December 11, 2017
Evaluating Robotic Transplanters for Plant Cuttings
There are several factors that might affect your decision to invest in transplant robots, based on initial observations and reported information about available equipment.
October 9, 2017
Maximize Your Labor Efficiency When Sticking Plant Cuttings
Transplanting unrooted cuttings into trays is one of the most labor-intensive activities in greenhouse production.
June 12, 2017
How to Improve Customer Success by Adding Residual Fertilizer to Your Plant Products
Even if it costs a few cents more per pot or extra labor, your customers will thank you with repeat sales.
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 […]
March 22, 2018
Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You…
It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.
March 21, 2018
New Lighting Series is Adaptable to Several Environment…
The NeoPAR series from Illumitex is designed to foster photosynthesis in all stages of plant development.
March 20, 2018
Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum Provides Insight on De…
In light of the March 14 announcement that Bell Nursery Holdings LLC had been acquired by Central Garden & Pet, Greenhouse Grower caught up with Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum to get the backstory on the deal. Here is our full interview with Mangum.
March 20, 2018
California Spring Trials 2018 Central Region Preview: B…
Check out this California Spring Trials 2018 Central Region preview of new varieties from Ball Horticultural Co., Dümmen Orange, PlantHaven International, and Suntory Flowers.
March 20, 2018
Survey Says: Poinsettia Prices, Sales, and Production I…
Traditional reds were still bestsellers, but interest continues to grow in white and novelty varieties. Greenhouse Grower’s annual survey provides an in-depth look at the holiday season.
March 20, 2018
Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young …
During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.
March 19, 2018
Green Fuse Botanicals Expanding Distribution Network
The company’s expanded product line has created an opportunity to broaden its reach to the grower community through a wider range of brokers.
March 18, 2018
New Soil Amendment From Kemin Promotes More Efficient N…
Valena, a soil amendment sourced from a proprietary strain of Euglena gracilis (algae) rich in beta-glucan, is designed to support the growth of healthy and strong plants.
March 17, 2018
National Garden Bureau Once Again Bringing Garden Write…
The National Garden Bureau is again hitting the road for California Spring Trials (CAST) with influential garden communicators, with the goal of connecting breeders and brokers with consumers via these influencers with large followings.
March 14, 2018
Dramm Offering New Video Chat Option for Service Issues…
The Dramm Corporation recently introduced two new resources for its greenhouse grower customers to deal with indoor growing conditions.
March 14, 2018
Bell Nursery Acquired by Central Garden & Pet
Greenhouse Grower just learned that Bell Nursery, headquartered in Elkridge, MD, has been acquired by Central Garden & Pet Company, a leading innovator, producer, and distributor of branded and private label products for the lawn and garden and pet supplies markets.
March 13, 2018
California Spring Trials 2018 Northern Region Preview: …
Check out this California Spring Trials 2018 Northern Region preview of new varieties from Benary, Thompson & Morgan, American Takii, Sakata Seed, Beekenkamp, and Plug Connection.