2012 Field Trials: C. Raker And Sons

The Surfinia Collection at Raker's trials gardens

Trials manager: Greg Michalak, Trial Gardens Manager, [email protected]

Location: Litchfield, MI 49252

Weather conditions: Spring and summer weather conditions at C. Raker & Sons have been extremely hot and dry. For May, we had an average high temperature of 76.7°F and an average Low of 63.8°F. In June, we had an average high temperature of 73.6°F and an average Low of 59.7°F. So far in July, we have experienced an average high of 83.6°F and an average low of 69.1°F.

These numbers don’t really tell the full story, however. We’ve had record highs and sustained highs in the mid-90s throughout the period. Our rainfall for the months of May, June and July has been significantly lower than average. We had a total of 2.57 inches of rain for the months of May, June and so far in July.

Trial Garden Preparation
Row trial preparation began May 21 and was completed June 1. All varieties were planted from 70mm Ellepots (approximately 3-inch pots). The material was pinched at transplant into the 70mm Ellepots and again at field planting. Everything was planted outside by June 20.

Hanging baskets were planted mid-May (week 19) and moved outside the first week of June (week 23). Each 14-inch hanging basket has 5 to 7 inputs. Vegetative cuttings were pinched at planting. No growth regulators were used at any time during production (after transplant). At sow/stick, all inputs were treated the same as Raker production crops.

Containers were built inside week 19 and moved outside week 23.

Trial Garden Maintenance
Within each variety, each plant is treated the same to ensure a proper trial. Irrigation is performed as needed, based on weather conditions. Sponsor Beds utilize overhead watering and the rows, hanging baskets and containers have drip irrigation.

Plants are fertilized every 7 to 10 days. Sponsor beds and containers are fertilized by hand using Dosatrons attached to a trailer with a 1000 gallon tank. The rows are fed with variety specific mixes through inline irrigation. The hanging baskets are fed through their drip irrigation. Initial feed in June was 18-3-18 at 200 ppm. Feed switched to 20-10-20 at 300 ppm the first week in July.

Japanese beetles are always the major concern. The grounds are treated in early spring with Dylox. All areas of the Trial Gardens were sprayed the first week in July with a tank mix of Discus/Decathlon. Sevin has also been applied on specific “hot spots” for various insects. Due to the extremely dry conditions, we have had higher than average insect pressure. The Japanese beetles emerged earlier and we have been battling thrips. On the plus side, we are seeing significantly less wet weather diseases.

Top Performers

Sponsor Bed: Benary

Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ (Benary): This was shown in 20-inch containers, hanging baskets and in the ground. It was spectacular in every area, all summer.
• Petunia Surfinia Series (Suntory): Uniform habit and huge flower power.
• Verbena Temari Series (Suntory): Lots of color early, didn’t like the heat, though.
• Verbena Lanai Series (Goldfisch): Lots of color all season, heat had little effect.
• Cuphea Trend Lavender (Cohen): Full flowered.
Begonia ‘Whopper Red with Green Leaf’ and ‘Whopper Red with Bronze Leaf’ (Ball): Huge, full habit, many flowers.
Heuchera villosa ‘Kassandra’ (McHutchison): Excellent fall colors.
Zinnia ‘Dreamland Coral’ (Takii): Very full, long-lasting flowers.
Scaevola ‘Suntastic Yellow’ (HMA): Unique, very full yellow flowers.
Coleus ‘Under the Sea King Crab’ (Hort Couture): Continues the successful series. Very full, interesting foliage.
• Vinca Cora Series (Syngenta): Every color is vibrant with uniform habit.

Our Great Lakes Native Plant display is in its third year. The area has really filled in, showing that natives can be used in a landscape setting. It is located in the northeast corner of the gardens. This year, we also have multiple “overwintering” areas for various perennials trials.

In addition to the Sponsor beds, All-American Selection Beds and Comparison Trials located in the Trial Gardens, we invite you to explore the grounds and view the Raker landscape. Our team of designers and growers utilize the grounds to flex their creative ideas and skills.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benefits

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
California Coast

January 3, 2017

Expect Big Changes for California Spring Trials 2017

California Spring Trials 2017 will be here before you know it. Find out what you can look forward to and get a head start on planning and registering for your trip.

Read More
westerlay-orchids-feature

January 1, 2017

How Westerlay Orchids Solved Its Bacteria Problem

Water-borne bacteria was causing havoc with Westerlay Orchids’ production, so the company took preventative action to ensure the health of its plants.

Read More
nepeta-purple-wave-with-roses

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More
Honeybelle combo

December 27, 2016

19 New Combos for Containers Big and Small

Check out 19 combos and mixes new for the retail marketplace in 2017 that offer something for every container type.

Read More
sun-parasol-original-crimson-web

December 20, 2016

Suntory Launches Unrooted Cuttings Program for Sun Para…

While the domestically produced rooting program for the Sun Parasol will continue, growers who would like to purchase unrooted cuttings will have the opportunity for the Sun Parasol Original varieties and Garden Crimson.

Read More
santos flare

December 20, 2016

Ball Horticultural Expands Potted Plant Offerings With …

Ex-Plant, which specializes in potted plants, will become a part of Ball’s PanAmerican Seed division.

Read More

December 16, 2016

Please Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia S…

Are plant sales up or down compared to last year? How did Black Friday set the tone for this season? What varieties and sizes were your best sellers? Did you try anything new this year to appeal to younger consumer demographics? We tackle all of these questions and more to help you understand the trends in Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Poinsettia Survey.

Read More

December 13, 2016

Dümmen Orange Shares Trends And Season-Extending Tips A…

As a purveyor of a wide collection of poinsettia and potted plant genetics, Dümmen Orange offered attendees a look at current trends – and a glimpse into the future – at its annual event in Columbus, OH.

Read More
Lollipop Flaming Hot Melon combo

December 13, 2016

21 New Combos For Spring To Fall Color In 2017

With the flood of new varieties and flower colors coming on the market, there is no end to the combinations and mixes available for hanging baskets and containers.

Read More
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant…

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How Changes In Plant Patent Law Could Affect Your Varie…

There is an ongoing discussion happening among plant genetics companies about the current laws and ethics of plant breeding, and what the future holds for the improved lawful protection of genetics.

Read More
endless-summer

November 29, 2016

Endless Summer Hydrangeas Will Soon Feature New Identit…

Bailey Nurseries, which first introduced the reblooming hydrangea a decade ago, says the new identity will feature a more contemporary look to appeal to current and future gardeners.

Read More
prince-tut-cyperus-grass-feature

November 28, 2016

Growing Tips For ‘Prince Tut’ Cyperus Grass

'Prince Tut’ from Proven Winners’ Graceful Grasses collection is versatile, working well in all container sizes with its columnar habit and dense canopy and filling out well in the landscape.

Read More