Attracting new students into traditional agriculture programs has become increasingly difficult. Offering a survey course as a means for introducing students to agriculture is a concept with popular appeal. As a recruiting effort, and as a method of introducing students to horticulture, the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, designed a one-credit course for nonmajors. The course was structured to provide a broad overview of horticulture, emphasizing plant use to enhance interior and exterior environments. The intent was to develop a course somewhat similar to an entry-level course for majors, but with each lecture devoted to a single, self-contained topic. When feasible, hands-on activities were incorporated within the classroom presentation. The course ORH 1030-Plants, Gardens, and You was offered for the first time in Summer 1997. It is now offered every semester. The course has one faculty assigned each semester and various other faculty members, including teaching, research, and extension specialists, participate as guest lecturers. Methods to improve the course are discussed by the faculty presenters and the course coordinator each term. Student response to ORH 1030 has been favorable, ratings are high and enrollment in the course has continued to rise from 30 to our current cap of 100. As a means of ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our students and to aid in targeting potential students, a survey was administered in Spring 2000. Students enrolled in the course were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the semester to gain insight into student demographics, horticulture background and experience, reasons for enrollment in the class, and overall interest in the course.
The University of Florida College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers the Bachelor of Science degree program in Environmental Horticulture at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC). Instructors at the FLREC deliver course work and course work is also presented using a variety of distance education (DE) technologies. These DE technologies include interactive video conferencing, videotape, and web-based courses. The question often arises as to how many courses should be delivered using DE versus live onsite instruction. This survey was conducted to ascertain how students perceive the quality of education they are receiving using a mixture of delivery methods.
A phone survey was conducted to assess the total impact of the floriculture industry on the Minnesota economy. Data were collected from wholesale growers, garden center retailers, chain stores, and florists. Information was gathered on `hard good' sales associated with greenhouse produced plants as well as plant sales. In addition, data on labor and salaries associated with the production, distribution, and retailing of plants and goods associated with the floriculture industry was collected. This data will be provided to local flower growers organizations to enable these groups to actively lobby for their concerns within the state.
The spatial distribution of nematodes in the soil of nine California vineyards was surveyed in summer and winter months. Soil samples were taken in the vine row and between rows at 15 cm depth intervals. There were no measurable seasonal changes in nematode distribution. Variation in the distribution of genera amongst vineyards was related to soil physical conditions and vineyard cultural practices. In general, highest concentrations of Meloidogyne spp. and Xiphinema spp. were in the upper 60 cm of soil in the vine row, whereas Tylenchulus semipenetrans was more deeply and uniformly distributed throughout the root zone.
Children's gardening programs are growing in popularity. Among public gardens, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) hosts the oldest children's gardening program in the United States. Founded in 1914, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Children's Gardening Program (BBG CGP) has succeeded in involving a steady flow of children year after year, creating an environment where children have the opportunity to interact with nature. Over 35,000 children have participated in the BBG CGP since its inception in 1914. A mail survey was conducted of alumni of the BBG CGP to identify how the program has affected their adult lives. A random sample of 700 participants was selected from the BBG CGP alumni records. The survey consisted of five major sections: 1) current gardening interest; 2) involvement with public gardens; 3) current involvement with children's gardening programs; 4) childhood experiences in the BBG CGP; and 5) demographic variables. Preliminary results suggest that the participants' childhood development and learning skills gained from this program have played an important role in their adult lives and that they regard the BBG CGP as having great value in their lives. Additional results and impacts of the program will be presented.
A 2001 survey of 102 nurseries that were members of the Georgia Green Industry Association was conducted to assess irrigation practices of container ornamental nurseries. Mean nursery size was 64 acres (26 ha) and mean annual revenue was about $3 million. About 50% of the irrigation water was from wells and the other 50% came from surface sources, such as collection basins. Irrigation in smaller containers, including #1, #3, and #5, was applied primarily by overhead methods, while larger containers (#7, #15, #25) made extensive use of direct application methods, such as drip or spray stakes. Frequency of irrigation in the summer growing months was about three times that of the winter season. Georgia nurseries use irrigation practices suggested in Southern Nursery Association best management practices, including collection of runoff water (48%), cyclic irrigation (44%), watering in the morning (92%), and grass strips between the production beds and drainage areas (60%).
Twenty-one cultivars of poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. Ex Klotzsch] were evaluated by respondents who voluntarily completed a paper survey (n=293) at TSU. Rooted cuttings from five major U.S. suppliers were potted and grown during the preceding 4 months according to standard industry practices. Cultivars were displayed without their names for the survey, and respondents were asked to rate each cultivar on a Likert-type scale, where 1=strongly dislike and 5=strongly like. The top eight rated cultivars (mean > 3.9) were all traditional red forms, which included the new cultivar `Red Dragon', followed in descending preference by `Christmas Spirit', `Freedom Red', `Cortez Electric Fire', `Prestige Red', `Premium Red', `Novia Red', and `Candlelight'. For each cultivar, the price respondents indicated they would be willing to pay was highly correlated with the Likert-type scale score. When asked about purchases in the prior year, 89% of respondents bought at least one red poinsettia. Retail outlets and prices paid varied among respondents. Color was by far the most popular criterion respondents used to determine whether they like or dislike a cultivar, followed by foliage and price. Consistent with recent trends for value-added products, consumers indicated that they would be willing to pay significantly more for a purple-painted plant with glitter than for a white-flowered plant that was otherwise of comparable quality. These results suggest that, while red poinsettias continue to dominate the poinsettia market, niche markets exist for unique flower and foliage traits created through breeding and through enhancements such as paint and glitter.
During Summer 1996, a disproportionate systematic sampling procedure was used to obtain an initial sample of 955 citrus growers from the mailing lists of extension agents in 27 counties. Of these, 451 usable responses were returned (67% response rate), providing an expected error of ± 4.3% with a 95% confidence interval. Surveyed growers obtained weather information during the 1995–96 winter from multiple sources, including the National Weather Service (NWS) (48%), commercial radio/TV (48%), Extension offices (18%), private meteorologists (9%), and other sources (10%). After the NWS discontinued agricultural freeze forecasts in Apr. 1996, growers indicated they would rely on commercial radio/TV (72%); private meteorologists (20%), and their County Extension Office (32%) for weather reports. When deciding which cold protection method to use, respondents adopted Extension (35%) and consultants' recommendations (30%), assessed the costs and benefits of cold protection (32%), and assessed risks based on grove history (38%). Cold protection methods used by percent respondents included: flooding groves (22%); grove heaters (2%); wind machines (2%); permanent overhead irrigation systems (2%); ground microsprinklers (76%); in-tree microsprinklers (18%); tree wraps (13%); and tree wraps or covers with microsprinklers (6%). Seventy-three percent of growers reported that their cold protection methods were very effective for a freeze with minimum temperatures of –2°C for at least 4 hr, with 12% and 3% reporting cold protection measures being very effective at –7 and –9°C, respectively.
A high quality finished plant from each of 22 cultivars was displayed at a poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch] open house at Tennessee State University in Dec. 2004. The cultivars represented the range of flower colors, flower traits, and plant vigor available through the major suppliers Dummen USA, Ecke, Fischer, and Oglevee. Attendees of the open house completed a written survey (n = 101) in which they were asked to rate their cultivar preferences. Cultivars (identified only by an alphabetic letter) were rated by respondents on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike to 5 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean ≥4) included `Freedom Red', `Premium Red', `Nutcracker White', `Early Orion', `Cortez Electric Fire', and the new cultivars `Visions of Grandeur' and `Kris Krinkle'. Cultivars were also rated on the price range potential consumers were willing to pay. Respondents were willing to pay the most to purchase `Visions of Grandeur', which is a vigorous cultivar with large, pillowy, peach-colored bracts. Overall, traditional red cultivars and large, non-red cultivars were preferred. Most of the respondents indicated that they purchased red plants, and color was the most important selection criterion. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, women prefer some alternative inflorescence colors and unique bract shapes more than men.
Why do people visit the grounds of a botanical garden or arboretum? What draws them to that “experience of nature”? What can we do as horticulturists, landscape architects, and educators to make garden areas more appealing and fulfilling to visitors? The Prairie Interpretive Committee of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum asked these questions in 1991 as it convened to analyze the current and future status of the Arboretum's Bennett/Johnson Prairie. To understand visitor usage and needs, Arboretum members were surveyed about frequency of visits, reasons for visiting, specific visitor services, and suggestions for improvements. Among the 151 responses, the major reasons for visiting were the pleasures of walking, observing, and being at peace. “Open”, “wild,” and “natural” were common key words. There was keen interest in native plants and their historical role as well. Sitting areas, maps, path markers, plant labels, and self-guided tours were the primary requests for improvement. A high percentage found the demonstration area interesting and useful. The Interpretive Committee used this research to guide the landscape architect, create a brochure, and develop an integrative master plan for the prairie area.