2003 Annual Report

Horticulture Section

Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue
Dickinson, ND 58601

2002 CULTIVAR TRIALS OF
BEDDING PLANTS

Barbara A. Laschkewitsch
Trial Garden Coordinator

Dr. Ronald C. Smith
Extension Horticulturist

Department of Plant Sciences
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND


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Introduction

The Plant Sciences Department at NDSU conducted performance trials on almost 400 annual bedding plants during the 2002 growing season. The main research garden is located in Fargo, on the west edge of the NDSU campus. Trials are also conducted at the research extension centers in Dickinson and Williston, ND. Official entries (usually 150-200 cultivars) are grown at all three locations. An additional 100-150 unofficial cultivars are also grown at the Fargo site for evaluation over the course of the season.

The display gardens are for educational and research purposes. They are open to the public throughout the growing season and guided tours are available upon request.

The trial garden is an official display garden of both the All-America Selections and the American Hemerocallis Society. Currently, there are over 1100 cultivars of daylilies in the collection with plans for more. There are also over 300 miscellaneous perennials and ornamental grasses.

Culture

Cultivars were seeded in the horticulture and forestry greenhouses on the NDSU campus from January through April. When at the proper stage, seedlings were transplanted into cell packs containing a peat-based growing medium. Exceptions to this were entries by Fischer USA, Inc. and Jackson and Perkins Wholesale. Those plants were received as rooted cuttings and potted into cell packs upon arrival.

Six to twelve plants of each cultivar were transplanted into the field at the Fargo plots on May 30 through June 5. Six plants of each cultivar were planted in Dickinson on May 22 and six plants of each cultivar were planted in Williston on May 24 and May 28. Plants were watered in with Sterns Miracle-Gro® (15-30-15) water soluble fertilizer.

Overhead irrigation was applied as needed in Fargo and Dickinson while Williston had drip irrigation in place.

Weeding was done by hand at all three stations. Razor™ and Surflan AS® were also used at the Fargo plots.

Site Information

Fargo

The main trial garden is located in Fargo on the west side of the NDSU campus. The soil is a heavy clay and irrigation is applied with overhead sprinklers when needed. The beds are in full sunlight so shade has been provided with shade cloth draped over conduit forms. A new shade house has been postponed due to possible relocation of the research plots. Table 1 shows weather data for Fargo from 2002 and the 30 year averages from 1971-2000.

Table 1. 2002 and 1971-2000 May - August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Fargo, ND.

Temperature (F)Precipitation
AverageAverageTotalsAverage
May5157.42.752.61
June70663.733.51
July7470.65.432.88
August69692.852.52

Dickinson

The Dickinson trial garden is located at the Research Extension Center on the west side of State street. The soil here is a lighter, sandier soil than Fargo and the weather tends to be drier. Shade plants were grown in raised beds under natural shade for the second year. In 2001 begonias and impatiens did very well in this area but in 2002 their performance was very poor. One possible reason is a cool period, including temperatures below 32ºF, two days after planting. Fertility in the beds was not checked but may not have been adequate. Table 2 shows weather data for Dickinson from 2002 and the 30 year averages from 1971-2000.

Table 2. 2002 and 1971-2000 May - August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Dickinson, ND.

Temperature (F)Precipitation
AverageAverageTotalsAverage
May49.553.41.642.24
June6562.44.853.57
July7468.12.892.20
August6767.32.461.65

Williston

This is the second year that Williston has been an official part of the trial program. The garden is located at the Research Extension Center on Highway 2 west of Williston. The soil here is also lighter than in Fargo. Drip irrigation is used for supplemental watering and shade plants are grown in the natural shade of pine trees. Table 3 shows weather data for Williston.

Table 3. 2002 and 1971-2000 May - August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Williston, ND.

Temperature (F)Precipitation
AverageAverageTotalsAverage
May49.557.10.612.09
June64.565.73.182.72
July7371.11.862.45
August65.570.21.111.63

Evaluations

Plants were evaluated twice over the growing season for height, spread, vigor, uniformity and overall appearance. In Fargo the first evaluation took place July 22 and 23, while the second one was August 29 and 30. In Dickinson plants were evaluated July 10 and September 5, and in Williston on July 11 and September 6. The Fargo plants were also evaluated for frost tolerances after a light frost occurred.

Field Days

The sixth annual flowers, ornamental grasses and turf grass field day was held the morning of Saturday, August 3, 2002. We had our biggest turnout this year and were pleased with comments made concerning the trial garden. Field days in Dickinson and Williston were held July 10 and 11 respectively, in conjunction with field days at the stations.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the official supporters of the 2002 gardens: All-America Selections; Ball Seed Company; Ernst Benary of America, Inc.; Fischer USA, Inc.; Jackson and Perkins Wholesale; PanAmerican Seed; and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. The support of these companies is greatly appreciated and we hope results from our efforts are beneficial in their research for new and improved cultivars.

Thanks also to the following: Jerry Larson, county extension agent for Stark/Billings counties in western North Dakota; Kris Ringwall and the staff at the Dickinson Research Extension Center; and Lorna Bradbury and the staff at the Williston Research Extension Center. The bedding plant trial evaluation program would not be possible in the western part of the state without help from these talented and dedicated people.

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Disclaimer – Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by NDSU or the North Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station is implied.

Temperature and precipitation data are from NDAWN and the National Climatic Data Center.

 

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