Turf, Ornamental Plants Featured At Burden Field Day

Thomas J. Koske, Blackburn, Karen B., Bogren, Richard C., Bush, Edward W., Owings, Allen D.  |  10/11/2007 5:51:52 PM

LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings discusses new varieties of ornamental sweet potato vines at the Burden Center Ornamental and Turfgrass Field Day Oct. 9. (Photo by Mark Claesgens)

News Release Distributed 10/09/07

Nearly 200 lawn and garden professionals were on hand for an ornamental horticulture and turfgrass field day Oct. 9 at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge.

The morning featured plot tours and presentations by LSU AgCenter researchers, extension specialists and graduate students, who provided information on the research conducted at Burden Center, said Dr. Tom Koske, an LSU AgCenter turfgrass specialist.

“It’s a really good opportunity to network,” said Aaron Wade of D&J Turf in Jonesville. “We get to see the progress researchers are making, the type of research they’re doing and how it benefits the industry.”

A former horticulture student at LSU, Wade started his own business following graduation and raises mostly centipede grass for a variety of markets.

“People working in the industry can see what’s being done,” Wade Soileau said of the presentations at the field day. “It helps us keep up-to-date and learn about changes in new products and cultivars. And learn from others.”

Soileau, with Murrell Trading Co. in Plaquemine, operates a wholesale nursery, supplying trees, shrubs and ornamental plants to retailers.

“Burden Center is a unique facility,” said Dr. David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of research. “We have many research stations around the state, but this one is closest to an urban community. Ornamental plants and turf are major industries in Louisiana, and the AgCenter has recognized this and invested in the infrastructure to support these research programs.”

As part of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, Koske presented information on new cultivated varieties of Bermuda grass and seashore paspalum

Seashore paspalum is a salt-tolerant grass species that could be used in areas where salt water can be a problem, Koske said.

Other turfgrass presentations featured plant growth regulators, comparisons of the effects of traditional and organic fertilizers, and chemical and cultural controls of several weedy grasses.

Ornamental plant evaluations included landscape roses, including a review of the performance of new varieties, said Dr. Allen Owings, of the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station.

Other presentations included the Earth Kind rose program from Texas A&M University, which features low-maintenance roses for landscapes, and information on performance of annual bedding plants, herbaceous perennials and Encore azaleas that were tested at the center, Owings said.

Dr. Ed Bush, an LSU AgCenter horticulturist, presented results of his research of different potting media for use in commercial nurseries.

Several graduate students presented results of their research on plants that can tolerate ozone, plants that absorb and break down contaminants in groundwater sources and plants that can be used to contain industrial wastes and even break down some chemicals in the waste stream.

Karen Blackburn, an LSU AgCenter horticulture agent in New Orleans, also presented results of her investigations of how plants survived flooding and salt water in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Palm-type plants did well. So did some tropical bulbs,” she said. “Tropical plants appear to do better in deep water and salty conditions.”

The afternoon comprised educational programs conducted by AgCenter specialists for re-certification for pesticide applicators.

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Contacts: Tom Koske (225) 578-2222 or tkoske@agcenter.lsu.edu

Allen D. Owings (225) 578-2222 or aowings@agcenter.lsu.edu

Ed Bush at (225) 578-2158 or ebush@agcenter.lsu.edu

Karen Blackburn at (504) 838-1170 or blackburn@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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