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Many green-decorative branches (“Greens”) and cut flowers are commercially grown under shade nets, for both the reduction of the natural intercepted sunlight as well as physical protection. The most commonly used are black nets, which do not affect the visible light spectrum. In the work presented here we have studied the effects of shade nets of varying optical properties on the vegetative and flowering responses of ornamental plants, searching for nets that will specifically induce a desired behavior, thus gaining benefits in addition to the mere shading. Nets of different transmittance spectra, light scattering, reflectance and thermal properties are being studied for their effect on the vegetative growth of several Greens: Pittosporum variegatum, Ruscus hypoglossum, and Leather-leaf fern. The knitting density of all nets has been adjusted to have the same percent shading in the PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) range of the spectrum for all nets investigated. Experiments were carried out in commercial plots. Data were collected for microclimate, physiological and horticultural parameters. The main results obtained so far: i) pronounced stimulation of the vegetative growth under the Red net; ii) dwarfing by the Blue net; iii) the Grey net markedly enhanced branching, yielding “bushy” plants with short side branches; iv) the reflective, thermal net (Aluminet®) enhanced side, long branching (in Pittosporum). Recently we have applied a similar approach to cut flowers such as Lupinus luteus, Lisianthus eustoma, and Dubium ornitugalum, and obtained dramatic effects of some of the nets on both the vegetative development and flowering behavior. The results to be presented, suggest that sophistication of the use of shade nets can lead to better agricultural performance.

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The nursery industry in Florida relies entirely on peat as a major component in potting soil. Escalating peat costs are a major concern, so alternative media are attractive in Florida. The objectives of the project were to study the feasibility of using food waste compost (FWC) to replace peat in different annual ornamental crops. The experiments were conducted in Spring 2004 at the University of Florida/SWFREC Immokalee, Fla. The crops basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), marigold (Calendulaofficinalis L.), and periwinkle (Vincarosea L.) were grown in mixes of FWC. The treatments were: 1) 100% FWC; 2) 60% FWC, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite; 3) 30% FWC, 30% peat, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite; and 4) 0% FWC, 60% peat, 25% vermiculite, 15% perlite, by volume. Basil `U.H' was direct seeded; marigold and periwinkle were transplanted (5 cm tall) in pots (2 inches). All treatments received 4 g per pot of Osmocote (19-6-12) for 4 months. Percentage of basil germination and biomass were higher in mixes with 60% and 30% FWC as compared with 100% FWC and the control. Lower basil biomass in the control media was due to high weed biomass grown in the peat control media. There were no differences in biomass and number of flowers per plant among marigold treatments. But, periwinkle dry biomass and number of flowers per plant were higher in the control and 30% FWC than in 60% and 100% FWC, indicating a negative effect of FWC in periwinkle. It can be concluded that FWC may become a viable alternative to replace peat in basil and marigold when included in potting mixes between 30% and 60% by volume, but a negative effect was reported in periwinkle production.

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Many agronomic and horticultural studies on nutrient uptake and use-efficiency have indicated, in general, that agricultural crops are poor competitors for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in soil-based systems, with estimates of overall nutrient efficiency being less than 50% for N and 10% for P. Low efficiencies are due to losses from leaching, runoff, gaseous emissions and soil fixation, but uptake efficiency is also affected by rate and timing (i.e. seasonal effects) of applications. Controlled-release fertilizers (CRF's) have been promoted as a technology that can slowly release nutrients; the release rate is most often a function of prill coating and temperature. There are few data in the ornamental literature that have directly compared the total uptake efficiency of CRF's to soluble fertilizer sources. From 1999-2002, we collected three annual N and P budgetary datasets, comparing two species (Rhododendron cv. azalea and Ilex cornuta cv.`China Girl') with different growth rates and hence nutrient requirements. Plant N and P uptake efficiencies were usually less than 20% of the total applied, but all datasets included a significant soluble fertilization component. In 2003, a new study with Ilex cornuta cv.`China Girl' was initiated, where nutrients were supplied only from two CRF sources, as we want to determine whether this technology can significantly increase nutrient uptake efficiency at similar rates. A preliminary analysis of the data indicate that total N and P uptake efficiencies between different CRF sources were similar, but leaching losses between sources varied during the growing season. It appears that the primary determinant of uptake efficiency is not source material or timing, but the overall rate of nutrient application.

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Commercially acceptable growth rates of woody ornamental nursery stock can be achieved using managed allowed deficits, i.e., deficit irrigations, of 20% to 40% plant-available water (PAW) before initiating irrigation ( Beeson, 2006 ; Welsh and

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those basic blends (data not shown). Conclusions Growing media composed of locally available compost and BS supported the growth of annual (vinca), perennial (verbena), and woody ornamental (shantung maple) plants as well as or better than a traditional

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racemosa L. Moench (Liliaceae/Ruscaceae/Asparagaceae family), commonly called Alexandrian laurel or poet’s laurel, the single species in the genus Dana e. Alexandrian laurel is a perennial evergreen shrub. Grown as ornamental plants, this species has a

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The genus Primula L. comprises ≈500 species mainly native to temperate and mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere, whereas 300 of them are distributed in China ( Hu and Kelso, 1996 ). Many species of Primula are ideal ornamental plants

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The New Crop Program at the Univ. of Georgia has introduced about a dozen crops new to the floriculture and ornamental plant industry. None of the selections arose from controlled crosses or traditional plant breeding, but were due to discovery, natural plant mutation, and plant donations from interested individuals. All successful introductions benefitted from feedback from the industry, evaluation, research, and promotion of the taxa. No marketing was done by the university. Less than 10% of plants trialed were introduced to the industry, and not all introductions were equally satisfactory. The keys to new crop introduction are feedback from the industry, an industry willing to experiment with new material and to be as highly selective as possible in choosing the crops to be introduced. The disadvantages and benefits of establishing a New Crop Program will be discussed.

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Use of growth regulators in ornamental plant production is a common nursery practice. Research conducted in determining landscape establishment of herbaceous plants treated with various concentrations of growth regulators is limited. The first phase of this study was conducted to evaluate response of three herbaceous ornamental species to application of ethephon. Containerized plants of irish moss, scotch moss, and salvia were treated once with FLOREL® (ethephon) at 0, 250, 500, or 750 ppm 2 weeks after transplanting into #1 size containers. During the course of the 6-week production period, standard nursery practices of fertigation, pest control, and weed management were followed. Data were collected on growth indices and marketable quality ratings (scale of 1–5) every 2 weeks. Mean initial and final shoot and root dry weights were calculated at the start and end of this phase of the experiment. The experimental design was completely randomized and data analyses were made using the analysis of variance with SAS general linear model procedure. Growth indices (cm) were significantly affected by increasing concentrations of FLOREL®. At 750 ppm concentration the mean growth indices were low (2516 cm) whereas, control (0 ppm) produced the highest mean growth indices (4317 cm). Significant differences in marketable quality ratings were also observed among the treatments where control (0 ppm) plants had the best mean rating (4.3) as compared with 500 ppm (3.6) or 750 ppm (3.5) concentrations. Salvia produced mean growth indices and mean width of 9106 and 513 cm, respectively. However, irish moss had asignificantly higher mean quality rating (4.4) when compared with either salvia (3.7) or scotch moss (3.3).

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Slow-release fertilizers (SRF) are greatly used in container production in addition to an hebdomadal fertigation regime. For economic and environmental motives, growers wish to restrict fertigations. The objectives of this paper are to characterize the release patterns of several SRF and to determine the benefits of these fertilizers on the growth of selected woody ornamental plants. The SRF used in this study were: Osmocote®, Nutricote®, Polyon®, Nutralene® and Woodace®. The two first parts of the study were conducted in a greenhouse in Marsh 1993, with Weigela florida `Rumba' in the first part and without plant in the second one. Fertilizers were top dressed according to a medium suggested concentration. The third part of this study was done in the field in June 1993, with the same fertilizers applied in three concentrations as follow: low suggested concentration (SC), 1.5× SC and 2× SC. Two species were tested in this part, Weigela florida `Rumba' and Spiraea bumalda `Goldflame'. Growth was measured by the height of the plant, the width of canopy and the dry mass of leaves, stems and roots. Samples leachate were collected weekly or monthly for greenhouse and field studies respectively. Leachates were analysed for their mineral content per dry mass of plant tissue and the results will be presented on the poster. In the third study, plants gave a comparable growth with the first and the third fertilizer concentrations.

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