July 10, 2008

Shrubs That Can Be Greenhouse Forced

    Last month, I sorted many common shrubs into “ease of forcing” groups, based on characteristics such as their visual impact in a container to disease problems. To review, the first three were: Group 1. Would not fit into a mixed container program for the spring. These include those with no outstanding features to their foliage (Forsythia ‘Golden Peep’) or susceptible to disease (Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine,’ Mock Orange). Since flowers were only formed on next year’s growth, forcing for flowers was out of the question. Group 2. Will work for a spring program, but with numerous problems such as poor form, inconsistency of growth or flowering (sun rose) or unstable variegation (variegated Mock Orange). Group 3. Plants that work, but will require a bit more time, more marketing, etc. These are excellent but generally slow (abelia, hydrangea paniculata). Group 4. The last group consists of plants that are easily […]

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July 9, 2008

OFA Goes Green

Staff members identified areas to conserve resources, switch to greener inputs and promote recycling. The page count on the Short Course promotional program and on-site guide has, for example, both been reduced. Both publications are also now printed using FSC certified paper and soy- and linseed-based inks. The OFA Bulletin is also printed using those same inks, and at Short Course, recycling bins will be located throughout the convention center. OFA is also exploring the idea of purchasing carbon credits to offset the event’s impact.

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July 8, 2008

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’

Nepeta × faassenii ‘Walker’s Low,’ selected as Perennial Plant of the Year in 2007, is an excellent garden plant adaptable to almost any sunny garden in USDA cold hardiness Zones 3 to 8. ‘Walker’s Low’ creates a backdrop of silvery-green foliage and dainty lavender-blue flowers (Figure 1) and combines well with other herbaceous perennials. Like other catmints, ‘Walker’s Low’ also contains nepetalacetone, and its aromatic foliage makes catmint a good choice for herb gardens. ‘Walker’s Low’ also incorporates well in large combination containers and is suitable for alpine and arid gardens because it tolerates drought after establishment in the landscape. Plants continue to bloom all summer long, provided that spent flowers are removed. The charming blue flowers of ‘Walker’s Low’ attract butterflies and bees while the plants are rabbit and deer resistant. Nepeta × faassenii, commonly known as catmint or catnip, is a hybrid of N. nepetella and N. racemosa […]

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June 23, 2008

Tissue Culture Lingo

    The Dictionary Of Plant Tissue Culture is an A to Z resource for the technical terms that apply to plant cell, tissue and organ culture. Authors Alan C. Cassels, professor of botany at the National University of Ireland, and Peter B. Gahan, professor emeritus at King’s College London’s School of Biomedical Sciences, define more than 1,000 terms relating to plant tissue culture. With illustrations of key concepts, the book defines the terms that come from plant tissue culture and those that originate from plant anatomy, genetics, stress physiology, growth regular research, microbiology and plant pathology. The book’s entries are cross-referenced, where appropriate, with references mainly to general textbooks on plant anatomy, biochemistry, histochemistry, developmental biology, genetics, microbiology, micropropagation, plant breeding, plant biotechnology, plant pathology and plant tissue culture. For more information on the book or to order, call 800-895-0582 or visit www.HaworthPress.com.

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June 23, 2008

The Most Profitable Liner Size?

Should you purchase rooted cuttings in small, medium or large liners to grow on in finished containers? Our research to address this question is based on calibrachoa liners produced by eight commercial growers and research greenhouses in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire and New Jersey as part of the Young Plant Research Center program. Mini liners (144-count or smaller) are now available with lower shipping costs and space requirements in propagation compared with a standard (84- or 105-count) liner. If your goal is to minimize initial plant material cost with good post-transplant performance, mini liners can be the answer. If you have a high shipping cost for bought-in liners or low overhead and/or heating costs during the transplant to finishing phase, this also favors small cell size. A four-week-old mini liner is likely to finish in a similar time as an 84-count liner of the same age, thereby providing cost savings. If […]

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June 20, 2008

Fungus Gnat Management

Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are major insect pests of greenhouse crops and can cause economic losses across a wide range of crops during stock plant, propagation and finished plant production. Female fungus gnat adults lay eggs in growing media, and the emerging larvae feed on the roots and crown. Fungus gnat management is an ongoing focus of our research team. The objective of the study reported here was to evaluate the efficacy of different insecticides applied as media drenches. The notable feature of this study was that we tested insecticides at several geographic locations simultaneously. We used poinsettia as a model test crop because it was grown in all the collaborating greenhouses. Research Methods Six-inch poinsettias were grown in eight greenhouse locations that included seven commercial growers in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Ten containers received each insecticide treatment in each location. There […]

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June 20, 2008

Profiting Responsibility

Dreaming Of A Better Way In 1999, Fraleigh took a big financial risk, leaving a well-established career to return home to Florida to fulfill his dream of putting his family’s farmland back into production. With a background in nursery production, Fraleigh knew full well that he didn’t have the budget to sink into the infrastructure needed for a conventional nursery. “Nursery production has been in my blood for years,” he says. “I worked for Wight Nurseries as a young 20-year-old and had the opportunity to get in on construction from the ground up at the Wight Nurseries North Carolina site, which is now owned by Monrovia. After spending millions of dollars in construction and costs and time and comparing that to what plants are sold for, I knew someone had to develop a better way to construct nurseries and grow plants. My idea was, it might as well be me.” […]

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June 19, 2008

Finishing Poinsettias Cooler

High fuel costs have our industry searching for opportunities to lower the thermostat, and poinsettias provide a unique opportunity for reducing greenhouse fuel inputs. Initially, the options may appear to be limited since poinsettias have historically not grown well at cooler temperatures. However, poinsettia has several attractive features. First, the scheduling and marketing calendar is identical from year to year. This makes it easier to compare data from previous years to determine how a current crop is progressing. Second, cooler temperatures can be compensated for by adding time to the front of the schedule. This is not usually a problem since greenhouse space is often available during the summer. Third, several new cultivars are extremely early to flower and thus a one- or two-week delay in flowering may be ideal for hitting the peak market dates. In 2006, experimental trials were conducted at four greenhouses situated in different parts of the […]

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June 19, 2008

Converging In Columbus

The event, held July 8-11, is organized and hosted by OFA â€” an Association of Floriculture Professionals. The organization was founded in 1929 with strong ties to The Ohio State University and has since grown to comprise 3,300 members in all 50 states and 30 countries. More than 77 percent are located outside of Ohio. The majority are growers. Programs are organized by 200 volunteers who actively participate on committees serving growers, garden centers, florists and interiorscapers. Promoted as U.S. floriculture’s premier educational and trade show event, the OFA Short Course draws nearly 10,000 attendees each year from about 30 countries. While the three-day trade show spotlights more than 1,300 live goods and equipment and supply companies, attendees can choose from 120 educational sessions over four days. Social events after hours make Short Course the ultimate networking opportunity. All The News A few big announcements and celebrations happened at OFA Short […]

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June 19, 2008

People And Plants

Brazil may not be the first country that comes to mind for those seeking to buy cuttings overseas, but then again, why not? Athena (www.athenamudas.com.br/), a cuttings producer in Brazil , has been organizing periodic trips for clients who want to see first-hand where and how their cuttings are being grown. Athena is a cuttings propagator that specializes in the export of unrooted cuttings of non-major crops. Rightfully named after the Greek goddess of industry and skill, Athena, the company has flourished thanks to its willingness to adapt to an evolving market. Originally a potted-mum grower started in 1996, the big company change in direction came in 1999 when one of its original founders, Lucilene Anatriello, attended her first Pack Trials in California. Then, together with husband Jairo Schmidt, the decision was made to shift the company to the international market of specialty cuttings. The first exports were to Europe, and […]

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June 19, 2008

Healthy And Earth Friendly

The plants in your greenhouse leak carbohydrates through their roots, attracting pathogens and disease. Imagine a first line of defense at the root, organisms that coil around the roots without harming them, keeping bad organisms away. That’s exactly how one class of sustainable disease control works. Retailers and end consumers are driving demand for organic and sustainable products. In response, there are many new products on the market in fertilizers and pest and disease control that produce healthy plants and greenhouse workers, as well as a healthy planet.  Pest And Disease Control Sustainable and even organic products and the way they are marketed have changed a lot over the last decade. “The problem has been there have been so many bad actors that have come out with products that make grandiose claims of what they can do–grow bigger plants, bigger and better roots,” says John Francis, director of marketing and technical […]

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June 19, 2008

Growing Green: Fertilizers

NATURE’S PERFECT BLEND Chick A Poo Organic Plant Fertilizer contains natural sources of nitrogen, phosphates, potassium and essential trace minerals. Using a process developed by Nature’s Perfect Blend, these nutrients are combined with other organics to produce an all-natural, totally safe fertilizer. Chick A Poo has an N-P-K rating of 4-2-3. The fertilizer returns essential microorganisms to soils and potting mixes and releases organic nutrients at a gradual rate. Available in a one-ton Super Sack or in a 22-ton portable silo. www.chickapoo.com/index.html GROWTH PRODUCTS Companion biological fungicide can be applied with any irrigation system and is effective against a range of root-borne diseases. It suppresses and controls Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Fusarium, Phytophthora, Sclerotinia, Anthracnose and Botrytis. Visit the company Web site for crop specific programs. www.growthproducts.com NEPTUNE’S HARVEST With formulations made of fish, seaweed, garlic, hot peppers, kelp and crab shells, fertilizers are available from Neptune’s Harvest. Hydrolyzed fish does no biological […]

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