February 2002

February - A time to be nervous with anticipation

Christmas, New Years, Gulf States Trade Show and Super Bowl are history. Like an old car, our southern weather is beginning to shake off the kinks and aches of winter and sputter into a full-fledged, revved-up, chaotic spring season. We are still enjoying a strong camellia season and the best holly display I have seen in years.

Flashes of warm weather have aroused winter honeysuckle into full fragrance. Loropetalum (our new spring indicator plant), forsythia, winter jasmine, daffodils, star and saucer magnolias and other brave flowering plants are peaking to see if it is OK to burst into color. As these flowers break, you can bet the first warm Saturday, gardeners will be at the garden centers in force to get the pick of the new plant shipments. Many gardeners have also learned it is time to put out pre-emergent herbicides with the forsythia bloom. Hopefully more knowledgeable gardeners, as well as nurseries, will be trying to beat the onslaught of spring weeds by getting out these herbicides. It is that time of the year. Ready or not here it comes!

If the Trade Show is any indication of our Green Economy, things should be good this spring. Close to 4,300 people walked the aisles of the show this year and over 400 people shared in the educational seminars. Keep an eye on our web page to see research that may help you in your plant selection (groundcover roses, Rapheolepis, crapmyrtles, crabapples, annual trials) and other areas of your business. We have an exciting new addition to the page. Google Search Engine was added to the site It is a simple, free tool for use by educational web pages. It allows me as well as you to search all the past newsletters or other areas of the site for things you remember seeing printed but forget how to find them. I always get calls for control of mistletoe (FLOREL) or sprouting of crapemyrtles (Tre-Hold) and my weak mind can not always grab the right chemical. Now I search for some key word and it makes it easy to retrieve. Give it a try. Of course, as we have mentioned before, www.SNA.org offers the same service for tracking down research on nursery topics.

If you are a retail garden center of a landscape company Water wise brochures are available. Please let us know and we will send you some to distribute. It is one page in full color with short, important takes on the importance of the wise use of water. 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:








A Landscape Plant Symposium on "Plant Development and Utilization" will be held at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina on May 23-25, 2002. This national symposium will address the exploration, improvement, production, marketing, and application of landscape plants. Interspersed with tours of local flora and horticulture will be four sessions with 20 featured speakers on diverse horticultural topics. Additional poster presentations are also invited.

Cooperating organizations include: the Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance, the North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources, the USDA Forest Service, Southern Region, the Landscape Plant Development Center, the Maple Society, and the International Ornamental Crabapple Society.

More information may be obtained from the METRIA website at http://fletcher.ces.state.nc.us/programs/nursery/metria/metria2002/; from Dr. Brian Maynard (bmaynard@uri.edu), Department of Plant Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, 401-874-5372; or from Dr. Tom Ranney (tom_ranney@ncsu.edu), Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, 455 Research Drive, Fletcher, NC, 828-684-3562.


BoShanCee Nursery is a 50 acre wholesale operation located in New Market AL, specializing in B&B broadleaf evergreens and selected companion plants (http://Boshanceensy.com) . SOMETHING TO GROW ON readers may recall BoShanCee from a June, 1998 article describing an innovative chuck wagon outfitted by BoShanCee's founder and president, Bill O'Meara. This chuckwagon safely transports chemicals, sprayers and tools to the field, thus reducing lost work time spent retrieving these items from the tool shed or mixing area.

Time saving field chuckwagon

Since our last visit to BoShanCee, Bill has continued to develop production systems that optimize his employees' output. Most recently, he developed a novel propagating system that combines the best features of in-ground propagating beds with the flexibility of containerized liners.

For several years, BoShanCee Nursery has met its liner needs by using poly tunnels to direct stick softwood cuttings into quart containers, then growing these for two seasons. Even though this process yields a high-quality, field-ready liner, there was still a perceived need for improvement. According to Bill, there were three areas in which he could improve BoShanCee's propagating system: 1) one year containerized liners need substantial winter protection in north Alabama, 2) quart containers spaced on any pattern besides "pot-tight" tend to blow over, and 3) the spacing in traditional quart shuttle trays is too close for second year liners. Bill found that during the second season, liners grown in these shuttle trays were overcrowded and needed to be shaped before they were lined out. This reduced the liner quality, increased labor costs and lengthened crop production time. In-ground propagating beds can be used to overcome the problems of winter protection and of pots blowing over, but the problem of plant-to-plant spacing remains. A further shortcoming of in-ground beds is that there is a reduced window of opportunity to line out bare root material.

The solution Bill decided on was to build a 20' x 230' (above ground) sand bed and install a pot-in-pot (PNP) system for his quart liner production. With this system there was sufficient plantĖto-plant spacing to produce heavy two-year liners, adequate winter protection, wind stabilized pots, cooler root zone, and the flexibility of a long planting season.

Topview of quart PNP propagating system. Pots are 6 inches o.c.

Pots in the greenhouse

The sockets are drilled according to a pre-drilled plywood template with the sockets set on six inch centers. Into these sockets, a socket pot with a herbicide impregnated disk is installed and then the liner pot is inserted. Each planting season the 2-year qt liners are pulled and planted in the field. New, one-year qt liners are then inserted into the socket pot along with a new herbicide disk. This system produces 10,000 liners per year. Bill says he has been well-satisfied with the results so far.

Picture of well done liner from pnp propagating system.

One area of concern for Bill is that of root escape into the surrounding substrate. While the herbicide coated disks minimize the risk of this occurrence, it occasionally happens, causing socket holes to be filled while uprooting wayward liners. The problem is corrected manually with little trouble.


Albert Vanhoogmoed of Overlook Nursery in Mobile, Alabama has submitted two ideas that may interest you. Albert has found that growing club moss in the aisle-ways between their houses provides good weed control. He also shares their overwintering plastic application, rewinding and storage device. I have been on tours of the nursery and enjoyed seeing this simple device in action.

Entire setup with motor and spindle bar mounted on frame
that can be taken easily off the trailer and stored for next season.

Close-up of motor mount

PVC pipe used to roll up plastic

Motor disassembled from clamps for storage

Final results

Club moss aisle-way ground cover between shadehouses:

Shade vs. full sun. They get full sun from about 11 am to 1 PM.

Greener spot indicates where fertilizer was applied.

Paraquat does not hurt mosses but does wipe out all other weeds until moss is able to take over completely. Albert indicates that Simazine really does severe damage to the moss. He has not tried other permanents. He suggests this may be a research opportunity.


Total gross nursery sales, according to the 2000 USDA Nursery Crops Survey Rank State Total sales, for the top 17 states are as follows:
  1. California $934,270.000
  2. Oregon $508,200,000
  3. Florida $479,033,000
  4. Michigan $166,182,000
  5. North Carolina $154,107,000
  6. Tennessee $124,065,000
  7. Ohio $106,931,000
  8. Texas $101,011,00
  9. Illinois $97,115,000
  10. Washington $95,235,000
  11. Connecticut $92,104,000
  12. New Jersey $90,759,000
  13. Georgia $87,186,000
  14. Pennsylvania $86,064,000
  15. Alabama $85,991,000
  16. New York $52,012,000
  17. South Carolina $46,474,000



Jackie Mullen
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist

December was relatively quiet in the area of plant samples with 23 samples received. The lab was, however, busy with soil nematode analysis samples.

Warm temperatures during the first part of December allowed brown patch to be active on bermuda and centipede grasses. We also saw rust disease on tall fescue. Other diseases seen included daylily rust, Collectotrichum leaf spot/blight on fern, Botrytris blight on poinsettia, and Fusarium pitch canker on pine. Also, the take-all patch fungus was identified on centipede. John Olive reported seeing daylily rust again in Mobile. See Timely Information PP-506 by A. Hagan (also on ACES website).

December 2001 Plant Diseases Seen In The Plant Diagnostic Lab at Auburn

BermudaBrown Patch (Rhizoctonia)Montgomery
CentipedeBrown Patch (Rhizoctonia)Covington, Mobile
CentipedeTake-AllPatch Gaeumannomyces)Montgomery
FernColletotrichum Leaf Spot and BlightJackson
Fescue, TallRust (Puccinia)Jackson
PineFusarium Pitch CankerLauderdale
PoinsettiaBotrytis BlightLee

Jim Jacobi
Extension Plant Pathology Specialist

December started unseasonably warm, but ended with near normal weather conditions. Some broad-leafed evergreens that were fooled by the mild temperatures in November through mid-December were injured as temperatures dropped into the teens later in the month. The mild, wet weather at the beginning of the month did provide conditions favorable for the development of brown patch on 'Emerald' and 'Meyer' zoysiagrass. Other diseases seen included Rhizoctonia stem rot on basil, and Phytophthora and Pythium root rot on boxwood. Armillaria root rot was seen on Chinese hollies stressed from circling roots and possible lingering effects of the severe drought in 2000. Remember that container grown shrubs and trees with intact circling roots should not be planted. Plants with root deformities may not fail for several years after planting. Additional information on Armillaria root rot can be found in extension publication, ANR-907.

Two active mite infestations were also seen early in the month. Southern red mites were found on elaeagnus and eriophyid mites on wax myrtle. Southern red mites are most common during spring and fall. These mites can cause damage on a wide range of plants, but prefer azalea, rhododendron, elaeagnus, holly, rose, pyracantha, and others. Refer to extension publication, ANR-192, for more information on control of this pest. The damage from eriophyid mites on wax myrtle appeared as small, greenish pimples or blisters on the leaves. These mites are extremely small and can not be seen without the aid of a microscope or 20X handlens. The mites are white to colorless and wormlike in appearance. Very little information is available on the long-term potential damage to wax myrtle growth and development.

2001 December Diseases Seen In The Birmingham Plant Diagnostic Lab

BasilRhizoctonia Stem Rot *
BasilMealybugs *
BoxwoodBoxwood LeafminerJefferson
BoxwoodPhytophthora Root RotTuscaloosa
BoxwoodPythium Root RotJefferson
ElaeagnusSouthern Red MiteShelby
Holly, ChineseArmillaria Root RotJefferson
Holly, ChineseScale, sooty moldJefferson
Wax MyrtleEriophyid MitesJefferson
ZoysiagrassBrown PatchJefferson, Shelby
*Counties are not reported for samples from commercial greenhouse and nursery operations.

Disease Possibilities For January
In January, we may see rust diseases and barley yellow dwarf virus show up on oats and wheat. In the southern sections of the state, fungal and bacterial diseases of vegetables (especially crucifers) and brown patch on turf grasses may be problems. Pythium blight/root rot may occur on cool-season grasses; this is mostly a problem on golf course areas. Black root rot (Thielaviopsis basicola) may occur on pansies and container hollies. Botrytis is a common problem on greenhouse crops.

The Plant Diagnostic Lab Annual Report
We hope to have it finished and mailed in February. We hope you will find the report useful as a reference for disease occurrences in the state.


January 31 - February 03, 2002:
ANLA Management Clinic.
Louisville, KY.
Contact: ANLA, 202-789-2900; Fax 202-789-1893

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 http://www.floriade.nl/ or http://www.amerigarden2002.com/

July 12 - 15, 2002:
ANLA Convention & Executive Learning Retreat.
San Diego, CA. Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; Fax, 202-789-1893

August 1-4, 2002:
SNA 2002 - Southern Nursery Association Researcherís Conference and Trade Show
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.
Contact SNA at 770-953-3311; Fax 770-953-4411; SNA Infoline, 770-953-4636; e mail: mail@mail.sna.org
URL: http://www.sna.org

August 11-17, 2002:
American Society for Horticultural Science and XXVI International Horticultural Congress & Exhibition.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606, Fax: 703-836-2024, E-mail: ashs@ashs.org
URL: http://www.ashs.org

September 26, 2002:
Fletcher Field Day.
Ornamentals field day at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Fletcher, North Carolina.
Contact Dick Bir (rbir@fletcher.ces.state.nc.us) for more information.

September 29-October 2, 2002:
Eastern Region International Plant Propagators' Society NA and IPPS Southern Region NA Annual Meeting.
Hunt Valley (Baltimore), MD.
Contact Margot Bridgen at 26 Woodland Road, Storrs, CT 06268; 860-429-6818, E-mail: mbippser@neca.com or Dr. David L. Morgan, 332 Warbler Drive, Bedford, TX 76021; ph. 817-577-9272; e-mail, dleemorgan@msn.com

October 4-5, 2002:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

January 15-17, 2003:
Mid-AM Trade Show.
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Contact: Rand Baldwin at 847-526-2010, Fax 847-526-3993, e-mail mail@midam.org
URL: http://www.midam.org

January 30 - February 02, 2003:
ANLA Management Clinic.
Louisville, KY.
Contact ANLA at 202-789-2900; Fax, 202-789-1893
URL: http://www.anla.org

February 23-26, 2002:
Plasticulture 2002.
30th American Agricultural Plastics Congress
Contact ASP at 717-238-9762, Fax 717-239-9985, e-mail pheuser@calabreseheuser.org
URL: http://www.plasticulture.org

July 15 - 20, 2003:
ANLA Convention & Executive Learning Retreat.
Location TBA. Contact: ANLA, 202-789-2900; Fax, 202-789-1893.
URL: http://www.anla.org

July 30-August 2, 2003:
SNA 2003- Southern Nursery Association Researcherís Conference and Trade Show.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.
Contact SNA at 770-953-3311; Fax 770-953-4411; SNA Infoline, 770-953-4636.

September 30 - October 4, 2003:
American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Meeting and 100th Anniversary.
Providence, RI.
Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606, Fax: 703-836-2024, E-mail: ashs@ashs.org
URL: http://www.ashs.org

October 3-4, 2003:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

October 5-8, 2003:
IPPS Southern Region NA.
San Antonio, TX.
Contact: Dr. David L. Morgan, 332 Warbler Drive, Bedford, TX 76021; phone 817-577-9272; e-mail, dleemorgan@msn.com

July 29 - 31, 2004:
SNA 2004 - Southern Nursery Association Researcherís Conference and Trade Show.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.
Contact: SNA 770-953-3311; Fax 770-953-4411; SNA Infoline, 770-953-4636
URL: http://www.sna.org

October 1-2, 2004:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: mtna@blomand.net,
http://www.mtna.com/ or http://www.southeasternnursery.com/mtna/

October 3-6, 2004:
IPPS Southern Region NA
Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.
Contact: Dr. David L. Morgan, 332 Warbler Drive, Bedford, TX 76021; phone 817-577-9272; e-mail, dleemorgan@msn.com

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

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

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