MARCH - 2000

Hi Everyone!

Greetings from Auburn and Happy Spring! March brings flowers and nursery work faster than we can keep up with it. But, we are excited that it is here.

Spring in the south parallels activity in the nursery business. When spring buds begin to break the nursery business gets frantically busy, even with the best of planning. However, you cannot complain when your efforts are paying off. Life has been good for commercial nurseries over the past few years. Cash receipts increased by 4% to 5% in 1999 for woody ornamentals and 6% to 8% for floriculture and bedding plant crops. The expansion that began in 1991 is projected by most forecasters to continue its prosperous rise until 2002. All people associated with the business need to work to assure the prosperity continues.

On my side of the education and helping business, I can see a great swell in the number of new people getting into the business and aggressive expansion of the larger nurseries. I hope we can take advantage of these good times to expand our horticultural base through these new, young, specialty nurseries. They have always been a valuable part of our industry and we welcome their enthusiasm. It is the educational efforts of these small nurseries servicing hungry gardeners and landscapers that keep the industry exciting through introduction of new products. Many of these new products catch on and become stars for the mass markets and large nurseries. Many large nurseries have recognized the value and opportunity in keeping the industry fresh and have started their own product development. We need our staple hollies, junipers, azaleas, maples and other plants, but it is the careful, responsible and enthusiastic introduction of new plant materials, interesting forms of existing plants and new uses of plants and landscape materials that inspire gardening enthusiasts, writers and designers. They use these new ideas to stimulate new fads, trends, and fashions, and to create exciting looks and designs for our landscapes. It is no different than the expectations stimulated by our automotive and apparel industries for this year's new and exciting line of clothing or cars. And we do not want it to be different.

Although it has probably not been due to a concentrated marketing effort by our industry, the level of expectations in landscaping has continued to increase over the years. Cities have adopted landscape ordinances to assure the responsible development of their cities. Competitive pressures have made good landscaping a requirement in order for businesses to attract customers to eat their burgers or rent their apartments. We need to encourage and try to lift this bar of expectation and excellence and to promote the economic value of landscaping in our marketing efforts. You have to assume that times will not always be this good. When we do have a slump, it would be nice to have the expectations for excellence so entrenched in our culture that the fall will not be so great. We do not want our industry products and services seen as frivolous add-ons when extra money is available, but as an essential investment in the success of their business. I think that we can get good landscaping elevated to the same position as a refrigerator, dishwasher, TV or computer when any home is built. It is everyone's responsibility to take pride in our industry and push for landscape excellence to become the standard for our cities, homes and businesses.

As you can tell, I am excited about our industry and believe we have some control over our destiny. Work with your state, regional and national associations and look for a comprehensive plan to ensure our prosperous future. Be involved and invest some of your time and other resources back into the business that has so recently been kind to you and your family. As always, the faculty and staff at Auburn University are ready and anxious to serve you and your children. Your Land Grant University is different than other universities in that we were created especially to serve the people of Alabama. We know our mission and get a great deal of pleasure out of seeing your kids do well in our department or being able to help you in your businesses. Call or drop by your university anytime. We will be happy to see you.

Email your concerns, questions and pictures of plants in bloom, problem insect or diseases and we will try to answer your questions and share the rest with others visiting the site.

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.


As all of us know, there is a lot of kudzu in the south - more than 7 million acres of it, which requires almost $6,000,000 for control costs. USDA scientists have found something that is highly effective against this costly, invasive pest. The results from greenhouse and field studies over a two year period showed that the fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, from the sicklepod plant found in southeastern states, killed 100% of the kudzu.

(from the Weekly NMPRO e-mail. The source is Douglas Boyette,


The only currently workable solution for getting rid of Asian longhorn beetles is tree removal. USDA scientists are working to come up with something that is not so drastic. This spring they will conduct field tests to see whether a soil- or tree-injected insecticide will get rid of this very problemmatic beetle. They are optimistic.

(from the Weekly NMPRO e-mail. The source is Ron Milbery, 301-734-5255).


(from Louisiana: Extension Entomologist Dale Pollet, Extension Plant Pathologist Clayton Hollier, and Extension Horticulturist Allen Owings)

Novartis Crop Protection has introduced Endeavor - a new insecticide specifically for aphid and whitefly control. Endeavor's active ingredient is pymetrozine. It works by disabling the pests' feeding mechanisms, causing them to starve. Endeavor considerations include: 1. Labeled for use in landscape and container grown ornamentals, non-bearing fruit and nut tree nurseries, Christmas trees, ground covers, lath and shade houses and interiorscapes.

2. Stops feeding and is residual. Like Confirm for caterpillars, it does not kill the insects immediately; the aphids and white flies will survive for 2 to 4 days before dying.

3. Good for IPM or sustainable programs as it has low toxicity to beneficial insects, including honeybees, bumble bees and mites.

4. New class of chemical that when used in a rotation and management program will help to reduce the use of pesticides and therefore cast.

5. Always test a few plants before making broad application.

For both Endeavor and Floramite (see below), remember that proper coverage on the plant material is important. Also, read the label BEFORE using the product. Always use protective clothing and respiratory equipment when spraying. When combining these products with other materials, be sure to mix them in a smaller container to check compatibility before adding to your sprayer. This could save a lot of time, trouble and cleanup and possibly a plant or two.

In addition to Endeavor, Novartis has introduced Compass, a broad spectrum foliar fungicide for ornamentals. The fungicide reportedly controls scab, rust, powdery mildew, downy mildew, cherry leaf spot, anthracnose, melanose, black spot, sotty blotch, cedar apple rust, greasy spot, fly speck, and leaf blight.


Robert Solberg (from Green Hill Farm in Chapel Hill, N.C.) recently published in his newsletter, "The Green Hill Gossip," a list of what he considers the Top Ten hostas of the millennium. The criteria for his list was based on the impact they've had on the industry. His Top Ten, beginning with number 1, are: 'Frances Williams,' 'Sum and Substance,' 'Beatrice,' 'Great Expectations,' 'Gold Standard,' 'August Moon,' 'Golden Tiara,' 'Halcyon,' Hosta lancifolia var. undulata and 'Patriot.' For more information: (919) 309-0649;

(from David Morgan, Weekly NMPRO, 2/29/00).


(by Louisiana Extension Entomologist Dale Pollet)

Uniroyal Chemical Co. has announced that Floramite received federal registration recently as a reduced risk pesticide. The miticide is approved for use in greenhouse, shade house, nursery, field, landscape and interior landscape applications.

Floramite has some restrictions that growers need to be aware of:


At the Southern Region American Society for Horticultural Science meeting in late January, two important awards were announced. Dr. Donald J. Eakes was presented with the L.M. Ware Distinguished Teacher Award. Dr. Joseph Kemble received the John E. Hutchison Young Extension Worker Award. Both are professors in the Auburn University Department of Horticulture. They received plaques and checks and we heartily congratulate them.


More than 20,000 pages of university extension and fact sheets are available at this site, along with research and testing information. A search engine is available that answers plant-related questions that accesses universities and government agencies across the United States and Canada. The URL is
(from Marilyn Engler at GrowerTalks, February 2000).
This site is published by Texas A&M University. The Texas Greenhouse Management Handbook features greenhouse structures, heating requirements, growing media and pH, fertilizers, diagnosing nutritional deficiencies, irrigating greenhouse crops, treating and monitoring irrigation water, managing soluble salts, and many other topics. The URL is
(from Marilyn Engler at GrowerTalks, February 2000).
A new web site,, will be officially launched in April. Jack Hammons, director of enterprise marketing, says that the site could best be described as a "reverse auction" for the nursery industry. Buyers enter a product and how many units they need. returns the Top 5 bids for that order within 48 hours. also provides a similar process for finding the best possible freight costs for buyers. Several thousand suppliers of plants and hard goods have already registered. The URL is
(from David Morgan, Weekly NMPRO, 2/29/00).


During the Christmas holiday season, representative objects, trees, plants, lights, and decorations surround people in many domestic and commercial settings. Poinsettias are ubiquitous in December but we often don't look at them closely or take the time to appreciate them. Chazz Hesselein, Auburn University Extension Horticulturist, has been conducting research on poinsettias at the Ornamental Horticulure Substation in Mobile. Below are some of the many culivars he has been working with. Take a moment to appreciate their beauty and variety.


David Morgan, from the Weekly NMPRO email, reports that the Perennial Plant Assoc. chose Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' as its Perennial Plant of the Year for 2001. This is the first time an ornamental grass has been chosen since the association began the award in 1990. 'Karl Foerster' grows narrowly and upright to 4-7 feet, is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9 and can withstand various soils. For more information phone (614)771-8431;
(from David Morgan, Weekly NMPRO, 2/29/00).


from Jackie Mullen, Extension Plant Pathologist, Auburn University


Botrytis and Pythium diseases were frequent arrivals in the clinic last month. Botrytis was observed on and isolated from a Leyland cypress needle blight, a New Guinea impatiens stem rot, and a marigold stem rot. These were all greenhouse situations except for the Leyland cypress. Botrytis is predominantly a problem when temperatures are approximately in the 60-70's and moisture/humidity are abundant. Alabama greenhouses usually experience more Botrytis problems in the winter. These samples all contained microscopically-evident spore structures of Botrytis on decayed/decaying tissues. Cultures were done to confirm Botrytis as the pathogen and not as a secondary invader. Control of Botrytis blight and canker requires sanitation of diseased plant material, temperature/humidity adjustments if possible, and protective fungicide sprays. See the Alabama Handbook for specific recommendations.

Pythium was identified as a foliage blight on Poa trivialis, a root rot on Paspalum sp., and a root rot of azalea, holly fern, and Leucothoe. Pythium is a 'water mold', and causes problems when soil conditions remain wet for a prolonged time. Control requires removal of infected plants, improved soil-water relations, and fungicide treatments for turf & nursery/greenhouse situations. These drench fungicides are expensive and packaged for large scale use. They are not typically recommended for use in the landscape.

Other diseases seen last month include Pestalotia and suspect oedema on Sasanqua camellia; Fusarium root decay on Boston fern; bacterial leaf spot on Indian hawthorn; nematode leaf spot on lantana; anthracnose leaf spot on liriope; and black mildew on southern magnolia.

Of the three canker diseases seen last month, black knot is the most easily recognized with the elongate black stroma developing upon elongated branch galls. Disease control requires pruning off cankers, making cuts 3-4 inches beyond the canker margin. Shears should be dipped into 10-20% bleach solution or alcohol between cuts. Depending upon label directions, a protective fungicide spray may be applied after pruning operations are completed.


Azalea Suspect Cercospora Leaf Spot Montgomery
Azalea Pythium Root Rot Montgomery
Camellia, Sasanqua Pestalotia Leaf SpotTallapoosa
Fern, Boston Fusarium on Decayed Roots*
Hawthorn, Indian Bacterial Leaf SpotMobile
Holly Fern Pythium Root Rot Montgomery
Lantana Foliar Nematode
Leucothoe Pythium Root Rot*
Leyland Cypress Botrytis Blight Etowah
Liriope AnthracnoseMobile
MarigoldBotrytis Canker*
Paspalum Pythium Root Rot Baldwin
Poa trivialisPythium Leaf BlightTallapoosa
Southern MagnoliaBlack MildewRussell
*Locations are not reported for nursery and greenhouse samples.


Powdery mildews and Botrytis may be a problem in greenhouses where temperatures are on the moderate to cool side. Also downy mildew (yellow spotting, defoliation) on rose and bedding plants and vegetable transplants may develop when temperatures are moderately cool (60-70F). High humidity is also favorable for the above three diseases.

The list below includes some common disease problems received in the lab in February of the past few years. Comments on control practices are brief. Refer to appropriate fact sheets, or timely information sheets for details of disease control.


AGLAONEMARhizoctonia Crown RotBrown dry decay of lower stem.Sanitation; Cleary's 3336 protective treatments.
BOXWOODPhytophthora Crown
and Root Rot
Lower trunk is brown and rotted. Initially the decayed tissues are water-soaked but later the dead tissues are dried.Sanitation. Improve soil drainage and/or decrease irrigation. See Alabama Pest Management Handbook for fungicides recommended for nursery situations and some large scale landscape plantings.
Light to medium brown, circular-irregular (0.2-1 cm diam.) spots develop on leaves.Sanitation; protective fungicides labelled on camellia such as Cleary's 3336.
CAMELLIABotrytis (Sclerotinia)
Flower Blight
Brown, small-large, irregularly-shaped lesions.Sanitation of fallen blossoms; see Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
CAMELLIARing Spot VirusYellow rings appear on foliage; plants may become slightly stunted.Sanitation.
DUSTY MILLERAlternaria Leaf SpotDark brown angular spots (0.2-0.6 cm) on foliage.Sanitation; protective sprays of Cleary's will help.
Large (1/4-1/2 inch diam.; 0.6-1.2 cm) brown, circular spots.See Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
EUONYMUSScab(Elsinoe)Brown, raised, slightly corky spots (0.1-0.3 cm) develop on foliage.Sanitation; Cleary's 3336 may help.
GERANIUMOedema Small (0.1-0.3 cm diam.), raised corky spots scattered on lower leaf surfaces. Upper leaf surfaces corresponding to corky spots often show yellowed spots.Reduce watering schedules when weather is cloudy and cool.
Powdery MildewLeaves show some necrosis and white powdery dusting on leaf surfaces. Sanitation; Cleary's 3336.
Phythium Root RotPlants become stunted and yellowed. Usually lower leaves become yellowed first. Roots become brown and water-soaked.Sanitation of damaged plants. In some situations, removal of contaminated soil or media is recommended. Protective fungicide drenches in greenhouse situations.
Peat Mold
Tan-orange-yellow spore masses often develop on the surface of potting mix or at the edge of potting mix next to the pot rim. Extensive fungal growth may cause the potting media to become water repellent; that is, the media will not absorb water.Sanitation.
Bacterial Leaf SpotSmall, black, angular leaf spots.Sanitation.
Phomopsis DiebackCankers on twigs and small branches with dieback resulting.Sanitation.
HYDRANGEAPowdery MildewWhite dusty coating on upper leaf surfaces. Leaf yellowing and blight; some new growth distortions.Sanitation. Fungicide spray treatments. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
HYDRANGEAPhytophthora and
Pythium Root Rot
Roots brown and water-soaked initially, then dried.Sanitation; improve soil drainage and/or reduce irrigation; Banrot or Banol are recommended in some nursery situations.
IMPATIENSImpatiens Necrotic Spot VirusBlack, circular leaf spots; stunted growth.Sanitation; thrips control.
IMPATIENSPhytophthora Crown RotPlants become stunted. Older leaves turn yellow. Roots become brown and water-soaked.Sanitation of plants and sometimes removal of contaminated soil or media. Adjust watering practices and/or improve water drainage through soil or media. Fungicide drenches are often recommended in greenhouse situations.
IMPATIENSPythium Crown RotSee Phytophthora comments.See Phytophthora comments.
Entomosporium Leaf SpotRed-black spots.Sanitation. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
Black, irregularly shaped leaf spots.Sanitation; see Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Brown-black, angular, wet-looking spots (1/8 - 1/4 inch diam.; 0.3-0.6 cm).Sanitation. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
OedemaUpper leaf surface shows diffuse yellow spots; lower leaf surface shows brown, corky, slightly raised spots (less than 1/8 inch diam.; 0.1-0.3 cm). Decrease watering schedule.
KALANCHOEBotrytis BlightBrown, gray spots, blotches on the foliage. Infected areas may become limp. Spots look grayer when spore production occurs. Sanitation. Apply protective fungicide drenhes. See Alabama Pest Management Handbook. Decrease humidity. Increase temperature.
LANTANAFoliar Leaf Spot
Angular, brown-black leaf spots. Sanitation.
Lily Symptomless
Virus & Cucumber
Mosaic Virus
Yellow and brown flecks on foliage; plants stunted; leaves curl under. Sanitation. Control aphids.
MAGNOLIAAlgal Leaf Spot
Greenish or reddish slightly raised spots (0.1-1 cm) on upper leaf surfaces. Spot edges are often irregular or wavy in appearance. Old spots are usually cream colored in the center. Control measures are usually not necessary. Bordeaux mixture may be used. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
PANSYBotrytis After Cold
Brown leaf spots/blight; gray mold. Sanitation; protective fungicide sprays. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
PANSYCercospora Leaf SpotBrown-black circular spots. Sanitation; Cleary's 3336.
Crown/Root Rot
See comments for Impatiens. See comments for Impatiens.
PANSYPythium Crown/Root RotSee comments for Impatiens. See comments for Impatiens.
PHOTINIAEntomosporium Leaf SpotSmall reddish spots (1/4-1/2 inch diam.; 0.6-1.2 cm) often coalesce into larger red spots with dark red centers and bright red, diffuse borders. Sanitation; see Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
Needle Rust
Cream-white pustules (1/8 inch diam.; 0.2-0.3 cm) on needles.No control recommended.
Phytophthora Root RotPlants become stunted. Older growth becomes yellowed. Roots become brown and water-soaked.Sanitation of infected plants and sometimes media/soil replacement is recommended. Correct water problems. Fungicide drenches are recommended in nursery situations.
Needle Cast
Small (1.32-1/16 inch diam.; 0.15 cm or less; just barely visible), black, football-shaped slightly raised fruiting bodies scattered on needles; needles brown and drop. See the Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
poa trivialisPythium BlightFoliage blight.Decrease water content of soil. Apply fungicide treatments as listed in the Alabama Pest Management Handbook for turf grasses.
POTHOSRhizoctonia Stem RotStems near or touching the soil (potting mix) developed a dark brown canker or lesion (0.3-1 cm).Sanitation. Protective sprays of Cleary's 3336
SNAPDRAGONRoot-Knot Nematode
Stunted, wilted plants; roots develop irregular galls.Sanitation; see Alabama Pest Management Handbook.
SPIREAPowdery MildewLeaves show a white powdery dusting on upper leaf surfaces and young shoots.See Alabama Pest Management Handbook; sanitation.
VERBENABacterial Leaf SpotAngular, water-soaked black or dark green leaf spots.Sanitation.
VERBENAMyrothecium Crown
Plants collapse after decay at crown.Sanitation.
VERBENAFoliar NematodeAngular brown leaf spots; sometimes these symptoms can be confused with bacterial disease.Sanitation.
VERBENAPythium Root RotRoots brown and water-soaked when infections are new.Sanitation; improve water/soil situation so soil does not remain wet.


March 18, 2000 - September 17, 2000:
Japan Flora 2000 'Communication Between Man and Nature'.
Awaji Island, Japan. See or Meg VanSchoorl at

June 1-3, 1999:
Mid-South Greenhouse Growers Conference.
Ramada Inn - Southwest Conference Center in Jackson, MS. More information will be available soon or you can contact Allen Owings, Extension Horticulturist at LSU.

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

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

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

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

October 1-4, 2000:
Eastern Region International Plant Propagators' Society Annual Meeting.
Hyatt Regency Oak Brook, Chicago, IL. Contact Margot Bridgen, 26 Woodland Road, Storrs, CT 06268; phone 860-429-6818; e-mail

October 6-7, 2000:
Middle Tennessee Nursery Association Horticultural Trade Show.
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville, TN
phone: 931-668-7322; fax: 931-668-9601; e-mail:, or

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

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

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 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:

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

Send horticultural questions and comments to

Send questions and comments to

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