December 30, 2008

Notes On Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are highly effective insecticides, but many questions remain about their use. James Bethke, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, will discuss neonicotinoids at the 25th annual Pest Management Conference next month. He recently shared a few thoughts on his topic as the conference approaches. What is the significance of neonicotinoids to growers? “Obviously, there is a push to reduce the amount of pesticide use in agriculture and horticulture. There is also a concern about neonicotinoid movement in the environment and its effect on pollinating bees, butterflies, drinking water contamination, etc. In addition, there is a concern about the development of resistance to the neonicotinoids. The results of our research will increase grower knowledge of the neonicotinoids, and how to use them more efficiently.” Are we at a point where much more research needs to be conducted in order to develop best practices for neonicotinoids? “We are finding […]

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December 30, 2008

Conserving Water And Shelf Life

Petunias and impatiens aren’t your standard petunias and impatiens these days. They are bred for outstanding performance as well as vivid, unique colors and patterns, and will only get better. We currently see a trend towards plants that require little or no maintenance and conserve water. Demand for these products will no doubt increase across most horticultural product lines. Breeders have also started to develop genetics specifically created to have outstanding holdability at retail, reducing shrink and increasing profitability in an increasingly competitive environment. Breeders like PanAmerican Seed will continue to launch XP (eXtreme Precision, eXtra Performance) series within their genetic lines, focusing efforts on enhanced uniformity leading to production efficiency and greatly improving retail appearance. XP products will continue to offer strong garden performance to meet and exceed consumer expectations. On the technological front, I believe that in 25 years we will see on-line ordering systems such as Ball’s […]

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December 29, 2008

Online Only: Retail Dos and Don’ts

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited hundreds of garden centers last year and shared his findings on plant size and color with us. He also shared hundreds of photos from his stops last fall in Atlanta, Baltimore, Long Island and South Florida. We picked five photos that stood out for a job well done‚Äďand five that simply stood out for the wrong reasons.  

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December 22, 2008

Strategies For Resistance Management

There are a few new ways to reduce the likelihood of developing resistance to insecticides labeled for thrips. Scott Ludwig, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and integrated pest management specialist who will discuss those methods and resistance issues in other pests at the 25th annual Pest Management Conference, recently shared a couple of thoughts on his topic as the conference approaches. What is the significance of your topic and recent findings growers should know about? “Insect pests go through cycles where they can be controlled and periods when the insecticides on the market are no longer effective. If proper insecticide resistance management plans are followed, then it is possible to prolong the length of the products that are currently on market. I will be discussing how growers can effectively manage thrips, whiteflies and other insects while preventing them from developing resistance.” Can you give us a snapshot preview of […]

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December 22, 2008

Classic City Awards For Annuals

The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at UGA. Of the thousands of species and cultivars, only a few performed well enough all season to earn the coveted award. Plants are evaluated on foliage quality, flowering performance, disease and insect resistance, and most of all on the ability to sustain landscape performance through heat, humidity, drought, rain, open houses and fall football games. All evaluations are based on a rating of 1-5, with a 5 being excellent. The plants must have extraordinary flowers or foliage that caught the eye over the season, and in general, received a final grade of at least 4.5 out of 5.0 in the final tallies. We awarded 10 winners in annuals and 10 in perennials. Geranium ‘Calliope Dark Red’ Every year, we receive about 60 new geraniums to trial, and often, it is difficult to get excited […]

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December 22, 2008

From Breeder To Market

On the way home from the group trip Fides hosted in South Africa (page 108), I spent two days visiting growers in Holland and Germany. I had the pleasure of spending an entire day with Ike Vlielander, who has devoted his career to breeding kalanchoes for Fides and helping growers succeed with their crops. In addition to visiting three Dutch growers who built their businesses on kalanchoes, we got up bright and early to visit the Flora Holland auction, which merged with the other large auction house in Aalsmeer this year. Inspired early on by legendary breeder Claude Hope, who had also worked with kalanchoe, Vlielander has introduced more than 160 varieties including the double-flowered Calandivas, which won six international awards in 2004. “When you think back 32 years ago, about 1 million kalanchoes were sold at the auction and grown from seed,” he says. “Now 100 million kalanchoe plants […]

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December 22, 2008

Video: 25th Anniversary Editors’ Roundtable

Surely, you’ve soaked in some of our commemorative 25th anniversary issue by now, but you probably haven’t heard what Greenhouse Grower’s editors had to say about it themselves. Group Editor Richard Jones, Editor Delilah Onofrey, Online Editor Sara Tambascio and Associate Editor Kevin Yanik offered their thoughts on the year-end issue from the Meister Media Worldwide office in Willoughby, Ohio.

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December 22, 2008

Managing Complexity

Walmart pulled the rug out from a couple hundred large growers last fall, when it downsized its vendor base for spring 2009. The growers were essentially given less than three months’ notice, sending shockwaves through our industry. While those who weren’t cut will be doubling their store base, those who were have been scrambling to find buyers for spring production. The same thing happened heading into poinsettia season, with the base of grower vendors reduced from 100 to 30, sources tell us. Walmart still needs the same number of plants for its stores. It just doesn’t want to deal with the complexity of our supply chain. No other product line has the level of fragmentation and complexity that ours has at mass retail, as far as I know. Other perishable products, like produce, are more streamlined in their distribution. A base of 400 flower growers probably was at least 200 […]

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December 22, 2008

Fabulous Foliage

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., becomes the fashion runway for tropical foliage plants each January, when new varieties and interiorscaping concepts make their debut at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo (TPIE). The theme of this year’s event is “Tag It Tropical,” Jan. 15-17 at the Broward County Convention Center. Check out the following varieties and many more at the show. For more information about the show, visit www.tpie.org. Corn. Bak B.V. Dutch breeder Corn. Bak B.V. has introduced three new guzmania varieties that fit together as a series. Plants are fast-growing and suitable for 4-inch pots. ‘Ritmo’ (top) has an orange star-shaped inflorescence and is a welcome addition to the current assortment. ‘Tinto’ (middle) has a bordeaux red star-shaped inflorescence, bringing a new color to the collection. ‘Glossita’ (bottom) has a salmon-colored, star-shaped inflorescence. Florica Farms Florida grower Florica Farms has introduced two new dracaenas. ‘Art’ is similar to the old standby, […]

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December 22, 2008

Walkway Collapse At Atlanta Botanical Garden Kills 1

A construction worker was killed and 18 others injured Friday when an elevated pedestrian walkway currently being constructed collapsed at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The workers had just begun pouring concrete into the steel framework of the new attraction, which was set to open in the spring, according to a story in The New York Times. The 600-foot-long canopy walk, which peaks at 45 feet tall, would allow visitors to view the treetops in the garden as well as the Atlanta skyline. It’s part of a $55 million makeover to the gardens. The gardens had invited the news media to watch workers pour the concrete. After the collapse, paramedics had to hike down a ravine to rescue injured construction workers. The executive director of the botanical gardens, Mary Pat Matheson, wrote on the website Saturday: “From Monday through the end of the year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden will donate all […]

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