News Release Distributed 02/25/10 Palm trees have gained increased interest in Louisiana home landscapes over the past few years, and this resurgence mainly can be attributed to the lack of severely cold weather over the past 20 years, according to an LSU AgCenter expert. “Most people remember the winters of the early 1980s and late 1980s that resulted in considerable damage to palms around the state,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “This winter also saw temperatures go below 32 degrees for two straight weeks in early January, and palm damage around the state is considerable.” Owings says one of the most reliable palms for Louisiana is the windmill palm. “This species can be grown across the state and is one of the palms that can be planted in more northern locations,” Owings says. “Windmill palms are cold-hardy to 15-20 degrees and can tolerate lower temperatures for very short times.” Windmill palms have average heights of 15-25 feet but can be as tall as 40 feet. Trunks are slender, and mats of dark brown, hair-like fibers coat the trunk on younger palms. Windmill palms like ample water but don’t do well in extremely moist soils or standing water. “Low, poorly drained areas will significantly slow growth of windmill palms,” Owings says. “And they have high drought tolerance and moderate salt tolerance.” Windmill palms are relatively slow growing, so consider this fact when adding some to the landscape, he adds. These palms do their best in full sun, although plants will grow – at a slower rate – and adapt to partially sunny or shady situations. “While most of us now realize that fall and winter are the best times to plant the majority of ornamental plants in our landscapes, the best time to plant palms in Louisiana is May through September,” Owings says. “The soil is warmest this time of year, and warm soil is one of the most important criteria for palm root growth.” The horticulturist warns that rough handling of palm trees or severe vibrations during transportation can break the tender bud, causing death many months down the road. “It also is important to transplant the palm as soon as possible after digging,” he says. “Never allow the roots to become dry, although this should not be a problem with container-grown plants.” Maintenance is minimal on windmill palms once they are established in the landscape. Fertilization every couple years can aid in growth and foliage color, Owings says. You also can consider removing the oldest leaves, but it’s not a necessary practice. “Windmill palms are tough and durable,” Owings says. “They can be used in narrow planting locations. Lawn grass will grow and ornamentals that need sunlight can be planted in beds underneath windmill palms because of their high foliage canopy. “They make excellent focal trees and tropical accents,” he adds. “Think about windmill palms when you replant cold-damaged palm trees this year.
News Release Distributed 02/25/10 Easy Does It is the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winner – the only winner – for 2010. “This variety is a floribunda from Weeks Roses,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. Flower color is a mango, peach and apricot blend, and petal count is 25-30, Owings says. Susceptibility to blackspot disease is slight to moderate under Louisiana growing conditions. “Easy Does It performed very well in the AARS official display garden at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center this year,” he says. “In addition, it was named a People’s Choice award winner at the LSU AgCenter’s landscape horticulture field day held at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station in 2009.” The horticulturist says the new rose thrived during two years of comprehensive testing in 23 gardens nationwide. In fact, this variety flourished in 15 categories, including the ability to resist disease, overall beauty and general ease of maintenance. “Each winning rose bears the AARS red-rose seal of approval that ensures gardeners the plants will grow beyond expectations with little maintenance,” Owings says.All-America Rose Selections is a nonprofit association of rose growers and introducers dedicated to bringing exceptional, easy-to-grow roses to gardeners across the county. The organization operates the world’s most rigorous plant trial program via a network of more than 20 official test gardens throughout the country and representing all climate zones.
(Distributed 02/25/10) Roses are one of our most popular ornamental plants, and home gardeners need to learn more about how to care for them, according to a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.
(Distributed 02/11/10) Growing roses in Louisiana is a challenge for home gardeners. A major problem in the enjoyment of landscape roses is disease – primarily blackspot and powdery mildew – brought on by our environmental conditions. Heat and humidity have an adverse affect on many rose varieties that we grow in Louisiana.
(Distributed 02/25/10) A significant number of fruit trees and similar plants do well in Louisiana, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist David Himelrick. They include fig, citrus, blueberry, pawpaw, pomegranate and persimmon.
(Distributed 02/19/10) February and March signal the beginning of spring in many parts of Louisiana – at least when it comes to getting things done in the home landscape.
(Distributed 02/26/10) Pruning is one of the activities that many home gardeners have questions about. When to prune? How to prune? Why prune?
(Distributed 02/25/10) Tomatoes are a Louisiana gardener’s favorite. Full of vitamins and lycopene, tomatoes are a healthy addition to any meal.
(Distributed 02/05/10) Flowering trees add considerable color and beauty to our landscapes during the late winter and early spring months. Many of these trees that flower at this time of the year can be considered low maintenance compared to the amount of joy we get from them.
(Distributed 02/25/10) Until recently, many home gardeners didn’t know much about the multi-season blooming potential of some of the newer azalea varieties.
(Distributed 02/05/10) Don’t let unsafe food masquerade at your Mardi Gras celebration. Food that hasn’t been prepared following recommended food safety guidelines usually appears safe because it looks smells and tastes fine, but eating it may lead to food-borne illness, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
(Distributed 02/10/10) Landscape shrub roses like the popular Knock Out varieties are all the rage in the rose world right now, but Louisiana homeowners have a number of other great landscape shrub roses to consider, according to an LSU AgCenter horticulturist.
(Distributed 02/03/10) You can show your Valentine how much you care by surprising her or him with a special treat – luscious red fruit, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.