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ORNAMENTAL HORTICULTURE IN FLORIDA:
A FORECAST FOR THE 70's
Florida's Ornamental Horticulture industries are presently
growing at a faster annual rate than any other phase of agri-
culture, but must be prepared to increase production of turf,
trees, shrubs and floricultural products at a more rapid pace
to keep up with the state's tremendous growth.
The anticipated home and commercial building boom forecast
for the next decade combined with the miles of major highways
in various stages of completion and planning plus the current
emphasis on improving visual and environmental qualities in
growing urban areas will create an unbelievable demand on
ornamental horticultural industries already under stress to
supply current markets. Disney World with its five 18-hole
golf courses and other facilities will affect the population
influx and tourist trade over the entire state and when this
is added to Florida's other attractive features the potential
for Ornamental Horticultural products is unlimited.
Homes and commercial buildings are being constructed to
merge landscaping and interior design, thus needs for plants
and flowers for interior decors are greater than ever before.
Increased urbanization will create even greater absolute needs
for plants and flowers within homes and work areas and expanded
urban parks and recreational areas for the health and mental
welfare of the urban community.
University of Florida scientists with the Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences are aware of these needs and
must prepare all phases of the horticulture industry to produce
better crops on less land with considerably less labor and
at an increased tempo to meet the minimum needs of the population
within the immediate future. Further, our programs must relate
to man's increasing need and dependency upon plal in is
total environment. HUME LIBRARY
II. IFAS APPROACH JUN 151971
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Scien es (IFAS) pro-
grams involving ornamental plants are diverse gec dfa~.cJy,ofFlorida
departmentally, functionally; the same can be said f ...p.
diversity and target groups served. The mere mention of the
four major segments (turfgrasses, flowers, foliage and woody
ornamental plants) evokes the realization that we are talking
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about hundreds of plant species. This multiplicity of plant
material is in reality your lawn, flowers for all occasions,
landscape materials, gardens, parks, urban and forest recreational
public and private areas, roadsides, golf courses, to name but
IFAS Ornamental programs are statewide and were purposely
structured and strategically located in 7 campus departments
and 7 research centers around the state to service the needs
of growers and producers, grounds maintenance superintendents
and the retail shop manager, the consumer (resident and tourist
alike) and home gardener, student and professional Ornamental
Horticulturist for information on all aspects of the culture and
use of ornamental plants. These programs address the constant
need for problem solving and for economic analyses of all types
leading to a better understanding of supply and demand functions.
These, added to attention to nutritional needs and pest control
aspects, nave brought the industry to its present economic
level. Concomitant with this achievement level of industry and
university has come the awareness of the opportunities to provide
aid to the consumer top consistent quality products consistently.
Efforts must be accelerated in developing total systems approaches
to crop production systems that will incorporate modern engineer-
ing and mechanical devices to modernize production, harvesting
and handling practices.
However, now that we have some of these basic production
advances under our belt, so to speak, we have a clear mandate
to move forward into some new dimensions. We recognize as a
prime objective to assure customer or consumer acceptance and
enjoyment of ornamental plants. Knowledgeable use of decorative
plants and their products contribute substantially to the
creation of an environment befitting the advanced state of
recent scientific, economic and social contributions. Enhancing
the pleasure people find in their day to day employment and in
the use of their leisure time is a unique objective of this
team of agricultural scientists an objective that will by
its nature deter the deterioration of our urban centers and
contribute to the betterment of individual and group attitudes.
A. How can we achieve our goals?
The IFAS Ornamentals team feels that our specific and overall
goals can be most easily attained by developing a center of
excellence for ornamentals within the Institute's Research Centers,
Extension Centers and Instructional programs. All programs are
related and functionally operate through IFAS administrators with
specific administrative direction and coordination by department
chairman and center directors.
We emphasize the statewide and interdisciplinary responsi-
bility and opportunity for ornamental programs. This strong asset
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is best typified by the multi-discipline approach to solving
specific problems an approach easily implemented at our
Research Centers around the state where faculty from several
disciplines merge in 1 administrative unit. The Ornamental
Horticulture Department recognizes its purpose in assisting all
faculty and departments with the identification and estimation
of relative importance of problem areas involving ornamental
plants. This requires a continuation of the excellent inter-
departmental administrative leadership for the coordination of
efforts where research, extension and instructional needs cross
departmental and/or research center lines of responsibility.
The goals of the total ornamentals effort are implemented
in each of the disciplines through specific projects in Research,
Teaching and Extension, which, stated another way, means we are
responsible for the development of information, for its dissemina-
tion and for its incorporation in vital services. Because of
the nature and needs of this expanding and largely unserviced
ornamentals industry our research responsibility must not ignore
any one of the three approaches Basic, Developmental and
Applied. In addition, it becomes increasingly important that
we recognize the needs to function not only at the state level,
but also at the regional, national and international levels.
1. Development of information (new knowledge) through
Basic, Developmental and Applied research.
2. Dissemination of new and existing knowledge to students
via on and off campus instructional programs.
3. Incorporation of information into vital services for
producers and users through federal, state and county
1. Three functional areas -- Research Extension -
Instruction --- coordinated by Deans for Research,
Extension, Teaching and Provost for Agriculture.
2. Many programs are statewide with close contact and
fast response to problems of producers and users
of ornamental plants.
3. Statewide programs involve interdisciplinary and
interunit programming and approaches.
4. The multi-discipline faculties of research centers
favors a team approach to problem solving.
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D. Location, number and discipline of IFAS Faculty Responsible
for Ornamental Plant Programs:
(FTE) and Education Centers (FTE)
Research Centers (FTE)
ornamental Horticulture 11
lant Pathology 3
ioil Science 2
,gri. Engineering 3
,gri. Economics 3
1 Ft. Lauderdale
Total Faculty FTE = 53 with 29 100% Ornamentalists.
E. Functional and mission organization of the Ornamental Horti-
(1) Administrative Council
(2) Functional Leaders:
Ornamental Horticulture Dept.
Agricultural Research and Education
Agricultural Research Center -
Agricultural Research Center -
(3) Mission (Commodity) Leaders:
1. Extension Section
2. Instructional Pro
3. Research Program-
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F. Statewide project program structure for Ornamental Horti-
culture Department, Institute of Foo a-nd AgriculturaTl sciences.
1. Breeding, Development and Genetics of Ornamental
Objective: To develop superior adapted turfgrass,
flower, woody ornamental and foliage varieties for
Florida that possess desirable horticultural characters
(including pest resistances).
To develop information pertaining to the
genetics of ornamental plants.
2. Collection and Evaluation of Ornamental Plants.
Objective: To assemble seed, clonal material, new
and potential varieties of turfgrass, flowers,
nursery and foliage plants for evaluation as
3. Developing new and superior propagation methods
for better and longer lasting ornamental plants.
Objective: To study the effects of new and improved
propagation techniques on plant establishment,
growth and quality in the production area, in
transit, wholesale and retail outlets and in the
4. Determine ornamental plant requirements for chemical
and physical properties of media mixtures and their
relationship with plant growth space requirements.
Objective: To study effects of various potting
media, amendments, soil types, frequency of watering,
containers, nutrition on the growth and quality of
turfgrass, flowers, woody ornamental and foliage
5. Improving quality of ornamental plants by macro and
micro element nutrition.
Objective: To study effects to macro and micro
elements on the growth, yield, longevity, and
chemical composition of turfgrasses, flowers,
foliage and woody ornamental plants.
To determine optimum nutritional levels and
ratios for such crops.
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6. Morphological and Physiological effects of growth
regulators on ornamental plants.
Objective: To develop plant regulating chemicals
and explore methods to produce flower, foliage,
woody ornamental and turfgrasses of higher and
more desirable quality and to study their effects
upon the biochemistry and morphology of plants.
7. Improving quality of ornamental plants through
development of weed control practices.
Objective: To evaluate herbicides and develop
more effective methods of controlling weeds in
turfgrass areas, flower, woody ornamental and
foliage production areas. To develop a basic
understanding of weed plants as an aid to chemical
8. Improving quality of Ornamental Plants through the
study of the interactions of the various features
of the macro and micro climates.
Objective: To investigate effects of temperature,
photoperiod, water relationships and atmospheric
composition on ornamental plants (woody ornamentals,
foliage, flowers and turfgrasses) under various
production, marketing and utilization environments.
9. Improving production efficiency of ornamental plants
through development of new or improved production
Objective: To identify and correct production
practices that are inefficient and/or adversely
effect quality of turfgrass, flower, woody orna-
mental or foliage crops.
10. Improving practices affecting harvesting, handling,
processing storage and shipping of ornamental plants
that affect plant quality and shelf life.
Objective: To modify existing or develop new
cultural and harvesting practices that insure better
consumer products (turfgrass, flowers, woody orna-
mental and foliage) as the product passes through
storage and shipping channels. The relationship of
storage and shipping conditions for plant quality
and shelf life will be identified.
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11. Study of new retail and wholesale management
practices to improve ornamental plants and the
ultimate consumer product.
Objective: To study movement patterns marketing,
channels, and handling practices for flowers (cut
and potted), turfgrass, woody ornamental and
To study pricing behavior of firms that market
these crops and to delineate factors which influence
firms in their decisions to purchase ornamental
plants for resale; and to analyze the impact of
mass markets, changing institutional outlets and
new technology on potential markets.
12. Developing new or better uses for ornamental plants
and their products through improved design, land-
scaping and utilization techniques.
Objective: To identify more effective and efficient
uses for flowers, woody ornamental, foliage and
turfgrass in interior and exterior environments,
and to focus attention on the important role of
plants of all types in bettering our total
To better understand the interactions and
ecological relationship among plants and between
plants and other objects in their environment.
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III. THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
Table 1. Estimated current and projected values and acreages of
all types of turfgrass and associated Agribusiness.
Commercial Millions Value in millions
Industry acreages of of dollars
1968 1975 pounds 1968 Proj.for 1975
a) Sod production 16,000 13.5
b) All turf including: 385,000 621,000
1) Right-of-ways 169,000 188,000
2) Home lawns 150,000 377,650
3) Public bldgs. 28,000 50,000
4) Motels, etc. 3,000 5,350
Garden Supply 400 stores 43 54
Total: All Turf and Associated Agribusiness 188
Table 2. Estimated wholesale value and acreage of commercial
woody ornamental and nursery crops in Florida. 1968.
Industry Commercial Value in millions of dollars
acreage 1968 Proj. for 1975
Woody Ornamentals 12,000 30.0 45.0
(incl. deciduous and
subtropical fruits & nuts)
Citrus nursery stock 2,500 4.3 4.5
TOTAL 14,500 34.3 49.5
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Table 3. Estimated wholesale value and acreage of commercial
ornamental flower crops in Florida (1968).
Commercial Value in
Industry acreage millions of dollars
Pompons 650 9.6
Standards 100 1.8
Pots 200 1.6
Rooted cuttings 120 5.0
Gladiolus 8,500 13.0
Corms 800 2.0
Lilies 147 1.5
Orchids 100 2.0
Poinsettias 25 0.7
Roses 100 1.3
Miscellaneous 250 1.5
and annual plants 225 5.0
TOTAL 11,217 45.0
Table 4. Estimated wholesale value and acreage of commercial
foliage, fern and caladium crops in Florida (1968).
Value in Value in
Industry Commercial millions of dollars millions of dollars
acreage 1968 1971
Foliage plants 650 15.0 20
Ferns 1,750 8.7 10
Caladiums 700 1.4 2
TOTAL 3,100 25.1 32
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It is estimated that there will be 621,000 acres of turf
in Florida by 1975 and more than 713,000 acres in 1980. These
figures are based on population increase projections, with the
most significant increase in acreage to come from golf course
construction. An estimated 19,000 acres of highway right-of-ways
will be added by 1975.
Demands for quality sod often exceed the supply at the
The value of turf is difficult to evaluate because the only
marketable commodity is cut sod and vegetative propagating
material-comprising less than 6% of the total turf acreage in
the state. This small quantifiable portion accounted for 13.5
million in sales, however. The dollar value of turf and Agri-
business aspects have been estimated to exceed 188 million.
Turfgrasses are extremely important in Southern Florida
where some of the State's densest population centers are located.
Approximately 50 to 75 million dollars are spent annually on
turfgrass and associated lawn expenses in South Florida. With
the year-round growing season, maintenance practices must be
carried out on a 12 month basis these favorable conditions also
favor many pests and associated problems.
IFAS Turfgrass Programs
IFAS Turfgrass programs are located in Gainesville and at
the Agricultural Research Center Ft. Lauderdale. This
programming of faculty and research program inputs is desirable
in that it recognizes and responds to the significantly different
conditions prevalent in Florida, not to mention distance factors
and population pressures for service.
IFAS faculty responsible for Turfgrass programs are as
R Faculty Supporting
Researcher Area of Responsibility FTE FTE
G. H. Snyder
G. C. Horn
H. G. Meyers
V. G. Perry
T. E. Freeman
G. M. Volk
Research Director .4-.5
Ornamental Horticulture-Prod. 1.0
Ornamental Horticulture-Breeding 1.0
Plant Pathology .4
Soils Science .2
Ornamental Horticulture 1.0
Ornamental Horticulture 1.0
Ornamental Horticulture .3
Plant Pathology .3
Soils Science .2-.3
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Turfgrass Research Contributions by IFAS Interdisciplinary Teams
a) 'Floratine' St. Augustine was released in 1959 by IFAS-OH
into Florida's Vegetative Turfgrass certification program. This
program, administered by the Division of Plant Industry, guarantees
the purchaser of 'Floratine' that he is getting sod that is true
to type. This program was first and has been copied by several
other states. The program also provides protection to the breeder
that new releases will not lose their identity once they leave the
'Floratine' has received very good acceptance and is slowly
replacing 'Bitterblue', Common and 'Roselawn' as the most important
turf in Florida. Unfortunately, none of these, with the exception
of a few Roselawn types, are resistant to SAD virus.
More than 4,000,000 feet of certified grasses are sold from
Florida nurseries each year. This amounts to approximately $300,000
and is only a fraction of the more than $25,000,000 worth of sod
It is hoped that all commercially produced sod will eventually
be sold under the certification program. All new variety releases
will be into the certification program.
Other New Varieties: FA40 or FA-222, two dwarf low growing
St. Augustine grasses, also immune to the SAD virus can be released
at any time. These are excellent turf type St. Augustine grasses
that would significantly lower the mowing requirement and require
less fertilizer and chemicals in their maintenance. Both FA40 and
FA-222 are far superior to any of the varieties of St. Augustine
on the market presently.
b) Nematode Research: Cooperative research with the Department
of Entomology and Nematology during the past 10 years has resulted
in major improvements in the quality of turf on golf courses in
Florida and other coastal states.
Prior to 1960, the average life of a putting green in Florida
was between 3 to 5 years. After 5 years, the green had declined
to the point that a total renovation, (which included fumigation
with methyl bromide-under plastic cover and replanting) was
necessary. Research identified the major cause to be parasitic
nematodes. Since 1960 several genera have been identified as
parasitic to turfgrasses. Additional research with numerous
nematicides has resulted in excellent control recommendations.
Presently, there are more than 500 golf courses in Florida
and over 90% of these use IFAS-recommendations for controlling
nematodes on an annual basis. Most treat greens at least one
time per year and many are treating the entire golf course at
a cost of approximately $5,000 per course and are very happy
with the response. However, several of the recommended materials
are highly toxic and the best material for controlling most
nematodes does a very poor job on Lance nematode.
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IFAS-OH-EY in cooperation with Jacobsen Mfg. Co. and
Shell Chemical Co. is doing research on a new machine to
inject Nemagon below the turf for nematode control. Nemagon
is a very good nematicide, especially for Lance nematodes
but could not be recommended on turf because of excess phytotoxic
effects when surface applied. Nemagon is less than half as
expensive at the presently recommended nematicides, is much
safer to humans and more effective against certain nematodes.
Injection below the turf will eliminate phytotoxic effects and
get the nematicide into the soil away from golfers.
This technique will also be very beneficial in using the
more toxic material because the surface application can be
eliminated. Better control can be obtained at a much reduced
cost with safer materials.
c) Release of 'Ormond' bermudagrass. 'Ormond' bermuda was
researched by IFAS-OH and placed in the Turf Certification
Program in 1964. This grass has become the most important
fairway bermudagrass in Florida and is one of the leading
bermudagrasses for other turf areas such as Parks, Home Lawns,
and Industrial sites.
Over half of Florida's more than 500 golf courses have
'Ormond' bermuda fairways, tees and slopes of greens and tees.
This is over half of an estimated 1800 miles of (enough to
completely cover the perimeter of Florida if placed end-to-end)
or 35,000 acres of fairways.
This grass has been outstanding and should continue to
increase in popularity.
d) Release of 'Everglades' bermudagrass. This variety
was placed in the Certification Program the same time as
'Ormond'. This grass was adapted for putting greens primarily
and is best adapted only in extreme South Florida. At the time
of its release it was one of the best for golf greens in South
Florida. Better varieties have been released from Tifton,
Georgia and these have largely replaced 'Everglade' as an
important putting green bermudagrass. However, several of the
most exclusive courses in South Florida still maintain 'Everglade'
bermudagrass greens. At the time of its release it filled an
urgent need of the Florida Golf Course industry.
e) Management Programs: As a result of OH research, Floridians
and many of its more than 19 1/2 million tourists play on more
than 500 golf courses with excellent weed free turf. In the
early 60's the average life of a putting green in Florida was 3
to 5 years. After 3 to 5 years the turf had declined to a point
that it was unsatisfactory and both grassy and broadleaf weeds
took over. At this stage the green was plowed up, leveled,
sterilized with methyl bromide and resprigged at a cost varying
between $500 and $1,000 per green.
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Research by IFAS proved parasitic nematodes to be
responsible for the decline. The poor turf resulted in
little or no competition to the weeds and the weeds generally
took over. Now most nematodes are controlled and the average
life of a green has been extended indefinitely.
Later research by IFAS-OH with both pre and post emergence
ahrbicides resulted in excellent weed control recommendations
for controlling all grassy and broadleaf weeds. Presently,
as a result of IFAS research, most of Florida's golf courses
are weed free.
In addition, fertilizer requirements of greens, tees and
fairways have been established by research. IFAS recommendations
have resulted in fertilizer recommendations that make excellent
golf courses year around.
Research using two greens systems, involving the use of
ccol season grasses in the winter and warm season permanent
grasses for the summer, has made year-round green color a
really on golf courses in Florida and the rest of the South.
Florida has been a leader in research on overseeding warm
season grasses for winter color and quality.
f) Fertility research by IFAS-OH has resulted in recommendations
that insure quality turf on the very poor soils of Florida.
Fertilizer requirements for home lawns and all other turf areas
have been well established. Much research has been completed on
the requirements of the major turfgrasses for both major and
A very significant finding was the relationship between
fertility and incidence of Chinch bugs. A very highly significant
correlations were found between both source and rate of nitrogen
cp^lication and damage from Chinch bugs. Source of N was more
important than rate of N. Plots that received 4, 8 or 16 #N per
1,000 sq. feet per year in the form of ammonium nitrate were
severely damaged or completely killed. Using Agrinite (a water
in soluble source of N) at the same rates of N in adjacent plots
resulted in no Chinch bug kill. All of the ammonium nitrate plots
had to be replanted and none of the Agrinite plots required
replanting. The damage was also related to rate of N applied.
lots receiving the 16 #N rates were killed first, the 8 #N rate
second and the 4 #N rate were last to be killed. The checks
(those receiving no N) were not damaged. Phosphorus or potash
had no effect on Chinch bug damage. Chinch bugs were found in
the Agrinite plots but not in numbers sufficient to do extensive
damage to St. Augustine.
This was a significant finding because more than $25,000,000
is spent annually in controlling Chinch bugs in St. Augustine
lawns in Florida. This finding can result in significant savings
and reduce substantially the tons of toxic insecticides used in
controlling Chinch bugs.
The same nitrogen relationship is believed to exist for
both army and sodweb worms; however, worm counting techniques
are not sufficiently refined to prove the relationship
statistically. The same is thought to be true relating to
nematodes but is yet to be proven experimentally.
During the past 3 years the need for Sulfur in bermudagrass
has been proven experimentally. Deficiencies have occurred,
treatments applied and economic responses obtained.
Research should be continued in an effort to use fertilizer
practices in such a manner to reduce pest problems and substantially
reduce the needs for pesticides. Improved varieties is another way
of accomplishing this end.
g) Herbicide Research: Research with simazine and atrazine
in early 1960 resulted in recommendations using these two materials
for pre emergence weed control in sod nurseries or organic soils
in Florida. Prior to 1960 no herbicides were used on St. Augustine
grass and all St. Augustine sod sold in Florida was extremely
weedy. The use of either of these two herbicides at 6 month
intervals, on newly spriged St. Augustine or old fields that had
to be cut leaving a ribbon for regrowth, resulted in excellent
weed control and made the production of weed free St. Augustine
sod a possibility. Presently, simazine and atrazine are used
on all St. Augustine produced in Florida.
One year later, the uses of 2, 4-D for post emergence control
of broadleaf weeds in all turf grasses except St. Augustine was
recommended. Some time later the use of organic arsenicals for
post emergence control of grassy weeds in zoysia and bermuda
was recommended. All of these were results of IFAS research.
During 1969 and 1970 major emphasis was given to research
on a herbicide that could effectively kill Poa annua in bermudagrass.
This was the major unsolved weed problem on most golf courses in the
United States. Kerb at 1 #ai/A was found to give 99+% control of
Poa annua either pre or post emergence with no damage to bermudagrass.
This was a major break through and in October of 1970 Kerb was
approved for use in Florida and all that has been produced to date
has been used on Florida golf course. These findings will solve
the Poa annua problems wherever bermudagrass is grown.
h) Research on turf diseases: OH cooperated with PP Department
IFAS research on fungus diseases has resulted in development of
economic controls of all major fungus diseases on warm and cool
season grasses grown in Florida. 5 years ago we were in bad need
of good fungicides for controlling turf diseases. These have been
developed, researched and presently recommended.
We are in good shape with our disease control recommendations
but research has to find safer fungicides that work equally well
or better than presently recommended ones.
- 15 -
i) Research during the past 10 years has kept up with
most insect pest problems. One or more insecticides exist
that will control each of the major pests of turfgrasses.
Chinch bugs and worms continue to require heavy frequent
dosages of insecticides for economic control. Control-
recoratndations are available that work but they are expensive
and require repeated applications. Much research is needed
in this area.
j) Research on soil modification or use of soil amendments
for improving Florida soils has been completed. Research has
shown that a good putting green soil should have a percolation
rate (hydrostatic conductivity) of about 5 inches per hour.
T'l same soil should have a total pore space of about 35% by
volume. About twenty-five percent of this should be capillary
pore space and the rest non-capillary pore space. Research
has demonstrated that adding colloidal phosphate, vermiculite
and/or peat to mature sand in the proper proportions can result
in a mixture with those desired physical properties and give
uhe desired resiliency needed to hold a ball properly pitched
to a green.
Research on soil amendments has given information on native
materials that can be economically used to amend and improve
both the physical and chemical properties of sandy soils.
Future Research Needs of the Turfgrass Industry & Major Areas
Where IFAS Programs will Relate To Them:
Recent research conferences have identified the following
areas of where continued or increased emphasis should be
considered in our programming. Industry and IFAS views on this
matter were almost identical regarding the priority of these
needs (as shown below):
1. Better grasses
2. Weed Control
3. Industry Wide Survey
4. Nematode Control
5. Insect Control
6. Methods of Turf Establishment
7. Disease Control
8. Soil Amendments
9. Nutrition (and fertilizer programs)
10. Growth Regulation
Our programming, if carefully done, can continue to
maximize the advantages of the seasonal differences between
the Gainesville based research and ARC-Fort Lauderdale programs.
- 16 -
Florida is the only southern state which has a full-time
turfgrass breeder on the faculty. This effort is centered at
Fort Lauderdale where basic as well as a portion of the field
work is being conducted. Because of the favorable environment
for grass growth, as well as for the development of pests, year-
round activities can be conducted in the field. Primary screening
will be done at Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville while the most
promising materials will be further evaluated at selected locations
throughout the state. The invaluable cooperation at the various
IFAS AR Centers should minimize the efforts in the evaluation
of superior turfgrasses.
One FTE is located at Ft. Lauderdale but benefits are not
confined nor-directed to South Florida alone, but to the state
as a whole.
For a number of years before this turfgrass breeding program
was increased, cooperative research and exchange of material occurred
between IFAS and other programs. One noteworthy instance which
has significant economic implications is the IFAS-Texas A&M
Cooperative research with this group has uncovered several
St. Augustine seedling developed by IFAS-OH that are resistant
to SAD virus. To date, SAD virus has not been found in Florida
but is a major problem in Texas. SAD virus caused an estimated
$100,000,000damage to St. Augustine grasses in Texas last year.
There is no known control and a resistant variety is the only
solution at this time.
All of the St. Augustine grasses presently used on home
lawns and other turf areas plus the more than 20,000 acres of
commercial St. Augustine sod are highly susceptible to SAD virus.
Should the virus enter Florida, the more than 166,000 acres of
St. Augustine turf in lawns and sod nursery would be threatened
and movement of sod immediately guaranteed. The replacement
value of St. Augustine lawns in Florida, at the present market
price, would be in excess of $800,000,000.
FA-110 and several other, Florida seedlings are either
immune or resistant to SAD virus. Texas has requested a joint
release of FA-110 as soon as possible and such a release has
been requested. Such a release, as soon as possible, would
provide help to the Texas problem and provide our sod industry
a chance to prepare for the SAD virus, should it enter Florida-
and there is no reason to believe that it won't.
Benefits of this Program
Turfgrass production and maintenance in Florida is a major
enterprise which has a direct influence on most Floridians as
well as tourists, and it is almost impossible to place an accurate
monetary value upon it. Most iml rtantly, turf in all its
many forms represents an intani -iLe investment in better living.
New and better turfgrasse, 11 minimize the need for
pesticides used for controlling insects, diseases, nematodes
and weeds; lower growing types might minimize mowing frequencies;
the need for fertilizer might be reduced in those types having
lower nutritional requirements; the same would be true for lower
water requiring types.
It is anticipated that when the superior new grasses are
released we can expect at the very least a 25 percent reduction
in current maintenance costs.
Pest control efforts are in part related to the 'better
grass' program since resistance and/or tolerance to the majcr
disease, insect and nematode, and weed pests are programmed
into the breeding effort. In fact, this is a major thrust .o
our breeding program and major contributions are being made by
the respective disciplines at Ft. Lauderdale and Gainesville
Current research is aimed at the development of a coordinat-d
multi-pest screening program.
This is a pressing problem and one that will require
additional FTE's and funding. For example, most grasses usec.
presently are susceptible to most of the common pests in Florida
thus major pest control programs are required to maintain the
grasses. In the major metropolitan areas there are dozens of
yard pest control companies that can only scratch the surface
of the total problem. Even now their operations are in dire
need of new safer pesticides.
Our programs are exploring the potential of many biological
control measures including genetic resistances. Our entomologists
and pathologists at both turf research centers are developing new
or expanding dimensions of their programs that will provide
efficient as well as safe control programs of all types.
Cultural and Management Programs and Weed Control
Past efforts in these areas have brought the turfgrass
industry to its present level of success and presently are the
backbone of the industry. Weed control, overseeding and management
and nutritional programs will continue in importance, but be
related directly with advances in better grasses and new pest
Florida can have better grasses geneticallyy tailored
for the various utilization areas) that are resistant to pests
and other adverse conditions. These grasses thus will be
easier to maintain and the maintenance and management pract. -es
will be vastly improved.
The needs for these advances should be exceedingly clear
in light of the development of this state and its natural resources.
Relatively small additional inputs (FTE or dollars) are
required to assure the success of this program. Some of the
obvious needs are:
1. A full time or 3/4 time extension turf
Specialist located at the ARC-Fort Lauderdale
with some responsibility for applied turfgrass
2. One faculty FTE at Gainesville (1/2 research,
3. 3 additional supporting staff. (2 at Fort
Lauderdale 1 at Gainesville)
4. Sufficient OCO-OE-OPS funding to support the
above. Normal increases in the budget to
support the existing program. It should be
emphasized that several programs are just
developing and cannot produce without normal
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III. WOODY ORNAMENTAL NURSERY STOCK
Four thousand nurseries in Florida are producing woody ornamental
plants trees and shrubs that will enhance both interior and-building
exterior living areas in their usage; that will create new interest,
profit and recreational possibilities for professional maintenance
businesses, for property owners and for gardening hobbiests; that
wiil add the "somebody cares" mark to our public parks, streets and
Last year these 4,000 nurseries made use of 16,000 acres of
Florida land to produce and maintain 175 million plants being readied
for market distribution. Most of these 175 million plants will be
marketed and used within the state, supplying local landscaping needs
for container or field grown tree and shrub planting stock.
Many of the ornamental trees and shrubs produced in Florida nurseries
are suitable for markets in other regions. Export to other states
and to other countries can be expected to increase as production methods
are refined. The basis for this expectation is the competitive advantage
supplied by climatic and edaphic factors such as relatively higher light
intensity, adequate usable water, and mild winters.
The most distinctive feature of this particular phase of agriculture
production is the diversity in kinds of plants being produced.
Representatives of more than 100 genera including at least 4000 cultivars
are produced here in quantity.
The demands for diversity and novelty in plants being sold for
ornament are reflections of their usage. Planting functions and sites
vary in character and require a selection of adapted plants for each
character variant. Esthetically pleasing combinations of plants also
necessitate a broad spectrum of different kinds available for selection.
A trend toward specializing in production of fewer kinds of plants
or those with similar handling requirements has developed among nursery-
men and is expected to continue, to the advantage of supplying better
quality products to resident and more distant consumers.
Placing a dollar value on the enhancement of asthetic features
in our environment is particularly difficult with plants in this
category. This is because they are so often used to create beauty and
art in many of our environments.
The estimated statewide sales value of woody ornamental nursery
stock was $29,800,000 for 1968, and projected to be $45,297,000 for
1975 and $61,685,000 for 1980. The nursery business grows in direct
proportion to the increase in private and public building construction
thus accounting for these substantial increases for the next several
years. For example in some southern counties the construction rate is
15% per year. It is estimated that 75-80% of woody ornamental nursery
- 20 -
stock produced in Florida is grown in containers while the remaining
20-25% is grown in the field.
The nursery business is extensive throughout Florida and particularly
intense in the Southern areas of the state where many subtropical exotic
species can be produced.
1970 estimates place a value of 25 million dollars on ornamental
nurseries in South Florida. In Broward County there were 220 established
nurseries in 1968 which employed over 3,500 people. In Dade county
there are more than twice this number of nurseries.
An even larger economic impact on the state economy is made by
home owner expenditures for horticultural supplies and services. In
Broward county alone this is .35 million dollars per year. This
figure more than doubles for Dade county. The average home owner who
does his own maintenance spends from $50.00 to $75.00 per year.
IFAS WOODY ORNAMENTAL PROGRAMS
Area of Faculty Supporting
Researcher Responsibility FTE FTE
R. D.Dickey Ornamental Horticulture 1.0
C. E. Whitcomb 1.0
E. W. McElwee 1.0
S. E. McFadden 1.0
H. N. Miller Plant Pathology .4
L. C. Kuitert Entomology .1
ARC Ft. Lauderdale
B. L. James Ornamental Hort. -Center .4
Open Ornamental Horticulture 1.0
J. A. Reinert Entomology .5
H. I. Borders Plant Pathology .5
AREC Belle Glade
G. H. Snyder Soils Science .1
Just as with turfgrass programs, the structuring of our manpower
and financial resources in woody ornamentals in Gainesville and Fort
Lauderdale maximizes our opportunities to serve the major production
and consumer (urban) areas and to relate properly to the multiplicity
of plant species involved. For example, a large percentage of the
more tropical species commonly grown in South Florida are not used
and cannot be evaluated in Gainesville or other northern locations.
Many species requiring colder temperatures cannot be evaluated in
South Florida. Insect, disease, soil, climatic and fertility problems
are different and must be studied "on site" to provide accurate answers
to the horticultural industry and residents being served.
Plant Pathologists and Entomologists located at Fort Lauderdale
are in close proximity with the center of production and use of
ornamental plants grown there. This proximity results in little lag
time between the appearance of a disease or insect problem and the
initiation of work leading to control recommendations. They are,
in effect, able to keep in touch with problem areas on a daily basis.
Woody Ornamental Research Contributions & Present Programs
By IFAS Inter disciplinary Teams
General: There are many evidences of need for increased efficiency
in nursery production. One evidence of this need was revealed in the
last annual report of the State Bureau of Plant Inspection. During
the year reported more than 300 new nursery businesses were issued
production licenses, but during the same period more than 500 nurseries
went out of business. This currently greater mortality than birth
among nursery businesses reflects trends toward consolidation of small
operations, but it also underscore the need for more, not less research
and development input into the functioning of nurseries in our state
economy and collective living patterns.
The current challenge of finding ways of improving ornamental
plant production, marketing and usage systems to meet consumer needs
at affordable prices, will be accepted in part by larger business
operations. But representatives of these companies have expressed to
us their view that more tax supported research effort needs to be
concentrated on inovated techniques and problem solving procedures that
support their attempts to improve their own industry, the quality of their
product, and the enjoyment derived from it.
I. Container Grown Nursery Stock:
A. Recommendations coming from experimental information, observation
and experience, and distributed by the Florida Cooperative
Extension Service, enable growers to produce high quality plants
for sale in about 25% less time than growing procedures employed
by the average nurseryman.
1. 80% of $30,000,000 = $24,000,000. A saving of 25% resulting
from a decrease in production time = 25% x $24,000,000 = a
potential savings to the industry of about $6,000,000 yearly.
2. Amount of this savings will increase from year to-year as
production increases and additional information from research
is made available.
3. Recommendations mentioned above stem from research which has
dealt with production problems listed below.
a. Weed control.
b. Watering frequency.
(1) Rates, ratios and frequencies.
(2) Fertilizer sources.
(3). Identification and control (prevention) of nutritional
d. Effect of container types (metal, plastic, clay) on
growth and quality.
e. Potting media Effect of their composition on aeration,
nutrient and water holding capacity and their subsequent
effect on plant growth.
f. Sun versus partial shade Effects on growth and quality.
g. Research on factors affecting cold injury to container
(1) Watering frequency.
(2) Fertilization levels.
(3) Nutritional levels.
(4) Ice coating water from sprinklers.
h. Propagation problems.
A more detailed examination of several of these areas follows:
1. Weed control and fertilization practices: Estimated that 6-10% of cost
is that spent for weed control.
The acknowledged shortage of labor (hand labor that nurserymen
have traditionally used for many years) at present and predicted
for the future, emphasizes the need for additional information
on chemical weed control, a procedure which will save much
labor and reduce the cost of production. It has been stated
by Georgia researchers that it is necessary to weed cans 5 times
from the time plant is planted until it is sold. The time
required to weed an average acre 5 times was 624 man hours.
Figuring this at 1.50 per hour (govt. minimum wage) we find it
costs $936.00 per acre for this operation alone. Information
on cost saving methods must be supplied if many nurserymen
are to remain in business.
The problems of removing weed growth and that of distributing
nutrient materials to nursery stock represent areas of concern
to nurserymen. A combined attack on these two labor consuming
tasks is one purpose of experiments now testing the use of
micopore release fertilizer packets as a means of supplying
macronutrients specifically to plants being cultivated without
nourishing an attendant crop of weeds surrounding the plant.
For the basic research studies that have provided us with
relatively new products that have this kind of potential use,
both in our field and container growing nurseries, we are
indebted to Dr. Attoe and his colleagues in the soils depart-
ment at the University of Wisconsin. The long term fertilizer
release possibility, supplying major nutrient to trees for
six years with a single packet of fertilizer buried in contact
with roots at time of planting, is particularly worth exploring
with our woody ornamental plants. The benefits of a workable
system of this sort can be related to its possible use of the
packets with mechanical potting devises for container culture,
conservation of labor involved in later repeated application
of NPK fertilizers being unnecessary, reduction in weed growth
as opposed to that obtained with surface application of nutrient,
beneficial carryover effects to those who handle or use the
plant at a later stage of growth. Other application in land-
scape plant maintenance can be foreseen when refinements of this
fertilization procedures are completed for use under Florida
conditions. A further interest in development of this kind
of system of supplying nutrients in the quantities that the
cultured plant can utilize arises from considerations of
environmental protection. Our current fertilization practices
are admittedly wasteful of our mineral resources, a factor
in pollution of unground water sources and contributing to the
weed problems both in water and on cultivated land.
Nursery production of a plant cultivar begins with one of
several established methods of increasing its number, or
propagating the plant. After new plantlets are secured the
nurseryman has the continuing job of rearing these to a stage
of growth that is acceptable to his market.
One method of increasing the number of plants from vegetative
parts of a mother plant is that of grafting two related plants;
giving rise to the rootsystem of controlling plant growth and
produce by selecting appropriate graft combinations and using
these as the means of propagation. But because of increased
cost involved, grafting is used only as a last resort when
other means of propagation fail to yield the number plantlets
needed or the desired quantity or quality produced. A truly
efficient nursery system for producing grafted plants would
soon find uses in production of cultivars of Holly, Camellia,
Azalea, Ixora, Gardenia, Citrus, Junipers, Macademia, Rose
and likely other kinds that are currently propagated in other
ways. Possibilities of either enhancing growth or yield, or
reducing growth to supply dwarf plants are inherent in the
kind of root system supplied.
- 24 -
Previous research at Gainesville determined that rose flower
yields under Florida field conditions could be doubled by
substituting Rosa x fortuniana rootstock for stocks used
in other states in production of rosebushes. In continuing
research a method was devised for propagating rose cultivars
using the relatively difficult to root Rosa x fortuniana
stock. This innovated method combined the operations of
rooting stock cuttings under mist and securing graft union
with the scion. Last year, of the 400,000 plants rose plants
sold by Florida nurseries in containers, half of this number
were propagated in a single wholesale nursery in Apopka,
following the procedure defined by research at Gainesville.
The remaining 200,000 plants sold in containers were grafted
on other stocks and shipped from other states to be forced for
container sale. A much larger number of bare root roses
entering the state each year for home garden and florist
rose plantings indicates that local production does not at
present supply local demands for rose plants.
Enlarging local production of rose plants is viewed as invol-
ving further improvement both techniques of propagation and
later care of plants being readied for market. In both
phases, production costs must be reduced to compete with
Current research in improvement of grafting techniques to
make use of mechanized tools was undertaken with the expecta-
tion that procedures developed with the rose material as
model, should have direct application to many other kinds of
woody ornamental plants. In this effort we have secured the
cooperation of an industry consultant. Mr. Robert Hyde of
Crystal River who is designing experimental equipment for
use in cutting and joining stem cuttings that can be used
by relatively unskilled operators.
Another research approach directed specifically to the
propagation phase of grafted rose plants was started in
1968. Breeding for rose rootstock that combine the flower
yield performance of Rosa fortuniana stock and the rapid,
uniform rooting of stem cuttings, is characteristic of the
commonly used rose nursery stocks. Progress here is seen in
the finding that considerable variation in rate and uniformity
of rooting is present among seedlings of Rosa banksiae normalis,
one of the parents of the species hybrid R. fortuniana. The
faster rooting selections are now being reared for use in
obtaining new species hybrids.
Relative to the problem of reducing production in the later
care of grafted plants in particular, but:with possible
application to container production of many nursery items,
we have undertaken several experiments now in progress.
The use of plastic film forming materials added to pesticidal
sprays is being investigated with cooperation of pathologists
and entomologists. This is an effort to reduce the number
of pesticidal spray applications that need to be applied to
furnish pest protection, each of which adds to the production
cost. In the case of field grown roses, more than 50
pesticidal sprays are applied to supply blackspot, powdery
mildew and mite protection before the plant is sold.
3. Plant Breeding:
Research attention at Gainesville has now been directed toward
the possibilities of using plant breeding techniques for
supplying more useful locally adapted cultivars to three
flowering shrubs: Azalea, Hibiscus and Crepe myrtle. New
combinations of characters that contribute to the adaptation,
beauty and usefullness of these plant materials, are the
objective. Current studies are exploratory, but have already
revealed some interesting possibilities inherent in this longer
range approach to various cultural problems. For example,
with Azaleas three native species well adapted to north Florida conditions
have not been utilized in production of cultivars available
from trade sources; at least two of these are interfertile.
The pink flowered, evergreen Rhododendron chapmanii can be
crossed with the yellow flowered deciduous R. austrina when
the former is used as the seed parent. Both of these are
relatively late flowering species and other late flowering
or repeat flowering cultivars have been contributed from the
seedling collection of Mr. D. V. Merridith of Orlando. The
interest here is centered on obtaining late season or ever-
blooming cultivars that can escape infection with a petal
blight fungus, a disease that spoils much of the earlier
flowering display, but is not troublesome as daily temperatures
become higher. Solving other pest problems by breeding
resistant variants are seen as possible within the hibiscus
and crepe myrtle groups.
4. Cold Injury:
An ever present risk in the ornamental nursery business is
that of extreme weather (cold) that will injure the plants,
and is difficult to measure in terms of cost to the nursery-
men. Several years may pass without any loss from cold weather,
but on the other hand severe losses have been experienced for
2 or more consecutive years. This is a cost item involved
in pricing woody ornamental plants that is very difficult
to estimate accurately.
Information from research on factors(listed in 3g above) which
affect the degree of cold injury to container grown plants, is
of considerable importance to nurserymen, but it is very
difficult to estimate accurately the advantages accruing from
5. Pest control:
Contributions of Entomologists and Plant Pathologists located
at Gainesville have enabled commercial producers of container
and field nursery stock to control numerous diseases and
reduce insect populations. These include leaf diseases
of Ixora spp., Grevillia spp., roses, hibiscus to name a few.
6. Media and Containers:
There is a need to evaluate new and improved substrates which
will be readily available and be sufficiently uniform so as
to permit standardization of cultivial practices. The work
presently underway at ARC-Apopka, the Agricultural Engineering
Department, and the Ornamental Horticulture Department will
provide some of the answers.
Industry needs better containers that will be economical,
durable and attractive, but will not add to our environmental
pollution by creating disposal problems.
II. Field Grown Nursery Stock:
Many nurseries producing field grown nursery stock are located
in north and northwestern Florida. Again information from experi-
mental work, experience and observations, and distributed by the
Florida Cooperative Extension Service, will enable growers to
produce high quality stock in less time and at a lower cost of
1970 sales value of field grown ornamental nursery stock is
about $6,000,000 20% of $30,000,000 = $6,000,000.
1. Weed control: Estimated that 25% of the cost of production of
grown nursery stock is spent on weed control 25% x $6,000,000 =
For many years this operation has been done by "hand hoeing" or
by using animal or tractor drawn equipment. Rising labor costs
have considerably increased the cost of this production operation.
Experimental work on chemical weed control under field conditions
has been done by this department which, if followed, will
considerably reduce the cost of this operation. However, continuing
work is needed on this important problem.
2. Nematode Injury Certain woody ornamental plants are susceptible
to injury from nematodes for example, wax privet, gardenias,
pittosporum and others, when grown in the field.
Research by the nematologist and ornamental horticulturist has
provided information which will enable growers to control these
pests. When these pests are a production problem, the application
of this knowledge will increase the number of salable plants,
will increase the value of plants that are salable, and will
lower production costs.
3. Old Fields Cropped for Several Years As the same land is used
repeatedly for growing nursery stock, production problems
invariably increase. Contributing to these problems are build-
up of pests (nematodes, fungi, bacteria, insects), depletion
of the nutrient element reserve of the land, and reduction of
the soil's organic matter content.
a. Calcium, an essential element for plant growth, is leached
from the soil. A direct effect of this calcium loss is
that plant growth will be retarded when the deficiency range
is reached. An indirect effect of calcium in the soil is
pH control, and when calcium is lost by leaching generally
.the soil becomes more acid. When this happens by leaching
of other essential elements such as potassium, phosphorus,
magnesium, ammonia nitrogen, zinc, manganese, copper and
boron is increased.
b. Liming The value of liming in increasing growth and
quality of field grown nursery stock on land that has been
cropped for many ears has been shown experimentally. It
is difficult to put a monetary value on the benefits of this
practice, but it is an important production problem in north
and northwestern Florida nurseries where much of the field
grown nursery stock is produced.
4. Fertilization A program for the fertilization of field grown
nursery stock that is both efficient and economical, was
compiled by members of this department and has been distributed
by Extension Service personnel for several years. Again it is
difficult to put a monetary value on the benefits accruing
from these recommendations.
The nursery industry needs all types of research information to
produce top quality products consistently. This means uniformity and
standardization must be achieved in all phases of the operations and
be particularly evident in the final product that is sold. Research
has made real strides in solving some of the day to day problems but
much remains to be done to arrive at the levels of predictability needed
to survive in today's business world.
Our programs (including research and extension) must move forward
and help industry with marketing and utilization aspects of woody
The following manpower resource requirements will answer the most
pressing problems and begin to touch on the utilization and aesthetic