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Tanya J. Hall, Jennifer H. Dennis, Roberto G. Lopez and Maria I. Marshall

( Krug et al., 2008 ). Examples of sustainable practices include recycling irrigation water and plastic, implementing biological controls, and using alternative energy sources ( Lopez et al., 2008 ). According to an informal survey conducted by

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Alan Stevens and Houchang Khatamian

Correctly anticipating consumer preferences for goods and services can have a large impact on profitability. Surveying patrons at individual retail outlets does insure the sampling is taken from a customer base, but such surveys are time and labor intensive. A survey sample, taken from attendees at Flower, Lawn and Garden Shows, offers the possibility of large sample sizes, of potential purchasers of horticultural goods and services, with reduced time and labor requirements. A survey to measure the influence of plant size, packaging and price on consumer purchasing habits was conducted at garden shows and garden centers. On the criteria of price and quality of nursery plant materials responses from the two samples were similar. Plant size and packaging appeared to be more influential criteria to the garden show sample.

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Mary Lamberts, Teresa Olczyk, Stephen K. O'Hair, Juan Carranza, Herbert H. Bryan, Edward Hanlon and George Hochmuth

A baseline survey was conducted to determine grower fertilizer management practices for five vegetable crops: beans, malanga, potatoes, sweet corn, and squash. This was done in conjunction with a 3-year replicated fertility trial with four vegetable crops (1993–94 through 1995–96) in the Homestead area. Questions included: fertilizer rates and timing, source(s) of fertilizer recommendations, soil and tissue testing, irrigation, changes in practices, summer cover crops, rock plowing, spacing, and type of fertilizer used. Survey results will be presented.

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Rebecca H. Wehry, Kathleen M. Kelley, Robert D. Berghage and James C. Sellmer

A consumer-research study was conducted in two locations in Pennsylvania utilizing two survey methods: intercept and telephone. This study was designed to assess: 1) what national brand name plant material participants purchased in the past; 2) the consumer's awareness of the Pennsylvania Gardener Selects (PGS) program; and 3) the gardening habits and demographics of Pennsylvania gardeners. The first survey was an intercept survey of 390 self-selected participants who attended Ag Progress Days (APD), a 3-day outdoor educational event and farm implement show from 20-22 Aug. 2002. The second survey was a telephone survey of 500 randomly selected households in the metro-Philadelphia area and was conducted from 20 Aug. through 17 Sept. 2002. Only responses from Pennsylvania gardeners were used in the analysis of the results. A comparison of survey results indicated that metro-Philadelphia-area participants spent more on plant material annually than APD participants, who primarily resided in rural locations. The results showed that metro-Philadelphia-area gardeners tend to live in single-adult households and have one or more children, whereas APD gardeners tend to live in a household with two or more adults and have no children. Eighty-one percent of APD participants and 62% of metro-Philadelphia participants reported that they would be willing to purchase plant material that has been evaluated and chosen as being outstanding for use in all areas of Pennsylvania, a premise for the PGS program.

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Luz Reyes*, Sylvia M. Blankenship*, Jonathan R. Schultheis* and Michael D. Boyette

Sweetpotato roots, especially the cultivar Beauregard, tend to experience epidermal loss during harvest and postharvest handling which results in a less attractive product in the market. A survey study was conducted among North Carolina (N.C.) sweetpotato growers in Fall 2001 and 2002. The purpose of the survey was to gather information and try to correlate cultural practices, growing conditions and site characteristics with the occurrence of attractive roots and to define new scientific approaches to reducing epidermal loss. Samples were obtained from 42 N.C. farms. Survey field information and laboratory results were correlated to identify possible factors affecting the appearance of the roots. 1300 roots were used to measure skin adhesion, peeling susceptibility, skin moisture, skin anthocyanin and lignin content. From survey questions, 50 characteristics were defined for each sample, according to field characteristics, cultivar information, cultural practices and harvest and postharvest practices. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the relationship between the skin characteristics analyzed at the laboratory, and the survey descriptors information. Analysis of variance was used for laboratory data analysis. Person correlations were made between survey variables and laboratory characteristics. Several possible relationships between root appearance and other characteristics/practices were identified. Root skin adhesion may improve in later generations from elite propagation material. Early application of phosphate and potash fertilizers were correlated to improved root skin adhesion. There appeared to be a relationship between soil moisture at harvest time, increased lignin content in the skin and peeling susceptibility. Future areas of study were identified.

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Thomas L. Prince, Harry K. Tayama and John R. Grabner Jr.

A survey analysis of retail florists in the Midwestern United States and floral mass marketers, nationally, profiled the level of service provided by their primary floral suppliers on 10 service characteristics. There is substantial variability in service levels provided to retail florists and mass marketers by suppliers. The greatest variability in service levels was for services relative to maintenance of product quality, product availability, communications/order information, product discounts, and product labeling. Retail florists perceived higher levels of service relative to delivery speed and order/delivery reliability than mass marketers. Mass marketers perceived higher levels of service from suppliers relative to communications/order information and product labeling, compared to retail florists. The service profiles provide floral suppliers management information for the development of service programs targeted for specific customer segments.

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Wojciech J. Florkowski and Orville M. Lindstrom

Leyland cypress (×Cupressocyparis Leylandii) is becoming increasingly important as a live-cut Christmas tree yet it differs from trees currently familiar to most customers. Results of a consumer survey provide an opportunity for growers to adjust planting and marketing decisions. Questionnaires were completed while respondents displayed the tree at their residences. Opinions about the tree referred to tree features and compared them with features of other types of Christmas trees and inquired about the care given to the tree and its disposal. In general, respondents were consistent in their favorable assessment of Leyland cypress as a live Christmas tree with respect to several characteristics including tree shape twig density, and maintenance of fresh appearance over time. Recycling was the primary form of tree disposal.

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Susan Barton, Tom Ilvento and Jo Mercer

Keeping up with cultural issues, recruiting new employees, motivating employees, and weed control were the issues most frequently cited as “very serious” or “somewhat serious” by surveyed members of the nursery and landscape industry. The focus of important issues changed somewhat based on the type of business. Retailers were more concerned with marketing and less concerned with plant maintenance. Pesticide regulation was more important to firms that provide some form of plant maintenance for consumers. Small firms were less concerned with employee issues, and large firms were more concerned with regulation. The most desirable method of receiving information was still printed materials, but firms with equipment (i.e., facsimile machines, computers) were more likely (30%) to use these forms of communication. E-mail was a very popular form of communication with firms that had e-mail access. Technology-oriented communication will probably increase in popularity as more firms gain access to technology.

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Michele R. Warmund and Denny Schrock

Master Gardener training was delivered via interactive television (IT) or face to face (FTF) in Missouri in 1997. IT and FTF participants were surveyed on their acceptance of the Master Gardener training method and their perceptions of program quality and technology to evaluate the newly developed multiple site IT training. Demographic characteristics were also recorded to determine if IT format attracted a different clientele than that of FTF training. Those who participated in IT training generally had more years of education than those in the FTF training and lived in suburban rather than rural areas. IT participants missed fewer training sessions than FTF participants. However, IT participants rated the slide quality, sound, and overall training lower than the FTF group. Some problems associated with IT training identified by the participants are correctable, which should improve future acceptance of this technology.

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Stephanie G. Jutila, Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Emily Hoover

Focus groups and surveys were used to align volunteers' work with the mission and organizational objectives of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA) at the University of Minnesota. In focus groups, a cross-section of volunteers discussed several issues, including how they could more directly contribute to the mission and organizational objectives of the institution. Staff were surveyed on their perceptions of the volunteer workforce, including their current use of volunteers. Focus groups and surveys proved to be valuable tools to approach programmatic changes in volunteer involvement at the MLA by providing a platform to discuss the areas where change is needed, as well as what kind of change should occur. Focus groups can be a key tool in involving volunteers, by allowing them to provide input on changes that directly affect them, in addition to furthering the understanding of volunteer needs and motivations.