JULY 1998


Happy Red, White and Blue Month!

by Dr. Ken Tilt
Extention Horticulturist
Auburn University

There are fads and fashions in horticulture and you can often see them coming if you scan enough garden magazines, visit garden centers, view HGTV and other horticultural outlets. You do not have to look too hard to see that Container Gardening is on the rise.

A recent article in American Nurseryman on decorative pots shows the industry is seeing this trend and a special feature on Good Morning America on window boxes and container gardening shows even the non-gardening public is being gigged into reviving this garden feature. It is our responsibility as an Industry and in the Extension System to see that this gardening technique does not end. Fads, by their definition, create a brief excitement and then fade. We want to turn this fad into a new standard for gardens and business landscapes and a permanent feature in the architect's and landscape designer's plans. Of course, we want to do this because, when done properly, container gardens can add exciting highlights to the garden and landscape through all four seasons of the year. They can turn a seasonally deprived, bland deck, entrance, or garden nook into a bright, inviting and sensually stimulating, welcome area in the home or business. Successful and happy gardeners also mean more sales and profits.

The key to success is education and giving the public what they want. Our problem is not with the 20 percent of the die-hard, Latin-spouting gardeners, but with the 80 percent of the gardening public that do not have the knowledge to be successful with this resurrected gardening feature. Failure results in this fad fading. Filling a wooden box with "Dirt", sitting it by the front door or nailing it to a window sill, and stuffing it with some overgrown bedding plants will be the beginning of many new gardener's failed attempts unless guidance or the finished product is provided to them. How often do you see container plantings of scraggly, disease and insect infested pansies or petunias? Poor potting media, which are unregulated in our industry, can break down, shrink, and the plants sink out of sight into the containers or develop root rot due to poor aeration. Poor selection of plant materials for color, texture, shape, size and season of bloom can result in a fiasco. Improper container design and color is another factor in failure.

We are not going to convert all of the 80 percent casual or obligatory gardeners into the die-hard group. But, we can make it easier for them to be successful through education and by designing our product for success by anyone who can remember to turn on the hose once a week. Successful plantings by our gardening enthusiasts, good displays in the garden center, and good marketing through our gardening communication channels will get the buyers to the stores. But, to keep the fad alive, the buyers and designers must have successful experiences.

If we make it our job and goal to offer convenience our industry can continue to expand with this product and others. Look around your grocery store (ready to eat 0salads), bank (ATMs), computer stores (Plug and Play), department stores (no assembly required) and most other retail outlets. They have been using this approach for many years. We are fortunate that we still have the opportunity to "make it simple". Business is great in the nursery industry but with a little effort and imagination, it can be better.

We can offer four levels of marketing to: Gardening Enthusiasts, Dabblers, Quick and Easy Gardeners and Don't Bother me with the Details group. To the Gardening Enthusiasts we offer seed, plants, media, fertilizers, and containers or construction designs. The Dabblers are steered towards selection of the container and window box kits with pre-designed layouts or blueprints for successful plantings, proven media, fertilizers, and instructions for planting and maintenance success. The Quick and Easy Gardeners are routed towards the pre-planted container inserts and the ornamental containers. These shoppers select the finished planting design, the ornamental container of choice and receive instructions for installation and success. Straight to the car, home, and, with a 10 to 30 minute installation, the vision is complete in time for company. These insert containers can be changed regularly with fresh flowers to suit the season and occasion. The Don't Bother Me With Details group, who want the look but not the hassle, can opt for the "Handle-It" package. This is great for businesses and a select number of gardens or landscapes. It can be an added package to your maintenance contract to install and maintain seasonal color in the garden. This group gets to enjoy the results and share the artistry of professionals with their friends. Of course, there is the segment of the population that "just don't see it". This group would like to pave over the world to get rid of pollen, messy leaves etc., but they will buy the completed product because it is the new standard and they want to be correct. This is fine. It is not our job to agree or disagree with the customer but to provide them with what they want.

Marketing is an area that we have not been very conscientious about in our industry. We have such a wonderful product; it has always sold itself. If we want to expand our horticultural base and smooth out the rise and fall of various fads, we need to focus more in this area. With container gardening on the rise, now is a great opportunity to begin. Use your imagination to capitalize on this new fad. Make it a permanent fixture in our landscapes.

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

1. FIRE ANTS BEWARE

2. WEB SITE REVIEW: www.bluebooktor.com

3. CONGRATULATIONS!

4. SOUTHEAST GREENHOUSE CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW

5. A NEW SPECIALTY PLANT FROM AUSTRALIA - BRACHYSOMES

6. NURSERY CROP PRODUCTION/LANDSCAPE HORTICULTURE FIELD DAY IN NORTH CAROLINA

7. LIMING VS. OVER-LIMING

8. HORTICULTURAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET - THE VERY SHORT LIST

9. CENTRAL TEXAS MAY HAVE PREDICTED AND HUGE DROUGHT

10. J.C. RAULSTON HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY BY UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

11. UPCOMING EVENTS

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.

1. FIRE ANTS BEWARE

"Fire ants infected with Brazilian pathogenic microorganisms were released in Hope, Arkansas and Durant, Oklahoma the last week of May. USDA researchers hope the ants will spread the pathogen and help control imported fire ants, which infest millions of acres in 11 states. The microorganism, Thelohania solenopsae, weakens and destroys fire ant colonies in 9-18 months. Other sites slated for possible release are Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana".

(from David Morgan, Weekly NMPRO e-mail, dated June 9, 1998)

2. WEB SITE REVIEW: www.bluebooktor.com

This site has been launched by the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Press (CPI Inc.) as a free service. You type in the name of one of 32 companies (a wide range of pharmaceutical and chemical companies) and a product brand name and you are given the current product labels and MSDS's (Material Safety Data Sheet). Another page will give you new and/or revised labels.

For a $50 annual fee you can locate products by crops, pests, common name and category and also view and print product summaries, information regarding worker protection, and a hazardous chemical inventory.

3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

We are proud to congratulate Glenn Fain, a recent graduate of the master's program in Horticulture at Auburn University, for having been selected as one of the ten top master's students at the university. He was nominated and granted the award because of his outstanding academic career. In addition to excelling as a student he has volunteered to be involved in many projects that have benefited his fellow students and professors. Professionally he is active in state and regional nursery associations.

His master's thesis, entitled "Effects of Cyclic Micro-Irrigation and Substrate in Pot-in-Pot Production", has contributed to a better understanding of new irrigation technology and the importance of using best management practices in the nursery business. Glenn hopes to continue with his graduate studies that will lead ultimately to a doctoral degree.

4. SOUTHEAST GREENHOUSE CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW

by Dr. Raymond Kessler
Assistant Professor, Auburn University

The Southeast Greenhouse Conference and Trade Show, held in Greenville SC on June 25-27, 1998, was an important event for greenhouse growers throughout the southeast. In its sixth year, the show had 2,100 registered attendees this year compared to 1,690 in 1997. The show is comprised of a three-day education program and an industry trade show. The trade show this year had 323 company booths marketing plant material and industry specific supplies for greenhouse operations. The show also featured a computer area to allow attendees to try "hands on" surfing on the worldwide web.

There were education programs on crop production, greenhouse management, retail operation, marketing on the world wide web, pest management, starting a new greenhouse business, new crop introductions and other sessions. Another feature of the conference was a greenhouse and garden center bus tour in the Greenville, SC area. The keynote presentation was delivered by Dr. Allan Armitage of the University of Georgia.

As a member of the show board, I would like to invite you to make plans to attend the show next year on June 17-19.Seven states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, are now participating members. This allows us to invite the best speakers from across the nation for the education program. Proceeds from the Conference and Trade Show go to support member states' growers organizations.

(Raymond Kessler, Jr., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Auburn University)

5. A NEW SPECIALTY PLANT FROM AUSTRALIA - BRACHYSOMES

Nursery owners, gardeners, and landscape designers are always looking for new, reliable, healthy, attractive plants to add to their repertoire. You may want to consider adding brachysome (also known as the Swan River Daisy) to your inventory of annuals. A plant which originated in Australia, although not very reliable about 20 years ago, has been the focus of research and has been improved tremendously. The current hybrids come from breeding among B. multifida, B. iberidifolia, B. decipiens, and others. Plants set flowers very quickly and four inch containers can be ready for sale 6 to 10 weeks after transplanting.

Brachysomes are somewhat versatile and can be used as bedding plants or, for best results, grown in containers. They need full sun, smart watering (plants need to dry out between waterings) and well drained soil. Nutrition of 75-100 ppm of N 20-10-20 appears to be sufficient for success. They will flower all season and do not need to be deadheaded. Plants do not grow top-heavy.

Benary Seed Company introduced a cultivar named Bravo. Its colors include white with a dark eye, violet and deep blue. It was studied at the University of Georgia where they found that the small flowered series did the best. Hundreds of mauve-lilac flowers grew on 12" tall plants with very attractive foliage.

(from an article by Allan Armitage in Greenhouse Grower, June 1998).

6. NURSERY CROP PRDUCTION/LANDSCAPE HORTICULTURE FIELD DAY IN NORTH CAROLINA

Attending a horticulture field day can enhance your knowledge and practical skills. Some of the sessions at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Fletcher, North Carolina are: voles in horticultural plantings, biorational plant protectants for controlling adult Japanese beetles; evaluating the landscape performance of plants treated with plant growth regulators; evaluation trials of Kousa dogwoods, serviceberries, flowering crabapples and flowering cherries. There will also be commercial exhibits, professional certification programs and tours of research projects. For more information call 828-687-7197.

(from Richard E. Bir, North Carolina)

7. LIMING VERSES OVER-LIMING

Gillman, Dirr and Braman at the University of Georgia have shown through their research that overliming with dolomite can significantly reduce growth in container grown Buddleia davidii 'Royal Red'. Optimal growth and flowering occurred when 4 pounds of dolomitic limestone per cubic yard were added to a pine bark growing media. Containers in which 8-16 pounds of dolomitic limestone per cubic yard were added produced significantly less growth.

(from the June 1998 issue of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture)

8. HORTICULTURAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET - THE VERY SHORT LIST

By Chazz Hesselein
Extension Horticulturist

The Internet is a wonderful place for finding information. Unfortunately, it's also a wonderful place to spend far too much time trying to find that information. You can (and I do) spend hours tracking down specific information only to find that you have lost your time to your computer and still don't find the information you want. In my browsing I have located some sites with valuable information for some specific topics. The best part is these sites are based on scientific research, not rumors or the need to sell a product.

There are several excellent sites for finding information on pest control. I like to start with the Alabama Integrated Pest Management Site (http://www.acesag.auburn.edu/department/ipm/). This site contains pest management information in the form of Extension publications for both the homeowner and commercial producer. It also has links to IPM sites at universities all over the United States. A couple of these sites that I have found particularly useful are the University of California Statewide IPM project (www.IPM.ucdavis.edu/) and in my opinion, an even more useful site, the North Carolina State University component of the National IPM Network (http://ipmwww.ncsu.edu/). Once again, both of these sites contain useful pest management information for the homeowner as well as the commercial producer. The NC State site is especially helpful because it has straightforward links to their Extension Horticulture publications as well as their pesticide recommendations (you'll need a version of Adobe Acrobat to view these). The University of Georgia has an extensive listing of their Extension publications available on the Internet (http://www.ces.uga.edu/PUBS/pubalph.html). I consider one of their most useful publications to be the 1997 Georgia Pest Control Handbook. One caveat concerning utilizing other states' pest control guidelines: not all of the pesticides recommended may be registered for use in your state. The Ohio State University has established a search engine with links to Extension publications all over the United States (http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/Factsheet.html). Just type in a search word on their search page and it will bring up a list of Web-available Extension publications that may (or may not) contain the information you seek. This search engine will even allow you to search for Extension publications by region (e.g., all publications in the Southeastern U.S.). All of these pages are continually being updated so keep checking back for new information.

Another good way to find information is through email "listserver" groups. These groups are established for discussion of a topic of mutual interest to members of the group. Listservers act as information mirrors, reflecting any message sent to the listserver to all the members of the listserver group. There are several advantages to email listserver groups. For example, the information comes to you as email so you can read or delete messages as you choose. You can also send queries or responses to the group as a whole or to individual members of the group. You have access to the expertise of a diverse group with interests similar to your own. The disadvantage is that, unlike the World Wide Web, there aren't any descriptive pictures to look at. However, you can send pictures as attachments to your email. Listserver groups are an excellent way to get a rapid diagnosis for a problem from experts all over the world.

The Florinet listserver deals with floricultural topics. To subscribe to this listserver send a message to LISTSERV@agvax2.ag.ohio-state.edu. The body of your message should read "subscribe florinet" (without the quotes). In a short time you will receive a confirmation message from the listserver computer and will then start receiving messages from Florinet.

The Southern Nursery Association has recently established a group of 14 listservers that deal with topics related to woody plant production, marketing, landscaping, pest management, and the research associated with these topics. To obtain more information about these new listservers please contact Danny Summers, Executive Director of the Southern Nursery Association, at Danny@mail.SNA.org, or myself, Chazz Hesselein, at chessele@acesag.auburn.edu.

9. CENTRAL TEXAS MAY HAVE PREDICTED AND HUGE DROUGHT

The Edwards Aquifer Authority (supplies water to most of central Texas) recently notified growers in San Antonio and its environs that as of January 1, 2000 they will not be allowed to pump water from the aquifer at their current rates. This mandate, if upheld by the law, will have a devastating effect on nurserymen in the area. It is possible that many of the nurseries would not be able to survive with a cutback in water. James Harden, former Board Chairman of the Texas Association of Nurserymen, was denied a permit for his 70 acre facility by the Aquifer Authority and given until August to appeal.

(from David Morgan at Greenbeam, June 16, 1998)

10. J.C. RAULSTON HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY BY UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA

Two anonymous donors, in combination with state matching funds, have provided money to endow a professorship (at the campus of his choice) in honor of the retiring president of UNC, C.D. Spangler. The President and his wife Meredith have requested that the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Professorship of Horticultural Science (a $500,000 endowed chair) be awarded to an outstanding individual who will continue on with the work of J.C. Raulston (UNC arboretum founder), killed in an automobile crash in 1996.

(from David Morgan at Greenbeam, June 16, 1998)

11. UPCOMING EVENTS

July 6-11, 1998:
Perennial Plant Association Symposium.
Boston, MA Contact Steven Still at 614-771-8431; fax 614-876-5238; e-mail: sstill@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu

July 11-15, 1998:
Ohio Short course.
Columbus, OH. Contact 800-453-3070 July 11-15, 1998:
Ohio Florists' Association Short course and Trade Show.
Greater Columbus Convention Center. Contact OFA at 614-487-1117; e-mail ofa@ofa.org/ web: http://www.ofa.org

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

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

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

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

August 5-8, 1998:
National Christmas Tree Association Annual Meeting.
Asheville, North Carolina, P.O. Box 1937, Boone, North Carolina 28607

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

August 20, 1998:
Eastern Region IPPS Midwest Area Meeting.
(Chicago area). Contact Mike Kolaczewski at 847-931-5285; fax 847-931-5325.

August 22-23, 1998:
ACTA Annual Christmas Tree Meeting.
Holiday Inn, Opelika, AL; Contact Ken Tilt at 101 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849; e-mail: ktilt@acesag.auburn.edu; phone 334-844-5484.

September 3-4, 1998:
TNA's "Tennessee America's Nursery" Trade Show and Conference.
Opryland Hotel Convention Center, Nashville TN. Contact TNA, 931-473-3971; fax 931-473-5883; e-mail nurseryassn@blomand.net

September 22, 1998:
Nursery Crop Production/Landscape Horticulture Field Day.
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, Fletcher, NC. Phone 828-687-7197.

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 or MTNA@blomand.net

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

November 5-7, 1998:
Annual Meeting of The Holly Society of America Annual Meeting.
Colonial Williamsburg, VA; Contact 757-363-3906

November 20-22, 1998:
Meeting of the Middle Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.
Chamberlain Hotel, Hampton, VA; Contact 304-765-5551

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 11-13, 2000:
Kentucky Landscape Industries Winter Educational Conference and Trade Show.
The Lexington Center, Lexington, KY. Contact Debbie Cain, KNLA Exec. Dir. at 502-899-3622; fax 502-899-7922.

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

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

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

July 8-12, 2000:
Ohio Florists' Association Short Course and Trade Show.
Greater Columbus Convention Center. Contact OFA at 614-487-1117; e-mail ofa@ofa.org; web: http://www.ofa.org

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

July 14-18, 2000:
Ohio Florists' Association Short Course and Trade Show.
Greater Columbus Convention Center; Contact OFA at 614-487-1117; e-mail ofa@ofa.org; web: http://www.ofa.org

July 16-19, 2000:
American Society for Horticultural Science 97th International Conference.
Disney Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, FL. Contact ASHS at 703-836-4606; fax 703-836-2024; e-mail ashs@ashs.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: dmorgan@bsipublishing.com

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