Background. This is the first year of our "annual"evaluation program. In 2004, a total of 211 varieties were entered from 6 sources:
Seed, plugs, or rooted cuttings were grown in 4” pots in the spring, and transplanted at the Bluegrass Lane Research site in early June. Beds were heavily amended with mushroom compost. Maintenance was minimal (weeding and some grooming). Fertilizer was applied as a dry feed in mid-July (Osmocote). Some irrigation was applied via overhead sprinkler in late June, but the trials had much more than adequate water from rainfall as the season was cold and wet throughout July and August. Conditions improved dramatically in September (which was the warmest, sunniest month of the year) and many plants looked very good throughout late September.
Evaluation criteria. Plants were evaluated independently at 2-3 week intervals by 4 people. Plants were given a 1-5 rating (1 = awful, 5 = great) on the following attributes:
These numbers were then averaged across all raters, and an overall rating was calculated per date, then across dates to get an overall seasonal rating. Thus, the overall rating for each date is the average of 16 individual ratings (the 4 items listed above, each from 4 people). In the table, we have grouped plants together, then sorted from best to worst based on the total seasonal average performance. In addition, attendees at the 2004 field day voted for their two top plants, based on their perceptions of salability and customer interest. These vote totals are also tallied in the table (Midsummer Votes). The individual cultivar profile pages also list comments made by the raters and both long-shot and close up pictures, when available.
Thanks are expressed to the breeding and supply companies who provided plant materials and financial support for these trials; also to Griffin Greenhouse Supply Co. for donating containers and supplies for the 2004 field day. These trials would not have been possible without the great efforts of Ron White and JC Mosher of the Cornell Turfgrass and Landscape Research Lab, my summer undergraduate students (Amy Bestic, Liz Paronett, Lauren Nelson, Jenni Evans, Alex Castillo and Andrew Mizgalski). I also thank Missy Crawford, Chad Thomas, BZ Marranca and Joe Lardner for help with plant evaluations.