December 7, 2010

Scotts Selling Its Professional Business

Scotts Miracle-Gro announced today it is selling its professional business for $270 million to Israel Chemical (ICL), a company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011. The plan now, according to Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn, is for the company to continue building its consumer business. “Over the past two years, we have evolved our business portfolio to better leverage growth opportunities within our global consumer segment, allowing us to better drive shareholder value,” Hagedorn says. “While we are proud of the efforts our global professional team has put forward over the years, we believe their ability to continue driving growth will be enhanced by being part of ICL, which has articulated a clear vision to invest in this business and support its growth.” In fiscal 2010, Scotts’ professional business had sales of $242 million, […]

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October 19, 2010

Nachurs-Alpine Solutions Appoints Sales & Marketing VP

Nachurs-Alpine Solutions, a specialty liquid manufacturing company that formulates, markets and distributes liquid fertilizer throughout North America, has appointed Murray Van Zeggelaar to its North American executive team. Murray will serve as vice president of sales and marketing for all of North America. Murray is an agricultural retail business veteran of 20-pluls years. “Murray is well respected in the industry,” says Neil Dolson, Nachurs-Alpine Solutions president and CEO. “We are continually looking for ways to strengthen our relationships with dealers and growers. The appointment of Murray is a great example of his commitment. He is a proven leader, a certified crop adviser since 1996, and his creativity, expertise and vision will help propel our company and our brands forward.” Learn more about Nachurs-Alpine Solutions at

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June 22, 2010

Slideshow: Organic Substrates And Fertilizers

What are the best organic substrates and fertilizers for greenhouses? Read here, the research in Organic Substrates And Fertilizers.

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June 3, 2010

Conducting Effective Trials to Make Sound Decisions

Today’s growers are faced with ever-increasing pressures to be efficient and profitable. The days of “doing things the same way we always have” are waning, and many growers cannot afford to be complacent about their crops and production systems. Fortunately, there is a constant wave of new crops, products and practices that can help growers improve their operations. Before introducing new crops, fertilizers or plant protection products to the marketplace, reputable companies perform extensive testing to understand how the technology works, determine optimal conditions and rates and provide the best guidance on how to use the products or grow the crops. However, even the most comprehensive research programs are limited when it comes to exploring the incredibly wide range of crops, geographical locations, variable environments, conditions and applications that exist in the marketplace today. That’s why it’s imperative for growers to trial new crops and products before incorporating them into […]

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May 25, 2010

A Quick And Useful Fertilizer Tool

If you have tried to use the fertilizer calculator (FertCALC) from North Carolina State University in the last couple years, you were probably disappointed it no longer worked. The problem occurred when Microsoft updated Excel. FertCALC was no longer compatible with Excel. Fortunately, a solution has been developed with the support of the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation. And for those of you who’ve never used FertCALC, welcome to the newly redesigned application. Getting Started FertCALC is an application that easily calculates the amount of water-soluble fertilizer you need to add to water to supply your crops with a desired level of nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. The application will also calculate the amount of secondary and micronutrients, nutrients added by acid injection and the fertilizer cost. Unlike the previous version of FertCALC, the application no longer needs to be downloaded from the Internet – it is embedded into a website. To […]

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February 17, 2010

Masterblend International Moving

Effective March 1, Masterblend International is moving to a new and expanded plant and warehouse facility in Morris, Ill. The new facility, located about 45 miles southwest of Chicago, will offer greater operating efficiency while offering continued convenience. With dedicated rail service, a river terminal within five miles and easy access to I-80 and I-55, Masterblend expects its customers to receive the same great products and services as always. “We are excited about this new facility and look forward to serving our many customers this spring and in the future,” says Scott Kuebel, company vice president. Spring pricing for Masterblend products will be announced in the next few weeks, Kuebel says. For more information on Masterblend, visit its website at

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January 27, 2010

Next Up To Bat: Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

Baseball fans will be seeing a lot more of the Scotts Miracle-Gro logo in the next couple of years. The company just signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball. The agreement includes licensed products such as grass seeds and fertilizers, baseball-themed advertising, in-park signage and partnerships with several teams, according to a story by Reuters UK. Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but according to the story a source close to the deal said Scotts’ annual commitments are in the high seven figures. Reuters interviewed Scotts Brand Manager John Price for the story. “It’s a powerful feeling when you walk through the concourse and see that emerald green field in front of you,” Price told Reuters. “I don’t mean to get ‘Field of Dreams’-ish, but it’s a powerful emotion for consumers and really tapping into that emotion and showing off what Scotts products can do, […]

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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 […]

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January 19, 2010

New Technology With Scotts’ Osmocote

Scotts Professional’s second-generation controlled-release fertilizers like Osmocote continue to be a popular choice for greenhouse crops. But growers are still concerned about the relative ease with which surface-applied, controlled-release fertilizers can be wasted due to spillage. High winds, storms or gusts from an air-blast sprayer can knock over container nursery stock, causing surface-applied fertilizer prills to scatter on the ground. Now, Scotts has developed a new controlled-release fertilizer, Osmocote with Fusion Technology. Fusion Technology securely binds Osmocote fertilizer to growing media for a “no-spill prill.” After the fertilizer is surface applied and watered in, an innovative polymer compound forms a web-like adhesive matrix that does not interfere with the release of nutrients to the plant. This matrix bonds the fertilizer prills to each other and to the surface of the growing media. Re-wetting the growing media through subsequent irrigation maintains the Fusion activity, ensuring the fertilizer will stay in place […]

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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 […]

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January 4, 2010

Addressing pH Problems

If it was only as easy as turning a dial, pH problems would not exist. In the real world, the simplest way to avoid improper substrate pH is by keeping a close eye. Regularly monitoring substrate allows growers to identify when pH is just beginning to get out of range. In most cases, small pH adjustments (0.2 to 0.6 pH units) are easily accomplished by simply changing the type of fertilizer. Large pH adjustments can be time consuming, costly and typically result from infrequent pH monitoring.    The green line in Figure 1 (see page 44) represents a situation in which a grower is monitoring marigold substrate pH on a weekly basis. At week 4, the substrate pH has fallen out of the ideal pH zone and into the small corrective zone. The grower may have been using a fertilizer too acidic for the situation, and simply switching to a […]

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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 […]

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