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C. B. McKenney and F. Gaitán-Gaitán

The High Plains of Texas is a short-grass prairie with an extremely stressful environment which limits adapted ornamentals. Plant materials capable of consistent performance have yet to be established for this region. Twelve perennial ground covers were evaluated for urban landscape use. Species were planted in a completely radomized design split in time with four replicates. Ground coverage and distance of spread were evaluated monthly for two growing seasons in 1989 and 1990. Visual ratings of quality as ground cover were also determined using color, growth and density as indices. Sedum brevifolium, Sedum acre, Lysimachia nummularia, Sedum sieboldi, and Arrhenatherum elatius `Variegatum' were the most promising species for all criteria. Sedum acre and Arrhenatherum elatius `Variegatum' did not perform well at temperatures above 40°C. Sedum stolonifera failed to survive in this demanding environment.

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Kent D. Kobayashi and H.C. Bittenbender

Hawaii has had a large growth in housing, and with the reduced lot sizes of single family dwellings has come interest in using ground covers to landscape limited areas. As residential areas are being located on less desirable lands, there is a need to select ground covers that do well in these areas. The objective of this study was to develop a hypermedia information system to recommend ground covers and to obtain information on individual ground covers. Using the software HyperCard® on the Macintosh® computer, we developed a system that uses the idea of index cards with information being stored on separate screens called “cards.” Using a mouse, the user navigates from one card to another by clicking on a “button” on the card. The user may select up to four criteria from 33 criteria including plant height, elevation, soil moisture, flower color, erosion control, and shade. The program then finds which of 48 ground covers meet the desired criteria and provides information on these ground covers. This easy-to-use system requires no typing except to enter a word to search for. The user can quickly browse for the desired information and save it as a text file or print it. The Farmer's Bookshelf™ provides a tool for extension agents and growers to obtain easily vitally needed information. The program has further application for landscape companies, Master Gardener programs, and in horticultural courses.

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A. Shiferaw, M.W. Smith, R.D. Eikenbary and Don C. Arnold

Perennial legume ground covers were evaluated to supply N and increase beneficial arthropod densities in pecan orchards. Treatments were pure stands and a mixture of `Kenland' red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and `Louisiana S-l' white clover (Trifolium repense L.). The control plot was a grass sod. Nitrogen was applied at 0 to 200 kg·ha–1 in 50-kg intervals to the trees in the grass plots, but no N was applied to the legume plots. Aphids and beneficial arthropods were monitored in legumes and pecan canopies. Beneficial arthropods monitored were Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae, Nabis, Syrphid, and spiders. The most abundant beneficial arthropods were spiders, Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae, and Nabis respectively. In pecan canopies, spiders, Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae were the most abundant. The legumes supplied ≤156 kg N/ha to the pecan trees.

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D.R. Pittenger, Donald R. Hodel and David A. Shaw

Non-turf ground-covers occupy a significant portion of the landscape, and understanding their water requirements is important when water conservationism being practiced. Six groundcover species (Baccharis pilularis `Twin Peaks', Drosanthemum hispidum, Vinca major Gazania hybrid, Potentilla tabernaemontani and Hedera helix `Needlepoint') representing a range of observed water needs were evaluated under different levels of irrigation based on percentages of real-time reference evapotranspiration.

Treatments of 100%, 75%, 50% and 25% of ETO were applied during 1989 while treatments of 50%, 40%, 30% and 20% of ETO were applied during 1990. Plant performance ratings in the first year indicated that 50% of ETO was the minimum treatment which resulted in acceptable plan aesthetics for all species except for Drosanthemum which performed equally well at each treatment. Significant differences in performance did occur among and within species at the different treatments. Results from 1990 will reveal which species might maintain aesthetic appearance at irrigation levels between 50% and 20% of ETO. These results will be presented and discussed in terms of their significance to species selection and total landscape irrigation management.

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Charles R. Clement and Joseph DeFrank

Pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) is being evaluated in Hawaii for production of fresh heart-of-palm. Yields and offshoot (sucker) production were evaluated in response to woven black polypropylene mat (control), three legumes [Arachis pintoi Krap. & Greg., Cassia rotundifolia Pers., and Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC], and a grass (Chloris gayana Kunth) used as ground covers. D. heterocarpon and C. gayana formed closed canopies quickly and controlled weeds well, but required more frequent mowing. A. pintoi formed a closed canopy slowly and only controlled weeds after forming a thick canopy, but required less mowing. Cassia rotundifolia died out after flowering and setting seed. All vegetative ground covers delayed heart-of-palm harvest and had reduced yields 1.5 years after planting. A combination of polypropylene (adjacent to plants) and vegetative ground covers (in service rows) may provide the best solution to minimizing labor for vegetative management in this orchard crop.

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Charles R. Clement and Joseph DeFrank

Pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) is being evaluated in Hawaii for production of fresh heart-of-palm. Yields and offshoot (sucker) production were evaluated in response to woven black polypropylene mat (control), three legumes [Arachis pintoi Krap. & Greg., Cassia rotundifolia Pers., and Desmodium heterocarpon (L.) DC], and a grass (Chloris gayana Kunth) used as ground covers. D. heterocarpon and C. gayana formed closed canopies quickly and controlled weeds well, but required more frequent mowing. A. pintoi formed a closed canopy slowly and only controlled weeds after forming a thick canopy, but required less mowing. Cassia rotundifolia died out after flowering and setting seed. All vegetative ground covers delayed heart-of-palm harvest and had reduced yields 1.5 years after planting. A combination of polypropylene (adjacent to plants) and vegetative ground covers (in service rows) may provide the best solution to minimizing labor for vegetative management in this orchard crop.

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Richard E.C. Layne, Chin S. Tan and David M. Hunter

Three cultivars (`Garnet Beauty', `Harbrite', `Canadian Harmony'), two ground covers (temporary cover vs. permanent sod), and no irrigation vs. season-long trickle irrigation were studied in a high-density (633 trees/ha) peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] orchard established on Fox sand in 1980. From 1985 to 1989, soil water content in the top 130 cm was similar in nonirrigated and trickle-irrigated plots except during the growing season (May to September). Total soil water was lowest in nonirrigated plots that had permanent sod strips in the row middles and fell below the-permanent wilting point for ≥11 months in summer but not at depths below 130 cm. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) was greater for `Canadian Harmony' and `Harbrite' than `Garnet Beauty', ground-cover treatments had no effect, and irrigated trees were generally larger than those not irrigated. Photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance differed by cultivar, were unaffected by ground cover, and were enhanced by irrigation. Defoliation differed by cultivar, ground cover had little effect, and irrigation usually delayed defoliation. Flower bud and shoot xylem hardiness differed by cultivar but not by ground cover and were generally enhanced by irrigation. Tree survival was significantly affected by cultivar, being best with `Harbrite' and `Canadian Harmony' and poorest with `Garnet Beauty'. Permanent sod enhanced tree survival while trickle irrigation reduced it. Cumulative marketable yields were affected more by cultivar than by ground cover or irrigation. `Canadian Harmony' had the highest yield, followed by `Harbrite', then `Garnet Beauty'. Yields in sod were slightly higher than in temporary cover and yields with trickle irrigation were slightly higher than without irrigation. The best soil-management system when TCA, marketable yield, and tree survival were considered was a combination of permanent creeping red fescue sod strips in the row middles and trickle irrigation in the tree row. This system is being recommended to commercial growers in southwestern Ontario.

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A. Shiferaw, M.W. Smith, R.D. Eikenbary and Don C. Arnold

Perennial legumes ground covers were evaluated in pecan (Carya illinoinensis) orchards to supply nitrogen and increase beneficial arthropods. Ground covers were `Kenland' red clover (Trifolium pratense), `Louisiana S-1' white clover (Trifolium repens), a mixture of these two legumes, or bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), each in 5 ha plots. Nitrogen was applied at 0-200 kg·ha-1 N in 50 kg intervals to bermuda grass plots, and was omitted on the legumes. Aphids feeding on the legumes attracted lady beetles; however, lady beetle populations in the tree canopies were not affected by ground cover treatment. The most abundant lady beetle species in legumes were Coleomegilla maculata lengi (77%) and Coccinella septempunctata (13%); whereas, dominant species in tree canopies were Coleomegilla maculata lengi (33%). Olla v-nigrum (20%). Cycloneda munda (18%) and Coccinella septempunctata (15%). Several other beneficial arthropods were sampled in legumes and tree canopies. Aphid populations feeding on pecans were low (peak population ≈ 2 aphids/leaf), and not affected by ground cover treatment. Legumes supplied the equivalent of applying 68-156 kg·ha-1 N.

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Maristela P.S. Kuhn and Atelene Normann Kamp

Five experiments were performed from Jan. to Nov. 1993 with ornamental and sportive purpose turfgrass species [Axonopus araujoi Valls (nomen nudum); A. compressus var. compressus (Swartz) Beauv.; A. barretoi Valls (nomen nudum); Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt) O. Kuntze; and Zoysia matrella(L.) Merr.] to evaluate percent ground cover and sward heights under four levels of shade. The design was in randomized blocks, with four treatments (0%, 50%, 75%, and 87% of shade) and four replications; the results were submitted to variance and regression analysis. All the species seemed to be sensitive to shade, increasing the sward heights and decreasing the percent ground cover at the highest shade levels; S. secundatum and Z. matrella were the most affected grasses, showing the greatest differences in characteristics evaluated among treatments.

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Pat Bowen and Stan Freyman

Raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) were grown for 5 years with three floor management treatments: clean cultivation (CC) and ground covers of white clover (Trifolium repens L.) (WC) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) (PR). Primocane growth was strongest with WC and weakest with PR. Fruit production did not differ between WC and CC treatments and was higher than with PR. On 22 Aug. and 10 Sept. in the last year, primocanes grown with WC were taller, had more nodes and a higher dry weight, contained more N, and had retained more leaves than those grown with PR. Net CO2 assimilation per unit leaf area was higher with WC than with PR, and the difference was greater at the more proximal position. The estimated net CO2 assimilation rate per primocane was more than twice as high with WC than with PR.