Background. We are now in the second year of our "annual" evaluation program. Our program is constantly expanding, providing more information on more varieties every year. In 2004 we had just over 200 entries, while in 2005 we had over 250 entries! 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-June(Osmocote). Irrigation was applied via overhead sprinkler/hand-watering all season long, with the exception of an irrigation system outage in mid-late July. Ithaca (Zone 5) had an unusually warm and dry summer. It was the warmest summer on record, and the driest period on record occurred between July 1 and August 29. The drought took a toll on the plants, but many rebounded in August. Additional weather information can be found at The Ithaca Climate Page.
Evaluation criteria. Plants were evaluated independently at 2 week intervals by 5 people. Plants were given a 1-5 rating (1 = awful, 5 = great) on the following attributes:
These numbers were then averaged across all raters, for all evaluation dates, giving an overall seasonal average. Thus, the Average of "overall" criteria is the average of 100 individual ratings (the 4 items listed above, each from 5 people, on 5 different evaluation dates). In the table, we have grouped plants together, then sorted from best to worst based on the total seasonal average performance. The individual cultivar profile pages also list comments made by the raters and pictures.
Thanks are expressed to the breeding and supply companies who provided plant materials and financial support for these trials. 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 (Melissa Kitchen, Stephanie Whitehouse, and Jen DeStefano). I also thank Annie Wiiki and BZ Marranca for help with plant evaluations.