The 2013 season is over and the results of our annual flower trials have been compiled. This year we conducted evaluations on 182 flower cultivars in our general trial and an additional 85 cultivars within our CFGW (Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin) trial. Starting in July we conducted evaluations a total of three times, approximately one month apart. This data is used by seed companies, commercial greenhouse growers, and the public to better select varieties that will succeed in our region of the world. We thank all participants including student evaluators Deanna Delfosse and Rachel Peters.
The study of organic fungicides on powdery mildew went very well this year. In spite of the difficult weather conditions this year posed, the plants grew well and we were able to obtain very clear data. This years data was consistent with the data from 2011 which shows that we are the right track in determining the effectiveness of organic fungicides on powdery mildew that the cut-flower growers will be able to utilize. Along with this trial, there was a new element to this study. We looked at the effectiveness of cranberry leaves as a mulch. With two depths tested, along with a control, we were also able to see very clear results in how well cranberry leaves are able to suppress the growth of both grass-type weeds and broadleaf weeds. This study showed great promise this year and we are excited to continue to watch the results in 2013.
This year our flower trials included 388 cultivars of annual flowers. Three times during the season (Jul. 7, Aug. 6, and Sept. 10) we make careful evaluations of each. We look to evaluate the seed companies claims about the plant. We note consistency of size, habit, flowering, and color. We also note disease issues, insect pressure, and weather tolerance.Our evaluations are compiled with weather data and provided to the individual companies as well as the public.
In addition to our general trials we conduct a specific trial for the CFGW (Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin). With their financial support we trial up to 130 cultivars of one or two types of flowers a year. This year we conducted evaluations on sun loving impatiens and osteospermum. The goal of the trial is to provide this industry group a better understanding of which varieties thrive in conditions here in Wisconsin. This data helps Wisconsin growers provide consumers with varities better suited to our climate and soils.
Follow the links to this years annual flower evaluations:
The heat of the year is starting to drive some populations of insects. We are starting to see increased populations of japanese beetles and large numbers of cucumber beetles http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Cucumber-Beetles-P557.aspx and western corn rootworm adults http://hort.uwex.edu/articles/corn-rootworms. The beetles are severely attacking the blooms and even the vegetative growth of the vine crops.
The cucumber beetle can be devastating in particular. Besides destroying blossoms they also transmit bacterial wilt(http://hort.uwex.edu/articles/vine-crops-disorder-bacterial-wilt-0), which will ultimately lead to the death of infected plants. In our garden we have not seen the numbers like we have this year. Especially this early in the season. Because we manage our vegetables organically we have sprayed for the beetle using a certified organic compound Pyganic. This pesticide effectively knocks down the population. It does not have a long-term persistence in the environment.
The dry weather that started last summer has continued through the winter and spring and now into the summer of 2012. Since April 1 we have received only 6.25in of rain. The lack of rain in combination with the high temperatures and strong winds last few weeks has put some of the plants under stress.
At the University Display Gardens we are lucky to have access to irrigation. Our water is from a onsite well. Near the top of the gardens we have connections to a water line. To this we connect a series of 30 ft aluminum pipes, each with an elevated sprinkler head. We connect enough pipes to reach desired beds.
We try to maintain an equivalent of 1.5inches of rain each 7-10 days. With our irrigation system in place this takes approximately 1.5 hrs for each run. We then have to move the pipes to the next rows. All together irrigation is an all day affair. It takes a lot of work. So in essence we are always hoping for rain. There is no substitute for rainwater to make plants grow.
The University Display Garden is planted and freshly mulched. This year we are trialing a total of 388 cultivars of annual flowers and approximately 127 varieties of vegetables and other food crops. With the help of irrigation the plants are settling in nicely. We continue to hope for rain.
Please come and see our selections grow throughout the summer.
Over the past week we have enjoyed fairly good planting weather. Although dry and warm we were able to get a lot of plants in the ground. All in total we have planted nearly 150 varieties and nearly 1500 plants for our annual flower trial. We are looking forward to rain and hopefully some cool temperatures next week. The rest of the garden is in full bloom with many varieties of peonies at their peak. The garden is open to the public from dawn till dusk 7 days a week. We encourage all to come enjoy our beautiful gardens.
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers and after the dreary and rainy April, May has showered us with warmth and sunshine. Here are some of the beautiful things blooming in the gardens today! Don’t forget to come check them out, there is something to see all season long here!
This summer we trial hundreds of annual flowers. Those annuals that we evaluated are listed on the two sheets you will find below. The sheet labeled Commercial Flower Growers is the rating for over 50 different petunias that have been produced through vegetative propagation rather than seed.
We trialed these petunias for the commercial growers in Wisconsin so that they could could determine the best petunias to sell for the 2012 growing season. Many of the petunias preformed very well and given our highest rating….5.
We also trialed seed propagated annual flowers for many different companies. The results are listed as Annual Flower Evaluations. Enjoy reading the evaluations and we hope the evaluations help you choose next years summer annuals.
General Flower Trial Evaluations
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Ball FloraPlant
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Ball Seed
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Grimes
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Burpee
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Harris Seeds
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Johnny’s
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Kieft
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP PanAmerican Seeds
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Proven Winners
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Seedway
- Annual Flwr Eval 2011WP Syngenta
Are you receiving new seed catalogs? Are you already itching to visit your local greenhouse to see what’s new in annual flowers for 2011? Before you begin to make your list, check out the evaluations of all the annual flowers completed by the University Display Garden’s student interns and Master Gardener Volunteers. Links found at bottom of page.
Two evaluations are completed each summer for our annual flower trials. You will find those links below. One evaluation is for the date 8/5/2010 and the later is for 8/31/2010. In addition to our annual flower trial, we trialed over 100 varieties of annual geraniums. You will find that link below,also.
This year, due to the tremendous rain and high humidity, many of the selections performed well until about mid-July. Root rot and foliar disease resulted in damage to numerous varieties. Please review each evaluation so you may have a complete overview of each varieties performance throughout the summer.
General Flower Trials
CFGW Annual Trial Evaluations