January 6, 2012
Maximize Controlled Release Fertilizer Performance
The ideal fertilizer program provides all the essential elements in required amounts and ratios to coincide with plant nutrient demands, minimizing waste and maximizing crop quality and profits. Unfortunately, there are inefficiencies, waste (nutrient runoff) and/or luxurious consumption (such as excess phosphorous and stretching) in many current fertilizer programs. Nutrient deficiency symptoms often are not obvious. Plants might not reach their full potential, appearing slightly off color or stunted, or requiring a longer production time. By employing best nutrient management practices, growers can use fertilizers as efficiently and effectively as possible to achieve both high-quality growth and profitable return on investment with minimal environmental impact. These practices include: • Proper fertilizer selection • Proper fertilizer use – using the correct rates or concentrations at the right time • Employing best management practices to minimize problems like leaching • Measuring and monitoring crops Water-Soluble Fertilizer Using water-soluble fertilizers (WSFs) to feed […]
December 21, 2011
4 Tips For Using CRF In the Greenhouse
Using CRF in the greenhouse isn’t quite as straightforward as using it in a nursery setting. However, by following these tips, growers can effectively implement CRF in the greenhouse: 1. Remember, root zone temperature drives CRF nutrient release. Thus, CRF will release nutrients more quickly as temperatures rise. It’s important to consider this carefully when selecting products and rates. Everris recommends homogenous, complete, 100-percent-coated products (e.g. Osmocote Plus) for greenhouse production. 2. Don’t trust bag label rates for greenhouse crops. These rates are generally intended for container nursery use, and rates for greenhouse crops should be much lower. 3. If you incorporate CRF into growing media, you need to use the mix up in two to four weeks. The CRF will begin to release nutrients as soon as it is blended into the soil mix. Quick use of the media will ensure that soluble salts don’t build up in the […]
December 3, 2010
What Does That Production Input Really Cost You?
In today’s tight economy, it’s only natural that growers are carefully monitoring all their production costs and cutting back on expenses in the hopes of maximizing margins and profits. It’s easy to understand their motivation; however, some growers may perform an inadequate analysis of their cost structure. This may result in some production decisions that are penny wise and pound foolish. There are a number of approaches growers can take when analyzing production costs, and some may require additional time to conduct. Still, a proper analysis must include sufficient detail to provide growers with the information they need to make a thoughtful, informed decision. There are three common methods used to determine what production inputs (fertilizer, pesticide, fungicide or herbicide, for example) are most likely to contribute to a higher profit margin: Cost Per Bag, Cost-In-Use and Return on Investment. Cost Per Bag Cost per bag is the simplest metric […]
June 3, 2010
Conducting Effective Trials to Make Sound Decisions
Today’s growers are faced with ever-increasing pressures to be efficient and profitable. The days of “doing things the same way we always have” are waning, and many growers cannot afford to be complacent about their crops and production systems. Fortunately, there is a constant wave of new crops, products and practices that can help growers improve their operations. Before introducing new crops, fertilizers or plant protection products to the marketplace, reputable companies perform extensive testing to understand how the technology works, determine optimal conditions and rates and provide the best guidance on how to use the products or grow the crops. However, even the most comprehensive research programs are limited when it comes to exploring the incredibly wide range of crops, geographical locations, variable environments, conditions and applications that exist in the marketplace today. That’s why it’s imperative for growers to trial new crops and products before incorporating them into […]
December 3, 2008
New Technologies In Nutrition
The Scotts Company celebrated its 140th anniversary this year, and it evolved greatly since the days of O.M. Scott. The last 25 years have certainly brought many innovative changes to the ornamentals industry as a whole. What will happen in the next 25 years? There will surely be many changes in ornamental production, some that will be impossible to predict at this point in time. However, some recent trends are expected to continue into the foreseeable future: more large production operations, more automation, increasing pressures to reduce material costs, labor and shrinkage, and additional need to reduce waste, environmental impact and adopt sustainable practices. There’s little doubt that the sustainability movement within the horticulture industry will continue to be at the forefront of our industry’s consciousness. As a result, Scotts has developed “The e3 Approach to Sustainability,” which advocates the balance of three important elements–efficiency, economy and ecology–for a more […]
July 10, 2008
Poinsettia season will soon be upon us, so it is worthwhile to review the nutritional needs of poinsettias and the corresponding fertilizer practices that will maximize crop quality. From a nutritional standpoint, poinsettias can be a rather finicky crop that challenges even the best growers. Poinsettias readily exhibit both deficiency and toxicity symptoms linked to specific nutrients. Common poinsettia nutritional deficiencies include nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and general micronutrients. Poinsettias can also suffer from excess levels of ammonium or boron. Some of these nutritional problems may be linked to the time of year when poinsettias are grown (when day length and light intensity are decreasing). However, since production timing for this crop is fixed, fertilizer programs must be compatible with typical environmental conditions observed during this period. Further complicating matters are the continuing proliferation of new cultivars, the lack of current nutritional research on new poinsettia cultivars and crop […]
June 20, 2008
Managing Nutrition In Spring Crops
The spring season presents some unique challenges for even the best growers. It can be a time of rapidly changing environmental conditions – some beyond the grower’s control – that may negatively impact crop quality. Often, growers plan multiple crop turns to meet desired shipping dates that are subject to last minute shifts due to fluctuating weather and market conditions. Plus, there are hundreds of different spring crops available, making even more it difficult to stay on top of their various nutritional needs. To further complicate matters, this enormous list of spring crops continues to expand every day. Managing the nutrition of spring crops can be compared to running a diner with a gigantic menu that includes various eclectic offerings from Italian to Chinese. I’ve often wondered how the cooks in those establishments are able to efficiently supply such a wide variety of meals on demand at a relatively low cost. […]
June 17, 2008
Combination Fertilizer Programs
There are several types of fertilizers commercially available to growers: water soluble fertilizers (WSFs) and controlled release fertilizers (CRFs). Historically, WSFs have been used mostly in greenhouse production while CRFs have been used mostly in nursery crops grown outdoors. Both types of fertilizers offer advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. WSFs are dissolved in water and drenched into the growing media. They provide an immediately available dose of nutrients to the crop and offer great flexibility. A grower can vary the timing, concentration or type of fertilizer formulation applied at any fertigation. Since any single application does not persist for very long in the root zone, WSFs must be continuously applied to provide the crop with adequate nutrients. This can be labor intensive and crop problems can arise unless careful monitoring and application adjustments are made. Also, WSFs can only be applied when crops need to be irrigated […]
June 16, 2008
Troubleshooting Your Spring Crops
Growing media pH impacts nutrient uptake and utilization. Pictured is an example of high pH, low micronutrients on the left. Spring is a very busy time for most greenhouse growers. Multiple activities are taking place simultaneously: potting, shipping, merchandising, spacing, growing, monitoring crop quality, spraying, etc. Weather is ever-changing and can throw a monkey wrench into even the best of scheduling plans. With the soaring cost of heating fuel, growers are trying to pack more plants into their growing spaces. In northern climates, growers are waiting longer to start their crops, further compressing the spring growing season. Consumer demands dictating the need for crop diversity also continue to increase, presenting the grower with a multitude of diverse nutrient requirements in the same operation, taxing injector and plumbing setups. Combination containers can result in plants with different nutrient requirements being grown in the same pot. It is easy to see how […]
June 11, 2008
Feeding Hardy Mums
Hardy mums and other fall crops are grown in the summer months for late summer/fall sale, providing many growers with a second income stream during this period. These crops are unusual when compared to most greenhouse crops, as they are most often grown outside in field conditions with fewer environmental controls. This scenario is positive from an economic point of view. It can, however, result in some production challenges. Careful planning and implementation of a fertilizer program, combined with close observation, will ensure high-quality fall crops. Mums – as well as asters, ornamental cabbage and kale – are relatively heavy feeders. The mum plant canopy is primarily built during the vegetative stage of production (the first 1.5 months). If nutrients are lacking during this time, the mums will not achieve their full size or color potential. After flowers are formed, nutrient demand diminishes greatly. If you are using a water-soluble […]
August 19, 2017
New Lighting Guide for Vine Crop Growers Now Available
The new guide from LumiGrow is intended to help greenhouse tomato, cucumber, and pepper growers use LED lighting more effectively to maximize profits, boost yields, and increase crop quality.
August 18, 2017
Four Star Greenhouses’ 2018 Catalog Includes New Variet…
The new catalog is available in both print and digital formats, and features information on new trays that allow for more plugs per square foot.
August 17, 2017
Shinoda Scholar of the Year is Aiming for a Long Career…
Gage Willey, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Greenhouse/Nursery Production. His goal is to own a production and retail nursery.
August 16, 2017
Looking to Host an Intern This Year? Consider AFE’s Sch…
The American Floral Endowment is accepting applications for its Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program and Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program until Oct 1. Interested companies can apply anytime to become a host employer.
August 15, 2017
Greenhouse Environmental Sensor is Truly “Out of This W…
Delta-T’s multi-parameter WET Sensor has been used by Chinese astronauts aboard the Tiangong-2 Space Lab to cultivate lettuce plants within the weightless atmosphere.
August 15, 2017
Griffin Becomes Newest Distributor for Master Nursery G…
The agreement allows Griffin to join Master Nursery’s network of more than 150 supplier partners, while giving Master Nursery access to new product and service options for member businesses in the Midwest, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific Northwest regions.
August 15, 2017
AmericanHort Has a New Director of Government Affairs
Tal Coley, a U.S. Air Force veteran who has an extensive background in issues advocacy, will play an active role in AmericanHort’s upcoming Impact Washington event in September.
August 15, 2017
How to Know Which Plastic Containers You Can Recycle
Michigan State University’s Garrett Owen offers tips to help you properly dispose of plastic containers, flats, and trays.
August 15, 2017
Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65
Kwong was most recently the Director of Seed Technology for PanAmerican Seed, and his research was instrumental in the development of calibrachoa, angelonia, and other plants.
August 15, 2017
Why Consumers May Be More Interested in Plants Than You…
A visit to a local lavender event is a reminder that when you tap into something consumers are excited about and want to experience, the reward can be long-lasting,
August 14, 2017
Canadian Greenhouse Conference Features Focus on Techno…
This year’s Canadian Greenhouse Conference kicks off on October 4, and there is no shortage of presentations devoted to how growers can implement new technology in their greenhouses.
August 14, 2017
How Young’s Plant Farm Invests in New Structures and Eq…
The Auburn, AL-based Top 100 Grower operation is improving its production infrastructure so it can continue to efficiently produce quality plants and keep up with demand.
August 11, 2017
Greenhouse Bench Systems Designed to Handle Any Space
HOVE bench systems from HOVE International can accommodate multiple levels while allowing for run-off water collection.
August 10, 2017
New Sensors Can Help You Manage Your Greenhouse Crop 24…
The wrong environmental conditions in your greenhouse can potentially lead to significant crop loss. Here’s how sensor technology manufacturers are helping you safeguard your greenhouse.
August 9, 2017
Lighting Technology Under the Microscope at Production …
Here’s a sneak preview of three lighting trends that will be discussed by Erik Runkle at the Production Technology Conference.