MINUTES OF ANNUAL MEETING OF SERA-IEG 27
NURSERY AND LANDSCAPE CROPS
The final meeting of SRIEG-63 and the organizational meeting of SERA-IEG-27 was held on June 27-28 in Florida. Official Representatives Present: Margaret Pooler (National Arboretum), Gary Knox (Florida), John Ruter (Georgia), Will Witte (Tennessee), Alex Niemiera (Virginia), Dewayne Ingram (SERA-IEG-27 Administrator). Severe weather and family illness prohibited representatives from three other states from attending as planned. Others Present: Tom Yeager (Florida-Gainsville), Dick Henley (Florida-Apopka), Mack Theford (Forida-Milton). Official Representative list attached.
Terrill Nell (Chair of UF Environmental Horticulture) and other UK faculty conducted a tour describing research on-going at the greenhouse facilities, the urban tree research unit and in the office/laboratory building. Each representative provided a summary of the status and activities of horticulture programs in their state.
Plant Evaluation Reports and Discussion:
Tennessee: Plants of Betula jacquemontii will not be distributed as planned because the parent plant has succumbed to borers. Cultivars of Acer spp., Cornus, Syriga, Lagerstroemia, Ulmus, and Quercus are being evaluated in Knoxville. Tennessee is cooperating with NC State, UK, and ARS-McMinnville on an evaluation of 60 hydrangeas (including lacecaps, hortensias, oakleaf, and serrata). Performance of crabapple cultivars will be reported at SNA this year. A list of the plants in their Knoxville trial gardens as well as the plantings at McMinnville are listed on their website.
Georgia: They are evaluating 27 different Clethras. 'Ruby Spice' has flowers which hold their pink color well, but the plant does not make a nice looking shrub. The Mexican selections of Clethras are marginally cold-hardy, and show lots of leafspot diseases. Selections of Itea virginica, Ilex glabra, Loropetalum spp., Fothergilla spp., and Illicium spp. are also being evaluated. The Costal Plain Research Station (Tifton) has a planting of about 280 taxa. This site also is evaluating red maples (Acer spp.) and elms (Ulmus spp.) in cooperation with the U.S. National Arboretum. There are replicated evaluations of 12 Raphiolepis spp., 14 Cotoneaster spp. and other evaluations of 98 conifers, 10 Prunus spp.(flowering cherries), 17 Syringa spp., Cotoneaster spp. seedlings, and 250 taxa of Ilex. John Ruter distributed plants of Acer oliverianum spp. Formosanum. This plant may be a good substitute for Japanese maple in the Deep South. John believes this species may be sensitive to ammonium forms of nitrogen.
Virginia: Alex Niemiera will distribute a fastigiate form of Parrotia persica next year. He presently is working on its progagation.
U.S. National Arboretum: Margaret Pooler discussed the species she is working with, including Cercis, Prunus, Lagerstroemia, syringa, Hamemalis, Photinia, and Camellia. She regretfully informed us that she isn't allowed to evaluate taxa other than those listed, but she will be able to participate in distributing unnamed selections for us to evaluate. Margaret distributed a new cooperators' agreement form for us to review. The National Arboretum just released Lagerstroemia 'Chickasaw', the first dwarf hybrid cultivar to be released from the late Dr. Egolf's breeding program.
Florida: Tom Yeager stated that the tours covered the species being evaluated in Gainesville (including cycads and native Florida trees). Mack Thetford is interested in evaluating ornamental grasses, bamboos, and small trees at the West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay. Dick Henley proposes that many of the tropical foliage plants he works with could be used in the landscape as annual bedding plants or herbaceous perennials. Many of them are fast-growing and could give a "tropical" look to summer landscapes throughout the South. Gary Knox is formally evaluating 77 taxa of Lagerstroemia spp. at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Monticello. He also has established demonstration plantings of 40 deciduous Magnolia taxa, several other species of trees from Magnoliaceae, 20 other species of trees, 15 species of shrubs, and collections of about 50 vines and 29 bamboos.
Kentucky: At the West Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton, 'Gulfray' azalea did not prove hardy. 'Silver Cloud' redbud is doing well. Cornus mas 'Spring Glow' is doing well. Bignonia 'Tangerine Beauty' is doing well. Quercus and Euscaphis japonica did not survive.
Plant Evaluation Discussion: Evaluation guidelines established a few years ago were distributed. The need for a better system for organizing the plant distribution and evaluation was discussed. Transporting and transplanting plants during mid-summer (the time of our meeting) is stressful for most plants. Air travel to meeting sites makes it difficult to transport plants. Margaret said she uses UPS Next Day service to distribute plants during Spring; it costs more, but plants arrive in better shape, in a timely manner and at a time of year conducive to transplanting. It should be the responsibility of the distributor to annually send an evaluation form to each plant recipient. It was suggested that a "standing committee" or 3-year terms of office would allow more continuity of this program from year to year. Alex Niemeria volunteered to devise a scheme for coordinating plant distribution, sending evaluation forms, and reporting results. He asked for help from other members. Margaret will share the Excel template they use to track and record information on plants. The Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association started a "Florida Gold Medal Award" program. Kentucky started a similar program called the " Theodore Klein Award" in 1996.
Business Meeting: The official description and requirements of SERAs (Southern Extension and Research Activities) were presented. Officers elected for 1997-98 were: Tom Ranney - Chair, Win Dunwell - Secretary, and Donna Fare - Executive Committee Member.
1998 Meeting Plan: Clemson University (Tom Fernandez) will host the 1998 meeting at the south Carolina botanic Gardens on the University of Clemson on Thursday and Friday, July 8th and 9th, just before ASHS'98 meeting in Charolette, N.C. National Arboretum will tentatively host the 1999 meeting in Washington, DC.