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Miami-Dade County Extension, with the participation of University of Florida faculty and other speakers, created a Certified Course in Horticulture in 2005. The intended audience is landscape maintenance and installation personnel, tree trimming employees, home gardeners, city and parks employees, and others who want horticultural knowledge. The goal of the program was to educate the participants in basic horticultural practices such as: plant selection and installation—including palms and turf; plant propagation; landscape design; pruning; irrigation; fertilization; pest control, and related topics. The class was limited to 60 participants due to space constraints. The response surpassed all expectations with 58 people completing the course and 40 passing the final exam. Eight months after the end of the program, a follow-up telephone survey was conducted with 24 participants. The results reflect that a high percentage of the participants are still using the correct landscape techniques. In order to reach as many people as possible a video or CD with the entire course is going to be prepared.

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The ornamental horticulture industry in South Carolina has expanded significantly over the last decade. Today, concerns regarding environmental and public health, and stricter regulations of pesticide use, are creating incentives for growers to evaluate alternative methods of pest control. Nursery producers currently use an array of chemicals in an attempt to control pests including insects, weeds, and diseases. Integrated pest management (IPM) provides an opportunity to reduce chemical reliance. The overall objective of this extension program is to collect and collate information relevant to the implementation of an IPM program. The first year, 1989-90, surveys were developed to determine key factors related nursery pest management. Types of data collected included: key pest species; pest-plant relationships; grower action responses to pest problems; types and frequency of pesticide use. The second year, 1990-91, involved implementing IPM strategies such as: cultural methods; use of horticultural oils, soaps, and lower risk pesticides; and spot treatment applications to help maintain pest populations below economically damaging levels. Improvements in pest management included; reduced chemical applications, reduced associated environmental risks, and maintenance of aesthetic quality of plants.

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The study evaluated the relationship of spur vs. extension shoot leaf area and light interception to apple (Malus {XtimesX} domesticaBorkh.) orchard productivity. Fifteen-year-old `Marshall McIntosh'/M.9 trees had significantly greater leaf area and percentage of light interception at 3-5 and 10-12 weeks after full bloom (AFB) than did 4-year-old `Jonagold'/Mark trees. Despite significant increases in leaf area and light interception with canopy development, linear relationships between total, spur, and extension shoot canopy leaf area index (LAI) and 1) light interception and 2) fruit yield were similar at both times. Mean total and spur canopy LAI and light interception were significantly and positively correlated with fruit yield; however, extension shoot LAI and light interception were poorly correlated with yield. In another study total, spur and extension shoot canopy light interception varied widely in five apple production systems: 15-year-old central leader `Redchief Delicious' MM.111, 15-year-old central leader `Redchief Delicious' MM.111/M.9, 16-year-old slender spindle `Marshall McIntosh' M.9, 14-year-old `Jerseymac' M.9 on 4-wire trellis, and 17-year-old slender spindle `MacSpur' M.9. Yields in these orchards were curvilinearly related to total and extension shoot canopy light interception and decreased when total light interception exceeded 60% and extension shoot interception exceeded 25%. Fruit yields were linearly and highly correlated (r 2 = 0.78) with spur light interception. The findings support the hypothesis that fruit yields of healthy apple orchards are better correlated with LAI and light interception by spurs than by extension shoots. The results emphasize the importance of open, well-illuminated, spur-rich tree canopies for high productivity.

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Environments with a low red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to far-red (FR, 700 to 800 nm) ratio (e.g., with high plant density) promote stem elongation, and a high R: FR suppresses it. While FR light promotes stem extension, it is also required for rapid, uniform flowering of many long-day plants. We investigated how a new FR filter [creating a FR-deficient (FRd) environment] influenced plug growth and subsequent flowering of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Crystal Bowl Yellow'), petunia (Petunia ×hybrida `Carpet Pink'), impatiens (Impatiens wallerana `Accent Rose'), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus `Liberty Scarlet'), and tomato (Solanum lycopersicon `Beefmaster'). One-week-old seedlings were placed under three filter treatments with 16-h photoperiods: the FRd filter, a neutral-density filter (N) that transmitted a similar PPF, and transferring plugs from the N to the FRd filter when leaves of each species began to touch (7 to 11 days later). The predicted phytochrome photoequilibria under the FRd and N filters was 0.80 and 0.72, respectively. After 25 to 35 days at 20 °C, node number and stem (or petiole for pansy) length were collected. Twenty plants of each species and filter treatment were then transferred to 4-inch pots and grown under natural photoperiods (14 to 15 h) at 20 °C until flowering. Compared to plants continually under the N filter, stem length under the FRd filter was significantly reduced in impatiens (by 11%), pansy (by 18%), petunia (by 34%), snapdragon (by 5%), and tomato (by 24%). Flowering of plants from plugs under the FRd filter was delayed by 2 to 3 days for snapdragon, petunia, and pansy. Filter treatment of plugs had no significant effect on flower number or plant height at flower.

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