2004 Annual Report

Horticulture Section

Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue
Dickinson, ND 58601

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2003 Cultivar Trials of Bedding Plants

Barbara A. Laschkewitsch
Trial Garden Coordinator

Dr. Ronald C. Smith
Extension Horticulturist – Department of Plant Sciences

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  • Frost Tolerences
  • Top Performers
  • Star Performers
  • Height & Spread
  • Visual Observations
  • Seed Souce List

Introduction

The Plant Sciences Department at NDSU conducted performance trials on over 400 annual bedding plants during the 2003 growing season.The main research garden is located in Fargo, on the west edge of campus.Trial gardens are also located at the research extension centers in Dickinson and Williston, ND.Official entries (usually 150-200) are grown at all three locations while an additional 150-200 cultivars are also grown at the Fargo site.

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.The majority of the daylily cultivars in the collection are considered historic varieties, or pre-1970 introductions.There are also over 300 miscellaneous perennials and ornamental grasses in the collection.An extensive iris collection, courtesy of the Art Jensen family, was also added to the display gardens in 2003.

Culture

Plants 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 geraniums and New Guinea impatiens from Fischer USA, Inc. which were received as rooted cuttings and finished in the greenhouses. Twelve plants ofthe official entries as well as mixes, and 6 plants of all other cultivars were planted into the Fargo plots May 29 – June 6.  Six plants of each cultivar were planted at Dickinson on May 21, and in Williston on May 22. Plants were watered in with Sterns Miracle-Gro® (15-30-15) [1] water soluble fertilizer at all three locations. Overhead irrigation was applied as needed in Fargo.Dickinson had both overhead and drip irrigation while Williston had drip irrigation only.

Weeding was done by hand at all three locations.Razor™ and Regalkade were also used at the Fargo location for weed control.

Site Information

Fargo

The main trial garden is located in Fargo on the west side of the NDSU campus off of 18th street north.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.

Spider mites and aphids were a bigger problem in 2003 than inthe past.The pansies were lost to spider mites during August while the calendula and African daisy were covered with aphids.No insectides were used to control the insect problems.

The weather was rather cool and wet until the first week of July after which it turned warm and dry.Although overhead irrigation was applied frequently during the end of July and August, some cultivars did show water stress.Table 1 shows weather data for Fargo.

Table 1. 2003 and 1971-2000May-August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Fargo, ND. [2]

 

Average Temperature ( F)

Precipitation (inches)

 

2003

1971-2000

2003

Average 1971-2000

May

56 

57.4

3.68

2.61

June

 66

66

 4.17

3.5

July

 71

70.6

1.42

2.88

August

 73

69

 0.72

2.52

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 are grown in raised beds under natural shade.In 2003, petunias were also grown in raised beds.The spreading petunias do particularly well and cascade nicely down the sides of the beds by the end of the summer.

Like Fargo, Dickinson was ratherwet and cool early followed by a warm, dry spell.Table 2 shows weather data from Dickinson.

Table 2.2003 and 1971-2000 May – August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Dickinson, ND.

 

Average Temperature ( F)

Precipitation (inches)

 

2003

1971-2000

2003

Average 1971-2000

May

53 

53.4

2.53

2.24

June

 62

62.4

 2.46

3.57

July

 73

68.1

0.82

2.20

August

 74

67.3

1.15 

1.65

Williston

The Williston trial garden is located at the research extension center on Highway 2 west of Williston.The soil here is also lighter than Fargo.Drip irrigation is used for supplemental watering and shade plants are grown in the natural shade of pine trees.The zonal geraniums did particularly well in Williston this year, growing almost twice as large here with much better bloom than in either of the other two locations.

Table 3 shows weather data for Williston.

Table 3.2003 and 1971-2000 May – August Average Temperature and Precipitation for Williston, ND.

 

Average Temperature ( F)

Precipitation (inches)

 

2003

1971-2000

2003

Average 1971-2000

May

55 

57.1

2.45

2.09

June

 62

65.7

 1.97

2.72

July

 72

71.1

1.42

2.45

August

 75

70.2

1.01 

1.63


All-America Selections

The NDSU trial gardens are an official display garden of All-America Selections (AAS).AAS was founded in 1932 as a way for home gardeners to learn about new and improved varieties of flowers and vegetables. The red, white and blue AAS logo found on seeds packets, in catalogs and in garden articles usually indicates superior cultivars that have been tested in a variety of locations across the United States and Canada.AAS winners for 2004 are: Celosia plumosa ‘Fresh Look Red' (a GOLD MEDAL flower award winner); C. plumosa ‘Fresh Look Yellow'; Gypsophila muralis ‘Gypsy Deep Rose'; Petunia hybrida ‘Limbo Violet'; and Alcea rosea (Hollyhock) ‘Queeny Purple'.AAS winners from 1999-2003 were also grown in the trial gardens this year and are identified by (AAS) behind their cultivar name.

Evaluations

Plants were evaluated twice over the growing season for height, spread, vigor, uniformity and overall appearance.In Fargo the evaluations took place July 21 and 22; and September 3-5.In Dickinson plants were evaluated July 9 and August 30. Williston plants were evaluated July 10 and August 31.The Fargo plants were also evaluated after a light frost occurred on the early morning of September 25.

Field Days

Field days in Dickinson and Williston were held July 9 and 10, respectively, in conjunction with field days at the station.The field day in Fargo was held on August 2.

Acknowledgements

Thanks go to the official supporters of the 2003 trial gardens:All-America Selections; Ball Seed Company; Ernst Benary of America, Inc.; Fischer USA, Inc.; and PanAmerican Seed.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 Jerry Larson, county extension agent in Stark and 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 without the help of these talented and dedicated people.



[1] 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.

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

 

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