Field day highlights native grasses, pollinators, specialty crops

Johnny Morgan  |  10/16/2017 6:55:42 PM

(10/16/17) HAMMOND, La. — New research projects involving tea, olives and native grasses garnered great interest at the annual landscape horticulture field day hosted by the LSU AgCenter and the Southeast Louisiana Nursery Association at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Oct. 11.

The field day is designed to provide the latest research-based information to landscape industry professionals, garden centers and wholesale nursery growers, said Jason Stagg, a horticulturist at the research station.

The participants began their day by touring the sun garden and viewing the plants that were considered to be doing well since summer, as well as pollinator plants. The tours were led by Stagg and horticulture researcher Yan Chen.

“The sun garden is always a hit because it allows those in attendance to see plants that made it through the summer and also some of the newer plants,” Stagg said.

In addition to the tours, AgCenter specialists presented five talks on turfgrass and landscape weeds, nursery and vegetable crops, pest and disease issues, new and alternative specialty crops and new Louisiana Super Plant introductions.

During a tour of the specialty crops area, Stagg talked about tea, olives and fig research.

In an optional tour, Chen discussed the different varieties of native grasses.

Recent years have seen an increase in landscape contractors using native grasses in their projects, she said.

“There are a lot of uses for these grasses,” Chen said. “These grasses are part of the Cajun Prairie restoration.”

Chen’s work with the grasses involves looking at plant density, herbicide rates and establishment success.

One of the positives of using native grasses is they only have to be cut once a year when they die back in winter, Stagg said.

In addition to the field day activity, the participants were also able to visit with members of the trade industry because the field day joined with the Southeast Louisiana Nursery Association.

Shaun Hebert, horticulture manager at Audubon Zoo, said he bought his staff for networking and to see the new plants.

“This is a good opportunity for me to get my people out to see what’s happening in the industry and to view some of the new plants that are available,” he said.

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Jason Stagg, a horticulturist at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station, shows some of the latest research projects in the sun garden during the annual landscape field day on Oct. 11. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter weed scientist Ron Strahan explains various herbicide treatments to landscape industry professionals, garden centers and wholesale nursery growers during the annual landscape field day at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Oct. 11. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter researcher Yan Chen leads a tour of the native grasses research area at the Hammond Research Station during the annual landscape field day on Oct. 11. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

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