscape plants for purchase. Visitors to home and garden shows in Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; Detroit, Mich.; and Jackson, Miss., completed 610 questionnaires. Respondents also indicated their familiarity with integrated pest management (IPM) concepts, pest control philosophy, recognition of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) pests and diseases, including dogwood powdery mildew (Microsphaera pulchra), and willingness-to-pay a price differential for a powdery-mildew-resistant flowering dogwood. Fewer than half of the respondents in any city indicated familiarity with IPM, although they were familiar with organic farming and pest scouting components of an IPM program. Willingness-to-pay was relatively consistent across all four locations. The uniformity of average tree premiums, which ranged from $11.87 in Jackson to $16.38 in Detroit, supports the proposition that customers are willing to pay a substantially higher price for a landscape tree that will maintain a healthier appearance without the use of chemical sprays. Factors affecting consumer demand for landscape nursery products and services can be paired with consumer awareness of IPM terminology and practices to create an effective market strategy for newly developed powdery-mildew-resistant dogwood cultivars.