Burden Center: Home to Ornamental, Turfgrass Research

Linda Benedict  |  5/14/2005 4:09:59 AM

The All-American Rose Garden is in front of the Orangerie at the Burden Center. This building was designed by A. Hayes Town, a famous Baton Rouge architect, now deceased. (Photo by John Wozniak)

Allen D. Owings, Edward W. Bush, Jeff S. Kuehny, David J. Lee and C. Patrick Hegwood

Five years ago, the LSU AgCenter decided to dedicate a 20-acre site at Burden Center in Baton Rouge as a home for ornamental and turfgrass research and demonstration projects. And it has flourished ever since. The site is now filled with research and demonstration plots and provides a place for faculty members in horticulture and other departments to conduct various studies to benefit Louisiana’s growing green industry.

The primary beneficiaries of this new site – officially called Ornamental and Turfgrass Research and Extension Facility – are ornamental and turfgrass professionals in Louisiana. These include wholesale nursery growers, whole-sale greenhouse growers, athletic field managers, sod producers, golf course superintendents and retail garden center personnel. Ultimately, the consumer benefits from better products.

Burden Center itself covers nearly 440 acres and is conveniently located on Interstate 10 in the center of the city. It also is home to the well-known Rural Life Museum and companion Windrush Gardens. The center was owned by the Burden family from the mid-1800s until the early 1990s when the final segment of land was donated to the LSU AgCenter.

Most of the site development for the ornamental program has been completed. Site development to support the turfgrass program is planned for 2005. When completed, the facility will house a 1-acre container yard, 3 acres for field nursery crop production, 2 acres for landscape plant evaluation and 5 acres for turfgrass research. Weed research plots will support the ornamental and turfgrass industries. Greenhouses, shade structures, an equipment storage building and office space are also on the site.

Research projects being conducted include:

  • Earth Kind rose cultivar evaluation
  • Cool-season herbaceous plant evaluations in the landscape
  • Warm-season herbaceous plant evaluations in the landscape
  • Live oak pruning and cultivar evaluation
  • Herbaceous perennial evaluations in the landscape
  • Daylily cultivar and rust evaluation
  • Greenhouse production of ornamental ginger
  • Specialty cut flower scheduling and postharvest
  • Clerodendrum breeding, selection and greenhouse production
  • Weed control in ground covers
  • Tropical plant (cannas, bananas) evaluations in the landscape
  • Production of shrubs as influenced by media physical properties
  • Post harvest plant quality retention as influenced by wholesale production practices
  • Jackson and Perkins rose rootstock study

The AgCenter is making an investment to the ever-expanding green industry in Louisiana. A recent study by the AgCenter shows the green industry contributes $2.2 billion annually to Louisiana’s economy.

Allen D. Owings, Professor; Edward W. Bush, Associate Professor; Jeff S. Kuehny, Associate Professor; David J. Lee, Assistant Professor; Department of Horticulture, Baton Rouge, La.; and C. Patrick Hegwood, Professor and Resident Director, Burden Center, Baton Rouge, La.

Acknowledgment
The Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association has provided more than $60,000 to support development of this effort.

(This article appeared in the spring 2005 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.) 

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