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Public Tolerance to Defoliation and Flower Distortion in a Public Horticulture Garden

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Surveys of visitor and grower perception of live potted plant quality were conducted in various locations in a large public display garden. Canna lily, Canna × generalis L.H.Bailey, was used to examine effects of defoliation by Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, on public perception. Chrysanthemums, Chrysanthemum × morifolium Ramat., were used to identify visitor and grower tolerance to flower distortion caused by western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), on single and multiple flowered plants. On average, the maximum amount of defoliation or flower distortion tolerated by any respondent was low (≤10% for canna and ≤25% for chrysanthemum). The level of acceptable injury was influenced by factors intrinsic to both the respondents and the plants themselves. Tolerance to injury was negatively associated with the risk aversion of the respondents. Visitors were less tolerant of injury on plants they considered for purchase than those that they would view at the garden. Similarly, grower tolerance was lower than that of visitors because producing substandard plants could put their professional reputation at risk. Factors that distracted visitor attention (e.g., presence of flowers and higher levels of background injury) increased their tolerance to plant injury. Visitors tolerated greater levels of flower distortion on multiple flowering chrysanthemum than on those with single flowers. We suggest that tolerance to insect pests can be increased by designing plantings that distract viewers from injured plant parts.

Keywords: Frankliniella occidentalis; Popillia japonica; aesthetic injury level; canna lily; chrysanthemum

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-95.2.348

Publication date: April 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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