February 1998

For those of you who participated in the Alabama Nurserymen's Association trade show you are probably also catching up on work that was postponed while preparations were being made for Mobile. For those of you who stopped by to talk or ask questions at our booth it was nice to see all of you and we hope we were able to answer your questions or at least put you in contact with someone who could. For those of you who picked up one of those orange pieces of paper with our web address on Thursday or Friday you already know that the ed should have read edu. Spell check doesn't help much with web or e-mail addresses. Should being more careful have been a New Year's resolution of mine?!

Since this is a short month preceded by a long month of trade show preparations we will have an abbreviated newsletter. In the near future we will be publishing the results of an ongoing crapemyrtle study with lots of photographs on the web (text will be in the newsletter). We are evaluating crapemyrtle relative to their suitability in the landscape, floral characteristics, disease resistance and other factors.

We hope Cupid is kind to you and that our usually mild climate will return to us.

See you in March.

Bernice

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BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF FIRE ANTS

Fire ants are a serious problem in the United States as there do not appear to be natural enemies to combat them. In their native South America there are predators, pathogens and parasites that commonly attack them. In 1997 a USDA-ARS scientist in Gainesville, Florida, was able to import a small fly that attacks fire ants. Studies are being done to ascertain whether the flies would harm native ant species, humans and other organisms.

The fly is from the phorid fly family. In South America the immature feeding stage of the fly lives in the head of the fire ant and eventually eats all of the tissue inside the ant's head until it falls off and then the ant dies. If this fly is found to be effective it would significantly help with the fire ant problem. Currently, Amdro and Logic are registered for specific fire ant locations. The problem is that the treatments do not last very long.

A fire ant biological control demonstration site will be established in Alabama in 1998 or 1999. We will keep you informed of the progress.
(from Kathy Flanders, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University)

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WEB REVIEW
www.growit.com

This is a useful, well laid out site with practical and commercial information. There are classified ads, plant and supply sources, information on insects and diseases, a listing of associations and a section named "Knowledge Base" which is full of articles on topics that range from Annuals to Wildflowers. Their "Quick Plant Selector" gives information of the hardiness of plants, soil and light requirements, salt tolerance, projected size and a photograph for many cultivars. Business clients pay for a service that lists plants and their availability.

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WEB REVIEW: Wildseed Farms
www.wildseedfarms.com/

Wildseed Farms is owned and operated by John Thomas who, as a boy, lived near the LBJ ranch in Texas. His interest in wildflowers was encouraged by Lady Bird Johnson. He now has two large wildflower farms. The web site offers general and specific information regarding planting and care of wildflowers simply stated. One is taken with how much Mr. Thomas wants you to succeed in this venture. The site was not full of gorgeous photos but it is easy to imagine how lovely a small plot or large expanse of flowers from his wildflower seeds could be.

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WEB REVIEW: National Wildflower Research Center
www.wildflower.org/

Lady Bird Johnson was instrumental in establishing the National Wildflower Research Center. Her goals were to create a clearinghouse of information to encourage the use of native plants in the North American landscape. It is worth going to this site just to read her message. There are listings of regional interest and a calendar of native plant-theme events.

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WEB REVIEW: Wildflower Links
www.afternet.com/~tnr/wildflower/links.html

This page is a potpourri of links to other pages that have to do with wildflowers (and some that don't). There are educational articles, articles of interest to children, even a page on Italian orchids with thumbprint photos that you can click on to see gorgeous screen-sized images of those incredibly complicated flowers. The rhododendron page had lovely photos and very detailed formal information about the species. It is a good page to look at for a rather panoramic view of wildflowers in this country and elsewhere.

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WEB REVIEW: Wildflowers of Alabama
www.duc.auburn.edu/~deancar/

Over 35 wildflowers of Alabama are described in detail accompanied by very nice photographs. Web sites related to wildflowers near and distant are also listed.

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BUYER'S GUIDES

Valuable sources for locating specific plants are buyer's guides that are published by various nurserymen's associations around the country. Of particular interest to us are the two that follow:

The 1998 Guide to Virginia Growers, published by the Virginia Nurserymen's Association, lists more than 2,500 varieties of plants grown in Virginia. All sources in the book are members of the Virginia Nurserymen's Association. Plants are listed in alphabetical order by genus, species, and varieties. Growers (firm name and telephone number) who stock these plants are listed below the formal name. Full addresses are listed at the beginning of the guide. For more information about the 1998 Guide to Virginia Growers call 1-800-476-0055; fax: 540-382-2716; or e-mail: vna@swva.net

The Tennessee Nursery Buyer's Guide and Directory is a similar publication. Copies of that directory can be ordered from The Tennessee Nurserymen's Association, Inc., P.O. Box 57, McMinnville, Tennessee 37110; phone: 615-473-3951; fax: 615-473-5883. This guide gives additional information regarding the manner in which plants are shipped - liner, bare root, seedling, balled and burlapped, container, packaged.

These are wonderful resources for landscape professionals and great marketing tools for nursery wholesalers. Unfortunately, Alabama is lagging behind in this area. Hopefully this will be a priority project for us in the near future.

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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 3-4, 1998:
American Hemerocallis Society Region 10 (KY, TN) Meeting. Campbell House Inn, Lexington, Kentucky. Contact Dave Bowman at 606-858-3012.

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

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

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. 615-668-7322; Fax: 615-668-9601; e-mail: MTNA@juno.com

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

July 28-31, 1999:
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

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