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.


April and hello everyone. I hope you are getting glimpses of a beautiful Spring.

In between the buckets of rain, there is an incredible spring show taking place. People complain about cell phones being a distraction! There are not many things as distracting as driving along spring landscaped neighborhoods or walking unspoiled backwoods native trails (much safer running off the trail than running into another lane of on-coming traffic) and seeing deciduous azaleas and magnolias, redbuds, dogwoods, Kerrias, hellebores, lady banks rose, spireas, loropetalums, Viburnums, quinces, phlox, the last of the camellias, and even holly flowers are interesting (only to name a few… the wildflower enthusiasts could offer an unending list of “you gotta see these” plants).

***Excuse the brief tangent but I learned something new that needs to be shared.***

My Oak Leaf holly is a male which went against all descriptions I had seen on this Red Holly introduced by Mitch Magee in Poplarville, MS. (Evergreen Nurseries and Flowerwood Nurseries). I called Mitch, to go to the source, and found out that Fred Galle, author of “The” Hollies book had looked at the plant and said it was hermaphroditic (Hollies are normally dioecious, female and male flowers are on separate plants. Flowers that contain both androecium [male] and gynoecium [female] are called androgynous or hermaphroditic. If both male and female flowers live on one plant it is called monoecious [both male and female reproductive parts]). I am going to go home to look for the female flowers. This fact will not make a dime's worth of difference in your bottom line but it makes for great trivia. I like Oak Leaf holly but there is a new and improved holly similar to Oak Leaf called Oak Land holly that is more dense and does not have the tendency for the long, open internodes of Oak Leaf.

Back to our great spring…… This is also when Japanese maples’ foliage offers equal show to many of our spring flowers and ferns uncoil and add a special show and soft fresh green to the landscape. You just don’t see this stuff in rows of nursery containers. We do great things on the production end of the business but it becomes really special in the hands of artistic landscape designers and contractors who blend it all together into constantly evolving, dynamic living art. I offer this as a plug for the Alabama Certified Landscape Professional program (ACLP). We often see examples of what “Can Be” in our landscapes. We want to create opportunities through Auburn University, the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association, the Greater Birmingham Association of Landscape Professionals, along with the Alabama Turf Association to raise the bar of professionalism and creativity within our industry. Landscaping is a never-ending pursuit of knowledge and perfection. It is one of our greatest artistic avenues for creative expression and a profession that has not received its deserved respect. We want the public to experience, appreciate and value the benefits of great landscaping and living art. Continuing education is a must. Our botanical gardens and arboreta offer great opportunities for continued education for the public and our industry. Another alternative to continue your professional growth and distinguish yourself as an accomplished and recognized professional is by earning your ACLP status. It is still an evolving program but the ALNLA has great plans for promoting the people and firms that achieve this status in the industry. Call the ALNLA office at (334-821-5148) or see information on our web site under the ACLP banner (www.ag.auburn.edu/landscape).

A great recurring example of the opportunities we have for growth in our industry occurred recently. I was invited by David West, an Extension Horticulturist in Anniston, to join him and Mrs. Riley (Governor Riley’s wife) and a host of other professionals to evaluate and make recommendations for the renovation of the Capitol grounds in Montgomery. It was a beneficial visit and I appreciated Mrs. Riley’s passion for trying to put the finishing touches on the restoration of the Capitol building. The constantly recurring story that we in the industry always hear is that a huge investment of funds was put into restoring the building but when it came to finishing the project with a complimentary landscape, funds were depleted. I am sure this is not a surprise to any of you. Mrs. Riley, to her credit, saw the unfinished vision and is trying to continue the project through donations and volunteer help. The newly refurbished building was beautiful but hidden by some incredibly nice specimen plants. However, the plants were crowded and no longer accentuated the building but blocked the view. She called garden clubs, industry leaders and many other concerned citizens to peck away at renovating the landscape. I was happy to see that there was a landscape architect’s plan for the grounds. She was at least starting with a professional plan rather than “sticking” plants at random, which is often the case. The Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association contributed much time, effort and materials to assist with the landscape renovation of the Governor’s mansion. I hope the industry will get involved in this project as well. It would be a highly visible showcase for our profession to illustrate what “Could Be”.

This month I also had the opportunity to visit an old small nursery in Millbrook, Alabama and visit with Mr. Robert Ireland. Mr. Ireland, age 83, had the enthusiasm and energy of a 20 year-old, as he scurried through his treasure plants, pointing out sports and seedling variations he had found in a host of various genera. He was continuing to graft and sow seed like he would be here to see them mature 20 years from now. I know his fountain of youth and energy come from his love of plants. He was offering many samples for me to take to Auburn to evaluate and share if I thought they were worthy. As I packed the wheel barrow with plums, pears, cherries, hollies, Jap maples, camellias, azaleas, pyracantha, clivias, ginkgos and other oddities, he told me to move over and he would get that wheel barrow for me and help me load the car. I humbly stood aside and watched a man, 27 years my senior, nimbly hustle the heavily laden wheel barrow over to my car. I needed a rest after watching so we sat in the shade, made tags and discussed the new plants. Adding to this experience, I also saw an article in our local paper on Caroline Dean, a lady of a more advanced age, 87, with equal energy and a highly recognized wildflower expert. She even has a web site on Auburn University’s domain, www.auburn.edu/~deancar. Visit this site to view her pictures of wildflowers.

Could plant passion translate into extended life expectancy? I know it certainly improves the quality life. Note the Southern Plant Conference in the information below and get your calendar blocked off for this meeting. If you want to be on the cutting edge of the plant world and see opportunities to expand our horticulture pallet and dollars for your business, this is always the best place to be. It might even add a few years to your life!

While walking through Robert Ireland's menagerie of plants, I spotted an old favorite dogwood that I have cherished for 25 years. I lost my specimen of this plant in my garden. It was a double flowering ‘Plena’ or ‘Welch’s Bay Beauty’ dogwood.

To me it is a coveted, beautiful plant that is almost lost from the nurseries. I assume nurseries dropped it because it did not sell well. It scored well in our dogwood trials for Alabama and whenever I spoke at Master Gardener programs and offered this dogwood as a special one to me, most agreed and wanted to buy one right there. Byers Nursery and a few Tennessee nurseries were the only ones offering the plant at the time. I offer this as an opportunity for someone to grow and market this plant as a niche item. I emphasize “market” because it does not sell on name alone.

Please visit our plant trials at Camp Hill, Cullman, Fairhope, and Brewton experiment stations this year or just visit our web site for updated pictures for cultivars of peonies, hydrangeas, azaleas, ferns, crapemyrtles, lotus, grasses and all our annual and perennial trials.

This will be our third year for our peony trials and I have my fingers crossed that we will have a few winners to boost the use of peonies in the south. These trials are in Anniston, Brewton and Cullman. This is the month! I will post some of our pictures next month.

Many may not share my excitement for lotus but I think the reason has to be because they have not had the opportunity to enjoy the plant one-on-one and have not seen the diversity of the potential offerings. I fell in love with this plant in China where it holds equal status to peonies. We are concentrating on the tea-cup or bowl lotus that grows in 1 to 3 gallon containers. They bloom around Father's Day in June and could be marketed in an oriental decorative container for a value added bonus. It would be a very special gift for that occasion. The leaves and flowers are unique and beautiful. We have imported from China a little over 100 cultivars to evaluate. They are planted and open for viewing at the North Alabama Experiment Station in Cullman. June should be a great month to view this collection. We will keep you posted. In fact, Bernice Fischman, who many of you have met at trade shows and is our webmaster/artist, is developing pages for our lotus work. She has borrowed pictures from our company in China, (Yileen Gardens, http://www.yileen.com.cn/eng/index.htm) where we purchased the plants until we can get our own pictures and information. She will post some of these pictures next week (click on the RESEARCH button on the Landscape Horticulture website) and will be filling in information as we learn to grow and market these plants.

The next three photos are of bowl lotus ready for division after one year from single node division.

My musings and ramblings have probably gone too far for your attention span but I am excited about many things going on in our industry and I am especially enjoying this spring. I hope you can get away to appreciate the difference your efforts and our industry makes in people’s lives. As, always we welcome your thoughts and comments.

334-844-5484 Office


One of the biggest headaches for producers of potted azaleas these days is the strawberry rootworm, Paria Fragariae. This nocturnal leaf feeding beetle has recently emerged as a major pest of azaleas but can also be a big problem on Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis umbellata) and potentially several other species. Beetles are a little over 1/8 inch long, oval, and shiny dark brown with four black markings on their wings. This insect damages plants by chewing numerous small holes in the leaves of attacked plants (holes are generally no more than 1/16 of an inch in diameter or width). Damage by this insect can become so severe that plants are rendered unsalable. Growers have been known to spray infested plants weekly to control an infestation with mixed results.

The beetle has a synchronous life cycle which means that adult beetle populations will naturally fluctuate and beetles may not be present or may be present in small numbers even though plants are severely damaged by the feeding of previous generations of adult beetles. The immature stages (larvae or grubs and pupae) of the Strawberry rootworm develop in the potting media but do not appear to create significant damage to the plant's root system. Recent studies by personnel at the Mobile Alabama Ornamental Horticulture Research Center and the USDA Small Fruit Research Station in Poplarville, MS have improved knowledge of this insect’s biology and methods of control. Greenhouse studies have shown the insecticides DuraGuard (a.i., chlorpyrifos), Sevin 80 WSP (a.i., carbaryl), Scimitar GC (a.i., lambda-cyhalothrin), DeltaGard (a.i., deltamethrin) and Decathlon (a.i., cyfluthrin) are effective. In a laboratory trial the insecticides Talstar (a.i., bifenthrin), Tame (a.i., fenpropathrin), Discus (a.i., imidacloprid+cyfluthrin), Orthene 97 (a.i., acephate), Pylon (a.i., chlorfenapyr, FOR GREENHOUSE USE ONLY) as well as DeltaGard, Scimitar GC and Decathlon were all effective. Most growers try to spray in the late afternoon, evening or night in the belief that they will have better chance of contacting this nocturnal beetle; however, in a greenhouse study, there were no differences between insecticides sprayed at 9:00 in the morning and 9:00 at night. It does not appear that this insect is a significant pest to landscape plants. For more information about this pest go to: http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/64040500/BoydPDF/HesseleinandBoyd.pdf or call Chazz Hesselein, Extension Horticulturist, 251-342-2366.


In January the Alabama Christmas Tree Association and the LA-MS Christmas Tree Association voted to merge into the Southern Christmas Tree Association. This successful merger creates a regional association whose mission is to promote the production and marketing of Southern grown Christmas trees. A new website has been created for the members of the SCTA (www.southernchristmastrees.org). There is a membership application for 2005 available on the website. Click on the Member Services section. There is also a page available for member growers to advertise used equipment for sale online. The Member Services page also lists the scheduled meetings for 2005. They are:

April 9, 2005 at Marie's Trees, Ferriday, LA
April 30th, 2005 at Lazy Acres Plantation, LLC, Chunky, MS
September 16th-18th, 2005 at Beavers Christmas Tree Farm.


The Garden Writers Association released its 2005 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research report. The survey of 77 million households shows that spring garden plants are most likely to be purchased at mass merchant retailers (51%); 40% of respondents shop at local independent garden retailers. Most consumers prefer smaller, less-expensive plants (57%) than more mature, more expensive plants (35%). A complete copy of the report is available for $50.

(from the Greenbeam)


The January 2005 HortIdeas reported on experiments conducted at the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory in England showing benefits to tree root growth from applying sugar water as a soil drench, suggesting that the sugar might help to reduce "shock" symptoms after transplanting.

The April 2005 Hort Ideas reported on additional trials using transplanted birch trees with trunk diameters under 2 inches (Betula pendula, a species known to be adversely affected by transplanting). Adding sugar resulted in higher survival rates. Growth of roots and shoots was greatest with 10.3 ounces of sucrose (table sugar) per gallon of water applied as a drench at a rate of 0.4 gallon per tree each week for four weeks, starting two weeks after budbreak (when 80-100% of new leaves had started to grow). Lower concentrations (3.4 or 6.8 ounces per gallon of water) of sucrose and concentrations from 3.4 to 10.3 ounces per gallon of other sugars (galactose, rhamnose, glucose, fructose,and maltose) resulted in lower growth rates. Various other measures of physiological performance also indicated that sugar drenches were beneficial to the transplanted trees. Additional research is needed to determine the effects of sugar on larger trees.

(See the Journal of Arboriculture 31(2), March 2005, 66-77).


Dutch elm disease (DED) continues to threaten newly planted and established trees of the American elm (Ulmus americana). Five hundred twenty six nine-year-old trees were inoculated with a mixed spore suspension of Ophiostoma ulmi and Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, the causal fungi for Dutch elm disease. There was highly significant variation among clones in foliar symptoms 4 weeks after inoculation and in crown dieback one and two years after inoculation. After two years, 13 of the American clones showed significantly less dieback than the American elm seedings, and 18 American clones showed significantly less injury than a randomly chosen, unselected American elm clone. The American clones with the most DED-tolerance were cultivars: 'Valley Forge', 'Princeton', 'Delaware', and 'New Harmony'. Two non-American selections also exhibited high levels of disease tolerance. The most disease tolerant American elm selections identified in this study are being evaluated further for possible naming and release to the nursery industry.

(from "Evaluation of 19 American Elm Clones for Tolerance to Dutch Elm Disease," by A.M. Townsend, S.E. Bentz, and L.W. Douglass, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005.


Vinca is a very popular evergreen perennial that is in demand as a flowering ground cover which grows particularly well in shady areas. This research demonstrated that Vinca minor can be rooted efficiently as single-node softwood or hardwood cuttings, although rooting success varies at different times of the year, depending on the cultivar. Three cultivars were evaluated: 'Bowles Variety', 'Dart's Blue', and 'Sterling Silver'. The highest rooting percentage occurred with cuttings taken in October. Rooting percentages and root numbers were generally increased with a quick dip of IBA+NAA at 1000 and 5000 ppm but higher concentrations tended to reduce rooting percentages.

(by Amelia L. Landon and Thomas J. Banko, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005).


Cedar rust diseases are found statewide on shrubs and trees in the juniper (cypress) and rose families. Generally, damage to members of the juniper family is little cause for concern, but cedar rust diseases may cause sizable reductions in fruit yield and esthetic value of apples, crabapple, and several other members of the rose family.

cedar apple rust

cedar apple rust

cedar apple rust

Cedar rust diseases are most commonly seen where junipers or eastern red cedar are grown in close proximity to apples or other members of the rose family susceptible to these diseases. Cedar-apple rust, cedar-hawthorn rust, and cedar quince rust are the most common cedar rust diseases found in Alabama. For more information and photos go to Controlling Cedar Rust Diseases.


Seedling transplants of Uniola paniculata (southern seaoats) are in great demand for beach and sand dune restoration and stabilization. Unfortunately, seed decay reduces germination and seedling emergence during production of transplants. Chemical seed treatment of the species and the identification of particular treatments that inhibit decay and permit emergence can very positively affect initial seedling growth.

Five of the seven seed treatments utilized in this experiment resulted in percentage emergence of 75 to 83% with negligible effects on seedling growth of U. paniculata. This demonstrates that a variety of chemical treatments may be used to reduce seed decay during production of seedling transplants of the species. Choice of a particular treatment will undoubtedly need to include consideration of various factors such as effectiveness, cost, and whether or not the materials selected for use are registered for use on U. paniculata. Although the surface disinfestant and fungicide treatments tested provided control of seed decay, the potential for higher germination and emergence percentages may exist since viability tests with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chlorite (TZ or TTC) indicated that initial seed viability was >95%. Trade names of surface disinfestant and fungicides used in this research: Captan 400, Cleary's 3336 + Captan 400, RTUI, RTU-PCNB, RTU-VITAVAX-EXTRA, RTU-VITAVAZ-THIRAM, Hydrogen peroxide, Sodium hypochlorite at 1.3% and 2.6%.

(from "Influence of Selected Surface Disinfestants, Fungicides, and Temperature on Seed Germination and Initial Growth of Soutern Seaoats (Uniola paniculata)" by Tyler L. Burgess, Frank A. Blazich, David L. Nash, and Betsy Randall-Schadel, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005).


A vigorous horizontal growth habit, coupled with pot-to-pot spacing during greenhouse production, results in intertwined shoots or runners of common periwinkle (Vinca minor) that are difficult to prune mechanically. This research suggests that runner lengths of common periwinkle can be controlled during greenhouse production with foliar applications of B-Nine/Cycocel, Sumagic, Cutless, or Atrimmec by varying rate and frequency of application. Severe stunting and foliar chlorosis resulted from Atrimmec applications so that plants were considered unmarketable for several months. Cutless reduced the number of runners for most of the study but plants may be less marketable. The relative safety and effectiveness of B-Nine/Cycocel at 2500/1500 to 7500/1500 ppm and Sumagic at 15 to 45 ppm offer growers viable options to mechanical pruning when common periwinkel is grown in small containers at close spacing, conditions that allow rapid intertwining of runners.

Plant growth regulators have been used for many years in the production of greenhouse crops. Flurprimidol, previously labeled as Cutless and currently labeled for greenhouse use in Europe, is being evaluated for release in the United States at Topflor. Atrimmec is labeled for use on established common periwinkle in the landscape at 3125 ppm. Because of the limitations of hand pruning in the greenhouse production of common periwinkle, the use of multiple applications of PGRs B-Nine/Cycocel, Sumagic, Cutless and Atrimmec were considered as alternatives to mechanical pruning.

Results from applying multiple applications of B-Nine/Cycocel and Sumagic at 2500/1500 to 7500/1500 ppm and 15 to 45 ppm, respectively, suggest that the level of shoot control of common periwinkle can be manipulated by varying the rate and application frequency of either of these treatments without any adverse effects.

(from "Growth Regulation of Vinca minor" by Gary J. Keever, Josh B. Clark, and Teresa A. Morrison, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005)


This is the first research to document that mouse ear disorder on river birch is caused by a deficiency of nickel. Mouse ear disorder on container grown river birch has become a national problem since the 70's but particularly during the past decade. Annually, approximately 300,000 to 400,000 river birch are grown in the southeastern United States but this problem has caused many growers to consider not growing these trees. Symptoms of the disorder are small, wrinkled leaves, often darker green in color, commonly cupped with necrotic margins. Plants appear stunted.

The disorder has been seen on named cultivars and seedlings from several sources on plants fertilized with controlled release fertilizers and plants with high and low soluble salt readings, high and low substrate pH, with or without healthy root systems, and early, mid, and late season. Plants may appear healthy in the fall but develop the problem in the spring. The problem rarely appears on plants growing in the field. The researchers have speculated that the problem may be that an element in native soil is not being supplied via the pine bark-based substrates and highly refined fertilzers commonly used today.

Within seven days after treatment plants sprayed with nickel sulfate showed normal leaf growth. After thirty days all plants treated with nickel sulfate had 100% normal growth.

Since the application of nickel seems to solve the problem the next step is to refine methods of application, rates of application, cultural practices to assure bioavailability of nickel, and sources of nickel suitable for use. As it is a heavy metal, research is needed to determine the safest methods of application and the lowest use rates possible. While nickel has been considered an essential element for some crops, it has never been recognized as a fertilizer. A commercial nickel product will be available in 2005 pending state registrations.

(from "Effect of Nickel Applications for the Control of Mouse Ear Disorder on River Birch" by John M. Ruter, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005).


Dogwood is a very important nursery crop with annual sales exceeding $26 million, ranking it fourth among flowering deciduous trees for U.S. sales. Growers have occasionally faced seed shortages caused by several factors. Heavy flowering and seed load in one year is often followed by reduced flowering and less seed in the following year. Cold winters and late spring freezes can damage flowers. Spring freeze damage can occur. Recent powdery mildew problems on flowering dogwood have been problemmatic for the seed supply situation, as heavy infestations of powdery mildew have resulted in reduced flower bud formation.

The objective of this study was to develop a reliable method of storing flowering dogwood seed that would allow producers to overcome fluctuations in seed production. Seed moisture level and storage temperature greatly influence the viability of stored seed so these two conditions were examined. Conclusions were that dogwood seed needs to be dried to 6 to 10% moisture content prior to storage and stored in a -20C (-4F) freezer in air-tight containers. These practices should allow growers to store flowering dogwood seed for at least 3 years without a significant loss in viability.

(from "Effect of Storage Temperature and Seed Moisture on Germination of Stored Flowering Dogwood Seed" by Sandra M. Reed, published in the J. Environ. Hort., March 2005).


The 9th Biennial Southern Plant Conference will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, Thursday, September 8 - Friday, September 10, 2005. This biennial conference is produced by the Southern Nursery Association in cooperation with the Kentucky Nursery & Landscape Association and is designed to increase communications of new plant varieties and decrease the average time needed to bring them to market. The Southern Plant Conference provides a unique learning environment full of straight talk and factual information. It’s hard-hitting and intensive review of the vast array of plant materials that have been adapted to a wide variety of growing conditions focuses on new and superior cultivars, as well as new applications for old varieties. Presentations by nationally and internationally recognized plant experts will offer new insight into the future of horticulture and the discovery of new plants.

A schedule for the meeting will be ready by summer 2005. Tables will be provided for speakers and attendees to display new plant cultivars (in containers no larger than 1 gallon as space is limited). Identification cards will be provided upon arrival. The conference will be of interest to industry professionals, landscape architects and designers, landscape contractors and maintenance personnel, garden center managers and interested plant enthusiasts.

(from the SNA.org website).


by Jackie Mullen, Jim Jacobi, and Austin Hagan

U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and national forestry officials are concerned that some plants with Ramorum blight, also known as Sudden Oak Death, may have been introduced into landscapes last year. This disease is under a federal quarantine and an Alabama state quarantine due to its severe effects on oak trees. Consequently, a national program has been developed to provide testing services for Ramorum blight host plants if suspect symptoms develop. Symptoms of Ramorum blight could be caused by several problems, so laboratory testing is necessary to determine if this damaging disease is present.

Ramorum blight or Sudden Oak Death was first observed in oak trees in California in the early 1990's. The fungus-related organism causing this disease was identified as Phytophthora ramorum (a new Phytophthora species) in 2000. Up until a couple of years ago, the disease was confined to the western states with California the only state to have sudden oak death present on oaks in landscapes and forested areas. In 2003, the disease was identified in a few nurseries in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. All diseased plants and near-by plants were destroyed in these nurseries. Also, plant shipments that had been sent to other nurseries were destroyed if symptoms developed. In 2004, four nurseries located in California and Oregon were discovered to contain Ramorum blight. These diseased plants and all plants in near-by areas were destroyed. Shipments from the California and Oregon nurseries were traced to nurseries and garden shops in many states. State Department of Agriculture Inspectors visited the receiving nurseries and garden shops and placed 'Stop Sale' notices on plants from the infected nursery sites when symptoms were present.

Alabama nurseries and garden shops received some plants from the disease-containing nurseries in California and Oregon. Symptomatic plants were tested at the Auburn University Plant Diagnostic Lab located at the Auburn University campus. Plants that tested positive for Phytophthora were sent to the USDA Lab in Beltsville, MD for further testing to determine if the Phytophthora was the Ramorum blight organism, Phytophthora ramorum. Two nurseries and one garden shop in Alabama were found to contain Ramorum blight on camellias. The diseased plants and surrounding plants were destroyed to prevent spread of this disease to near by oak trees and other plants.

The disease develops as a severely damaging, 'bleeding' trunk lesion on oaks, and it also can occur as a leaf spot or blight on several common landscape plants including camellia, rhododendron, pieris, viburnum, mountain laurel, and lilac. Other common landscape plants in the Southeast that may become diseased are azaleas, pyracantha, witch hazel, strawberry tree, poison oak, honeysuckle, and huckleberry. Since azaleas were not among the plants shipped into Alabama last year from the western nurseries containing the disease, we do not expect azaleas will be among the first plants showing damage this spring. Also, we do not expect that oak trees will be showing symptoms this spring in Alabama. But, if 'bleeding' areas are seen on oaks, these plants need to be examined and tested.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and national forestry officials are concerned that some plants with Ramorum blight may have been sold last year before state officials arrived to conduct inspections and place 'Stop Sale' orders while testing was conducted. A total of 22 states found Ramorum blight positive plants last year in nurseries or garden shops.

This spring the 22 states where the disease was confirmed last year will participate in a national testing program designed to locate Ramorum blighted landscape plants. A news article will be released on April 12 to alert the public that some homeowners may have purchased some common landscape plants in the last few (3) years that may have been infected with the fungus-like pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum. The plants that are especially of concern are camellias, rhododendrons, pieris, viburnum, mountain laurel, and lilac.

The news article will direct homeowners to check camellias, rhododendrons, viburnums, pieris, mountain laurel, and lilacs purchased in the past 3 years for symptoms of leaf spots, dieback, and leaf edge browning. If symptoms are present, the homeowners are directed to contact their local Extension office for more information to help determine if testing is needed. If testing is needed, the client's name, address, and phone number will be referred to the Alabama State Department of Agriculture, and an Inspector will contact the homeowner to make arrangements to take an official sample. Samples should NOT be brought to the county Extension office. Because the disease is under state and federal quarantine, officials do not want the sample moved about any more than necessary. If the samples test positive for Phytophthora, the sample or its DNA will be sent on to a USDA lab for further testing to determine if the Phytophthora is Phytophthora ramorum. Test results will be communicated to the client by the State Department of Agriculture Inspectors. Plants testing positive will be destroyed to prevent spread of this disease to other plants and to oaks in landscape and forested areas. Plants testing negative will not be disturbed.

We do not expect to discover significant occurrence of Ramorum blight in Alabama since only three positive samples were found out of the 289 samples tested.

(Below is a photo of Phytopthora ramorum on rhododendron that we published last month - just to give you an idea of what it looks like).


Jackie Mullen, Extension Plant Pathology Specialist-Auburn
Jim Jacobi, Extension Plant Pathology Specialist-Birmingham
Charles Ray, Research Fellow IV-Auburn

Auburn Plant Disease Report - January 2005
Jackie Mullen and Charles Ray

Auburn Plant Disease Report-February (J. Mullen)
February was a relatively quiet plant sample month with only 44 plant submissions. Botrytis foliar blights and Pythium problems were diseases most commonly seen.

Botrytis usually develops when temperatures are relatively cool (65-75EF) and conditions are moist or humid. Brown irregular spots develop on blossoms, leaves, and herbaceous stems. Dieback may result from girdling stem lesions. When conditions are humid, a light gray, thin mold may cover the lesions. Control involves sanitation of diseased plant parts, increased temperatures if possible, reduced humidity levels (fans or increased plant spacing), and application of protective fungicide sprays. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook for fungicides. In February we saw Botrytis blight on begonia, lavender, petunia, and rosemary.

Pythium may occur as a root decay problem, a cool season turf grass foliage or root decay, or a vegetable (fruit) rot. Last month we saw Pythium as a lower stem and root rot on lavender and rosemary and as a root rot on oak seedlings and maple seedlings. Generally, Pythium is more of a problem on herbaceous plants. On woody plants, it tends to be a rotter of small feeder roots and often a secondary event after an earlier disease development or injury. The lavender sample was found to have Phytophthora and Pythium and we suspect the Phytophthora to be the initial or primary problem. Pythium often occurs after root injury or stress from drought or fertilizer salts injury. Plants damaged by Pythium root rot usually have been kept in wet situations. Pythium is a water mold, and requires excess water for development. Damaged plants should be removed. Water levels should be reduced. In a nursery situation, protective fungicide drenches may be used if the situation is appropriate. Consult the Pest Management Handbook for protective fungicides for root decay and turf diseases. Also see ANR-594 for Pythium turf diseases.

February 2005 Plant Diseases Seen In The Auburn Plant Diagnostic Lab
Begonia Botrytis Blight *
Camellia Anthracnose (Colletotrichum) Pike
Geranium Bacterial Leaf Spot *
Lavender Botrytis Foliage Blight *
Lavender Phytophthora Crown & Root Rot *
Lavender Pythium Crown & Root Rot *
Maple Seedling Fusarium Crown Rot *
Maple Seedling Pythium Root Rot *
Oak Seedling Pythium Root Rot Lee
Petunia Botrytis Blight *
Poa trivialis Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) *
Poa trivialis Pythium Blight *
Rosemary Botrytis Canker & Foliage Blight *
Rosmary Pythium Crown & Root Rot *
Tai Chi Anthracnose (Colletotrichum) Calhoun
*Counties are not reported for nursery, greenhouse, and golf course samples.

Birmingham Plant Disease Report-February 2005 (J. Jacobi)
We received 45 samples at the Birmingham lab during the month of February. Some of the plant problems seen last month included Phytophthora root rot on azalea and rhododendron, camellia yellow mottle virus on camellia, broad mite damage on impatiens, holly leafminer on Japanese holly, and Florida red scale on lemon.

Boxwood leafminer damage should be very evident at this time. Infested leaves are often off-color (yellow-orange or brown) and may drop earlier than healthy leaves. The leafminer overwinters within the leaf as larvae. Adults emerge the following spring just as growth starts on the boxwoods. These small, orangish flies (less than 1/8 inch) can be seen swarming around boxwoods, especially in the morning. The adults will start emerging sometime during April in the Birmingham area. Insecticides that contain the active ingredients acephate (Ortho Systemic Insect Control) or imidacloprid (Merit, Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control) are both effective control measures. Follow label instructions carefully.

One of the most common problems last month was sooty mold on ornamentals. These common black molds are found on a wide variety of plants in the garden. Sooty molds are caused by several fungi that grow on the sugary material left by aphids, mealybugs, scales, whiteflies and other insects that suck sap from the plant. The insects are unable to digest all the sugar in the sap and they excrete the excess fluid called honeydew, which drops onto the leaves below. The sooty mold fungi develop on the honeydew, causing the leaves to look black and dirty. Sooty molds are unsightly, but fairy harmless because they do not attack the leaves directly. Extremely heavy infestations prevent light from reaching the leaves and they may turn yellow. The presence of sooty mold indicates the plant or a nearby plant is infested with insects. We have seen a lot of sooty mold related to Asian woolly hackberry aphids on hackberry (Celtis spp.) in the past few years. In some of these cases, every plant growing near the hackberry was covered in a thick layer of sooty mold. Sooty mold can be wiped off the leaves or rain will eventually wash it off. Prevent sooty mold by identifying and controlling the insect that is producing honeydew.

Another pest to look for in the next few weeks is the Asian ambrosia beetle. We have already received reports of AAB damage this spring. These small beetles (1/8 in. long) attack a wide range of woody plants including crape myrtle, cherry, fig, Japanese maple, oak, peach, redbud and oak. Plants recently installed in the landscape are particularly susceptible to Asian ambrosia beetles. Infestations can be identified by tooth pick-like strands of boring dust protruding up to a few inches from stems and branches of damaged plants. Insecticide applications to surrounding plants may help protect against infestation. The insecticide permethrin (Astro and other formulations) has shown good efficacy against this pest. Follow label instructions carefully. More information on the identification and control of this pest can be found at the following web site: www.bugwood.org/factsheets/99-010.html.

FEBRUARY 2005 Plant Diseases Seen In The Birmingham Plant Diagnostic Lab
Azalea Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson
Azalea Southern Red Mite Jefferson
Boxwood Boxwood Leafminer Jefferson
Camellia, Japanese Suspect Camellia Yellow Mottle Virus Jefferson
Camellia, Japanese Tea Scale Jefferson
Camellia, Sasanqua Sooty Mold Jefferson
Cryptomeria Suspect Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson
Cypress, Leyland Cercosporidium Needle Blight Jefferson
Eleagnus Suspect Vole Damage Jefferson
Fern, Boston Brown Soft Scale Jefferson
Goats Beard Two-Spotted Spider Mite *
Holly, Chinese Two-Lined Spittlebug Damage Winston
Holly, Japanese Holly Leafminer Winston
Impatiens Broad Mite *
Impatiens Pythium Root Rot *
Ivy, English Anthracnose (Colletotrichum) Jefferson
Lemon, Meyer Florida Red Scale Jefferson
Lemon, Meyer Tea Scale Jefferson
Pecan Pecan Weevil Jefferson
Rhododendron Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson
Rose Sooty Mold/Aphids Jefferson
*Counties are not reported for nursery, greenhouse, and golf course samples.

Elmore Household-Miscellaneous Home Parasitic Micro-Hymenoptera
Baldwin Medical Home Black Fly
Jefferson Stored Products Dog Food Mold Mite
Monroe Stored Products Home Red Flour Beetle
Pike Structural Home Termites
Lee Ornamental Greenhouse Plantings Fungus Gnats
Wilcox Ornamental Compacta Holly Wax Scale, Spider Mites,
False SpiderMites, and Armored Scale
Baldwin Household-Miscellaneous Dip Pool Land Shrimp, Terrestrial, Amphipod
Lee Household-Miscellaneous Home German Cockroach
Jefferson Miscellaneous Home Minute Brown Scavenger Beetle
Mobile Structural Cooling Tower Crane Fly Larvae


April 9, 2005:
Southern Christmas Tree Association Meeting.
Marie's Trees, Ferriday, LA
For more information go to

April 30th, 2005:
Southern Christmas Tree Association Meeting.
Lazy Acres Plantation, LLC, Chunky, MS
For more information go to www.southernchristmastrees.org

May 19, 2005:
Comprehensive Fire Ant Management Workshop.
Anniston City Meeting Center
Call the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office (Calhoun County) at 256-237-1621 to reerve your space.

May 19-21, 2005:
Hydrangea Conference.
Pre-registration date is April 20, 2005. For more information contact the Center for Applied Nursery Research at 4904 Luckey's Bridge Rd. SE, Dearing, GA 30808; phone: 706-597-8309; email- canr@classicsouth.net or www.canr.org

June 22-25, 2005:
Southeast Greenhouse Conference and Trade Show.
Palmetto Center, Greenville SC
For information go to www.sgcts.org

August 25-27, 2005:
The Farwest Show.
Portland, Oregon, Oregon Convention Center.
Contact Aimee Schendel, Oregon Association of Nurserymen, 29751 SW Town Center Loop West, Wilsonville, OR 97070; 800-342-6401; 503-682-5089 x 2006; Fax, 503-682-5099; e-mail, info@farwestshow.com
URL: http://www.farwestshow.com

September 16-18 2005:
Southern Christmas Tree Association Annual Meeting.
Beavers Christmas Tree Farm
Trafford, Alabama.
For more information go to www.southernchristmastrees.org

September 9-10, 2005:
The Southern Plant Conference.
Louisville, Kentucky.
Contact: Matt Gardiner, KY Coordinator, 502-245-0238: e-mail, matthew624@aol.com; or Betsie Taylor, KNLA Exec. Dir., 350 Village Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601; 502-848-0055 or 800-735-9791, Fax 502-848-0032 e-mail knla@mis.net
URL: http://www.knla.org
or Danny Summers at SNA, 770-953-3311; Fax 770-953-4411; SNA Infoline, 770-953-4636; e-mail, danny@mail.sna.org;
URL: http://www.sna.org

September 30 - October 1, 2005:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
For more information contact Ann Halcomb by: phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

January 5-6, 2006:
Mid-States Horticultural Expo.
Kentucky Fairgrounds, Louisville, Kentucky
NOTE: Kentucky will host this new winter trade show. The event was created with cooperation from the Kentucky Nursery & Landscape Association, the Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association, and the Southern Nursery Association. The Kentucky Fairgrounds is a 400-acre facility with more than 1 million square feet of indoor space.

August 24-26, 2006:
The Farwest Show.
Portland, Oregon, Oregon Convention Center.
Contact Aimee Schendel, Oregon Association of Nurserymen, 29751 SW Town Center Loop West, Wilsonville, OR 97070; 800-342-6401; 503-682-5089 x 2006; Fax, 503-682-5099; e-mail, info@farwestshow.com
URL: http://www.farwestshow.com

October 6-7, 2006:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
For more information contact Ann Halcomb by: phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

August 23-25, 2007:
The Farwest Show.
Portland, Oregon, Oregon Convention Center.
Contact Aimee Schendel, Oregon Association of Nurserymen, 29751 SW Town Center Loop West, Wilsonville, OR 97070; 800-342-6401, 503-682-5089 x 2006; Fax, 503.682.5099; e-mail, info@farwestshow.com
URL: http://www.farwestshow.com

October 5-6, 2007:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
For more information contact Ann Halcomb by: phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

Send horticultural questions and comments to ktilt@acesag.auburn.edu.

Send questions and comments to fischbr@auburn.edu.

Letters to Bernice Fischman - 101 Funchess Hall - Auburn University, AL 36849.