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Making The Cut As A Texas Superstar

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By Dr. Mario Villarino

Texas Superstar Sale: April 26, 3-6 p.m., Hopkins County Extension Office

It isn’t easy to become a Texas Superstar® plant. Only the toughest, most reliable and best-looking plants make the cut. Every plant earning the Texas Superstar® designation undergoes several years of extensive field trials by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, both part of the Texas A&M System. They must show superior performance under Texas’ tough growing conditions. During the field trials, plants receive minimal soil preparation, reasonable levels of water and no pesticides.

One of the keys to the success of the Texas Superstar® program is the quality and reliability of the plant material that is highlighted in educational and marketing campaigns. Every effort is made to ensure that highlighted plants will perform well for Texas consumers. Wherever appropriate, limitations to highlighted plants are mentioned during marketing campaigns. Additionally, cultural information is provided to give the consumer guidance regarding proper plant care.

The decision as to which plants are highlighted in Texas Superstar® marketing campaigns is made by the Texas Superstar® Executive Board (Tim Davis, Mike Arnold and Dan Lineberger, College Station; Cynthia McKenney, Lubbock; Brent Pemberton, Overton; Larry Stein, Uvalde; and David Rodriguez, San Antonio). The board typically plans marketing campaigns at least two to three years in advance. Advisory input is received from the representatives, county horticulturists, arboretum and botanical garden representatives, horticultural writers, and landscape designers.

The Executive Board’s decision as to which plants should be highlighted is primarily based upon observations made at replicated plots and demonstration trials across the state. In some cases, recommendations made by university horticulturists in other southern states are also considered. Because ornamental plant performance can be rather subjective, the board gathers as much input as possible from competent horticulturists who understand the importance of both landscape performance and marketability. Another important factor considered when selecting plants for educational and marketing campaigns is whether sufficient numbers of plants can be produced to meet the increased consumer demand generated by Texas Superstar® efforts.

As an effort to have Texas Superstar Plants available in Sulphur Springs, The Hopkins County Extension Office and The Hopkins County Master Gardeners are holding a Texas Super Star Plant Sale April 26, 3 to 6 p.m., rain or shine, at the Hopkins County Extension Office, located at 1200B Houston St., in Sulphur Springs.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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