Application for SERA-IEG Renewal

Allen D. Owings  |  6/3/2009 7:31:04 AM

Accomplishments:

To date, 43 taxa were distributed for evaluation. Concluding reports have been written or are being written for thirteen of these taxa. One taxon has been withdrawn due to poor survival. A webpage (http://www.ag.auburn.edu/landscape/SERAhomepage.html) was established to extend information about our efforts. Committee members are responsible for requesting data collection during the season they deem most appropriate. Data are submitted to the introducing member, and that member is responsible for compiling the data and submitting a concluding report. A collaborative poster was prepared and presented at the 2004 SNA Research Conference (SERA-IEG 27 Regional plant evaluations. Proc. SNA Res. Conf. 566-568).

Statement of Issues and Justification:

New germplasm continues to be discovered or created in the ornamental plant realm. The introduction of new plant material, whether through traditional breeding programs or plant exploration expeditions, has been an integral part of ornamental horticulture in the United States. This hunger for new plant material continues to exist with both horticultural professionals and consumers, and molecular techniques have increased the realm of new plant possibilities. Some nurseries have invested in the discovery and development of new plant releases and are using this technique to gain market share. Unfortunately, some releases are not widely tested and most have not been independently tested in unbiased trials. In addition, most Southern Region universities are engaged in landscape plant evaluations or have active plant breeding programs and seek ways to determine the adaptability range of these plants. A coordinated plant evaluation system throughout the Southeast will rapidly provide unbiased information on performance and adaptation of selected new introductions, thus benefiting producers, landscapers and consumers alike.

A number of the plants evaluated by the group have gained common status by the gardening community. These plants include Cephalotaxus harringtonia (1998), Lagerstroemia 'Pocomoke' (1999), Lagerstroemia 'Chickasaw' (1999), Illicium mexicanum 'Aztec Fire' (1999), Styrax japonicus 'Emerald Pagoda', and Ceanothus x delilianus 'Gloire de Versailles' (2005)

This project relates to the following Southern Region Priority Areas for Multi-state Research Activities: Goal 1, An agricultural system that is highly competitive in the global economy; Goal 4, Greater harmony between agriculture and the environment; and Goal 5, Enhanced economic opportunity and quality of life for Americans. In addition, participation in this project contributes to the professional development of faculty involved.

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