October 7, 2016
How To Train Your Employees To Read Shipping Labels Properly
Avoid costly mistakes by training your employees to accurately read shipping and tray labels with this easy, three-step method.
July 30, 2016
Select The Right Filter For Ebb-And-Flood Irrigation
This article is the fourth in a series of case studies designed to help growers Reduce, Remediate, and Recycle irrigation water as part of a multi-state research grant.
December 22, 2010
How Dirty Is Your Water? Ready Research Results
During summer 2009, we collected irrigation water samples from 24 greenhouses and nurseries across 11 states in the United States as part of the Young Plant Research Center program. We evaluated physical, chemical and biological water quality and determined whether current treatment practices were maintaining water quality within recommended guidelines. Table 1 summarizes our results for up to the five types of samples we collected in each location: • “Source” water samples were the municipal or well supply collected at the first access point after entering the greenhouse. • “Furthest outlet” samples were collected from a boom, emitter or hose after traveling within the irrigation plumbing the furthest distance from the “source.” • “Bench and floor” samples were collected from ebb and flood irrigation water before treatments such as filtration were re-applied to the return water. • “Tank” samples represented irrigation water stored in concrete-lined tanks indoors. Samples had been […]
January 23, 2010
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Managing Multiple Species
Multiple species are often grown in the same greenhouse section, or even in the same container. Often, these species have different acceptable pH ranges and iron requirements (Table 1), which can lead to growing difficulties that affect plant quality. In this final article, we give tips on managing multiple crops in the same greenhouse. Management Tips Organize greenhouse zones so plants are grouped by similar nutritional requirements. One of the most useful groupings is based on the plant’s ability to absorb iron from the soil solution (Table 1). For example, grouping all iron-inefficient species together and away from all iron-efficient species will simplify your nutrition program because all the plants in a specific group should be able to be treated the same. Other factors to consider when grouping plants include acceptable EC levels and fertilizer requirements, light requirements (both intensity and day length) and moisture requirements. If […]
January 16, 2010
Understanding Plant Nutrition: The Complete Series
An Introduction Read about the basics on essential nutrients for plant growth, uptake of nutrients and pH’s effect on nutrient solubility. Nutrient Sources The authors take a look at the myth that cation exchange capacity is important to soilless media. Limestone And pH Why does limestone need to be added to soilless media? It’s all about pH management. Limestone, Calcium And Magnesium Limestone provides calcium and sometimes magnesium to container media. This article looks at the nutrient content of different types of limestone and how it influences calcium and magnesium levels. Irrigation Water Alkalinity & pH Water alkalinity and pH are two different measurements. This article explains the difference, how to interpret testing results and how to adjust management strategies accordingly. Irrigation Water As A Nutrient Source Water rarely contains enough primary macronutrients, but can be rich in secondary macronutrients. Check out this article for tips on making the most […]
December 28, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Geranium Nutrition
Seed and zonal geraniums are iron-efficient crops that are prone to iron/manganese toxicity when the media-pH gets too low. Once plants show toxicity symptoms of necrotic spots and marginal burn (Figure 1), the affected leaves do not completely heal. The only options become shipping lower-quality plants–to take additional time to produce healthy new growth that will cover the older damaged foliage–or throwing plants away. Therefore, the best approach is to prevent iron/manganese toxicity (and low media-pH) from occurring. Here are some pointers for growing geraniums: Pointers – With normal fertilization practices, the acceptable pH range for iron-efficient crops like geraniums is 6.0 to 6.6. – Pre-test your root medium to determine its acceptability for growing geraniums. Often, moistening the media to near container capacity and giving it three to seven days to incubate allows the limestone a chance to react and gives a more realistic starting pH measurement than […]
November 30, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Calibrachoa
Calibrachoa are often described as a “high feed” or “high iron” requiring crop. This is not exactly true. Calibrachoa are an iron-inefficient crop and are prone to iron deficiency because they lack the ability to take up iron from the soil solution if the media pH is too high. Once iron deficiency sets in, calibrachoa will often lose vigor and become susceptible to secondary problems like overwatering or root diseases. Therefore, to succeed with calibrachoa, you need to monitor media pH regularly and take the proper corrective actions when the media pH gets too high. Here are some pointers for growing calibrachoa. Points To Consider – With normal fertilization practices, the acceptable pH range for iron-inefficient crops like calibrachoa is 5.5 to 6.2. Once the media pH increases above 6.2, iron deficiency is likely (Figure 1). – Make sure the iron deficiency symptoms are being caused by high media […]
September 16, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Stock Plant Nutrition
Nutrient management for stock plants is similar to other long-term crops. We have worked with several leading stock plant growers both in the United States and overseas over the past decade. Together, we have found the keys for success are fairly straightforward: have an organized plan that includes media and fertilizer selection, organize crops into pH or EC groups, monitor nutrition regularly and ensure adequate levels of all nutrients are present in cuttings harvested from the stock. 1. Start with a quality growing medium. Some growers consistently produce excellent quality cuttings from stock plants grown in gravel, soil or locally produced compost to save costs. However, these locally produced substrates will often present the stock producer with challenges including inconsistent mixing, excess compaction or composting, limited root growth because of lack of aeration or excessive drying, and micronutrient toxicity (often manganese, depending on the rock type) when substrate pH decreases […]
September 1, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Poinsettias
Profit margins are extremely tight for poinsettias, so minimizing shrinkage that results from crop losses is essential. If nutritional stress occurs, you will be struggling from that point onward to produce a high-quality plant for sale. Poinsettias hang around your greenhouse for several months, much longer than short-term spring crops. Therefore, a preventative approach that breaks the crop down into stages can help avoid the usual problems. Here are some pointers to consider at each stage. Pointers 1. Poinsettias have four stages in which fertilizer needs vary: propagation, initial growth, rapid growth and flowering phases. Figure 1 represents the goals in each stage. The amount of fertilizer taken up by plants varies depending on how quickly the crop is growing. 2. During propagation, avoid solutions that have a high electrical conductivity (EC) (above 0.75 mS/centimeter) or fertilizers containing phosphorus to avoid foliar damage (Figure 3). Rooting can be delayed as […]
July 24, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Environmentally Induced Plants
Most nutrients are actively taken up by the plant from the soil solution. With active uptake, the plant roots use energy to scavenge the root environment for soluble nutrients. For nutrients that are taken up actively (like nitrogen or phosphorus), their concentration in the root medium (as measured with soil tests) tends to correlate well to uptake by the plant. The exceptions to this rule are calcium and boron. Calcium and boron are taken up passively by the plant. With passive uptake, nutrients only move into the plant along with the water used for transpiration. No transpiration, no uptake, regardless of the concentration of those nutrients in the soil solution. The environment where the plants are being grown will directly affect transpiration rates, and calcium and boron uptake. The types of environments that suppress transpiration can include: – Hot, humid conditions, especially when light levels have been reduced with excess […]
June 19, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Common High Media-EC Problems
High electrical conductivity (EC) in the growing medium makes it harder for roots to take up nutrients and water–it is like trying to grow plants in sea water and can result in “salt burn” (damage to sensitive root tips) and toxicity symptoms in foliage (Figure 1). In this article, we will discuss the causes and corrections of high media-EC. What Causes High Media-EC? Media-EC is a measure of the total dissolved salt concentration contained in the soil solution and is often used as a measure of the overall nutrition status of the crop. You can think of the soil nutrient level as similar to a bank account. Our account balance (media-EC) is made up of deposits and withdrawals. The deposits are made with salts contained in the irrigation water, with water-soluble fertilizer, or by slowly soluble or controlled-release nutrients. Withdrawals are made through plant uptake or leaching. The account balance […]
June 4, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Low Media-EC
When growers talk about “lack of feed” or “hungry plants” (Figure 1), the issue is usually insufficient supply of fertilizer nutrients. The easiest way to measure fertilizer level in the root media is with an electrical conductivity, or “EC,” meter. What is Media-EC? What Causes Low Media-EC? The initial concentration of nutrients in a container media is provided by the pre-plant nutrient charge, which may include lime (providing calcium and magnesium), and other fertilizers such as superphosphate, gypsum or urea-formaldehyde. Part of the initial nutrient source is immediately soluble and therefore affects the initial media-EC. Other nutrient sources are bound to the soil particles or are in a slow-release form (e.g. limestone, resin-coated fertilizers), and only affect EC as nutrients dissolve into the soil solution. Most media components, such as peat, bark or perlite supply a small amount of nutrients, whereas compost can supply significant nutrients as […]
April 25, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: High ph Problems
High media-pH (above 6.4) induced iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem for certain iron-inefficient crops (Figure 1), including calibrachoa, diascia, nemesia, pansy, petunia, scaevola, snapdragon and vinca. Plants only take up dissolved nutrients through their roots. When the media-pH is too high, micronutrients (especially iron) are less soluble and unavailable for uptake by plant roots. High-pH induced iron deficiency can develop within one to two weeks, resulting in chlorosis of new growth and overall stunting. This problem is not occurring because plants need more “feed” or are “heavy feeders.” Instead, it occurs because the iron supplied in fertilizer becomes insoluble due to the high media pH. Getting Started We have undertaken considerable research and worked closely with growers to develop strategies to rescue crops that are stressed from high media-pH. If you think there is a problem, the first thing to do is test the pH and electroconductivity […]
March 23, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Correcting Low Media pH
Iron/manganese toxicity is a common problem when media-pH drops below the ideal level in certain crops, including geraniums, marigolds, lisianthus, and pentas. As media-pH decreases (meaning the pH becomes more acidic), iron and manganese become more soluble, resulting in higher concentrations in the soil solution. For each drop in media-pH by one unit, for example from pH 6.0 to 5.0, solubility of inorganic iron in the growing medium (and availability of this iron for uptake by plants) increases by a factor of 1,000. Geraniums, marigolds and certain other species are very “iron-efficient” at taking up the soluble iron and manganese into their tissue. These species evolved to grow in calcareous (low-iron, high-pH) soils and “harvest” extra iron by exuding acid or chelating agents from their roots into the soil, growing extra root hairs and other processes. When we place those plants into an iron-rich greenhouse media and fertilizer regime, they […]
February 10, 2009
Energy-Efficient Annuals: Perfecting Temps & Light
Bedding and garden plants are the largest category of floriculture crops in the United States with a wholesale value of $1.76 billion in 2007. Scheduling these crops in flower for specific market dates, at different times of the year, can be a challenge. In addition, most bedding plants are produced when energy for heating a greenhouse is a large production cost, particularly in northern climates. To optimize the greenhouse environment and produce crops as energy efficiently as possible, more information is needed on how bedding plants respond to temperature and light. Figure 1. The effects of average daily temperature on time to flower and number of flower buds in petunia. Plants were grown under a 16-hour photoperiod and an average daily light integral of 20 molâˆ™mâˆ’2âˆ™dâˆ’1. The photograph was taken four weeks after transplant from a 288-cell plug tray. During the past several years, we have performed greenhouse experiments […]
January 6, 2009
Understanding Plant Nutrition: The Series
Understanding Plant Nutrition: An Introduction Read about the basics on essential nutrients for plant growth, uptake of nutrients and pH’s effect on nutrient solubility. Nutrient Sources: Media Cation Exchange Capacity The authors take a look at the myth that cation exchange capacity is important to soilless media. Limestone and pH Why does limestone need to be added to soilless media? It’s all about pH management. Limestone, Calcium And Magnesium Limestone provides calcium and sometimes magnesium to container media. This article looks at the nutrient content of different types of limestone and how it influences calcium and magnesium levels. Irrigation Water Alkalinity & pH Water alkalinity and pH are two different measurements. This article explains the difference, how to interpret testing results and how to adjust management strategies accordingly. Irrigation Water As A Nutrient Source Water rarely contains enough primary macronutrients, but can be rich in secondary macronutrients. Check out this […]
December 16, 2008
Understanding Plant Nutrition: Managing Media EC
High fertilizer levels can be too much of a good thing, leading to excess growth, nutrient toxicity and potential runoff of nutrients into the environment. Conversely, low fertilizer levels can lead to nutrient deficiency symptoms. A basic goal for a nutrition program is to supply nutrients to the crop within an acceptable range for healthy and controlled growth. One way to ensure that nutrients are being supplied at adequate levels is with a soil test. So long as your irrigation water has salt concentrations within an acceptable range and you use a balanced fertilizer containing both macro- and micronutrients that doesn’t contain a lot of useless salts (like sodium or chloride), then there is a good relationship between the nutritional status of the root medium, and the media electrical conductivity (EC) measured using common soil testing methods (Table 1). This last article of our series discusses how to manage media […]
March 24, 2017
New Horticulturist At Hoffman Nursery Will Focus On Dev…
Leanne Kenealy, who brings great experience in plant evaluation, says introducing consumers to new plants can hopefully generate renewed excitement for gardening.
March 24, 2017
New Greenhouse Structure Models Emphasize Crop Protecti…
Manufacturers of new structure models say they are responding to grower concerns with designs that focus on ventilation, maximizing your space, and incorporating a wide range of crops. Here’s a look at some of their latest offerings.
March 23, 2017
Garden Centers of America Unveils Stops on Its Summer T…
Registration for the event, which includes visits to several garden centers each with their own unique highlights, is now open.
March 23, 2017
Allan Armitage: Plant Consumers Don’t Talk About …
Allan Armitage says it's time to get in touch with our true audience and market plant solutions, not plant products.
March 22, 2017
Growing Tips for Sakata Vegetables’ ‘Aspabroc’ Br…
‘Aspabroc’ resembles a broccoli raab with an asparagus stem, has a mild taste, and requires little growing space.
March 22, 2017
New Perennials and Tender Perennials for 2018 from Cali…
We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the true perennials and tender perennials that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties hitting retail shelves in 2018.
March 22, 2017
National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Fr…
The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.
March 22, 2017
An Inside Look at Emerald Coast Growers’ New Seed…
Florida-based liner producer Emerald Coast Growers custom retrofitted and expanded an existing greenhouse, with the goal of increasing production efficiency.
March 21, 2017
How Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Can Prepare for a Prod…
The United Fresh Produce Association is holding a Recall Ready Workshop in April that is designed to help growers properly manage a recall, from liability to communications.
March 21, 2017
Lemnis Oreon, EnviroTech Cultivation Solutions to Partn…
EnviroTech’s expertise in energy and water technology fits perfectly with the water-cooling solution of Oreon Grow Lights, according to the companies.
March 20, 2017
AgBiome’s New Zio Biofungicide Receives EPA Regis…
The new biofungicide is the first product from AgBiome, and will be marketed by SePRO Corp. in the ornamentals market.
March 20, 2017
Neonic Insect Control Alternative Offers Favorable Prof…
Altus, a butenolide class insecticide with the active ingredient flupyradifurone, will be available beginning May 1, and is labeled for greenhouse and nursery use on ornamental plants, vegetable transplants, and indoor vegetable production.
March 18, 2017
Brian Munchel of Ludy Greenhouse Manufacturing Dies at …
Munchel, a long-time member of the National Greenhouse Manufacturing Association, worked at Ludy Greenhouse Manufacturing for more than 30 years and was a computer-aided draftsman.
March 17, 2017
Consider Evaluating the Benefits of LED Lighting for Yo…
Despite the potentially high installation cost of LED lighting, several advantages mean it’s worth considering. Collecting information and conducting small-scale trials can help you make LED lighting profitable at your operation.
March 17, 2017
Phlox, Zinnias, and More for 2018 From California Sprin…
We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.
March 16, 2017
How Brand Enthusiasts Can Be Your Most Loyal Customers
A marketing expert shares three core principles that direct-to-consumer companies can follow to create brand enthusiasts.
March 15, 2017
How Tech Suppliers Are Helping Growers Find Solutions
Greenhouse structures and components manufacturers highlight some of their most recent projects.