The current pandemic is causing the LSU AgCenter to develop new ways to get horticulture information to those who need it.
This year, the Hammond Research Station staff are joining other AgCenter staff in bringing their research to clientele through a virtual format.
AgCenter commercial horticulture specialist Jeb Fields and the staff at Hammond conducted tours of the station to show the work that continues in spite of the current situation.
The tours began with a tour of the Allen D. Owings Sun Garden. This is probably the most popular garden on the station, Fields said.
“This is the garden that most people think about when visiting the station,” he said. “This garden is where we do most of our bedding plant trials and even some woodies and shrubs.”
Fields also made a stop at a bed showcasing the Louisiana Super Plants program. The first release this year was the Flamethrower coleus, along with the second release, Lucky Star pentas.
The Louisiana Super Plants to be released this fall are the American beautyberry and the state tree of Louisiana, the bald cypress.
The second garden was the Margie Yates Jenkins Azalea Garden, which is dedicated to Jenkins and her contributions to the local horticulture and nursery industry. She died earlier this year.
“There has been a lot of evolution in this garden with the major storms and the flood of 2016,” Fields said. “Something else we’ve noticed in this garden is that it tends to get too crowded.”
Some work has begun to thin the plants and open up the garden, he said.
The largest garden at the station is the Piney Woods Garden. Fields said this garden is a little over six acres and is where tree and woody shrub evaluations are done.
The smallest garden at the station is the Shade Garden, which is about an acre, and is where work is done on bedding plants that do well in shade.
Kristopher Criscione, a graduate student at the station, discussed the work he is doing with stratified substates and irrigation systems in the industry.
AgCenter horticulturist Yan Chen explained the work she is continuing with crape myrtles in managing the crape myrtle bark scale.
“We have been conducting a lot of field trials with pesticides and are finding that some of the products provide long-term control,” she said.
The 2020 Hammond Research Station virtual field day provided a wealth of information for homeowners as well as professionals in the landscape industry.
The field day can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/hammondfieldday.