Burden expands ornamental, turfgrass research

4/5/2005 1:15:04 AM

Nearly 80 visitors attended the inaugural nursery, landscape and floriculture open house at the new ornamental and turfgrass research facility at the LSU AgCenter's Burden Center in Baton Rouge on April 23.

A former 25-acre hay field is now horticulture research space. " This is a welcomed and valuable addition to Burden Center," said Pat Hegwood, the center's resident director.

Burden Center is a 420-acre research facility that includes 15 acres of formal gardens and 150 acres of forest. The center originally was owned by the Burden family from the mid 1800s until the final segment was donated to LSU in the early 1990s.

The new research area was developed initially because of limited expansion and tree competition for turfgrass research, Hegwood said. Other research plots were moved along with the turfgrass research into what is now called the ornamental and turfgrass research area.

Allen Owings, an ornamental horticulture specialist with the LSU AgCenter, said the research programs at Burden are designed to support commercial nursery, landscape and turfgrass operators in Louisiana. Much of the research results are also adaptable to homes, he said.

Owings said the top research priorities for the industry are plant evaluation and weed, disease and insect control followed by irrigation and fertilizer usage.

Cody Arceneaux, president of the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association, said his organization contributed funds to the research facility with a part of a grant it received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The investment in the research facility also included funds from the LSU AgCenter.

The AgCenter is planning another open house at the facility for the fall, when other plants will be available for evaluation, Owings said. • Rick Bogren

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