Landscape, horticulture professionals hear about latest research

Richard Bogren, Strahan, Ronald E., Bush, Edward W., Kuehny, Jeff S., Beasley, Jeffrey S., Owings, Allen D.  |  10/16/2009 12:14:45 AM

News Release Distributed 10/15/09

More than 100 commercial turf and landscape professionals from across Louisiana heard about the latest research with ornamental plants and turfgrass at an LSU AgCenter field day Oct. 15.

The event at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge featured research being conducted in Baton Rouge as well as at the AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station in Hammond.

“Research is flourishing at Burden Center,” said Dr. Don La Bonte, interim head of the LSU AgCenter School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences.

Five years ago, what was a pasture is now dedicated turf and ornamental research, La Bonte said of an area of the Burden Center, which comprises 440 acres in Baton Rouge.

LSU AgCenter researchers told field day visitors about several research programs devoted to the turf and landscape industry in Louisiana.

In nursery crop research, Dr. Ed Bush, who works with ornamental plants, said he and his students have been evaluating how plants can combat pollution.

“We’re part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Bush said. “Our products are actually taking up pollutants and breaking them down.”

Because ornamental plants can remediate pollutants, “we’re going to be charged with finding plants to counteract pollution,” Bush said.

In one project, Bush and his colleagues have been studying plants that survived salt-tainted flood waters in the Lakeview area of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

In another presentation, Dr. Jeff Kuehny presented results of research he has been conducting with biodegradable containers used with nursery plants.

“We’re looking at containers that will degrade after they’re emptied and containers that can be planted directly into the soil and be landscape friendly,” Kuehny said.

Dr. Jeff Beasley reviewed several of his turfgrass research projects, including one that compared the results of different pre-emergence herbicides on the rooting ability of Bermuda grass.

He said that while all pre-emergence herbicides reduced turfgrass rooting, some were less detrimental than others.

Dr. Ron Strahan told of results from his research with weeds, including Dallis grass and spurge, in turfgrass and ornamental plants.

“Research conducted on Dallis grass at Burden Center has focused on finding alternative control options to MSMA,” a herbicide that’s being taken off the market,” Strahan said.

Dr. Allen Owings, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station, reviewed new varieties of many flowering plants, including roses, dwarf crape myrtles, coleus and lirope.

Rick Bogren

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