August 2001

August is SNA Month

If you are looking for any nursery producers, landscapers, retailers, chemical people or anyone in Horticulture August 2-5, they are probably in Atlanta at the Southern Nursery Trade Show. Research on Thursday and Friday, educational seminars and, of course, the Trade Show is the place to be if you are In the Business. I hope you will be a part of it.

If you can not be at the research conference and you are looking for information on when or how to drench hydrangeas to get the blue flower color, what controls spotted spurge, how to chlorinate irrigation water, the story on the new daylily rust or anything you can think of in the nursery or landscape industry, SNA manages a web site that allows you to search a number of years of proceedings of the SNA Research Conference. I use it often to answer my questions. My mind is just not sharp enough to remember all the things that are going on in our industry. This site is a great cheat sheet to give you some reliable research on whatever problem ails you.

Type in your browser (Netscape or Explorer) the URL, and hit enter. You will be taken to SNA’s Home Page. Look on the left side of the screen and point and right click on Research. This will take you to their research page. There is a box on the right that says Search our Site. Type in a keyword such as hydrangea, hit enter and watch for the research papers to pop up. Click on the title that interests you. It is that easy. I am often asked which herbicide best controls a particular weed or what insecticide is best for white flies. Even if you go to the meeting and read the research, it is hard to remember all the products and rates. Go to the research and see what has been done. It is a wonderful resource we have today. It is great to have technology to rescue my weak mind. If I only had it at meetings to remember everyone’s name Never satisfied!

Many good things are happening these days in spite of our proration at Auburn. Some bad news is that they condemned our 1940 vintage Horticulture Greenhouses because of potential danger to our students. The good news is that about one million dollars is being allocated by the University for a five year renovation project until we can get the resources to build a new teaching/research and extension facility. Check with me five years from now to see how close we are on this temporary measure. We are very excited to get some attention to our needs in horticulture. We thank the nursery industry for their support in helping to push for these improvements.

The Alabama Nurserymen’s Association stepped in recently with $16,000 to support the nursery and greenhouse Extension program. Proration had cut all funding to Extension specialists. People were here to serve but without any travel, phone or any funds to do the job. This was a big move for the Association. They were very generous and kind in saying that they were happy to finally be in a position to help support the Extension efforts along with their Scholarship and Research support. We are very thankful to the membership for this help and excited about the new partnership in serving the industry.

I was visiting our rose and Indian Hawthorne trials in Brewton, AL this month and went through taking some pictures of winners and losers:

Ground Cover Rose - Kent
Ground Cover Rose - Kent
Ground Cover Rose - Petite Pink Scotch
Ground Cover Rose - Petite Pink Scotch
Ground Cover Rose - Hansa
Ground Cover Rose - Hansa
Ground Cover Rose - First Light
Ground Cover Rose - Carefree Delight

Dr. Austin Hagan is the lead researcher on these plants and has applied a fungicide treatment to 1 each of the three plants seen in the pictures below. You can wait for the statistics but if you are looking for plants that are more resistant to disease, it does not take much higher math to see the winners in this test. See for yourself below. You are invited anytime to visit the Research Station in Brewton to make up your own mind.

These two trials clearly show the value of cultivar evaluation. Would you rather have an Elanor Tabor Indian Hawthorne or one of the other dogs with pretty names illustrated below planted in your garden or commercial landscape?

Indian Hawthorne - Olivia
Indian Hawthorne - Olivia
Indian Hawthorne - Snow White
Indian Hawthorne - Indian Princess
Indian Hawthorne - Eleanor Tabor
Indian Hawthorne - Enchantress

Our Indian Hawthorne trials also show the importance of having multiple year testing. Olivia was one our top plants for resistance to entomosporium leaf spot and we touted its toughness. However, our conditions were right this year for some fire blight. Olivia fell from grace as one of the most desirable selections as you can see in the pictures. It is still a good plant in most years but does take a beating from fire blight. The nursery industry never lets you get too comfortable. As soon as you take a deep breathe and sigh of relief that you have this nursery stuff down pat, something jumps up to keep you humble, (If the left one don’t get you then the right one will).

Have a nice August!


The following articles are featured in this month's Something to Grow On:









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.


It is important to keep in mind the Alabama Child Labor Laws. By way of reminder, the following are the hour restrictions for minors under 19 years of age:

16-, 17-, and 18-year olds who are enrolled in public or private school may not work before 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. on any night preceding a school day. (Exceptions for working past 10 p.m. are possible when granted by their superintendent of education or school headmaster).

Work permits are issued by all county and city boards of education, most high schools and many private or church schools.

When school is in session (September through May), 14- and 15-year olds may work:

  • No more than three hours on a school day
  • No more than eight hours on a weekend day
  • No more than 18 hours a week
  • Not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • Not during school hours.
During summer vacation (June through August) 14- and 15-year-olds may work:
  • No more than eight hours a day
  • No more than six days a week
  • No more than 40 hours a week
  • Not before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
For additional information contact the Alabama Child Labor Office in Montgomery: 334-242-3460; Fax 334-240-3417;


Penn State is patenting a new "smart" fertilizer that acts as a phosphorus buffer, holding levels of this element constant in soils and media. This action greatly reduces phosphorus runoff and has also proven beneficial to plants, said co-developer Jonathan Lynch. Plants grown with this fertilizer had greater root growth, leading to improved transplantability, drought tolerance and less stress during shipping. This granulated fertilizer can be used in containers or fields.
For more information:

(from NMPRO, July 17, Todd Davis, Editor).


A new computer product for tracking and planning chemical use has been released. PestTracker is a Windows-based program introduced by Ohio Florists' Association and Syngenta. It helps nursery operators track pesticide use, generate usage reports, identify pest- and disease-prone areas and comply with regulatory requirements. Once pesticide label information has been input into the system, it provides mixing calculations, advises what protection equipment is necessary and creates re-entry interval deadline forms.
For information: (614) 487-1117;

(from NMPRO, July 17, Todd Davis, Editor).


In a landmark decision, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled last week that municipalities across Canada have the right to ban residential use of pesticides. The court said a Montreal suburb had been within its rights when in 1991 it became the first Canadian municipality to outlaw pesticides on lawns. The court also said the Quebec legislation that Hudson used to implement the ban was very similar to laws in many other parts of Canada. In effect, this gives local authorities all over the country the right to follow suit. Thirty-six other Quebec towns, as well as the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, have enacted similar bans since 1991.

I get a lot of good material quickly from the NMPRO e-mail that I pass along. If you would like to get it from the source,
( or go to the Greenbeam Web site at

(from NMPRO July 10 e-mail, compiled by Todd Davis, Editor).


The following related sites offer some good information on new plants in the industry. The company was formed to work with small nurseries and breeders to help them get hidden plant treasures out of their backyard collectors' gardens and share their unique qualities with all gardeners. Of course, I am sure they would like to make a profit on the side as per "The American Way". The sites are:

New Eden:

Pride of Place Plants:


The inaugural winners of the All-American Daylily award are 'Bitsy,' 'Leebea Orange Crush,' and 'Judith.' These daylilies will be promoted to the gardening public in 2002.

Bitsy took honors in the landscape category. It is considered a long blooming variety and has been in testing for the last 12 years. Two inch yellow flowers appear early in the season above 12-20 inch tall foliage.

Leebea Orange Crush was declared a winner in the landscape and exhibition categories. It offers a dark-orange throat with slightly ruffled orange flowers and blue-green foliage. Uniform foliage and bloom prolificness make this variety good for mass plantings.

Judith has large, pink flowers. It is a good variety for a perennial bed or accent planting. The pink flowers on this daylily can vary in color depending on soil moisture, pH, and fertility, in addition to night temperatures and humidity.

All-American Daylilies are named by the All-American Daylily Council. Three daylilies have previously been awarded this recognition during the 1990s - these include 'Black Eyed Stella' (landscape), 'Lullaby Baby' (exhibition) and 'Starstruck' (exhibition). For additional information visit their website at

(from the LSU Ornamental Newsletter by Dr. Allen Owings).


The Summer Semester Herbaceous Gardening class at Auburn University planted container gardens that reside in the Funchess Hall courtyard. Below are pictures of some of the student efforts as well as a list of plants for each container.

Pelargonium x hortorum sp - Rose scented geranium
Portulaca grandiflora 'Sundial' - Portulaca
Catharanthus roseus - Vinca

Hedera helix - English ivy
Salvia splendens - Annual salvia
Plectranthus australis - Swedish ivy
Catharanthus roseus - Vinca

Hedera helix - English ivy
Tagetes patula - Marigold
Pennisetum setacium 'Rubrum' - Fountain grass

Peperomia obtusifolia -
Tagetes patula - Marigold
Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum' - Spider plant
Celosia argentea plumosa -
Catharanthus roseus - Vinca


Auburn Plant Disease Report - June
Jackie Mullen
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist-Auburn

June provided much of the state with unusually (!) comfortable temperatures (high temperatures often in 80°'s F and always below 90-95° F!) and adequate moisture in the form of showers. (This has been a really good experience after last summer!) Our sample numbers are usually highest in June-July, and our 167 June number is our highest count so far this year. Two-thirds of our disease samples were ornamentals and turf. Oak leaf blister and take-all patch on turf grasses were our most commonly seen diseases in June. Another turf grass disease more common than usual was brown patch. Dogwood anthracnose was identified in Lee County. I believe this is the southern most occurrence of the disease in Alabama. See below for further comments.

The abundance of oak leaf blister this spring was probably the result of wet conditions in early spring when leaves were opening and spores were mature. Symptoms vary slightly on different oak species but typically spots are brown and concave on one leaf side and convex on the corresponding opposite leaf side. If the tree is established, oak leaf blister will not cause a serious effect on the health of the tree.

Take-all patch (Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis) continues to be a serious problem on St. Augustine grass and occasionally on zoysia, bermuda, and centipede. Limited attempts to recreate the disease in a greenhouse situation have not been successful which leads us to suspect that environmental stresses or unbalances may play an important role in disease susceptibility. Generally disease is first noticed as a thinning-out and yellowing of the individual plants in a patchy area. Yellowing and dieback are the result of decay lesions on stolons and root sections. As time passes, dieback on plants becomes more severe and widespread in the patch area. Disease control is difficult. Maintaining soil pH below 6.5 and nitrogen fertilization with ammonium sulfate or urea (not nitrate preparations) will help control the disease spread by creating conditions that are less favorable for fungal growth and development. Fungicides labeled for control of take-all patch are usually too expensive for homeowner use, and also, they are packaged in quantities for commercial use. Heritage is the most expensive fungicide at $300 per pound. See ANR-823 for more information.

Brown patch, caused by Rhizoctonia solani, in Alabama, is typically a problem in spring and fall. Hot summer temperatures in the 90's usually are inhibitory to growth of the fungus. Symptoms usually involve brown leaf spots and blight on the foliage in a patch distribution. The disease is controlled by one of several fungicides along with some cultural practice considerations which include reduced nitrogen applications and sanitation practices. (Collect clippings!) See ANR-493 for more information.

Dogwood anthracnose symptoms involve brown irregular spots of varying sizes (Some will become very large.) with dark brown-purple borders. Spots and infections will spread down into petioles, twigs, and branches, resulting in a serious dieback of the dogwood. This disease is known to be present in the northern (especially mountainous) areas of Alabama. About 10 years ago, the disease was identified in one tree in Auburn. We do not expect dogwood anthracnose to become a serious problem beyond northern or central portions of the state due to the fungus’s requirement for a temperature range in 60-70's and humid conditions. Shaded, mountainous areas with morning fog are ideal for development and spread of this disease. Disease control requires pruning and application of protective fungicide sprays. See ANR-551 and the 2001 Alabama Pest Management Handbook.

Annual periwinkle with tomato spotted wilt virus showed striking symptoms of leaf base yellowing of youngest fully expanded leaves along with stunting of newest growth. ELISA testing for tomato spotted wilt virus was positive; ELISA testing for impatiens necrotic spot virus was negative. Control of TSWV involves sanitation (removal of damaged plants) and thrips control.

June Plant Diseases Received at the Auburn Plant Diagnostic Lab
Barberry Phytophthora Root Rot *
Bermuda Bipolaris Blight Montgomery
Bermuda Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) Montgomery
Blackberry Septoria Leaf Spot Lee
Centipede Bipolaris Blight Montgomery
Centipede Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) Coosa, Covington, Houston, Montgomery
Centipede Take-all Patch
Cherry Septoria Leaf Spot Lee
Crabapple Cedar Apple Rust
Dogwood Anthracnose (Discula) Lee
Dogwood Powdery Mildew Lee
Fescue Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) Lawrence
Iris Heterosporium Leaf Spot Lee
Maple Monochaetia Leaf Spot Lawrence
Maple Phyllosticta Leaf Spot Lawrence
Oak Oak Leaf Blister (Taphrina) Lee,Madison, Montgomery
Pear, Bradford Crown Gall (Agrobacterium) Autauga
Pear, Bradford Entomosporium (Fabraea)
Leaf Spot
Pear, Bradford Fireblight
(Erwinia amylovora)
Autauga, Limestone, Russell
Periwinkle, Annual Fusarium Stem Rot Elmore
Periwinkle, Annual Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Lee
Rose Botrytis Blossom Blight Lee
St. Augustine Brown Patch
Choctaw, Clarke, Lee, Montgomery
St.Augustine Gray Leaf Spot
Autauga, Lee, Montgomery
St. Augustine Take-All Patch
Autauga, Calhoun, Choctaw, Clarke, Covington, Lee, Lowndes, Montgomery
Thrift Rhizoctonia Blight Calhoun
Zinnia Bacterial Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas) Houston
Zoysia Bipolaris Leaf Spot/Crown Rot Clarke
Zoysia Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia) Montgomery
Zoysia Dollar Spot (Sclerotinia Montgomery
*Counties are not reported for greenhouse and nursery samples.

Birmingham Plant Disease Report-June
Jim Jacobi
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist - Birmingham

Above normal rainfall continued in June, with the Birmingham Airport recording 7.54 inches of rainfall during the month. Last year for the six-month period from May through October, we recorded just 13.31 inches. So far, 12.79 inches has been recorded in May and June alone. The abundant rainfall has increased the severity of many of the common fungal diseases (early blight on tomato, dollar spot on bermudagrass, black spot on rose, etc.) in both landscapes and vegetable gardens.

Powdery mildew of tomato and tomitillo was seen for the first time on home garden sample last month. Since the mid-1990's, a disease outbreak of powdery mildew (caused by Oidium lycopersicum) has been reported in eastern North America (including Ontario, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, and other states). To my knowledge this disease has not been reported in Alabama. Symptoms include white superficial mycelium on leaves and stems, often with yellow margins, followed by desiccation, necrosis and defoliation. The majority of reports of this disease in Connecticut were first from home gardens (with little or no fungicide use) and later in commercial fields. So, we might see this disease become more widespread in the future. A number of fungicides commonly used for control of early blight (including chlorothalonil and azoxystrobin) have been effective in controlling this disease.

We screened a portion (94 plants) of the orchid collection at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for three viruses (Odontoglossum ringspot virus, tobacco mosaic virus, and Cymbidium mosaic virus). The plants were candidates for a tissue culture program in the new micropropagation lab at the Gardens. All the samples were negative for tobacco mosaic virus and Cymbidium mosaic virus. However, about 14% of the samples (13 of 94) were positive for Odontoglossum ringspot virus. More than 20 genera of orchids are reported to be infected by Odontoglossum ringspot virus and show color-breaking, chlorotic streaking, mosaic or necrosis. In some cultivars no symptoms are produced. In this case, none of the plants tested showed symptoms prior to analysis.

June Plant Diseases Received at the Birmingham Plant Diagnostic Lab
Azalea Azalea Lacebugs Jefferson (3)
Azalea Phomopsis Dieback Jefferson
Azalea Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson
Bentgrass Pythium Root Rot *(3)
Bermudagrass Helminthosporium Leaf Spot Jefferson
Boxwood Animal Urine Injury Jefferson
Boxwood Macrophoma Leaf Spot Jefferson
Centipedegrass Brown Patch Jefferson (2)
Cherry Laurel Shot Hole Jefferson
Crabapple Apple Scab Jefferson
Dahlia Pythium Root and Stem Rot Jefferson
Dogwood, Flowering Powdery Mildew Jefferson
Euonymous Euonymous Scale Jefferson
Fig, Weeping Scale Jefferson
Hackberry Slime Flux Jefferson
Iris Cladosporium Leaf Spot Jefferson, Walker
Ivy, English Phyllosticta Leaf Spot Jefferson
Ivy, English Slime Mold Shelby
Juniper Phytophthora Root Rot Jefferson
Leyland Cypress Seiridium Canker Jefferson
Leyland Cypress Spider Mites Jefferson
Maple, Japanese Anthracnose Jefferson, Shelby
Maple, Japanese Japanese Beetle Jefferson
Mondograss Anthracnose Jefferson
Oak, Black Gouty Oak Gall Jefferson
Oak, Black Hypoxylon Canker Sumter
Oak, Live Oak Leaf Blister Jefferson
Oak, Overcup Anthracnose *
Oak, Southern Red Algal Leaf Spot Jefferson
Oak, White Oak Leaf Blister Jefferson
Petunia Phytophthora Blight Walker
Plum Black Knot Jefferson
Plum Brown Rot Shelby
Plum Lacebugs Jefferson
Rose Black Spot Jefferson (2)
St. Augustine Gray Leaf Spot Jefferson
St. Augustine Take-All Root Rot Jefferson (3)
Vinca Powdery Mildew Jefferson
Vinca Phytophthora Blight Jefferson (2), Walker
Yoshino Cherry Shothole Jefferson
Zinnia Alternaria Leaf Spot Jefferson
Zoysia Brown Patch Jefferson
Zoysia Leaf Rust Jefferson
*Counties are not reported for greenhouse and nursery samples.

Disease Possibilities for July
In July we usually continue to see our 'June'-summer diseases. To look at diseases for a typical July please go to the Plant Pathology button on our home page and click on July. You will find brief comments on disease symptoms and control recommendations. For specific disease control recommendations, see the Alabama Pest Management Handbook or 2001 Sprays Guides. Also remember that sanitation is a necessary component of most disease control programs.


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;

September 30 - October 3, 2001:
Eastern Region International Plant Propagators' Society Annual Meeting.
Lexington, KY. Contact Margot Bridgen, 26 Woodland Road, Storrs, CT 06268; phone 860-429-6818; e-mail

October 5-7, 2001:
Annual meeting of Alabama Christmas Tree Association combined with Georgia Christmas Tree Association.
Bill Murray's farm in Cordele, Georgia. Contact Ken Tilt (334-844-5484) for more information.

October 12-13, 2001:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail:, or

October 18-21, 2001:
Southern Region International Plant Propagators' Society.
Houston, TX. Contact David Morgan at 817-882-4148; fax: 817-882-4121; SR IPPS, P.O. Box 1868, Ft. Worth, TX 76101; e-mail:

November 30 - December 1, 2001:
The Great Southern Tree Conference.
Contact Heather Nedley at; 1-800-375-3642.

October 11-12, 2002:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail:, or

April to October, 2002:
Floriade 2002.
See the AmeriGarden (5,400 square feet), part of the world horticulture exhibition in the Netherlands.
For more information call 808-961-6660 or visit or

Send horticultural questions and comments to

Send questions and comments to

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