Palmer On Pests & Diseases

Palmer On Pests & Diseases

Palmer On Pests & Diseases

Cristi Palmer, the ornamental horticulture program manager at IR-4, shares an update on new product registrations, a preview of her whitefly management presentation at Pest & Production Management Conference and the importance of Farm Bill funding for gladiolus rust.

What is your role with the IR-4 Project and for those who aren’t familiar with IR-4, can you give a little background on your work and mission?


I am the ornamental horticulture program manager for IR-4. This program works to get new and expanded disease, insect and weed management tools into growers’ hands. IR-4 focuses on registrations for specialty crops and minor uses. The tools we research can be chemically or biologically based, and we have recently started to research the impacts of these tools on beneficial organisms.

What were a couple of the biggest developments in terms of new product registrations IR-4 facilitated within the last year?

[Last year] was not a big year for registrations of products to manage insects and diseases, but we contributed data toward the 2008 registrations of Adorn, Kontos, Overture and Pageant.

You’ll be discussing whitefly management at Pest & Production Management Conference. Are there any new strategies for managing Bemisia whiteflies?

My co-presenter, Cindy MacKenzie, and I will be talking about the history of Bemisia Q biotype in the United States, recent research developments and how to best manage potentially mixed Bemisia populations.

Most of the information we’ll present is common sense use of IPM–exclusion, scouting and judicious use of management tools. We will also have the opportunity to present Dr. Ron Oetting’s most recent experiment testing rotational programs for mixed populations of B and Q whiteflies.

USDA recently announced Farm Bill funding for invasive species projects, and you submitted several proposals on behalf of IR-4–one of which will provide $171,000 for research to manage gladiolus rust in association with University of Florida. How significant is gladiolus rust as a disease?

Gladiolus rust is an invasive disease commonly found in gladiolus production fields in Mexico. It has traveled to U.S. production areas through import of cut gladiolus flowers and through wind dispersal.

When it is currently found in a grower’s field, that crop is destroyed. Finding out what will control or eradicate gladiolus rust may eliminate this drastic step of complete crop destruction. Also, knowing how best to manage this disease in Mexico and other production areas worldwide–and through shipping pathways–will minimize the potential for it to become established in the United States.

For more information on Pest & Production Management Conference (P&PMC), presented by Society of American Florists and Greenhouse Grower, visit

Want more from P&PMC speakers? Click the links below:

Jim Barrett on “Proper PGR Use”

Margery Daughtrey & Mary Hausbeck on “Disease Management Strategies”

Scott Ludwig on “Bio-Controls & Thrips Management”