Marwah, P.; Zhang, Y.Y.; Gu, M. Investigating Producers’ Preferences for Crapemyrtle and Their Perceptions Regarding Crapemyrtle Bark Scale. Horticulturae2021, 7, 146.
Marwah, P.; Zhang, Y.Y.; Gu, M. Investigating Producers’ Preferences for Crapemyrtle and Their Perceptions Regarding Crapemyrtle Bark Scale. Horticulturae 2021, 7, 146.
Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.: Lythraceae) is the most popular summer flowering tree in the U.S. Its total value sold has almost doubled since 1998. Consumers prize crapemyrtles for their beauty and pest resistance. However, current crapemyrtle production and use is being threatened by crapemyrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae (Kuwana, 1907)) (CMBS), which has been confirmed in 12 U.S. states after its first sighting in Texas in 2004. Our survey results indicate that producers anticipate a significant decrease in the value of crapemyrtle due to CMBS, in the magnitude of 29.93% and 33.79%, in our 2018 and 2019 surveys respectively. Our findings indicate industry demand for CMBS control. We used a non-parametric test to compare the producers’ responses to several questions regarding CMBS-control, among the different producer categories included in our sample. Incorporated businesses showed the most support, followed by part-nerships, and family/individual operations were the least supportive of science-based CMBS control research. Large businesses predicted a more serious decrease in crapemyrtles’ value as compared to smaller businesses. More businesses with high volume of crapemyrtle-related business considered the benefits of CMBS-control to be higher than its cost, as compared to other businesses. We also used a relative importance index to illustrate the ranking of different attrib-utes of crapemyrtles that producers consider while making decisions about growing/purchasing the plants. Flower color was found to be the most important attribute, followed by disease re-sistance. If the issue of CMBS gets out of control, the industry might need to find potential re-placements to crapemyrtle. The most popular landscape plants that can potentially replace crapemyrtle, in the opinion of producers we surveyed, are vitex (Texas lilac) and magnolia.
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