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Field day serves landscape professionals

News Release Distributed 10/17/14

HAMMOND, La. – Landscape professionals who attended the landscape horticulture industry field day on Oct. 9 got a two-for-one deal. In addition to the LSU AgCenter’s annual field day, where the latest research is presented, the Southeast Louisiana Nursery Association Trade Show was an added attraction this year.

Regina Bracy, LSU AgCenter resident coordinator at the Hammond station, said the idea behind combining the two events was to increase participation and provide another source of information.

Bracy said more than 650 varieties of plants were showcased in the gardens at the station and a number of research findings were presented.

“If you want to know what’s new in the industry, you can come here and see it,” Bracy said. “We have shrubs, we have annuals, we have trees, plus we’re doing research on all of these to see how they do in this area.”

This field day is open only to industry professionals as a way to show them what’s available and to give them ideas they can use in their businesses.

“We are now having a lot of companies come to us and asking if we would try their new plants here to see how they do in the Gulf Coast area,” she said.

The field day began with the care and maintenance tour led by AgCenter horticulturists Yan Chen and Allen Owings.

During their presentations they discussed research being done on chilli thrips, the new shade garden annuals and the David Austin English Roses.

The landscape research tour consisted of field tours, where AgCenter researchers Charlie Johnson, Yan Chen, Owings and Joey Quebedeaux discussed the work that’s being done with plant growth regulators, crape myrtle evaluations, the hardy perennial hibiscus study and the development of new ornamental plants.

Chen’s research on growth regulators is in t

he second year of a three-year study that is so far showing that some species respond to one application of the growth regulator material. Others require two applications for the regulation of growth in the five ornamentals being studied.

During this part of the program AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill led groups through the various gardens on the station ground.

AgCenter entomologist Dennis Ring presented information on the tawny crazy ants that are plaguing parts of south Louisiana. Ring said Louisiana has been issued a temporary use label for the insecticide Fipronil to control the crazy ants.

“What this means is in parishes where the ants have been identified, Fipronil is allowed to be used for their control until Nov. 1, 2015,” Ring said. Other topics discussed included Rose rosette, a disease caused by a microscopic pest, which was presented by the AgCenter plant doctor Raj Singh.

The disease has not been found in Louisiana, but has done major damage in Mississippi, Singh said.

Managing landscape weeds was the topic discussed by AgCenter turf and weed specialist Ron Strahan.

AgCenter plant pathologist Melanie Lewis Ivey gave an update on the IR-4 ornamental program.

“IR-4 is a government program that works to get pesticides registered on ornamentals or food use crops that are not currently registered, or companies are not putting in the effort or expense to get them registered,” Ivey said.

Owings said this field day and trade show is a good example of the LSU AgCenter working with the industry.

“We wanted to get information to industry professionals on the diseases and pests that they are dealing with on a daily basis, “Owings said. “We also wanted to show them the new bedding plants, new roses and new herbaceous plants here at the station.”

Buster Tucker and Nancy Sarwinski Tucker, owners of Southwind Landscape in Prairieville, said they have been attending the Southeast Louisiana Nursery Association Trade Show for years ,and it was great to have both events in one location.

Johnny Morgan

Last Updated: 10/21/2014 10:27:39 AM

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