Dümmen Reports Incidences Of TMV In Red Fox Petunia Cuttings From El Salvador Operation

Red-Fox-Logo-dummenGrowers who have received Red Fox brand petunia cuttings from the Dümmen Group’s Las Mercedes, El Salvador stock plant facility should inspect unrooted petunia cuttings and Red Fox petunia plants for any symptoms of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Since week 51, Dümmen has sent a series of four letters to customers, detailing incidences of TMV in select petunia mother plants. To find out what to look for and what you should do if you find symptoms, read “Scouting And Preventative Measures For Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) On Petunia.”

In a February 21 letter, the Dümmen Group announced it has been working with its broker partners and customers to identify, test and destroy infected Red Fox petunia cuttings shipped from Las Mercedes. As a result, Dümmen has determined the incidences of the virus exceeded the initial assessment and halted all shipments of Red Fox petunias from Las Mercedes. As of week 8, all supply comes from alternate clean locations.

The letter also announced the Dümmen Group will issue a credit to all North American customers who purchased Red Fox petunias sourced from Las Mercedes and shipped between weeks 51 and 7, regardless of whether cuttings have tested positive for the virus. The El Salvador facility produces more than 20 million Red Fox petunia cuttings annually. Growers should contact their brokers to learn more.

“We strive to grow world-class products of the highest quality and to safely deliver them to our customers,” the letter stated. “Our decision to continue shipping Red Fox petunias from El Salvador fell short of this commitment. We are extremely sorry and apologize for the disruption this has caused our broker partners and customers. Although we know that that the majority of Red Fox petunias were not infected, any incidence is unacceptable and inconsistent with our high standards of quality.”

TMV: How It Started

The Dümmen Group’s General Manager Perry Wismans told Greenhouse Grower that the problem originated at the company’s Las Mercedes facility in El Salvador in week 51, when Dümmen detected TMV in one particular variety, petunia ‘Sweetunia Johnny Flame,’ a bicolor petunia. At that point, Wismans says, Dümmen informed its customers and took the variety off the market. The mother plants were uprooted, along with mother plants in the beds adjacent to the diseased plants.

“Quite frankly, at that point, we thought we had the problem under control,” Wismans says. “We had informed our customers, uprooted the areas affected and moved forward.”

But in week 2, mother plants adjacent to where Dümmen had uprooted plants tested positive for TMV, so the protocol was repeated.

“We took the same steps but to a larger extent that we uprooted about 20 percent of our mother plants, which of course put a hole in our availability and we started to reallocate orders to our production partner, Cohen Nurseries in Israel, and our stock farm in Ethiopia, where we had availability of petunias,” Wismans says.

The plants from Cohen Nurseries, the Red Fox Ethiopia farm and Oro Farms Guatemala have all tested clean, he adds.

“After that, we were confident we had the situation under control [in El Salvador]. But it turned out we did not as we got reports that our customers were finding cuttings with TMV,” Wismans says. “At that point, by the end of week 7, we decided to stop shipping petunias 100 percent out of Las Mercedes and reallocate all production to Cohen Nurseries, Red Fox Ethiopia and Oro Farms Guatemala.”

Petunias account for about 15 percent of spring production at the Las Mercedes facility, where it produces more than 200 million cuttings of spring annuals, which are located in separate greenhouses. While petunia is a significant crop there, the facility continues to produce other spring annuals. By now, all petunias at the facility have been uprooted and destroyed, Wismans says.

Recommendations For Handling Red Fox Petunias From El Salvador

For any growers who still have unrooted Red Fox petunia cuttings that have been shipped from Dümmen’s Las Mercedes, El Salvador facility, Wismans says Dümmen recommends those cuttings be thrown away and that growers try to find new product, either unrooted or rooted cuttings. Dümmen and its broker partners will work with customers to do this.

“Now when people decide to destroy those cuttings on the rooting bench, they are sourcing on the market for rooted material with the help of the brokers, so what we do is help them in doing that,” Wismans says. “Dümmen has discussed with our broker partners how to deal with price differences.”

To growers who decide to continue with their Red Fox petunia cuttings from El Salvador, Dümmen recommends scouting and monitoring those plants for any evidence of TMV symptoms. See “Scouting And Preventative Measures For Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) On Petunia” for information on what symptoms to look for and how to scout for TMV, or visit Dümmen’s website for more information.

“Once a plant is affected, that plant cannot be cured,” Wismans says. “That’s why we say when you can and you have not transplanted it, we absolutely recommend that you throw those young plants away. However, sometimes people have already transplanted them and they’re in baskets. It’s not like 100 percent of our cuttings have TMV — the majority of the cuttings are not infected. And some of those plants are already close to finish. So then you want to go out and look at the plants and scout for those diseased plants and pick those out and throw them away and ship what is good.”

Because TMV is contagious and transfers through mechanical handling, the disease can spread to healthy cuttings. But the milk solution detailed in the handling protocol will isolate the virus particle and keep it from spreading. Dümmen recommends that growers who have already rooted their Red Fox petunias and plan to keep them and continue monitoring their crop should spray the milk solution when working with the crop, during spacing and other functions, Wismans says. The incubation period for the virus is such that if a finished plant does not show the symptoms, it most likely does not have the virus.

“That is more for the people who have decided they want to keep on going with the crop, who are further in the process,” Wismans says. “At this point, we are just in peak shipping, so most people are replacing their cuttings with healthy material, either cuttings or rooted liners.”

Dümmen Is Working To Prevent Future Outbreaks

“This is the first time a disease of this magnitude has hit our organization,” Wismans says. “You always think your protocols are good enough. They always worked in the past. Obviously now, in hindsight, they should have been different.”

The Dümmen Group is taking measures at its Las Mercedes facility to step up sanitary protocols and prevent future disease issues, including reducing the size of production compartments within each greenhouse, Wismans says.

“Our farm is very big with large compartments, which means if you have an infection in the compartment, it immediately has a large impact on the production,” he says. “Next year, the size of the existing compartment we have now will become eight different compartments. All of those compartments will be self-sufficient so they will have their own clothing, their own knives and their own disinfectant. Nothing will switch between those compartments. And further, we will establish these compartments with concrete floors so we can bring it to a much higher standard.”

Wismans says the Dümmen Group is sorry for any problems that the TMV issue has caused, and he hopes the Dümmen Group’s willingness to face the problem head on, communicate with customers and provide a general credit for all Red Fox petunia cuttings from El Salvador will help the industry through this challenge.

“Most of all we [want growers to know we] are very sorry that this happened to them,” Wismans says. “We know that it has had an impact on their businesses and we are aware of that. It’s not what we want, or what we stand for as a company and at this time we are doing everything to limit the damages for our customers.

“We built up a reputation the last 15 years in the U.S. of being a very reliable supplier and being clean and having good order fill. The incident is very unfortunate, but we want to stay shoulder to shoulder with our customers to overcome this.”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
Triathlon BA container shot

September 2, 2015

OHP Launches Triathlon BA, Offers Marengo SC In Smaller Size

Triathlon BA biofungicide/bactericide is now available to authorized OHP distributors for shipment to states where product registration has been approved. State registration information is available here. A next generation preventive biological fungicide, bactercide Triathlon BA is labeled for use in both organic and conventional production on a wide variety of fungal and bacterial diseases on ornamentals, fruits, vegetables and herbs and spices. With the active ingredient Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Triathlon BA provides preventive control of many foliar and soil-borne diseases such as botrytis, powdery mildew, downy mildew, rusts, leaf spots, alternaria, pythium, phytophthora, rhizoctonia, fusarium and bacterial spot. Triathlon BA, an aqueous suspension formulation, prevents establishment of disease-causing fungi and bacteria on the plant tissues. Depending on the target disease, users can foliar-apply or soil drench Triathlon BA. Repeat applications may be made at three- to 28-day intervals. Under environmental conditions that are conducive to disease development, users may apply at three- to […]

Read More

September 2, 2015

Delegation Is Key To A Successful Greenhouse Operation

In a packed room at Cultivate’15, speaker Bernie Erven presented key steps growers need to take to improve their delegation skills, the benefits of delegating and the dangers of not learning how to delegate. This is a skill, he says, that everyone needs to learn. “For all of you who are part of a family business, you are choosing not to do things the easy way,” Erven laughed, as he presented a list of ways to know whether or not you’re an effective delegator. The owner of Erven HR Services, LLC, Erven has been working with and observing family businesses for many years. In his presentation, he said, he didn’t share anything that he hasn’t seen first-hand. You might not be a good delegator if you: Tend to be a perfectionist Work more hours than anyone else Lack time to explain clearly and concisely Are often interrupted Enjoy what you used to […]

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

September 1, 2015

Perennial Plant Association’s 33rd Annual Symposium Explores Perennials, Past And Present

The Perennial Plant Association's 33rd Annual Symposium, held July 27 to August 1 in Baltimore, Md., delved into the rich history of perennial suppliers and landscape architects in the Baltimore area and their influence on the perennial market today and its bright future.

Read More
Latest Stories
Bill Lewis grower manager at Delray Plants

August 31, 2015

Delray Plants Takes Preventative Approach To Pest Contr…

Trying to control pests effectively on a wide variety of crops is a major undertaking. Delray Plants in Venus, Fla., has been using biological controls as a part of its pest control program for more than 10 years. It operates 300 acres, which includes covered structures and 7 acres of outdoor field production.

Read More
Bob’s Market and Greenhouses’ Ron Morris pours Stockosorb into the hopper for distribution on the conveyor line

August 13, 2015

Soil System Improves Growing And Sales

My father started our company 45 years ago growing bedding plants, mainly early season production and finished plants for our West Virginia market. It was in the early 1980s that we started growing earlier spring production and shipping materials to southern markets, and by the late 1980s, we also produced pansies for fall. We started using hydrogels when they first came on the market in the early 1990s and found that they really helped with our production by keeping plants healthier for these new markets. Over the years, we’ve grown to be a large young plant producer and have a sizable business growing finished plants in cell packs, 4 1/2-inch pots, 6-inch pots, gallon containers, hanging baskets, multiple sizes of large containers and large baskets for municipal use. Creating The Ideal Soil Mix With our old system, it took several workers to mix pre-made soil with slow-release fertilizers in cement […]

Read More
Fertilizer Rates Feature Image

August 12, 2015

Selecting Fertilizer Rates For Several Spring Bedding P…

Fertilizing bedding plants can be difficult due to the differing needs of the large variety of plants that we grow. Many operations do not grow enough of any one crop to cater the fertilizer specifically for each crop. Therefore, grouping crops with similar fertilizer requirements and having two to three fertilizer strengths available is a practical way to ensure plants are getting the fertilizer they need. With many new plant varieties on the market, we wanted to conduct a trial at Cornell University to determine best fertilizer rates for several common bedding plant crops. 22 Bedding Plants Studied To Establish Fertilizer Rates Plugs and rooted liners of 22 crops (Table 1) were transplanted into 4-inch (500 mL volume) round pots with a commercial peat/perlite based substrate. The plants were grown in a glass greenhouse at Cornell University during the spring season at a spacing of one plant per square foot. Heating set […]

Read More
Feature image The Aphid Guard Aphid Banker Plant, coming soon to the market, supports beneficial insect populations.

June 21, 2015

The Latest In Crop Protection

Protecting your plants from the latest threats is no easy task, but new product lines promise to safely and effectively eliminate a wide range of pests and diseases, without harming your employees or the environment.

Read More
Bee On Flower

June 18, 2015

Pest Management And Marketing Strategies For Bee-Friend…

Michigan State University Extension shares pest management practices to produce plants that are safe for pollinators and marketing strategies for clearing up confusion about bee-friendly plants.

Read More
NSOrganicPlantFood3-1-1_featured

June 13, 2015

UMASS Fertilizer Trials Recommend Nature’s Source Organ…

In a recent online fact-sheet at its Extension website, the UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment lists Nature’s Source Organic Plant Food 3-1-1 as “the best liquid organic fertilizer,” according to Dr. Douglas Cox, Stockbridge School of Agriculture. It is called-out by the Extension after a number of years of studying the use of organic fertilizers for growing commercial greenhouse crops. The trials evaluated traditional water soluble and granular slow-release chemical fertilizers. Dr. Cox recommends Nature’s Source Organic Plant Food 3-1-1 as a liquid fertilizer that is readily available, cost effective, OMRI-listed and with good label directions for greenhouses. He also mentions the ease-of-use in how it mixes well with water and can pass fertilizer injectors. “Nature’s Source is currently the best liquid organic fertilizer,” Cox wrote in his article “Organic Fertilizers – Thoughts on Using Liquid Organic Fertilizers for Greenhouse Plants,” “I have seen no foliar chlorosis yet with this fertilizer. Nature’s source is widely available and a great […]

Read More

June 10, 2015

BASF’s Sultan Miticide Receives California Regist…

BASF Sultan miticide recently received registration in California, giving ornamental growers a new rapid, targeted mode of action for mite control. Sultan miticide, with active ingredient cyflumetofen, offers ornamental growers targeted knockdown of all life stages of tetranychid mites, with long residual control. It has practically no toxicity to beneficial insects, including predatory mites and pollinators. Sultan miticide offers a new mode of action to combat cross-resistance with other commercial miticides, and is compatible with integrated pest management programs (IPM). “The long-awaited California registration of Sultan miticide is exciting news. Greenhouse, nursery and landscape professionals in the state now have a new class of chemistry that gives them fast control over all life stages of plant-damaging mite populations,” says Joe Lara, senior product manager for BASF. “Sultan miticide now provides California growers with a much needed new first choice for miticide resistance management programs that won’t disrupt populations of beneficial […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

May 27, 2015

Industry Associations State Their Support Of National P…

AmericanHort, Society of American Florists, American Floral Endowment and Horticultural Research Institute joined together to embrace key aspects of the federal government’s recently announced National Strategy for the Protection of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The long-awaited strategy has three major goals: reducing honey bee colony losses, increasing Monarch butterfly populations, and restoring or enhancing millions of acres of land as pollinator habitat through public and private action. According to the statement, the associations are studying the details, but they agree that the overall approach appears balanced and mostly sensible. The rest of the statement reads as follows: “The national strategy’s overarching goals dovetail well with the focus of the ongoing Horticulture Industry Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Program. Under that initiative, we have directly funded several priority research projects, and collaborated on additional research funded by others, to provide critical scientifically sound guidance for professional horticulturists. We are developing a grower […]

Read More
Bee On Flower

May 20, 2015

White House Task Force Releases Pollinator Health Strat…

An interagency Pollinator Health Task Force commissioned by President Obama released its “Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” on May 19. The strategy, released in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum issued last June, is accompanied by a Pollinator Research Action Plan, which outlines needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health. The recommended actions will be supported by a coordination of existing federal research efforts and accompanied by a request to Congress for additional resources to respond to losses in pollinator populations. Pages 47 through 52 specifically address pesticides and pollinators. The report calls out plant production, native plants, mosquito control and all urban uses in its Pollinator Action Plan. RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) says it supports the goals of improving pollinator health and habitat contained in the White House Pollinator Task Force’s release of its National […]

Read More
r3bv2 disease

May 20, 2015

SAF And AmericanHort Ask Government To Take Ralstonia O…

The Society of American Florists (SAF) and AmericanHort want Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, Biovar 2 (R3Bv2) taken off a list of animal and plant diseases that the federal government has determined could be misused as terrorist weapons. SAF and AmericanHort submitted formal comments together on the horticulture industry’s science-backed position on the matter. According to Lin Schmale, SAF’s senior director of government relations, extensive research has proven R3Bv2 does not belong on the government’s list of animal and plant diseases that can be misused as terrorist weapons. Every two years, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requests a public review of the Select Agent list, asking for comments on whether plant or animal diseases should be taken off the current list or added to it. In the floral industry, R3Bv2 can have a devastating impact on geranium (pelargonium) crops, Schmale says, and both the potato and tomato industries also could be adversely affected by introduction […]

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 18, 2015

Beware Of Spider Mites In Bougainvillea And Mandevilla …

Greenhouse growers need to scout for spider mites on bougainvillea and mandevilla and use appropriate treatments that minimize pesticide resistance.

Read More
CrownBees_Blue-Orchard-Bee-Female_Artz

May 14, 2015

Pollinator Health 2015: What’s Next For Horticult…

The news on pollinators and neonicotinoids continues to fluctuate between good and bad. Research and outreach efforts backed by the Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative help move the industry in a positive direction.

Read More
empress-intrinsic-brand-fungicide

May 13, 2015

BASF’s Empress Intrinsic Fungicide Is Approved Fo…

BASF’s Empress Intrinsic brand fungicide received supplemental labeling, providing California growers with an effective drench fungicide for disease control and plant health. The supplemental labeling is for use on herbaceous and woody plants in greenhouse, nursery container and field production in California. Empress Intrinsic fungicide provides protection against the four major root and crown disease pathogens: fusarium, phytophthora, pythium and rhizoctonia. Research shows Intrinsic fungicides control the broadest range of ornamental diseases while improving plant resilience to quality and reducing stresses that commonly occur during commercial production, handling and transportation. “More and more growers across the country are discovering the benefits of Empress Intrinisic brand fungicide treatments at propagation for rooted plugs, cuttings and seedlings, and in drench applications on transplants during the production cycle to protect against the major root diseases,“ says Joe Lara, senior product manager for BASF ornamentals. “A BASF fungicide program utilizing Pageant Intrinsic and Empress Intrinsic […]

Read More
Green Mum Basket

April 21, 2015

Growers Face Dilemma In Managing Plant Growth

Whether you’re applying plant growth regulators, manually pinching plants or using automated trimming, the most important thing is to find the right balance.

Read More

April 20, 2015

Three Michigan State University On-Demand Webinars Offe…

The first rule of effective insect and disease control for vegetables is to take action to prevent problems before they occur. But in order to do that, you need to have an effective pest and disease management strategy in place that incorporates best practices to ensure a successful outcome. Michigan State University offers three pest and disease management on-demand webinars that will get you started and keep you on the right track.

Read More

April 15, 2015

BASF’s Pageant Intrinsic Fungicide Registration A…

The state of California has approved the supplemental label registration of Pageant Intrinsic brand fungicide for disease control in the commercial production of greenhouse-grown tomatoes and tomato transplants for the home consumer market.

Read More
Egg card used for insect control in Parkway Garden’s retail area.

April 13, 2015

Biocontrols Use Requires Commitment

For some companies, a switch to biocontrols is an easy decision to make. Parkway Gardens of Ontario, Canada, began using biocontrols nine years ago after Erik Jacobsen, the company’s owner, wanted to expose Parkway, its customers and the environment to fewer pesticide products. “Many pesticides were increasingly ineffective, and in Canada, new product registration moves with glacial slowness,” Jacobsen says. “The labor cost of applying pesticides is much greater than using biocontrols.” In addition, it was also an opportunity to market the company’s eco-friendliness to a younger demographic, he says. In a Q & A with Greenhouse Grower, Jacobsen explains what biocontrols and methods have proved effective for Parkway Gardens Greenhouse Grower: In what types of greenhouse structures are you using biocontrols? Erik Jacobsen: Our greenhouses are all poly covered. About half the range is a Westbrook 14-foot at peak gutter-connected block, and the remaining half a mix of quonset-style […]

Read More

April 11, 2015

Lowe’s Announces Commitment To Phase Out Neonicotinoids…

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s companies announced April 9 that it has committed to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores in a gradual phase-out over the next 48 months. In response, horticulture industry associations issued a statement that Lowe’s position is surprising, considering the most recent and positive reports on the state of honeybee health and recent peer reviewed research, and that this is an issue for which sound science must take priority.

Read More