May 8, 2012

Disease Control and Plant Health

Over the last several years many nursery and greenhouse growers have felt increasing financial and environmental pressure to make sustainability-driven improvements to reduce inputs —including water, chemicals and fuel — but reductions must not sacrifice plant quality. Fulfilling sustainable needs and business demands is challenging, but not impossible. Like growers, BASF views sustainability as achieving more using fewer inputs, while ensuring profitability, caring for the environment, and meeting the needs of society and future generations, in short, doing more with less. BASF research and development continually brings new innovations to market that help growers be more successful. Recent examples of this research and development include its pyraclostrobin-based product Pageant® Intrinsic™ brand fungicide. Pageant Intrinsic is the first fungicide in the ornamental market labeled for disease control and plant health. It gives growers industry-leading, broad-spectrum disease control and the bonus of plant health activity — without additional inputs. In addition to […]

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May 8, 2012

Helping Plants Help Themselves

You know that if you take your vitamins, eat right and get enough sleep, you get sick less often. In some ways, the same is true for plants; a plant with a healthy root system, an optimum growing environment and plenty of stored energy is much better able to weather stress than one that’s already living on the edge. Obviously, maintaining ideal levels of nutrients, light, water and humidity are key to keeping plants healthy. But plants are not entirely helpless. They have physiological defenses of their own that, when triggered, allow them to endure and recover from drought and temperature stress and resist disease. Having the ability to trigger this response would be a powerful tool for growers, and research in this area is ongoing. Some of the results have been fascinating and you should expect to see more developments in this direction. BASF’s Pageant Intrinisic brand fungicide is […]

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April 25, 2012

Common Diseases of Greenhouse Plants

Foliage Diseases Powdery Mildew: whitish, powdery growth on upper leaf surface. More prevalent on newer growth. May cause leaf distortion. Downy Mildew: whitish growth on undersides of leaves; pale green or yellow patches may appear on upper leaf surface. Symptoms usually appear first on older leaves. Leaves often turn brown and die. Botrytis (Gray Mold): round or triangular fuzzy grayish brown spots that eventually engulf the entire leaf. Petiole and stem may turn brown, eventually girdling the stem. Plant wilts and dies above stem lesions. Small whitish or tan spots may appear on flowers and buds, spreading to include the entire flower. Botrytis can cause damping off of seedlings. Rust: underside of leaf dotted with white, orange or brown spores. Yellow or necrotic spots may appear on upper surface. Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV): varied symptoms include spots, zonate spots, ring, mosaic and line […]

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April 12, 2012

An Apple A Day

Having a tool such as Pageant® Intrinsic™ to provide plants with an extra boost to help them weather times of stress is a real bonus for growers. However, it can’t be relied on 100 percent – nothing can. The first line of defense for keeping plants in tip-top shape so they have the best chance of resisting problems is proper nutrition. Your mother was right. If you ate healthy food, you got sick less. The same is true for plants – they just complain less. Providing just the right amount of nutrients at the right time is one of the most crucial components of plant health. Although based in science, it is a true art. Different species of plants require different amounts of nutrients, and variables such as soil type and pH, light and moisture levels, temperature and the growth stage of the plant all affect how much of a […]

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April 12, 2012

Plant Health: Research To Reality

Greenhouse and nursery growers have struggled more and more with wise use of water, unpredictable weather patterns and disease control. These issues have made the emergence of technology that can deliver plant health benefits to mitigate these problems more welcome than ever. At BASF we have been studying plant heath for more than 10 years in agricultural crops. The beginnings of this were in the early 2000s, when BASF launched several fungicides into the crop market that were based on its proprietary active ingredient pyraclostrobin. As with many new products, you don’t often see their true potential until they are adopted by the marketplace. As they were used for disease control growers noticed additional plant health benefits, which led to BASF’s research in this area. For example, farmers using these fungicides report higher yields in many crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. Corn stalks are stronger, leading to more […]

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April 12, 2012

A Welcome Side Effect

All growers know that while many things have to go right to get a healthy crop to market, only one thing has to go wrong to ruin it. Usually they know this from painful experience. Despite careful monitoring of temperature, light, nutrients, moisture and humidity, plus constant attention to the presence of diseases or pests, it only takes one time for an employee to forget to water or for a thermostat to malfunction to make a crop unsaleable. Plant health management has always been a balancing act with little room for error. The importance of aesthetics over yield in the ornamental industry means consumers will tolerate very little damage to the plants. It goes without saying that plants should be maintained in optimum health to allow them the best chance to resist disease and stress. But more and more, plant researchers are finding that there are actual cellular responses within […]

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