Title page for ETD etd-11182011-165843


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Harris, William Kevin
URN etd-11182011-165843
Title Increasing the overwintering survival of container-grown perennials
Degree Master of Science
Department Horticulture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Scoggins, Holly L. Committee Chair
Alley, Marcus M. Committee Member
Latimer, Joyce G. Committee Member
Keywords
  • irrigation
  • fertilizer
  • Overwintering
  • herbaceous perennials
  • cold hardiness
Date of Defense 2011-10-06
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Container grown perennials are a popular product offered by nurseries and greenhouses and included in their production but little research has been reported on proper overwintering techniques for herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses.

In the first experiment rooted liners of Pennisetum alopecuroides, Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ and Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny,’ were potted. Treatments included, utilizing two overwintering covers, two fertilizer rates (low or high) and two substrate moisture contents (wet or dry). Covering with either a double layer of Dewitt N-Sulate™ insulation fabric or a double layer of Dewitt N-Sulate™ insulation fabric and a single sheet of 4 mil white polyethylene plastic on top of the insulation fabric, wet substrate treatments, low fertility rates and combinations of both, improved survival and vigor for all three tested Pennisetum species and cultivars.

In the second experiment, rooted liners of P. alopecuroides, P. ‘Hameln’ and P. ‘Little Bunny,’ were potted. Treatments included, two transplanting times (young or old), two fertilizer rates (low or high) and two substrate moisture contents (wet or dry) at the UHC and Poplar Ridge Nursery (Montross, VA) (PR). Vigor was improved for P. alopecuroides (at PR) and P. ‘Little Bunny’ (at both locations) with the young transplanting time.

In the third experiment, older plant material of P. alopecuroides, P. ‘Hameln’ and P. ‘Little Bunny,’ were subjected to fertility treatments of no additional fertilizer or top-dressed at a low, medium or high rate . A high fertility rate reduced survival and vigor for P. ‘Little Bunny.’

In the fourth experiment rooted liners of Echinacea purpurea ‘Hot Papaya,’ Echinacea purpurea ‘Milkshake,’ Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Gallo Peach,’ Heuchera x villosa ‘Pistache,’ Heuchera x villosa ‘Brownies,’ P. alopecuroides, P. ‘Cassian,’ P. ‘Hameln’ and P. ‘Little Bunny,’ were potted and overwintered at the UHC or Poplar Ridge Nursery (Montross, VA) (PR) or Riverbend Nursery, Inc. (Riner, VA) (RB). Treatments included, utilizing two overwintering covers, two fertilizer rates (low or high) and two substrate moisture contents (wet or dry). Vigor at the UHC, was reduced with the high fertility rate for E. ‘Hot Papaya’ and H. ‘Brownies.’ A double layer of Dewitt N-Sulate™ insulation fabric and white polyethylene plastic on top of the cover, in combination with the wet substrate moisture treatment improved vigor of E. ‘Hot Papaya.’A double layer of Dewitt N-Sulate™ insulation fabric in combination with the wet substrate moisture content and the high fertility rate reduced P. ‘Cassian’ vigor. No overwintering cover reduced P. ‘Hameln’ vigor. No overwintering cover and the high fertility rate reduced P. ‘Little Bunny’ vigor. Vigor at PR was improved with the high fertility rate for E. ‘Milkshake,’ G. ‘Gallo Peach’ and H. ‘Brownies.’ At RB, a double layer of Dewitt N-Sulate™ insulation fabric in combination with the low fertility treatment and no cover in combination with the high fertility treatment reduced vigor for E. ‘Milkshake’ and P. ‘Little Bunny,’ respectively. No cover in combination with the wet substrate moisture treatment reduced vigor for G.‘Gallo Peach.’

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