Kansas Department of Agriculture Taking Measures On Petunia Cuttings Shipped From Dümmen El Salvador Farm

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) has ordered growers and retailers to destroy all petunias received from the Dümmen Group’s Las Mercedes, El Salvador farm.

This action is in response to the incidences of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) the Dümmen Group reported were found in cuttings produced at its El Salvador farm. Kansas regulates all live plants traveling in and out of the state borders. By state law, the presence of TMV is not tolerated.

In a March 6 letter to live plant dealers from the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Plant Protection and Weed Control Program, the KDA announced that nearly 30 varieties or planting groups have tested positive for TMV in Kansas. In accordance with the Kansas Pest Freedom Standards (K.A.R. 4-15-10), it is ordering all petunias that were received from the Dümmen Group’s Las Mercedes, El Salvador farm, either through direct shipment after week 51 or rooted at Welby Gardens or Timbuk II rooting stations and then shipped to growers in Kansas, be destroyed.

In addition to cuttings and plants at grower operations, the KDA will also inspect Kansas retailers for TMV-infected plants, as retailers may receive petunias from out-of-state growers. Some states do not inspect and certify annuals and bedding plants, or regulate pests in these crops, but Kansas law requires that plant material have a pest inspection with documentation prior to entering the state. The KDA is asking retailers to check with suppliers regarding any Red Fox brand petunias that have been sourced originally from Dümmen’s farm in El Salvador. KDA inspectors will be looking for petunias with TMV viral symptoms in retail locations this spring.

“TMV is a highly contagious virus that can be transferred easily through direct contact, sap, cuttings or lay dormant in dead plant material,” the letter states. “If not addressed properly, TMV can spread into many different host plants within a greenhouse, including other bedding and vegetable plants. TMV infected plants do not meet Kansas Pest Freedom Standards (K.A.R. 4-15-10) and are subject to notice of regulatory action including disposal in a prescribed manner.”

KDA is asking growers and retailers to follow regulatory action and recommendations. Find the KDA’s best management practices here for growers in Kansas producing Red Fox petunias that were sourced from Dümmen’s El Salvador farm, and retailers who sell these varieties but sourced them from out-of-state growers.

Plus, find out what KDA’s Plant Protection and Weed Control Program Manager Jeff Vogel had to say about this issue. For more information or if you require assistance from KDA on this matter, call 785-862-2180 or eMail [email protected]

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