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's environmental horticultural industry was based on information obtained from telephone and Internet surveys of nursery producers, landscape service firms, and horticultural retailers conducted in late 2005 and early 2006. Separate questionnaires were used for

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Oklahoma floriculture producers, ornamental-horticulture retailers, mass-market retailers, and cut-flower wholesalers were surveyed to compare and contrast the industry in terms of attitudes towards their products and problems. Overall, attitudes of all four segments of the industry were neutral to negative on potted flowering plants, but were positive to neutral on bedding and foliage plants. However, producers were slightly negative concerning the postharvest life of bedding plants. While cut-flower wholesalers had a positive attitude concerning cut flowers, ornamental-horticulture retailers and mass-marketers tended to be neutral to negative. In particular, retailers and mass-marketers believed that cut flowers were too expensive and too short-lived. Floral preservatives were used by 82% of ornamental-horticulture retailers, while only 19% of mass-market retailers used preservatives. All cut-flower wholesalers used preservatives. Capital availability and market demand were the factors most limiting expansion for producers and ornamental-horticulture retailers; whereas mass-market firms listed competition as their most limiting factor.

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specific horticultural class of roses and also commonly used interchangeably in the marketplace as landscape roses) have the connotation of being lower maintenance plants than other horticultural classifications of roses (e.g., hybrid tea and miniature

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, educational seminars, and events hosted by retailers for consumers. The insight gained could improve the understanding of consumer groups that do or do not engage in water conservation activities. Materials and Methods We developed an online survey instrument

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each type of cue can help retailers improve the shopping process, which may lead to greater customer satisfaction and improved sales. To better understand the role of intrinsic and extrinsic cues, researchers have typically relied on various techniques

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A survey instrument developed to assess service quality in non-horticultural industries (SERVQUAL) was modified and administered to customers of eight florists and 22 supermarket floral departments in Texas. Sixty-six percent of 722 florist and 409 supermarket floral department responding customers had made a floral purchase within 12 weeks of the survey. Their responses were used in the service quality evaluation. Florists met consumer expectations better than supermarket floral departments each of five issues: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy (p=0.0001). Florist customers perceived their retailer gave higher quality service than supermarket floral customers.

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Consumers face risks each time they purchase and consume products. Guarantees provide a means of potentially decreasing risk for products that cannot be evaluated until consumption has begun, as with ornamental plants. Despite the potential risk reduction, the effect of guarantees on consumer purchases has been a source of debate for many retailers. Research conducted at Michigan State Univ. examined the effects of guarantees on consumer satisfaction and regret of three horticultural products: hanging baskets, potted roses, and perennials. Over half (56%) of respondents stated the retail outlet provided a guarantee. Twenty-six percent stated the guarantee was a deciding factor in choosing that particular plant while 27% stated it was the deciding factor in shopping at that particular retail location. Results show that guarantees reduce risk for consumers, reducing the incidence of regret but have no effect on customer satisfaction.

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Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 2005) and Hurricane Rita (Sept. 2005) were devastating to the central U.S. Gulf Coast region. Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $10–11 million in wholesale nursery crop damage in Louisiana, while Hurricane Rita caused an estimated $5 million in damages. Average wholesale nursery crop sales in Louisiana account for about $120 million annually. 317 wholesale growers in Louisiana (49% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Katrina, while 158 wholesale growers (24% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Rita. Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Katrina numbered 367 (28% of the state total). Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Rita numbered 329 (24% of the state total). Retail plant dealers accounted for $511 million in sales in 2002, the year for which figures are most recently available. In the landscape and horticultural services segment of Louisiana's green industry, 703 (36%) were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and 450 (23%) were impacted by Hurricane Rita. While growers and retailers experienced economic hardships ranging from 1 month to permanent, most landscape contractors and horticultural service providers rebounded quickly and were actively involved in storm cleanup and recovery. Some, however, lost equipment, office structures, storage buildings, and vehicles. It is estimated that at least 20,000 of the 56,600 green industry employees in Louisiana were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita to some degree. Louisiana's green industry overall provides about $2.2 billion in economic contributions annually.

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Oklahoma Proven (OKP) is a plant promotion and evaluation program designed to help consumers choose plants appropriate for Oklahoma gardens. Aiding consumers with plant selection will lead to greater gardening success, enthusiasm, and increased sales for Oklahoma green industries. There are two major facets to the program: marketing, coordinated by Dr. Lou Anella, and evaluation, coordinated by Dr. Michael Schnelle. Plants to be promoted by OKP will be selected by an OKP executive committee based on recommendations from an OKP advisory committee comprised of industry professionals, cooperative extension specialists and educators, Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum affiliate members, and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture faculty. Plants chosen for OKP must meet the following selection criteria: appropriate for gardens throughout the state of Oklahoma; readily available in the trade; limited input required, i.e. few pest or disease problems, tolerant of Oklahoma's diverse soil types and weather conditions; noninvasive; can be profitably produced. The OKP Advisory Board selected the following OKP Selections for 2000: Taxodium distichum; Spiraea japonica `Magic Carpet'; Verbena canadensis `Homestead Purple'; and Scaevola aemula. Promotional materials, such as posters and signs, will be available just after the first of the year, and the promotional push will begin in early March. Posters and signs will be distributed to retailers throughout the state free-of-charge and pot stakes and hang tags will be sold to wholesalers as a means of generating income for the Oklahoma Proven program. OKP plants will also be promoted through the television show “Oklahoma Gardening,” extension newsletters, and the press.

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New Guinea Impatiens have become a major spring crop for many commercial greenhouses. Along with increased sales has come a proliferation of new varieties from which commercial growers must choose. To help provide growers with information to make these selections the ornamental horticulture extension program at Penn State has tested landscape performance of New Guinea Impatiens in the sun and the shade each year since 1994. Cuttings are obtained from commercial producers and six plants of each variety are planted in landscape beds in the full sun and six plants are planted in landscape beds under a shade structure. Plants are evaluated on flowering, foliage and overall appearance every 2 weeks throughout the summer. Commercial growers can evaluate varieties on their own during the trial field day and results are made available in an annual report and are posted on the internet. A survey of participants in the 1995 field day indicated that 98% of those responding used the printed report to make or change their variety selections. Supplementing the printed report with the internet for distribution of results allows broad dissemination of detailed information including photographs and graphics that could not be easily distributed in hard copy form. In the future trial results posted on the internet could be used to supplement point of sale materials, providing growers and retailers with a powerful new marketing tool.

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