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...

January 16, 2018

Ball Horticultural Company, KeyGene Announce Successful Genome Sequencing of Impatiens

The companies’ breakthrough high-quality genome sequence and assembly of I. walleriana should lead to more efficient breeding and identification of disease resistance markers for important industry solutions.

Read More
Golden-State-Bulb-Begonia-Feature

January 16, 2018

PanAmerican Seed Buys Begonia Product Line From Golden State Bulb Growers

The acquisition of the popular AmeriHybrid and On Top begonia genetics expands PanAmerican Seed’s assortment in this important class.

Read More

January 16, 2018

20 Colorful Foliage and Tropical Plants for Garden Interest

Add a bit of the tropics to your product mix with new foliage and tropical plant varieties that offer bold colors and distinct patterns.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 16, 2018

Ball Horticultural Company, KeyGene Announce Successful…

The companies’ breakthrough high-quality genome sequence and assembly of I. walleriana should lead to more efficient breeding and identification of disease resistance markers for important industry solutions.

Read More
Golden-State-Bulb-Begonia-Feature

January 16, 2018

PanAmerican Seed Buys Begonia Product Line From Golden …

The acquisition of the popular AmeriHybrid and On Top begonia genetics expands PanAmerican Seed’s assortment in this important class.

Read More

January 16, 2018

20 Colorful Foliage and Tropical Plants for Garden Inte…

Add a bit of the tropics to your product mix with new foliage and tropical plant varieties that offer bold colors and distinct patterns.

Read More
Overview-UGA-Trial-Gardens-2017

January 15, 2018

2017 University of Georgia Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.

Read More
Ipomea-FM-Limon

January 14, 2018

2017 Texas A&M University Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, TX.

Read More
Metrolina-Southern-Garden-Tour-Feature

January 13, 2018

2018 Southern Garden Tour Includes Visits to Young’s Pl…

The tour is scheduled for June 5-7, 2018, and offers floriculture industry members the opportunity to view trials of thousands of new and proven plant varieties.

Read More
Bidens-Golden-Empire-Danziger

January 10, 2018

Growing Tips for Bidens From a Plant Expert

Even with the ramp up in breeding, producing bidens still takes attention to detail and a focus on quality.

Read More
California Coast

January 9, 2018

2018 California Spring Trials Dates, Times, Locations

It’s time to start planning for a great road trip in April to see all the latest plants on display. This quick reference guide will help you map out your trip.

Read More
Take-2-Veggie-Combo-Burpee-Seed

January 6, 2018

Why Growers Should Not Market Their Plants, But the Sol…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says landscapers, designers, and gardeners want solutions to problems, not simply a recommendation for one more handsome plant.

Read More

January 4, 2018

Stand-Out New Varieties That Keep D.S. Cole Growers Co…

See what new varieties stood out to Doug Cole, owner of D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, NH, this year.

Read More
New-Plant-Display-at-Retail

January 3, 2018

Kelly Norris: Why We Need to Reevaluate the New Plant T…

The value of a new plant seems scaled on how quickly producers add it to their lines as opposed to the value it might actually have at the point of consumption.

Read More
Houseplants-for-Millennials

December 29, 2017

Why Millennials Can’t Get Their Fill of Foliage Plants …

The latest Millennial obsession with houseplants goes beyond a desire to grow something. It’s a lifestyle choice they’re making for the mind, body, and soul.

Read More
WebTrackToGo

December 24, 2017

Ball Seed Updates WebTrack To Go App With Enhanced Feat…

The latest update lets users scan seed packets for germination percentage, allowing for efficient production planning and inventory management.

Read More
Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens mimic spring garden conditions across the U.S. to test the metal of new varieties

December 22, 2017

Costa Farms Hosting Winter Open House in January

Costa Farms is planning to open its 2-acre trial garden on Jan. 15, 2018, for its annual Winter Trial Garden Open House, where visitors will have the opportunity to see more than 500 plant varieties of annuals and perennials.

Read More
Begonias-I’Conia-Series-Dümmen-Orange-Miss-Montreal

December 19, 2017

34 New Flowering Annuals to Brighten Up Your Product Mi…

Consumers will soon have the opportunity to experiment with colorful, big-impact blooms in their containers and landscapes. Here are 31 new introductions to consider that will color-up your product mix.

Read More
Combo-at-Youngs-Plant-Farm

December 12, 2017

How to Produce Stunning Combination Containers

It’s easy to produce your own attention-grabbing combos, if you follow this advice from a master combination designer.

Read More
SunStanding-New-Guinea-Impatiens-Dummen-Orange-feature

December 7, 2017

Growing Tips From a Pro for SunStanding New Guinea Impa…

SunStanding New Guinea impatiens hybrids spruce up the landscape with vibrant blooms that explode with color in both sun and shade areas, and they hold up well in heat and humidity.

Read More
Japan-Airlines-princettia

December 7, 2017

Suntory Pairs Princettia with Several Breast Cancer Awa…

Suntory Flowers is partnering with several major brands to support breast cancer awareness and fundraising, using its bright-pink Princettia euphorbias as the ideal plant for Pink Ribbon promotions.

Read More