March 1998

Spring comes to the South, first with a cautious whisper, and then with a boisterous yell!

Happy Spring!

Don't let Mother Nature know any different. One thing that is often said about weather is that it is normally abnormal. We just skipped winter this year. I threw out some of my neglected house plants only to find them still alive and well. I may take them back in and give them another chance to grow without my attention. Garden centers and mass markets are calling for orders NOW and nurseries are running at full tilt (this is not abnormal).

I have been traveling a great deal this month and I am excited over the continued good success of most our nurseries. I can also tell we are in the midst of good times by the number of calls I am getting about individuals interested in starting a nursery. Maybe with a continued good economy, attention to quality and service and development of better marketing programs, we can keep the momentum going. Don't get too busy to let your customers know that you appreciate their business.

I was involved in a great program this past week. It took me to Tuscaloosa (Even though I was from Auburn University, I was welcomed there in off-season). I worked with the county agent, Wayne Ford, to establish a small nursery to grow about 700 Liberty elms at the North Port Waste Water Treatment Plant to be sold by various scout troops of the city. Wayne planned everything out well in advance to get Master Gardeners, 4-H volunteers, school groups, parents, and a large host of other groups and individuals to make this money raising event work. The Elm Research Institute promotes the Johnny Elmseed Project and sells Dutch elm resistant trees to the non-profit groups ($5000 was donated to purchase the trees by a caring citizen) and provides the containers and the stakes for growing the trees in 3-gallon containers. Trees are grown for 2 to 3 years and sold as a fund raising event and as a promotional effort to restore the American Elm to our city streets. Hyponex and Scotts provided the media and fertilizer and Acuff Irrigation helped with the irrigation. The good feeling was to watch kids, ages 5 to 75, buzzing around filling pots, fertilizing, watering, and making last minute construction adjustments to the nursery. Everyone was excited about the project and was enjoying being a part of a something special. Television, radio and newspaper representatives were there to cover the event. The occasion was fun for everyone involved and the publicity was great for horticulture, North Port and Tuscaloosa. It was also a tribute to the value of research for improving our environment and quality of life. The address for the Elm Research Institute is Elm St., Westmoreland, NH 03467, Phone 1-800-367-3567 or 603-358-6199

Ken Tilt

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

1. Producing Perfect Ivy Geraniums

2. The Leaf Blower Controversy

3. Consumers Prefer Red Poinsettia Cultivars

4. Poinsettia Cultivars and Powdery Mildew

5. The Use of Film-Forming Antitranspirants to Control Rose Blackspot Disease

6. Fertilizer Management by Landscape Maintenance and Lawn Care Firms in Atlanta

7. Powdery Mildew Resistant Monarda


PRODUCING PERFECT IVY GERANIUMS

- Make sure enough cuttings are placed in each pot to avoid openness. Ten inch baskets should have 1-2 cuttings in the center and 3 cuttings 2 1/2 inches from the pot's edge. Begin in February for May sales.

- Best media has a pH (test every two weeks) of 5.1 to 5.6, 25% perlite, coarse peat and 10-15% vermiculite or clay. Fertilize with 250 to 300 ppm constant feed: 15-15-15 and 20-10-20 to lower pH and soften growth. Use 15-10-30 for lower pH and harder growth and 15-5-15 with Ca and Mg for increasing pH. Micronutrient application, magnesium sulfate and calcium nitrate need to be done every fourth feeding (depending on soil and water analysis). For high EC, don't let media dry out and apply Subdue at 1 oz. per 100 gallons every 3 or 4 weeks. If new leaves yellow from heat apply 3-4 oz. of Sequestrene 330 every 2-3 weeks in the early morning and rinse leaves immediately after treatment. Keep ivies evenly moist.

- 68 degrees is the ideal average temperature for success and compact growth. If nights are too cool the plants will stretch. 72 degrees in the day and 65 degrees at night is almost perfect. For more compact plants drop the temperature to 48 degrees before first light six weeks after planting. Sixty-six degree days and 70 degree nights result in excellent, compact, well branched plants.

- To regulate growth apply Florel to avoid stunting or yellowing - 350 ppm. Apply to well established (at least two weeks old), actively growing plants, moist with no sunshine for up to 2 hours after application. At 6 weeks before sale apply Cycocel to keep plants compact. It should be sprayed on early in the morning (750 ppm). Weekly low rate applications seem to work best.

- Four weeks before sale remove all buds which will result in higher bud count, better branching and more compact plants and remove large yellow leaves in early April.

- Light: 2,500 and 3,500 f.c. light levels are preferable.

- Oedema, which results in large corky spots on the leaf's underside, is a potential problem with ivies that results from plants being deprived of the proper light and water and when they are pH stressed. Make sure plants receive sufficient iron. Every 4th feeding add calcium nitrate. Keep humidity below 75%.

- Thrips are the main insect pest; to control them use Azatin + Marvik, Duraguard, Talstar + Orthene, Tame or Sanmite. Spray every 5 days (4 times). Cyclamen mites and red spidermites can be controlled with Avid, Pentac, Sanmite (every 5 days - 4 times)

- Control fungus with combination sprays of Daconil at 1/2 pound per 100 gallons.

(From GrowerTalks, October 1997 - by Karl Trellinger, Fischer USA, Boulder, Colorado).


THE LEAF BLOWER CONTROVERSY

"The City of Los Angeles is the lastest jurisdiction to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, sparking protests by contract gardeners and supporters who say they rely on the machines for their livelihood. The ban follows a 12-year compaign by residents who complained about the noise and air pollution. LA City Council approved the law, imposing a $100 fine on leaf blower operators and those who hire them".

(from David Morgan at the Green Beam)


CONSUMERS PREFER RED POINSETTIA CULTIVARS

Growers of poinsettia cultivars are interested in the color preferences of consumers. There is a wide range of poinsettia bract colors from white to deep red with yellow, peach and variegated colors in between. To ascertain the more popular colors researchers conducted a study in which they asked consumers and non-consumers to evaluate 47 poinsettias. They were also asked questions that related to their age, size of their household, family income, gender, and whether or not they had purchased poinsettias in the past.

The subjects for this study were visitors to the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. That site was chosen as the population of that mid-western city was thought to reflect the national population. Visitors (over age 18) to the Conservatory in December 1995 were asked to examine and evaluate poinsettias on display. Of the plants displayed, 24 were red, 7 white, 7 pink and 9 novelty cultivars. The majority of the 124 participants were female with the average age being 55.3 years. Many of the participants had purchased poinsettias the previous year.

Not surprisingly, Sonora, a red cultivar, received the highest average rating of 4.6 out of 5. Ten of the top 12 cultivars were red. The most popular white cultivar, #95500 from Mikkelsen's, received only a 3.8 rating. One pink cultivar, Angelica pink, was rated 4.1.

Previous studies also confirmed that red poinsettias are the preferred cultivars. However, the researchers would like to investigate other variables not used in this study to better understand national consumer preferences.

(Bridget K. Behe, Paul B.Redman and John M. Dole - published in Hort Technology, October-December 1997).

POINSETTIA CULTIVARS AND POWDERY MILDEW

Powdery mildew was first identified on greenhouse poinsettias in the US in 1990. Three cultivars with red bracts, 'Freedom Red', 'Supjibi Red', and 'Red Sails', were more susceptible to the mildew than the other plants in this study. One white cultivar, 'V-17 Angelika White' had significantly less infection than the others studied.

(C.J. Celio and M.K. Hausbeck from the Depatment of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University - HortScience 32:259).


THE USE OF FILM-FORMING ANTITRANSPIRANTS TO CONTROL ROSE BLACKSPOT DISEASE

Blackspot disease can be effectively managed with fewer applications of chlorothalonil than was previously suspected. Two antitranspirants, Stressguard 0.05% applied every 2 weeks and NuFilm 17 1% alternated with chlorothalonil around rain events, gave similar disease control as weekly chlorothalonil applications. Also, Vapor Gard, 1% alternated with chlorothalonil around rain events, gave similar defoliation control as weekly chlorothalonil applications.

(R.S. Roark, B.K. Behe and B.L. Bowen, Auburn University - published in HortScience 34:590).


FERTILIZER MANAGEMENT BY LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE AND LAWN CARE FIRMS IN ATLANTA

Through a mail survey researchers have learned how much and what kind of fertilizer members of the maintenance and lawn care industry in metropolitan Atlanta apply to lawns, turf and ornamental beds as well as where they received information about these fertilizers and what kind of impact these fertilizers have on pollution. 350 useable questionnaires were returned, approximately 25% of those mailed to the 20 county Atlanta district. Most respondents were from small companies less than 10 years old, independently owned with gross annual sales of less than $100,000. A few major firms with sales in excess of $1,000,000 replied.

76% of the respondents fertilize lawns and turf and 68% fertilized ornamental beds. An organic fertilizer option was offered by 25% of the professionals and one fourth of their residential customers chose that option. Complete fertilizers, ammonium nitrate, urea and N solutions, were used by most people who responded to the survey. The fertilization services relied on a predetermined application schedule 88% of the time; 88% use visual observation and 69% use soil testing to determine fertilizer management. Tissue analysis was used by 5% as a management strategy.

From a pollution standpoint it is unfortunate that so many businesses rely on predetermined schedules for the application of fertilizers instead of a need based determination. It appears that the use of diagnostic analytical services among the landscape management/lawn care professionals could be expanded.

Professionals get their information about fertilizers from a few sources, the most relied upon being commercial sales representatives and trade magazines. (62% and 49% respectively). County extension personnel and peers followed with only 28% listing The University of Georgia specialists as sources of fertilizer information, even though they often deliver information to industry specialists. Information about organic fertilizers came from the same sources in the same ranking.

Ninety-one percent of the respondents felt they had adequate information concerning fertilizer application. Forty-five percent indicated that they had adequate information on organic fertilizing.

Academics are helping to minimize the potential for pollution of surface water and groundwater by fertilizers applied to lawns and ornamental landscapes. Run off problems are also being considered. It may be necessary to work more closely with commercial sales representatives and trade magazines. These are the main sources of information that professionals rely on regarding fertilizing.

(From an article written by Reuben B.Veverly, Wojciech Florkowski and John M. Ruter, The University of Georgia - in Hort Technology, October-December 1997).

POWDERY MILDEW RESISTANT MONARDA

"University of Vermont extension professor Leonard P. Perry has studied monarda varieties for resistance to powdery mildew. Most resistant: 'Blue Stocking,' 'Violet Queen' and 'Marshall's Delight.' Least resistant: 'Adam,' 'Cambridge Scarlet,' 'Croftway Pink' and 'Souris.'"

(From David L. Morgan at the Green Beam).


UPCOMING
EVENTS

March 1-3, 1998:
Tree City USA National Conference
Lied Conference Center, Nebraska City, Nebraska. Contact National Arbor Day Foundation, phone 402-474-5655; fax-402-474-0820.

March 12-15, 1998:
ALCA Student Career Days
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Contact http://www.anla.org

March 29-31, 1998:
The National Arbor Day Foundation's Buillding With Trees
Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City, NE. Contact NADF by phone: 402-474-5655 or 888-448-7337; fax 402-474-0820.

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 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

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 5-9, 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

September 11-12, 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 tnurseryassn@blomand.net

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. 931-668-7322; Fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail: MTNA@blomand.net or MTNA@juno.com

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.

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

July 16-19:
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
Norfold, 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