Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) 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 being relatively pest free. However, current crapemyrtle production and use might be affected by crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS; Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae), which has been confirmed in at least 14 U.S. states after its first sighting in Texas in 2004. In this study, we conducted interviews of business representatives. Our survey results indicate that producers anticipate a significant decrease in the value of crapemyrtle if infested with CMBS, and suggest industry demand for CMBS control (Fig 1). An important finding of our research is that a majority of businesses support science-based CMBS control research (Fig 2). Another important finding from our study is that most producers believed that benefits of CMBS control outweigh the costs. We used a relative importance index to illustrate the ranking of different attributes 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 resistance. The most popular landscape plants that can potentially serve as alternatives to crapemyrtle, in the opinion of producers we surveyed, are Vitex agnus-castus (Texas lilac), Magnolia spp., and Hibiscus spp.
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