SOMETHING TO GROW ON
April 1998

Welcome to April!


Horticulture is in the airwaves. Home Depot, Lowes, HQ, Wal-mart, Kmart and all the others are fighting for gardening customers. The competition seems much greater than last year. I feel like the antagonist at a school yard fight. Did you hear what they are selling at Wal-mart and did you see the sale on landscape timbers at Lowes? All this piranha-like thrashing in the TV commercials should be whipping the gardening public into a frenzy. We have been needing this attention in our industry for a long time. We need to feed the frenzy and keep giving them "Bigger and Better", "New and Improved", "Brighter and More Fragrant", and "Easy to Install and Enjoy".

I am excited about Horticulture. This is our time and we need to keep the momentum going. One area we need to promote in our mailings, and whenever the opportunity arises, is the support and use of our public gardens. Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile all offer botanical gardens and, many cities like Dothan and Greenville are developing small public gardens and walking paths. Everyone is within 2 hours of some beautiful garden within our state.

I recently was passing through Birmingham and decided to stop by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and RUN through to catch up with what was blooming. I started running through the garden with my camera at the ready looking for a quick couple of rolls of slides. I was greeted at the entrance with a stand of possumhaw hollies (Ilex decidua) that were still dripping in bright red berries against a gray bark. I slowed a little. I walked at a fast pace to the entrance and saw the lined path of Yoshino cherries with large clouds of flowers in full glory. I stopped, took a couple of pictures and started to race to the next attraction but took a deep breath and said "to heck with what was waiting in Auburn!" This was too good not to enjoy. I continued at a leisurely stroll taking in all that was happening around me. The Southern Living Garden had large drifts of Helleboris, pink and white. I had seen this in past years and promised myself I would have that in my yard. Of course, where do you find these plants? You have to work at it. OPPORTUNITY! The old-fashioned kerria, spiraea, forsythia, phlox and quince brought back memories of childhood days, barefoot in the grass, cloud gazing, slower times, country living and grandmothers. All this passes though in one deep breath. This is what these gardens do to people. They give them ideas of how plants can be used, how outdoor living spaces can be created and how special good landscape gardening can be in your life.

I took the full tour through the wetland and woodland areas and over to the Japanese Gardens. Cherries were in bloom everywhere. Japanese gardens are great at making you look at everything. They change paving textures to lead your eye to carefully placed rocks and plants. They offer ornate bridges and zig-zag stepping stones or islands through water features to slow you down and let you enjoy the Koi and dragonflies. They stick things in your path to make you stop and notice your surroundings. They create walls that tempt you to look around the corner to satisfy your nosy appetite. You are never let down. They always have a new focal point and destination to pull you through the garden. They offer inviting seats or benches in little nooks to invite you to sit and enjoy the stream or pond or the wide view of the whole garden. You are never controlled and as subtly directed as you are when exploring a Japanese Garden. I visited the Camellia Garden, looked at the hustle and bustle of the Garden Staff readying the Rose Garden for display, and crushed the leaves of the plants as I moved through the Herb Garden.

Conservatories are not my love in the plant world but I toured through that as well. I appreciated the talent, knowledge and work it took to create the tropical paradise but in the cactus room, I still did not get it. I think you have to have lived in a desert in this life or a previous life to have an appreciation for that type of landscape. Of course, that is what makes the garden special. There is something for everyone. I did not make it to the ferns and rhododendrons, I needed to get back on the road.

I stopped by the Extension office, housed in the main Botanical Garden building, on the way out to say hello to Larry Quick, the county agent, and to make sure that he appreciated living and working in this wonderland year-round. These gardens are great marketing tools for our industry and treasures for the people within the states and cities that have the foresight to offer a green, safe haven amidst the sea of asphalt. We need to support these gardens with our volunteer time, money, new plants, and word of mouth promotion. They are good for us personally and professionally. Make a point to visit or stop by on your way through Huntsville, Birmingham, or Mobile.

A WALK. . .


THROUGH. . .


THE BOTANICAL GARDENS

Ken Tilt

DISCLAIMER: Please remember that all information presented is a summary of research and not an endorsement of any product or a recommendation of chemicals. The official labels from the manufacturing companies offer the legal and proper use and handling information for all products.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES ARE FEATURED IN THIS MONTH'S SOMETHING TO GROW ON:

1. Grow Lemon-Scented Geranium to Remove Soil Metals
2. U.S. National Arboretum Develops Two Hardy Maple Cultivars
3. Hints for Keeping Customers
4. Georgia Gold Medal Winners
5. From the Greenhouse to the Retail Store
6. Auburn Students Excel at 22nd Associated Landscape Contractors of America Student Career Days>/a>
7.
SNA Research Note: A Method of Monitoring the Nutritional Status of Pine Bark Substrate in Large Containers
8. SNA Research Note: Does Method of Fertilizer Application (Surface or Incorporation) Affect Nutrient Losses of Controlled Release Fertilizers?
9. SNA Research Note: Are 'Barton' and 'Cloud Nine' the same cultivar?
10. UPCOMING EVENTS

GROW LEMON-SCENTED GERANIUM TO REMOVE SOIL METALS


The accumulation of metals in the soil has become an economic and environmental problem. Scientists are searching for a method of phytoremediation. Some of the methods currently being used include soil flushing or excavation which can leave the soil unusable for agricultural purposes. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, have discovered a potential solution to this problem that is environmentally sound, lovely to look at, and even sweet smelling.

Metal solutions were used to water lemon-scented geraniums and researchers found that these plants were able to accumulate large amounts of cadmium, nickel and copper without being adversely affected. The lemon-scented geranium appears to be a reliable phytoremediator, cleaning up contaminated soil. The plant is a hyperaccumulator since it is capable of taking in metals in large amounts.

This plant grows well and its essential aromatic oils can be extracted safely. It is a potentially healthy way to remove metals, condition and maintain the integrity of the soil, and even have an intermediate crop to harvest.

(from American Nurseryman, March 15, 1998)


US NATIONAL ARBORETUM DEVELOPS TWO HARDY MAPLE CULTIVARS

Acer rubrum 'Red Rocket' and A. rubrum 'New World' are two new maple cultivars that are resistant to the potato leafhopper (which negatively and significantly can affect tree and leaf growth). The potato leafhopper causes damage on the leaves called hopperburn in which the edges of the leaves turn brown.

US National Arboretum scientists started a test 20 years ago with 3,500 trees on an Ohio plantation. They observed over the years that two trees were more hardy and colorful than the others. In a test for potato leafhopper resistance 'Red Rocket' had only 2% leaf damage compared with 9-10% on other commercial cultivars.

These two new cultivars are also extremely cold hardy to temperatures as low as minus forty degrees. Both trees come from northern Minnesota, a key to understanding their successful temperature tolerance. They are lovely trees for urban and suburban landscapes in northwestern and midwestern American cities. 'New World' has orange-red leaves, branches up and out and weeps at a high level - a unique shape that offers excellent shade. It's height can reach 31 feet and width of more than 15 feet. 'Red Rocket' has fiery red leaves in the fall and can grow to 35 feet with a width of 8 feet. It is possible that commercial nurseries will have softwood cuttings of these trees by 2000.

(from American Nurseryman, March 15, 1998).


HINTS FOR KEEPING CUSTOMERS

Between fall of 1995 and spring of 1996 Dr. Forrest E. Stegelin conducted a survey at 15 rural Georgia garden centers. Forms were distributed and 342 customers returned the completed surveys. The main question asked was why customers defect from one store and then shop at another. The results are interesting but not surprising. A summary of the reasons why customers stop buying products at a particular garden center follows:

To maintain a healthy garden center customer base it is critical to keep your customers happy.

(from an article by Dr. Forrest E. Stegelin published in American Nurseryman, March 15, 1998).


GEORGIA GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Georgia Plant Selections Committee named its 1999 Georgia Gold Medal Winners: Cladrastis lutea, Helleborus orientalis, Pentas lanceolata 'Nova' and Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk.' The 2000 winners are Coleus x hybridus 'Amazon,' 'Solar Flare' and 'Red Ruffles,' Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice,' Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' and Phlox paniculata 'David' and 'Robert Poore.'

(from David Morgan at Greenbeam, March 23, 1998)


FROM THE GREENHOUSE TO THE RETAIL STORE

Plants that you have carefully grown in your greenhouse need to withstand the rigors of what follows when they leave your hands. Following are six suggestions to help insure that your plants arrive at their destination looking as good as when they left:

1. Grow cultivars that arrive in the best condition at the point of retail sale. Exposure to ethylene and temperature changes can negatively effect plants. Information of this kind should be available from seed suppliers.

2. Put plants in larger, rather than smaller, cells and use growing media that can hold air and water well.

3. Hardening off bedding plants before shipping them seems to help. Some growers reduce irrigation and fertilization a few days before shipping. You may also want to introduce outside ventilation by rolling up side walls of your greenhouse.

4. It is best to ship plants close to the coldest temperature that they can tolerate and even precool them to that temperature before you load them on a truck. This is very important if the plants are being shipped some distance and not very important if they have less than a two hour drive.

5. Before loading plants on a truck make sure they are quite dry. It's also important to keep trailers very clean as ethylene, a gas generated from pieces of dead or decaying plant material, can damage your tender new crop.

6. If using rented trucks make sure there is adequate ventilation or refrigeration so all plants benefit from circulated air that remains at an even temperature. Malfunctioning trucks can emit gases which can be harmful to your plants.

(from an article by Todd Davis in GMPRO, April 1998. For more specific references send an e-mail and we'll send addresses).


AUBURN STUDENTS EXCEL AT 22ND ASSOCIATED LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA STUDENT CAREER DAYS

Auburn University horticulture students placed 10th (highest among participating Southeastern Conference schools) out of 40 competing schools at this industry sponsored event. 160 companies participated and many Auburn students were offered internship or career opportunities at the competition. Companies represented almost all aspects of the horticultural industry: design and build, landscape maintenance, nurseries, equipment manufacturers, chemical companies and retail sales operations.

More than 500 students participated. Some of the outstanding Auburn scores included:

Eight other students finished among the top 20 in their events.

The department is proud of the students' preparation for and participation in the ALCA Student Career Days. The State of Alabama and the Auburn University Horticulture Department were represented in an exemplary fashion. The following companies and individuals were generous sponsors and we are deeply grateful for their support:

(from J. David Williams and D. Joseph Eakes)


SNA RESEARCH NOTE: A METHOD OF MONITORING THE NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF PINE BARK SUBSTRATE IN LARGE CONTAINERS

When growing trees in the pot-in-pot system the extraction of substrate solution for nutrient analysis becomes problematic because of the size of the socket containers and also the undesirability of exposing the sidewalls of the production container to the sun which could result in heat stess that can injure the roots.

By using suction cup lysimeters (a tube with a ceramic tip) inserted into the soil the soil solution can be vacuum extracted and analyzed. This method will make the extraction of substrate solution much less cumbersome and potentially damaging to pot-in-pot crops. The vital information that growers need about Nitrogen and pH determination could be more easily ascertained.

(from a paper by Ron Walden and Alex Niemiera, Hampton Road Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 published in the Proceedings of the SNA Research Conference, 1997).


SNA RESEARCH NOTE: DOES METHOD OF FERTILIZER APPLICATION (SURFACE OR INCORPORATION) AFFECT NUTRIENT LOSSES OF CONTROLLED RELEASE FERTILIZERS?

Controlled release fertilizers are used widely in the horticultural industry. Knowing which method, surface or incorporation, has the most nutrient losses in the irrigation effluent is an important consideration for growers. This study found that with surface application less nutrients were lost than when fertilizers were incorporated. Incorporated fertilizers appear to be released more quickly than surface applied fertilizers because of differences in container temperature and water content.

This study confirms that methods of fertilization strongly impact irrigation effluent. Incorporating CRFs increased nitrous oxide and phosphorous in irrigation effluent, compared to results from surface applications. If growers choose to use this method it is critical that they use irrigation practices such as cycled irrigation or that they monitor irrigation volume to decrease leaching.

(from a paper by Stuart L. Warren, Ted E. Bilderback and Helen H. Tyler, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695 - published in the Proceedings of the SNA Research Conference, 1997).


SNA RESEARCH NOTE: ARE 'BARTON' AND 'CLOUD NINE' THE SAME CULTIVAR?

Trees are characterized and classified by appearance of the foliage and bract size and color. There are currently 100 recognized dogwood cultivars and many similar appearing trees. Barton and Cloud Nine were independently introduced three decades ago and are almost impossible to distinguish. To make a determination between the these cultivars (and 8 others) their DNA was analyzed and evaluated for the following characteristics: dogwood canker resistance, spot anthracnose resistance, susceptibility to frost damage, bloom number, bract length and the manner in which plants adapt to seasonal changes.

The test results indicated that the two could not be distinguished from one another - that they are similar if not identical. Genetic testing, although not conclusive in this instance, may be useful in the future in patent and copyright cases.

(from a paper by Robert N. Trigiano and Mark T. Windham, Department of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901- published in the Proceedings of the SNA Research Conference, 1997).


UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 17-21, 1998:
American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta 1998 Conference
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Contact AABGA at 610-925-2500, ext. 11 or www.mobot.org/AABGA

July 12-15, 1998:
95th American Society for Horticultural Science
Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606; Fax: 703-836-2024; e-mail: ashs@ashs.org

July 16-19, 1998: International Herb Association Annual Conference "Herb Smart Day" open to the public, July 19, 1998. Contact International Herb Association at 847-949-4372; fax 847-949-5896, http://www.herb-pros.com

July 25-27, 1998:
International Lawn, Garden, and Power Equipment - Expo 98
Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, KY. Contact Sellers Expositions (Donna Lewis) at 800-558-8767, 502-562-1962; fax 502-562-1970, e-mail wss315@aol.com; http://expo.mow.org

August 2-5, 1998:
International Society for Arboriculture Annual Conference
Birmingham, England. Contact ISA at 217-355-9411 or www.ag.uiuc.edu/~isa

August 5-9, 1998:
American Nursery and Landscape Association Annual Conference and Trade Show
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org or ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

September 11-12, 1998:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville TN. Contact TNA, 931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail nurseryassn@blomand.net

October 7-10, 1998:
Eastern Region International Plant Propagators' Society Annual Meeting
Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Contact Margot Bridgen, 26 Woodland Road, Storrs, CT 06268; 860-429-6818; e-mail: mbippser@neca.com

October 9-10, 1998:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Trade Show
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN. Contact MTNA, Ann Halcomb, Exec. Secr. 931-668-7322; Fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: MTNA@blomand.net or MTNA@juno.com

October 18-21, 1998:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators Society
Tulsa, OK. Contact David Morgan at 817-882-4148, SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101.

January 13-15, 1999:
Mid-AM Trade Show
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Contact Donn W. Sanford at 847-526-2010; fax 847-526-3993; e-mail midam@mc.net

January 30-February 3, 1999:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention
Memphis, TN. Contact Paul Smeal, 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656; phone 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805; e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

February 4-7, 1999:
The Management Clinic
Galt House, Louisville, KY. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 22-27, 1999:
American Nursery & Landscape Association Annual Convention
Philadelphia, PA. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 28-31, 1999:,br> 96th American Society for Horticultural Science
Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN. Contact ASHA: 703-836-4606, Fax: 703-836-2024; e-mail: ashs@ashs.org

July 30-August 1, 1999:
SNA 99 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

August 1-4, 1999:
International Society for Arboriculture Annual Conference
Stamford, CT. Contact ISA at 217-355-9411; http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~isa

September 10-11, 1999:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville, TN. Contact TNA at 931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail nurseryassn@blomand.net

September 23-25, 1999:
6th Biennial Southern Plant Conference
Richmond, VA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

October 3-6, 1999:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society
Mobile, AL. Contact David Morgan: 817-882-4148, SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

January 19-21, 2000:
Mid-AM Trade Show
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Contact Donn W. Sanford at 847-526-2010, fax 847-526-3993; e-mail midam@mc.net

January 29-February 2, 2000:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention
Lexington, KY. Contact Paul Smeal at 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656, 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805; e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

February 3-6, 2000:
The Management Clinic
Galt House, Louisville, KT. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 11-16, 2000:
American Nursery & Landscape Association Annual Convention
Location TBA; contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; http://www.anla.org

July 16-19:
American Society for Horticultural Science 97th International Conference
Disney Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, FL. Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606; fax 703-836-2024; e-mail ashs@ashs.org

August 3-6, 2000:
SNA 2000 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

August 11-18, 2000:
International Society for Arboriculture Annual Conference
Baltimore, MD. Contact ISA at 217-355-9411; http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~isa

September 15-16, 2000:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville, TN. Contact TNA at 931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail tnurseryassn@blomand.net

October 8-11, 2000:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society
Norfold, VA. Contact David Morgan at 817-882-4148; fax 817-882-4121, SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

January 27-31, 2001:
Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Convention
Fort Worth, TX. Contact Paul Smeal at 1107 Kentwood Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-5656, 540-552-4085; fax 540-953-0805, e-mail psmeal@vt.edu

August 2-5, 2001:
SNA 2001 - Southern Nurserymen's Association Researcher's Conference and Trade Show
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. Contact SNA at 770-973-9026; SNA Infoline at 770-973-4636; http://www.sna.org

Send questions and comments to
bfischma@acesag.auburn.edu.